Anisette Wins Gamely Stakes in Her 4-Year-old Debut

Anisette Wins Gamely Stakes in Her 4-Year-old Debut

By Tracy Gantz BloodHorse

Anisette had to face her elders and give weight in the May 27 Gamely Stakes (G1T) at Santa Anita Park , and she had to do it following a five-month freshening. But this is a filly who embodies “gamely”—both the word and the spirit of the champion mare for whom the race is named—and Anisette answered every question sent her way.

Carded at a mile on the turf, the Gamely attracted a field of eight, including the powerful Richard Mandella-trained duo of 5-2 favorite Ruby Nell  and 8-1 Linda’s Gift , both coming off graded stakes wins at Santa Anita. Ruby Nell went to the front early, and at first she looked like she would be content with staying just a length or two ahead of the field. However, heading into the backstretch, jockey Edwin Maldonado let her scamper off to a five-length lead, causing Anisette’s trainer, Leonard Powell, some concern.

“I was very happy with the first part of the race,” Powell said. “I got a little worried when Ruby Nell made the separation with the field.”

The large lead didn’t last long. Olivia Maralda  and Linda’s Gift raced in second and third, while Umberto Rispoli had Anisette running easily in fourth, and that trio tightened up on the pacesetter heading into the second turn.

“I could see that Umberto was biding his time and had a lot of confidence in her,” Powell said.

Anisette came wide into the stretch and had to battle with Olivia Maralda, and the two 4-year-olds raced head and head to the wire. Anisette, who went off as the 5-2 second choice, scored by a half-length in 1:46.90 over Olivia Maralda, who finished a length in front of 17-1 Forever After All. Anisette paid $7.60 to win.

“When she felt that other filly come aside to her, she just kept on going,” said Rispoli. “I think it was a great effort.”

Rispoli knows his filly. Powell has trained Anisette since she began racing in this country a year ago, and Rispoli has ridden her in all of her United States starts except one. Anisette put together a stellar season last year, winning the Del Mar Oaks (G1T), American Oaks (G1T), and San Clemente Stakes (G2T) and running second in two other graded stakes. Those efforts meant that under the Gamely’s conditions, Anisette had to carry top weight of 126 pounds, two more than Ruby Nell and four more than each of the others.

“She had to carry four pounds more than most of the field,” Powell noted. “It was quite a task today.”

Anisette races for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and all of them appeared to have attended the Gamely, making for a large and happy group in the winner’s circle.

“They’ve been waiting six months for the big filly to come back, and she made it worth the wait,” said Aron Wellman, Eclipse president and founder. “She had a tough campaign last year, and we gave her a little bit of time. For her to do what she did today is really special. She overcame so much. Ruby Nell is no joke, especially when she gets an easy, uncontested lead—she’s awfully hard to run down. For us to be able to do it today off a (five)-month layoff and giving weight—those types of performances are reserved for really special horses.”

The Morera Partnership bred Anisette in Britain out of the Teofilo  mare Tutti Frutti . At the 2021 Tattersalls Somerville Yearling Sale, Anisette sold for 26,000 guineas (US$37,776) to Avenue Bloodstock, and she made her first three starts in her native country, winning once. Tutti Frutti is a half sister to group 1 winner Sultanina  and stakes-placed Coconut Creme . It is a family full of black type, as the second dam is stakes winner Soft Centre  and the third dam is stakes winner Foodbroker Fancy .

Awtaad  is the sire of Anisette, and the stallion’s other runners include 2023 Prix d’Ispahan (G1) winner Anmaat . Awtaad won the 2016 Irish Two Thousand Guineas (G1) and two other stakes. The stallion stands for 5,000 euros at Derrinstown Stud in Ireland.

Previous Post Next Post