Riposte, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for Juddmonte Farms, earned her first North American win in the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The daughter of Dansili had been the favorite or second choice in all of her previous stateside outings, but some eventful trips from off the pace cost her a walk to the winner's circle. On Saturday, the Juddmonte homebred took matters into her own hands.
Riposte broke well from the rail under jockey Joel Rosario and assumed control of the early lead entering the clubhouse turn. After an opening quarter-mile in 24.95 seconds, Rosario backed down the pace, running a half in 51.75 and three-quarters in 1:17. Down the backstretch, the long-winded filly appeared very comfortable with her unlikely position on the lead.
“I think [her being on the lead] was just the way the race came up,” said Mott. “I thought [Irish Mission] would show more speed, but the pace didn't really develop.”
Turning for home, the 4-year-old filly had plenty left in the tank and bounded away from the field in the stretch to prevail by 1 ¾ lengths.
“There wasn't a lot of speed,” said Rosario, “and going a mile and three eighths and [with] how the track is I wanted to get in position, and she was in front. I just tried to take my time with her and try to go all the way.”
Prior to the Sheepshead Bay, Riposte had run exclusively at nine furlongs in the United States, though that is likely a thing of the past according to Mott.
“We've got a shot for some of the longer races,” said the trainer. “She ran in some very important races over in Europe. She won the Ribblesdale, which is a very good prep race, and she wasn't beaten much in the other races.”
Riposte covered the 1 3/8 miles over the “yielding” turf in 2:18.86 and returned $7.20 on a $2 win bet. The $120,000 winner's purse enhanced her bankroll to $340,968.
The Shug McGaughey-trained Abaco put in a steady late run to be a clear second. It was another 3 ¾ lengths back to Irish Mission, who re-rallied in the waning stages of the race to earn show honors.
Fitful Skies, Caroline Thomas, and Modernstone completed the order of finish.
Read the full Equibase chart here.
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