News and STORIES
Donna Veloce Scores Santa Ysabel
Author: Don Mckee
Published: Monday March 09, 2020
Donna Veloce had her 3-year-old debut on March 8 and beat a field of six to take the $100,500 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
The Uncle Mo filly was purchased by Kaleem Shah for $800,000 as a 2-year-old, and she won her debut by 9 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita back in September. She was runner-up in her second start, finishing a neck behind British Idiom in the Nov. 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Donna Veloce was then sent to Los Alamitos Race Course by trainer Simon Callaghan to finish her 2-year-old campaign. In the Starlet Stakes (G1), she was beaten by Bast by a half-length.
Longines Kentucky Oaks
By winning the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel stakes, Donna Veloce received 50 qualifying points toward the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). Callaghan has said that she will likely return for a final prep in the April 4 Santa Anita Oaks (G2).
"After the Starlet, we gave her some time off. She really had done a lot in a short time and nearly pulled off the Breeders' Cup," Callaghan said. "It was nice to give her a break and bring her back and start here with her 3-year-old campaign."
Shah campaigns Donna Veloce in partnership with Coolmore's Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
"Obviously, Donna Veloce started a little late in her career, but hopefully she'll come around at the right time and perform bigger and bigger things down the road," Shah continued. "I'm thrilled for the partnership. I'm glad that Coolmore and us got off to win in a graded stakes out here today, and I hope the partnership has many bigger races to come."
Donna Veloce's Victory
Donna Veloce had a little trouble while breaking from the rail, but she settled in fourth on the inside with regular jockey Flavien Prat. The early lead was held by Gidgetta with early fractions of :22.79 and :46.80. Speech and Tiz Fake News followed, with Paige Anne and Storie Blue in the rear.
Speech took the lead and ran six furlongs in 1:12.11, but Donna Veloce quickly regained her spot with Prat's three-wide move. The filly pulled ahead in the homestretch and scored a 4 1/4-length victory, hitting the wire in 1:45.43 on a fast track.
"She was ready, but she stumbled there at the break, and that got us in behind those horses, so she was a little bit keen," Prat said. "When we turned down the backside, she dropped the bit and relaxed very well. It's always great when they are able to adjust, and I hope she can improve off of this race. She was full of run at the end, and she handled everything well."
"I thought it was a perfect race," Callaghan said. "We didn't plan to take back like that. I thought she'd be the fastest filly, but Flavien went to Plan B and let them go when she didn't break good. She got a good schooling and came 'round them, and I think that's going to serve her to good effect in the future."
The victory was a good moment for those looking toward the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks.
"It's definitely a nice thing to have up your sleeve because, particularly in the Oaks going that distance, a rough race, big field, it's nice to know that you can take back and she rates well," Callaghan added.
Speech finished second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Storie Blue in third. The rest of the field followed with Paige Anne, Gidgetta, and Tiz Fake News.