Pipsy up in time in G3 Soaring Softly
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May 12, 2024
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Pipsy up in time in G3 Soaring Softly

by Keith McCalmont

Woodford Thoroughbreds’ Pipsy overcame a troubled break, rallying from last-to-first under jockey Flavien Prat to win her U.S. debut in Sunday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Soaring Softly, a six-furlong outer turf sprint for sophomore fillies, at Belmont at the Big A.

Trained by Will Walden, the Kodiac bay was purchased for $929,489 at the Tattersalls December Mare Sale after having won 2-of-3 starts for her former conditioner Ger Lyons in her native Ireland. The impressive Soaring Softly score provided the first graded win for both Pipsy and Walden.

“The horses were acting up around her and she got very anxious in the gate and broke in the air,” Prat said. “So, we went to Plan B. I gave her a chance to see if she would get underneath me and she sure did. When I tipped her out, she made a great move.”

Pipsy was forwardly placed in her Irish endeavors but reared at the break of the Soaring Softly and spotted the 10-horse field many lengths as Tiger Belle led through splits of 22.42 seconds and 45.40 over the good going.

Prat remained patient aboard Pipsy, angling his filly to the two-path into the turn and six-wide into the stretch run as Independenceavenue inherited the lead from a backpedaling Tiger Belle with Amidst Waves, Kodiac Wintergreen and Kairyu among the many challengers.

Pipsy was in full flight once straightened away and took command from Amidst Waves with a sixteenth to run, outdueling the charge of a game Kairyu to win by a half-length in a final time of 1:09.41. It was three-quarter lengths back to Amidst Waves in third with Independenceavenue another nose back in fourth.

Kodiac Wintergreen, Marco T., Golden Ghost, Caress, Artemis Sound and Tiger Belle rounded out the order of finish. Buttercream Babe, Baraye, El Terreno and main-track only entrant Value Area were scratched.

Walden said he had anticipated a few anxious moments at the gate.

“We had talked to the gate crew, and they did what we asked – we asked them to keep their hands off her in there,” Walden said. “There was a lot of commotion left and right of her and she was one of the first to load and got a little fractious in there. Obviously, we’ve got some work to do at the gate, but our confidence in her is pretty high right now. She came home with an electric turn of foot. Flavien gave her a great ride.”

Pipsy trains regularly with Olivia Maralda, a 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Kodiac purchased by Woodford Thoroughbreds at the same sale as Pipsy for $961,649. Olivia Maralda finished a good second on debut for Walden in April at Keeneland and is stakes bound next out.

Walden said Pipsy clearly got a lot out of her works with Olivia Maralda and credited the filly with overcoming adversity to pass horses with ease.

“We do most of our breezes and works head-and-head. We never really put her behind horses,” Walden said. “She trains with a really good filly [Olivia Maralda] we bought over there at Tattersalls last year and they make good workmates – that was all her.

“We’ll see how she comes out of this one and look at our options,” added Walden, regarding Pipsy. “I wouldn’t be afraid to stretch her out to a mile, especially after the way she did it today. She would definitely be forwardly placed at a mile, but we’ll see how she comes out of it and go from there.”

The Cherie DeVaux-trained Kairyu, a Group 3-winning sprinter in her native Ireland last year, arrived from an off-the-board effort in the one-mile Grade 2 Appalachian in her stateside debut on April 6 at Keeneland.

Jockey Kendrick Carmouche said Kairyu, who made an inside run on the turn and took up briefly behind Amidst Waves at the three-eighths before waiting for racing room at the quarter-pole, performed admirably through her own adversity.

“With a little bit of racing luck if I could have gotten out sooner, I thought she could have been a winner. Overall, I thought she ran a good race – no complaints,” Carmouche said.

Pipsy graduated at second asking sprinting six-furlongs over yielding turf in September at The Curragh before taking the five-furlong Legacy over synthetic in October at Dundalk.

Bred in Ireland by Noel Finegan, Pipsy banked $96,250 in victory while improving her record to 4-3-1-0. She returned $8.70 for a $2 win bet.

Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont at the Big A with an eight-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the Belmont at the Big A spring/summer meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Belmont at the Big A, and the best way to bet every race of the spring/summer meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

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