ELMONT, N.Y. – A class boost and increased distance did not faze Bach Stables’ Bye Bye, who won by a neck in the fifth running of Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Soaring Softly for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park.
Bye Bye came into her stakes debut off a sharp debut on grass, where she broke her maiden at second asking by 2 ¾ lengths going five furlongs at Gulfstream Park. The talented bay handled a test in company and distance with class for trainer Christophe Clement.
Exiting the outermost post in the 11-horse field, Bye Bye broke on top, but took back slightly in the compact field as 64-1 longshot Lexinator commanded a swift opening quarter in 22.61 seconds over the firm turf with Star Devine to her outside in second.
As the field entered the far turn, a keen Bye Bye moved into third to the outside of the two frontrunners through a half-mile in 45.62. As Lexinator dropped out of contention, first-out maiden winner Star Devine found herself on the lead as jockey Eric Cancel was on an all-out drive aboard Bye Bye with Candace O launching her bid in between horses. At the eighth pole, Bye Bye took command and held off a late rally from multiple stakes-placed Invincible Gal to win by a neck in a final time of 1:21.19.
It was another neck back to third-place finisher Candace O, who garnered more black type after finishing third in the Bourbonette Oaks last out over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park.
Completing the order of finish were Star Devine, Tobys Heart, Can’t Buy Love, Hit the Woah, La Libertee, Sleek Lynx, Lexinator and No Ordinary Time.
Clement, who earned his second stakes win of the meet after saddling She’s My Type to victory in the April 30 License Fee, expressed some concern with the outside post.
“I’m a firm believer in saving ground, but there’s only so much we can do,” Clement said. “She was wide all the way, but she was good enough to overcome it. Eric did the best he could. We knew she was nice and now we know she is very nice. She went from five to seven-eighths very well. This was a very good performance. It’s exciting.
“We might try to make her a miler but not too much further than that,” Clement added. “I’ll need to think about it a little bit. Let’s enjoy the moment and go on from there.”
Cancel said he was impressed with the winning effort from Bye Bye.
“This filly is talented. I wasn’t expecting this type of performance for her first time going seven furlongs,” Cancel said. “She kept on trying and never gave up on me, so as long as she was there for me, I was going to still be there for her and it just worked out well. I think she’ll just keep on improving. Christophe knows what he’s doing with her, and I just hope everything keeps on going the right way.”
Bye Bye rewarded her backers in $2 win payouts of $19 and racked up $55,000 in victory, which over tripled her bankroll to $82,400. Her record now stands at 3-2-0-0.
Bred in Kentucky by Malibu Farm, Bye Bye is out of the Smart Strike mare Garnet, whose third dam was Grade 1-winner Dream Supreme. She comes from the same family as recent turf stakes-placed World Tour.
The Soaring Softly is named in honor of the inaugural winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in 1999. Owned by Phillips Racing Partnership and trained by Jimmy Toner, Soaring Softly was a three-time graded stakes winner at Belmont Park, with all triumphs against graded stakes company. The Kris S. mare captured the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay, Grade 2 New York and Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational, all in 1999, en route to a Breeders’ Cup win and, subsequently, Champion Grass Mare honors.
Live racing continues Sunday with a nine-race card beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern. Sunday’s Pick 6 will have a carryover of $36,011, starting in Race 4 at 2:32 p.m.
Starting on May 1, Belmont Park re-opened to a limited number of spectators. All admission must be purchased in advance at nyra.com/belmont/tickets/.
For comprehensive information on health and safety protocols in effect for the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, please visit: https://www.nyra.com/belmont/visit/plan-your-visit.
Belmont Press Release by Ryan Martin
Photo: Bye Bye (NYRA/Coglianese)