10/05/2014 7:03PM

Don't Tell Sophia takes Spinster; Close Hatches fades to fourth

Coady Photography
Don't Tell Sophia goes from last to first under Joe Rocco in the Juddmonte Spinster.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Don’t Tell Sophia rolled from last for a 2 1/2-length victory Sunday in the 59th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland while Close Hatches was defeated for the first time this year when laboring home fourth as the 1-5 favorite.

Ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., Don’t Tell Sophia returned $13.40 as second choice in a field of six fillies and mares. An objection against her for alleged stretch interference by Paco Lopez, who rode runner-up Ria Antonia, was disallowed by the stewards.

Don’t Tell Sophia, a $1,000 yearling purchase, gave trainer Phil Sims the greatest victory of his career. Sims, who co-owns the 6-year-old mare with Jerry Namy, has been training horses in relative obscurity at Keeneland for nearly 35 years.

“We knew she’d make her run,” said Sims, who grew up in tiny Flemingsburg, Ky., before moving to Lexington in his late teens. “Obviously we had a lot of respect for Close Hatches coming in, but we knew if she stubbed her toe we might have a good chance.”

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The Spinster carries an expenses-paid Win and You’re In designation toward the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Oct. 31 at Santa Anita. Sims said Don’t Tell Sophia will go, in all likelihood.

Close Hatches, unbeaten in four prior starts in 2014 for Juddmonte Farms, carried jockey Joel Rosario through fractions of 24.19 and 47.47 seconds but was never given a breather when flanked to the outside by Lopez and Ria Antonia. Through six furlongs in 1:11.71, Ria Antonia poked her head in front and was edging away in upper stretch before Don’t Tell Sophia began flying on the far outside.

“It worked out just like we hoped,” said Rocco. “She just gallops behind them and does her thing. When it comes time for her to put in her run, it sure is explosive.”

Nearing the sixteenth pole, Don’t Tell Sophia veered in slightly while appearing to be barely clear of Ria Antonia. After about five minutes, the stewards decided there would be no change in the order of finish.

“I felt like it was very marginal,” said Rocco.


Molly Morgan rallied for third, another 2 1/4 lengths behind Ria Antonia. Close Hatches was 2 1/2 more lengths back in fourth and just a half-length before Got Lucky. Godolphin invader Shuruq faded to last.

Don’t Tell Sophia finished the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:49.80 over a fast track for her 11th win from 22 career starts. She earned $300,000, lifting her career bankroll to $979,295.

 Bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable, Don’t Tell Sophia, by Congaree, has outrun modest expectations from the outset of her career. “She’s had her share of problems and wouldn’t pass the vet if we tried to sell her, but she doesn’t know that,” said Sims.

Meanwhile, Rosario said Close Hatches “gave me a little bit, but normally when they come to her she keeps on going and improves her position. Probably today was not her day.”

Garrett O’Rourke, manager for Juddmonte, said Close Hatches would be closely evaluated before her status toward the Distaff would be decided.

Nearly $300,000 was wagered into the show pool, with more than $260,000 on Close Hatches. After she fizzled, these were the $2 show payoffs on the respective top three: $14.60, $37.60, and $30.20.

The $2 exacta (5-1) paid $138.20, the $1 trifecta (5-1-6) returned $377.20, and the 10-cent superfecta (5-1-6-2) was worth $67.95.

Attendance on a mostly cloudy, cool afternoon was 12,534.






