HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Herman Van Den Broeck's Angelica Zapata overpowered nine other opponents Saturday with a quick burst of speed entering the stretch to win the $75,000 Soaring Softly by 2 1/2 lengths over E B Ryder. It was another three-quarters of length to Flower Mart in third.
Angelica Zapata, one of Florida's most consistent and versatile mares, won for the 11th time in 29 starts while winning her second consecutive stakes. The 6-year-old daughter of Sharp Humor, who has not finished worse than fourth since September of 2011, came into the Soaring Softly off a victory June 14 in the Nancy's Glitter over a mile main track at Calder. She covered a firm mile turf course Saturday at Gulfstream in 1:34.33. The 4-5 favorite, Angelica Zapata returned $3.80.
"She's just such a nice horse," said trainer Ron Pellegrini. "You always think you're going to win every time you bring her over. She seems to be getting a lot better. She seems to have mellowed with age."
A winner of six of her last 11 starts, jockey Santiago Gonzalez rated Angelica Zapata in fourth off a :22.68, :45.45 and 1:09.75 pace set by She's Spooky, who was pressed around the first turn and down the backstretch by Lilbourne Eliza. The pair opened up 10 lengths on the rest of the field before Angelica Zapata moved toward the leaders around the turn and then drove by them entering the stretch for another impressive victory.
"It's funny because most guys who ride her say they just aim her and she does the rest," Pellegrini said. "But (Gonzalez) said today he thought he didn't have any horse around the middle of the turn. Then he tapped her and she took off like a bullet."
Angelica Zapata, who has now earned more than $560,000, will stay in Florida, Pellegrini said, and look for a graded stakes in the fall. The mare finished second in the My Charmer (G3) last year by a half length and third in the Marshua's River (G3) by less than a length.