08/18/2016 3:03PM

Seventh Heaven tops O'Brien exacta in Yorkshire Oaks


Seventh Heaven led an Aidan O’Brien-trained sweep of the top two placings Thursday in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks at York Racecourse, beating her favored stablemate, Found, by 2 3/4 lengths. Queen’s Trust finished third, and another O’Brien-trained filly, Pretty Perfect, was fourth, and none of these fillies is even rated the top female in the O’Brien stable, a position presently occupied by Minding.

Seventh Heaven was no match for Minding in the Epsom Oaks, in which she finished a distant sixth, but she quickly rebounded to score an upset in the Group 1 Irish Oaks and was well backed Thursday while getting a hefty 10-pound break in the weights, 123 to 133, from Found as a 3-year-old facing older foes.  

The Yorkshire Oaks is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race, and victory earned Seventh Heaven a fees-paid berth with travel expenses to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Found, the runner-up, scored an upset last fall in the BC Turf.

Seventh Heaven raced near the back off the field under Colm O’Donoghue in the 1 1/2-mile race over good-to-firm going as Pretty Perfect set the pace, making an initial move about three furlongs from the finish and reaching the leaders with a quarter-mile left to run. Found, getting a bit of a stop-and-start run, was maneuvered to the outside for her final burst, but Seventh Heaven had all the momentum and won comfortably.

O’Brien trains Seventh Heaven for Derek Smith, Mrs. John Magnier (in whose silks she raced), and Michael Tabor. Seventh Heaven, who won for the fourth time in seven starts, is by Galileo and out of the Johannesburg mare La Traviata.

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