07/15/2017 10:09PM

Overture wires Indiana Oaks in stakes debut

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Overture paid $27.20 to win the Indiana Oaks on Saturday.

SHELBYVILLE, Ind. – The past performances for the Grade 3, $200,000 Indiana Oaks on Saturday night at Indiana Grand showed three very serious pace players. Then the starting gate sprang open, and three became one. As Awestruck and Stonetacular, surefire front-runners on paper, were taken back off the lead, rail-drawn Overture came out running.

“The plan was to break good, and there was a couple other speed [horses] on the outside,” said jockey Julien Leparoux. “I was going to wait and see what they were doing. Coming to the first turn, I was on the lead pretty easy. So I took it.”

Overture took it from there. Gifted a soft opening half-mile in 49.63 seconds, Overture led from start to finish in the Indiana Oaks, winning by one length over the unlucky favorite Mopotism, who was a half-length better than Majestic Quality. Overture ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.79 and paid $27.20 to win.

Trained by Bill Mott for WinStar Farm, Overture was making her first start around two turns as well as her stakes debut. In her second out she’d won a seven-furlong Florida-bred maiden race at Gulfstream Park, but in her most recent appearance, a nine-furlong first-level allowance race last month at Belmont Park, Overture had finished third, beaten nine lengths.

“We’ve always liked the filly,” said assistant trainer Ken McCarthy. “Her last race gave us a little bit of a head scratcher. We thought she fit here tonight.”

Mopotism probably would have won the Indiana Oaks with a fair shot. Expecting a fast pace, jockey Mario Gutierrez took a hold after breaking from post 8 and wound up buried behind horses while racing in mid-pack. Gutierrez could find no way out down the backstretch and into the far turn as Mopotism got shuffled back from fourth to sixth. Once finally clear at the furlong grounds, Mopotism finished up smartly and was quickly gaining on the winner.

Majestic Quality, typically a late-runner, stalked the pace from third while in the clear but could not quicken with the top two as Overture ran her final half-furlong in 6.12 seconds, and Mopotism a few ticks quicker than that.

Overture is by Congrats and out of the Toccet mare Toccet Over. WinStar paid $385,000 for her at auction, and, with a little luck Saturday, got a good return on their investment in the Indiana Oaks.