Getting to the finish line first is all that seems to matter for Isabella Sings in the Lambholm South Endeavour (courtesy SV Photography)
By the time Isabella Sings shot out to a seven-length lead on the backstretch of the Grade III, $150,000 Lambholm South Endeavour Stakes, her six rivals had barely had time to clear their throats.
Briefly challenged by Light In Paris in the stretch, Isabella Sings re-broke under jockey John Velazquez and rolled to a three-length victory in the mile-and-a-sixteenth turf event for older fillies and mares. Evidently rallied for third, a length-and-a-half behind Light In Paris.
It was a fitting victory for the Todd Pletcher-trained 5-year-old mare, a homebred daughter of Eskendereya-Isobel Baillie campaigned by the Siena Farm outfit of Anthony Manganaro. Her time was 1:41.07 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf.
“When I went to grab her at the quarter-mile pole and make her switch leads, she kind of took a step back, like she got a little confused going from a light rein to a tight rein,” Velazquez said. “But from there, she went on again. We’ve talked about slowing her down early, but when we tried that she would fight you and throw her head up, so we decided to let her be the way she is.”
Now 8-for-20, Isabella Sings is nearing a second career as a broodmare, but could return to Tampa Bay Downs for the Grade II, $200,000 Hillsborough Stakes on March 11. Last year, she built an 18-length lead on the backstretch of the Hillsborough before being caught by two-time Eclipse Champion Grass Female Tepin.
Pletcher assistant Ginny DePasquale took as much pleasure in Isabella Sings’ performance as the crowd of 5,420 that bet her to 1-2 favoritism. “John kind of helped to slow her down a wee bit,” DePasquale said of the fractions that nearly mirrored her 2016 Hillsborough effort.
“She trains the way she runs. She just wants to take hold of the bit and run off every day. Of course, we restrain her a little bit, but that is her mindset – she just likes to go to the front and get to the finish line as quick as she can,” DePasquale said.