01/19/2013 6:48PM

Oaklawn: Don't Call Sophia much the best in Pippin

Coady Photography
Don't Tell Sophia, under Ramon Vazquez, scores by 7 1/4 lengths in the Pippin, a prep for the Grade 1 Apple Blossom.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Don’t Tell Sophia established herself as a mare to be reckoned with this meet at Oaklawn Park, when she powered to a 7 1/4-length win in the $75,000 Pippin on Saturday. The race was the track’s first prep for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap, and winning trainer Phil Sims said the mare could run back in the next race in the series, the $100,000 Bayakoa on Feb. 16.

“We’ll give it a few days and see,” said Sims, who also co-owns Don’t Tell Sophia with Jerry Namy. 

Don’t Tell Sophia ($5.80) settled in fifth in the early stages of the Pippin, as Lady Candidate took the field through fractions of 25.06 seconds for the opening quarter,  and 50.17 for the half-mile. Don’t Tell Sophia began her bid on the final turn, moved to the lead into the stretch, and then separated herself from her rivals. She covered 1 1/16  miles  on a track rated fast in 1:45.62, under jockey Ramon Vazquez.

The win was the first stakes score for Don’t Tell Sophia, a 5-year-old mare who has also won on synthetic and turf tracks. She is a daughter of Congaree, and came into the Pippin off a win in an $80,000 optional claimer at Churchill on Nov. 22.

“This is what been pointing for since the Churchill Downs race,” said Sims. “She trains very well here, loves this area, loves the water here.”

Sims is among the many new trainers who have brought stables this year to Oaklawn. Attendance on Saturday was 13,062.

“I like that people really love racing here,” said Sims. 

Vuitton was second in the Pippin, while it was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third to Minesave.

* There were two dead heats for the win in consecutive races Saturday at Oaklawn. In the fifth, Kate’s Main Man ($3.80) and Son of a General ($2.80) hit the wire together, and in the sixth, it was Gotta Go Gold ($7.40) and Well’s Gold ($5.60).