Joey W More than 1 year ago
Love excuses. Here is the one that matters. She is not bred to go that far. She has a win early pedigree and now distance limitations are catching up.
Blake Jessee More than 1 year ago
You remind me of the horse that's so far behind, he actually thinks he's winning the race...... Whatever you do, dont stop playing the races!!!! We need more players like you....
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Really do you know anything about breeding? The average winning distance for her sire in North hemisphere is 7.05 furlongs. That is 1.95 less than 1 1/8th miles. In Southern Hemisphere his prodegey win at an average of less than 6 furlongs. Her DI is 4 on the nose. I know Ky derby says 4 DI can get 1 1/4 miles. That is true early in their career. Do you know why Wesley Ward wins a ton of 2yr old races early in the spring? Because he buys horses with DI's in the 6-8 range. These type win early and then the bubble busts. But he makes a ton of money on the early races, then you see very few of those runners at 3. You look at older horses that win at classic distances and I will bet you find very few with a DI that are 4. So Blake I will continue to bet horses because I make my money from bettors like yourself.
Lounge Lizard More than 1 year ago
New surface at Keenland is very different from the mature surfaces that Close Hatches has been running on this year. This will definitely grab the attention of all the connections heading into BC 2015. Have to think they will ship in early to run in these dirt preps next year just to get a race over the surface. As for the bridgejumper(s), their greed caught up to them again. Any experienced player would passed on the 5% return, knowing you were asking her to do something she had not done before, this being an unfamilar dirt surface to all entries this year. You never go all in without the best hand. In this case there were variables that you can attribute to her uncharacteristic performance.
Scott Scheib More than 1 year ago
I find all the comments on handicapping fillies so interesting in that a lot of individuals on this thread fancy themselves as more than novice handicappers. The bottom line is that fillies have always been the toughest horses to expect top consistent efforts at the highest level. They basically trade punches and you do not need a PHD in horse racing to understand that.
Jack More than 1 year ago
The "inside" was not the place to be at Keeneland. I watched Friday's and a few on Sat. and the horses that ran outside did better than expected.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Remember last year Close Hatches missed a summer campaign due to illness. Four wins this year on four different surfaces coul be weakening this filly. Hope she rebounds.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Looks like close hatches won't be finishing ahead of don't tell Sophia with just 3 and a half weeks left to breeders cup! Not enough time for close hatches to obtain a higher vo2 max and lactate threshold in 3 weeks unless it's a fixed race or you give Epo drug in which there would be a huge performance benefit. The tracks usually let baffert and pletcher use the epo to win races because they are horrible trainers.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Look handicapper's Close Hatches ran her race. She does not want 1 1/8 miles. Yes I know her record is 4 starts 2 wins and a second. But the wins came when she was young and probably just better than the rest. In the Oaks she was a non threatning 2nd. Then as she gets older and other fillies catch up in maturity she gets drilled at mile and and eigth(Here's your sign). She should be pointed toward 7f to 8F races, maybe she wins at 1 1/6. That all being said I hope she runs in the Lady's Classic so she will take money.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
You have no clue what you're talking about. Simple as that. She has won at 8.5f and won geared down, she also won by 10 lengths at the spa going 9 panels. Second in the Distaff going 9f. She throws one clunker and you now think she is a sprinter/miler.....
Jack More than 1 year ago
Thanks Pagani... my sentiments exactly.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
Would you like to make a wager that she will not win a Grade 1 or 2 at 1 1/8 miles or farther in the next 12 months?
Joey W More than 1 year ago
I must say I am sorry. She was 7th 10 length back in oaks. Non threatning 2nd in Distaff and she did win the Personal Ensign at 1 1/18 on Sloppy sealed track against a weak group where a sprinter ran 2nd. And for the bet I offered How's 100 sound. It was not 1 clunker that changed my mind. It is all her 1 1/8th races. I can give you handicapping lessons if you would like. I was just super happy that the bridgejumpers Jumped into the show pool. They helped make my day.
Pagani Zonda More than 1 year ago
See As I had no wager on the race, I jumped no where. As for your virtual Bet. I live in Toronto, you want to come up here and wager in person in Cash. I am all for that. Other wise save your lecture for novices who actually buy your BS.
Joey W More than 1 year ago
You can send money through pay pal. Easy just need an email address to send it. You can look me up on twitter as I do put some of my plays on there. @joeywhitford. I am as honest a person as they come. which is bad because some people don't like to here the truth. Have a nice day and If I here from you on twitter great if not, keep playing the horses. It's a great game. I have my opinion and you have yours. I do only win around 40% of my win wagers but I do demand value as I pass on a lot of bets. Anyway I hope close hatches runs in BC and not anything at a mile or less.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not completely shocked that sophia won the race. I'm much more surprised that ria Antionia was able to pressure close hatches but then go by her with ease. Something must be wrong with close hatches because ria Antonia is not a very good filly. She's a minor stakes calibur horse at best.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
After yet another filly/mare race that no one on the planet can figure out, I have to point out that Zenyatta is the ONLY gal that WAS a near guarantee to win female races. All of these other gals are so unpredictable.
Walter More than 1 year ago
Just like women!
Old timer More than 1 year ago
Congrats to Sophia and her connections. Paco Lopez seems to be on a foul claiming binge lately. Can't blame a guy for trying I guess.