Anisette Dominates Del Mar Oaks

Anisette Dominates Del Mar Oaks

By: Tracy Gantz BloodHorse

The gallop-out told the tale. Anisette , having just motored through on the rail to dominate the Aug. 19 Del Mar Oaks (G1T), took jockey Umberto Rispoli on a tour of the backstretch, full of run and eager to go around again. Rispoli eventually snugged back on the reins as if to say, “Whoa, mama, save it for next time.”

Anisette proved beyond any doubt that she is the best 3-year-old turf filly around, probably not just in California. Her impressive performance gives her plenty of options—go East, tackle her elders, and contemplate the Breeders’ Cup.

Undefeated on turf and in the U.S., Anisette was coming off a sparkling win in the July 22 San Clemente Stakes (G2T) at a mile on the turf at Del Mar. There had been talk about how San Clemente winners don’t repeat in the Oaks—it hadn’t been done successfully since Evening Jewel  in 2010. But Anisette demolished any thought of a jinx with her performance.

Ten 3-year-old fillies lined up for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, with Ruby Nell , a winner at Del Mar July 22, going to the lead. Anisette broke nicely for Rispoli, who then settled her into last, from where she had done such a good job for him in the San Clemente.

“I had a good feeling when I rode her in the San Clemente, and I knew wherever I could be today, it wouldn’t be an issue,” Rispoli said. “Sometimes you think it’s better to be close or midpack. Today she was a little bit on her toes, and she broke out of the gate like a real miler. That’s why I decided to take her back, and she switched off right away.”

Ruby Nell didn’t set a swift pace, getting the first quarter-mile in :23.84 and a half-mile in :47.21, on paper not ideal for a closer like Anisette.

“Obviously, the pace didn’t help me,” Rispoli said.

He needn’t have worried.

Heading into the second turn, Anisette still lagged behind the field, and Rispoli started watching for his chance. He pointed Anisette between two runners, then contemplated whether to go around the next one. Nope, he ducked inside. Then he had to decide again: inside or out? He chose inside once again, finding a seam and telling Anisette, “Now!”

She responded with a huge rush, passing horses and flying to the lead. Her momentum carried her well away from the field, and she scored by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:48.15. Be Your Best , a graded stakes-placed shipper from Belmont Park, finished second, a neck ahead of Impact Warrior , another in the never-ending line of good Irish-breds from the Phil D’Amato barn.

Leonard Powell trains Anisette for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, headed by Aron Wellman. Eclipse’s successes at Del Mar include Aloha West  ‘s victory in the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).

Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, right, celebrates with jockey Umberto Rispoli, left, after Anisette&#39;s victory in the Grade I, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks, Saturday, August 19, 2023 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar CA.<br>
Photo: Benoit Photo

Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners celebrates with jockey Umberto Rispoli after Anisette’s victory in the Del Mar Oaks at Del Mar

“She’s been very straightforward since we got her,” Powell said of Anisette. “She’s like a little moped. You can put her wherever you want. She’s got a great quality in that she’s got two or three moves in a race, not only one move. That’s a great help for a jockey. Her turn of foot made the difference at the top of the lane. I didn’t think we’d be so far back, especially with a half mile in :47, but she was good enough to overcome that and close the ground.”

Bred in Great Britain by the Morera Partnership, Anisette, a daughter of Awtaad Tutti Frutti , by Teofilio, sold for 26,000 guineas at the 2021 Tattersalls Somerville Yearling Sale to Avenue Bloodstock. Tutti Frutti is a half sister to group 1 winner Sultanina  and stakes-placed Coconut Creme . The second dam is stakes winner Soft Centre  and the third dam is stakes winner Foodbroker Fancy .

Though turf racing is the norm in her native country, Anisette’s three starts there all came on synthetic surfaces. She broke her maiden in her third start, at Wolverhampton last December, and didn’t make her U.S. debut until May 25.

Powell put her in against her elders in a conditioned allowance/claiming turf event at Santa Anita, and she responded with a three-quarter-length victory in a field of 12. Like the Oaks, she also trailed the field early in that race. In the San Clemente she came from 10th of 14.


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