Vergara fends off She’s a Mia to win stakes debut in Tepin

November 29, 2021

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Gary Broad’s Vergara made a strong move from the outside at the top of the stretch to overtake Tasweya and Solib before out-dueling She’s a Mia in the final sixteenth to post a win by three-quarters of a length in Sunday’s $100,000 Tepin for 2-year-old fillies competing at 1 1/16 miles on Aqueduct Racetrack’s inner turf course.

Vergara, who graduated with a 1 1/4-length win at second asking last out in October at Laurel Park, shipped to an out-of-state track for the first time and displayed the ability to both travel and handle stakes company. 

Departing from post 3 under Luis Saez, the Noble Mission filly tracked in third position as Tasweya led a 10-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 23.73 seconds and the half in 50.10 over firm going in the fourth running of the Tepin.

In the final furlong, Vergara responded to Saez’s left-handed encouragement by surging past Solib from the outside while She’s a Mia, at 25-1, gamely fought on from the rail under rider Jalon Samuel. In the final sixteenth, Vergara drew away to complete the course in a 1:44.50 final time.

“She broke pretty badly but after the second jump she was right there,” Saez said. “She was running a little green at the three-eighths and she came in behind heels, but when she came into the stretch she started running.

“We were looking to cover up and relax. She was a little green,” Saez added. “She came in behind horses and I don’t want to be at the top of the stretch trying to come out. That’s why I did that before the stretch, and she responded really well.”

Off at 6-1, Vergara paid $14.60 on a $2 win wager. Purchased for $130,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Vergara improved her career earnings to $87,200.

Trainer Graham Motion breezed Vergara at the Maryland-based Fair Hill facility and kept her local for her first two starts, which saw her run third in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint at Laurel on September 30 before her win last month at the same track when stretched out to 1 1/8 miles. She handled going two turns again, showing a strong turn-of-foot.

“She ran better,” Saez said. “She had good speed to break and be right there. It was a great race. Graham said to ride her however you want. I stayed with the pony [during the post parade] because going long, I don’t want to be too rank.”

She’s a Mia, who won her turf debut in her second overall career start last out going six furlongs on October 16 at Belmont for trainer Cleveland Johnson, again teamed with Samuel and earned a placing, edging Mischievous Kiss by a neck for runner-up status.

“She had a very nice trip. It’s the first time she’s ever gone the distance and the winner had gone a mile and an eighth already,” Samuel said. “I was trying to track them, but the winner got an edge on me at the distance.”

The favorite Caironi, Anador, Solib, Determined Star, Louella Street, Tasweya and Kingdom Queen completed the order of finish. Main-track only entrant Waters of Merom scratched.

Tepin Replay 

Vergara – 2021 – The Tepin

Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

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By Brian Bohl/NYRA Press office

Photo: Vergara (Susie Raisher)

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