Offlee Naughty ‘Found Another Gear’ in Charles Whittingham

April 9, 2023

Offlee Naughty awfully fast in the Charles Whittingham (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

By Maribeth Kalinich

ARCADIA, Calif.— James M. & Donna Daniell’s Offlee Naughty found another gear inside the eighth pole according to trainer Michael McCarthy taking the colt to victory in the $200,000 Grade II Charles Whittingham Stakes at Santa Anita. This was Offlee Naughty’s first stakes and graded stakes win. 

Both Offlee Naughty under John Velazquez and Dicey Mo Chara (GB) bobbled at the start, but Juan Hernandez took the latter to the lead and set a wickely slow pace with a first quarter of 25.20. Opry guided by Frankie Dettori was close behind followed by Masteroffoxhounds under Umberto Rispoli and Midnight Jostar with Kent Desormeaux up. Gold Phoenix (IRE) and Offlee Naughty trailed the field. 

Velazquez steered Offlee Naughty out to gain ground and went between rivals, but they had to pause when lacking room past the half-mile pole. Offlee Naughty chased between then got put in tight at the five-sixteenths pole. 

Meanwhile, Dicey Mo Chara and Opry battled back and forth for the lead, and it seemed as if one or the other would be the eventual victor.

But Velazquez angled to the inside, tipped out midstretch and notched up a couple of gears to come from fourth catching and passing the leaders to take the victory by one length. 

Dicey Mo Chara was 3/4 lengths back as was Opry from him with Gold Phoenix missing third by a neck. Masteroffoxhounds followed to close the race in fifth. 

Midnight Jostar who slipped and fell at the top of the stretch with jockey Kent Desormeaux being tossed off and rolled. The horse reportedly got up, ran past the finish line, and was caught by an outrider then walked off. Desormeaux walked without assistance to the ambulance to be checked.

Offlee Naughty, winner! (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

For his game effort Offlee Naughty rewarded his punters with a hefty $25.20 for the win, 9.00 for place and 4.80 for show. Dicey Mo Chara pai $6.40 for place and 4.00. and Opry paid $4.00 for show. 

The field completed the 1-1/4 miles on the Downhill turf course in 2:02.45. The track record was set by Red Giant September 27, 2008, in 1:57.16.

The 5-year-old bay son of Flashback is out of Offlee Wild mare Acting Naughtly. He was bred in Kentucky by Gary & Mary West Stables Inc. and was purchased at the Ocala Breeders Stock 2020 July 2YOs and Horses of Racing Age Sale for $4,000. 

Offlee Naughty’s only previous stakes start was a fourth-place finish in the GIII San Luis Rey March 12, 2022, at Santa Anita. His second consecutive win, this was his 2023 debut. The bay now has a record of four wins in 16 starts with one second and one third collecting $310,545 in career earnings.

Grade II, $200,000, Charles Whittingham Stakes Quotes

Jockey Quotes
John Velazquez, Offlee Naughty, Winner: “He is showing a lot of talent but still kind of learning. Last couple of races he put it together what he needs to do. He broke a little slow, so I waited until the backstretch to let everybody go, and finally picked it up at the three-eighths pole and went back to the inside. At the quarter pole down the stretch, he came running for me.”
“I was able to avoid the horse (Midnight Jostar). He came out and I think he just stumbled. I pulled my horse outside and he responded right away.”

Juan Hernandez, Dicey Mo Chara, 2nd Place: “This horse loves the distance, and the plan was to stay behind the speed, but then Dicey Mo Chara broke sharp, and I decided to let him go. He was traveling well and had a nice pace, but the other horse got me outside. The winner was in the middle of the track and Dicey Mo Chara saw him too late. No excuses today, we’ll get them next time!”

Lanfranco Dettori, Opry, Third Place: “My horse ran well. They were just going too slow for my horse.”

Trainer Quotes
Michael Mccarthy, Offlee Naughty, Winner: 
 The fractions were pretty slow early. Johnny made a move at the 4 ½ (furlong pole) to get him in the game and make contact with the pack. He kind of stuck there. I’m not exactly sure what happened at the top of the lane. We were kind of uncorking a run and things got bottled up there for a second. Inside the eighth pole this horse found another gear.”

An amazing article on an amazing horse who broke the heart of horse racing…

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