02/09/2013 7:49PM

Oaklawn: Sister Ginger springs surprise in Martha Washington

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Ricardo Santana Jr. guides Sister Ginger to a $41.20 upset in the Martha Washington for 3-year-old fillies.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Sister Ginger picked up 10 points towards the Kentucky Oaks on Saturday, when she came back along the inside in the $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn to best even-money favorite Rose to Gold by 2 3/4 lengths. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third to Broken Spell.

Sister Ginger ($41.20) moved to the lead through an opening quarter in 23.87 seconds and proceeded to set fractions of 48.68 seconds for the opening quarter and 1:13.59 for six furlongs. Rose to Gold drew even with the leader near the quarter pole and took the lead in the stretch. Sister Ginger then came back along the rail to win the one-mile race that ended at the sixteenth pole in 1:39.51.

“It was the perfect trip,” said Ricardo Santana Jr., who was aboard Sister Ginger for trainer Steve Asmussen. “She made the lead fairly easily. When I moved her, I had a lot of horse in my hand.

“When I was beside [Rose to Gold], I bumped with her a little bit and my filly got a little scared. But when I pushed her in the stretch, she went on and won the race.”

Rose to Gold went four wide into the first turn, stalked the pace down the backside, and put in her run in what was her first out since a November win in the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess.

“She hadn’t run since November and I think she might have needed the race,” said trainer Sal Santoro. “We’re going to continue to go for the Honeybee, and hopefully, the Fantasy.”

Sister Ginger came into the Martha Washington off a sixth-place finish in an Oaklawn allowance run over a laboring track on the opening-day card Jan. 11. Prior to that race, she had run second in both the $75,000 La Senorita at Retama Park and the $50,000 Mistletoe, an overnight stakes at Remington Park.

Sister Ginger has now won 2 of 6 starts. She is a daughter of Student Council and races for her breeders, Millennium Farms and Littlebrother Farm.

Rose to Gold earned four points on the new system governing Kentucky Oaks preference, while Broken Spell picked up two. American Sugar, who was fourth in the Martha Washington, earned one point.

Attendance ontrack Saturday was 14,926.