For the second consecutive year, a trip to Del Mar has been a season highlight for the Maryland-based mare Sister Otoole. At least, so far this year.
Last August, Sister Otoole was sent to California, where she won her first stakes in the CTT-TOC Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles on turf. That was her only win in eight starts in 2022.
On Friday, Sister Otoole was back at Del Mar for the first time this year and won the $101,000 CTT-TOC Handicap with a come-from-behind rally.
Ridden by Antonio Fresu, Sister Otoole closed from last in a field of seven with a wide move through the final quarter-mile to reach the front in the stretch. Sister Otoole finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of Eylara, the 7-2 second choice.
Niege Blanche, the 2-1 favorite, was well-placed throughout in a stalking position and reaching contention on the turn. She failed to keep pace in the final furlong and finished third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths.
The remaining order of finish was Paris Peacock, Symphony Perfect, Myfavoritedaughter, and Queen Ofthe Temple.
Sister Otoole ($12.60) was timed in 2:17.45 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87. A 6-year-old mare, Sister Otoole won despite racing far behind a slow pace of 25.79 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 50.69 for a half-mile set by 10-1 Paris Peacock.
The win gave Fresu his first stakes win in the United States. Fresu, a 31-year-old native of Italy, relocated from Dubai to California in late April. Through Thursday, Fresu was tied for fifth in the jockey standings at Del Mar this summer.
Sister Otoole, by the Teofilo stallion Amira’s Prince, races for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and trainer Graham Motion. Sister Otoole has won 4 of 21 starts and earned $395,470 in a career that began in January 2020.
The CTT-TOC Handicap was her second start of the year, preceded by a fifth-place finish in a field of six in an allowance race on July 13 at Saratoga.
Friday’s race was Sister Otoole’s third start at Del Mar. She was fourth as the 9-5 favorite in the Grade 3 Red Carpet Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles on turf last November in her final start of 2022.