BOURBONETTE OAKS | PURSE: $100,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 3 | 1 MILE
Silsita was making her stakes bow in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks, but that didn't stop the Todd Pletcher trainee from dueling to a nose win over fellow stakes debuter and longshot Marathon Lady on the wire of the one-mile contest. Sent off the 9-1 third choice in the 12-filly field, Silsita paid $20.40, $9.20 and $4.20 to her faithful backers.
Martha's Moon grabbed command soon after the gates opened, posting the opening half in fractions of :24 and :47 3/5 while pressed by Silsita and Awesome Mama to her outside. Marathon Lady bided her time on the inside and slipped through on the rail to set three-quarters in 1:12 when Martha's Moon started tiring.
All the while, 4-5 favorite Pure Fun was waiting to make her move and took after the leaders on the turn under jockey Garrett Gomez. Marathon Lady floated wide entering the stretch, forcing Silsita to her inside and Pure Fun just in behind farther out into the center of the track. The 36-1 shot quickly angled back toward the rail while trying to shake a tenacious Silsita, but her rival just wouldn't stop.
The pair battled it out through the lane, passing the lead back and forth, before Silsita got the head-bobbing win on the wire in a final time of 1:38 1/5 over Turfway Park's Polytrack.
Marathon Lady was game in defeat as the 31-1 ninth pick. The last-out maiden winner had three lengths to spare on a geared-down Pure Fun, who returned in this spot off a triumph in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet back on December 8.
Broken Spell was looking for redemption following a subpar sixth-placing in the Grade 3 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park two weeks ago and rallied for fourth, 8 1/4 lengths ahead of Miss Squeal. Completing the order of finish were Street of Gold, Anahauc, Awesome Mama, Always Kitten, Le Fascinator, Corporate Culture and Martha's Moon.
Silsita broke her maiden in her initial outing on November 29 over Calder's turf for trainer Rodolfo Garcia. Her breeder, Tanourin Stable, subsequently sold part of the Macho Uno filly to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and she was transferred to Pletcher. The gray lass made her debut for her new connections in an optional claimer on the main track at Gulfstream Park January 3, pressing the pace before fading to be beaten nine lengths in fourth while going 1 1/16 miles.
Silsita returned a month later, giving way late to be third in a one-mile grass contest at the same venue, and boosted her earnings following Saturday's affair to $84,725. She also earned 50 points on the new Road to the Kentucky Oaks point system while improving her line to 4-2-0-1.
The Florida-bred filly is the first stakes winner of the multiple-stakes placed Wild Again mare Naturally Wild, who is herself a daughter of multiple stakes queen Nat's Lea. Silsita's fifth dam, Two Lea's Girl, is a half-sister to 1958 champion three-year-old Tim Tam, who captured that year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness while running second in the Belmont Stakes.