War Like Goddess Stands Tall in 100k Orchid

March 27, 2021

Third Win on Derby Day for Trainer Mott, Jockey Leparoux

 – George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess came with a relentless run through the stretch and nailed even-money favorite Always Shopping on the wire for a thrilling nose triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Orchid (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

The 57th running of the 1 3/8-mile Orchid for fillies and mares 4 and up on turf was the ninth of 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.85 million on a blockbuster 14-race program, immediately preceding the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, one of the country’s premier Triple Crown preps.

War Like Goddess ($13.20), making just her fourth career start, gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and jockey Julien Leparoux their third win on the program. Mott also won the Cutler Bay with Annex while Leparoux previously won the Pan American (G2) with Churn N Burn.

Unlike Churn N Burn, who won the Pan American on the front end, Leparoux settled War Like Goddess far back in the Orchid, ahead of only one horse as 18-1 long shot Sister Hanan took the nine-horse field through splits of 23.93 seconds, 48.55 and 1:13.83. While Always Shopping ranged up to take the lead entering the stretch, Leparoux tipped War Like Goddess out to the center of the track to make her run, closing furiously to get up in 2:12.34 over a firm course.

Always Shopping, a graded-stakes winner on dirt and turf, was a tough-luck second attempting to give jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. his Championship Meet-record 137th victory. Sorrel, racing first time in North America, was third.

Leparoux was winning the Orchid for the first time, while Mott earned his fourth Orchid triumph following Dress Rehearsal (2016), Crockadore (1992) and Gaily Gaily (1989).

$100,000 Orchid (G3) Quotes

Winning trainer Bill Mott (War Like Goddess): “Timing was important there. She just got up in the last jump. I just told [jockey] Julien [Leparoux] to let her get her feet under her and make a run. I kept it simple.”

Winning jockey Julien Leparoux (War Like Goddess): “Just in time. I didn’t know if I got it or not at the wire. No matter what happened, she ran good. I’m glad I got the win. She’s the kind of filly who comes from behind, so on this track you have to worry about that a little bit, but she had a nice kick at the end so she made it fun.”

“I think he probably needed one last time, but today she felt really good, awake before the race. She was traveling throughout the race the whole time and I was happy where I was. I know I was coming very fast to Irad [Ortiz Jr., aboard Always Shopping], but it was a matter of if I had time or not. She was running very hard at the end. She’s a nice filly. She’s won three races out of four and I think she can improve.”


GULFSTREAM PARK Photo, Coglianese Photos

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