Amanzi Yimpilo Bests the Boys in Speakeasy
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
Courtesy of Curtis Kalleward of the Racing Dudes
ARCADIA, CA - Trainer Wesley Ward's filly Amanzi Yimpilo overcame minor pre-race hiccups to best the boys in Saturday's $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
The Speakeasy is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Amanzi Yimpilo receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland this November.
Running without blinkers for the first time while making her third career start, an anxious Amanzi Yimpilo made things difficult for jockey Luis Saez, who was unable to safely hop aboard in the paddock.
Once she broke from post 5 at 5/2 odds, however, Amanzi Yimpilo's mind was fully on running, as she sat just outside of early leader No Pedigree through opening fractions of :21.89 and :44.66.
Fighting hard in the stretch to gain command, Amanzi Yimpilo led at the 1/16 pole and held off strong rallies from Wyfire and Windy City Red to win the 5 1/2-furlong firm turf dash by a head in 1:02.77.
"She was pretty nervous behind the gate, we had a little trouble, but I knew she was ready,” Saez said. “I could feel the power. She just broke very well and sat in a great spot, which was the spot I was (hoping) to be in. When we came down the stretch, she fought. She was a fighter and we got there. I had a feeling we would get it."
Wyfire's surge from the rear came up just short of victory but was a 1/2-length ahead of Windy City Red, himself a neck past the 2/1 favorite Commander Khai for third.
No Pedigree, The Great One, Basque Man, Feathers (the field's other filly), and Fury Kap completed the order of finish.
Amanzi Yimpilo's win was her second from 3 career starts, with her lone defeat coming last out in the Bolton Landing Stakes, where she finished third. The Irish-bred daughter of No Nay Never has now earned $94,200 for co-owners Susan Moulton, Marc Detampel, and CJ Thoroughbreds.
"We worked her a 1/2-mile on the dirt and we went wide (in her lone local work)," said Ward's assistant trainer Blake Heap, who also trains his own group of southern California horses. "We weren’t really trying to set the track afire. We wanted to do something to get a feel of the situation here and get a little air. It's onto the Breeders' Cup, we hope!"
Amanzi Yimpilo returned $7.20 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3 to show. Wyfire brought back $4.20 to place and $3.40 to show, while Windy City Red paid $5.40 to show.
For more coverage of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series, head over to racingdudes.com.
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