Under Patrick Husbands, Souper Hoity Toity bests Moira in the Belle Mahone (Michael Burns)
By Chris Lomon – Woodbine Communications
TORONTO— In other Saturday stakes action at Woodbine, Souper Hoity Toity fended off Moira, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, to win the $150,000 Belle Mahone (G3).
It was a case of stakes déjà vu for owner Live Oak Plantation, trainer Mark Casse and jockey Patrick Husbands, who teamed to win the Royal North (G2) one race earlier with Our Flash Drive.
Sent off as the 5-1 second choice to 1-5 Moira, last year’s Queen’s Plate (now, King’s Plate) Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser and Fury Stakes victress, the daughter of Uncle Mo needed to bring her A-game in the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up.
Husbands guided his bay 4-year-old filly to the front soon after the gates opened and took the field through a tepid opening panel of :25.26. Il Malocchio sat second while Moira, who broke from post one, settled into stride along the inside in her first start as a 4-year-old.
On top by a head over Il Malocchio after a half-mile timed in :50.75, the pacesetting pair continued their duel around the turn for home as Kazushi Kimura, aboard Moira, urged the bay for her best run down the lane.
After getting the upper hand on Il Malocchio, Souper Hoity Toity braced for the challenge of Moira, who began to cut into her lead but fell a neck short at the wire.
The final time was 1:44.49.
“From looking at the Racing Form – Mark doesn’t give me instructions, he depends on me – there was no speed in the race. The only way I could beat this filly [Moira] today, I’ve got to walk this race. If I walk this race, she can’t get out. She [Souper Hoity Toity] is all guts.”
Purrfect, Il Malocchio, Keyflower (FR), Saratoga Vision and Sister Seagull completed the order of finish. Batyah and Missy Greer were scratched.
Bred in Kentucky by Dr, Richard Holder and Coolmore, Souper Hoity Toity ($13.70) is now 6-1-0 from 10 lifetime starts. She came into the Belle Mahone off a troubled seventh in the Sand Spring Stakes on April 1 at Gulfstream.