By Leona Velazquez
The estate of Gail Gee, Mark Hoffman, and Earl Trostud earned $90,000 of the $150,000 purse when their chestnut mare, Hooh Why, captured the Florida Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf. The daughter of Cloud Hopping covered the 1 1/8th mile event in 1:46.77 over favorite Romacaca. Speak Easy Gal finished third.
Co-owner and former trainer Mark Hoffman took no chances when shipping the six year old mare to race at Gulfstream Park.
“I hauled her down here last night from Tampa,” Hoffman said. “She doesn’t go anywhere without me.”
Trained by Shirley Girten-Drake, Hooh Why broke well and settled into fourth. She rated about five or six lengths off the pace, rallied about four wide, and got the victory by a length and a quarter.
“It worked out absolutely perfectly,” said jockey John Velazquez. “There was a good pace in there and she settled really nicely. When I asked her turning for home, she really responded well.”
Hooh Why raced eight times in 2011 giving her connections two wins and two seconds. She has now earned her owners over $900,000.
“We were going to send her to the breeding shed, but we decided to try to have one more year of fun with her before that,” said Hoffman. “I’ll take her back to Tampa and turn her out for 10 days and then we’ll go from there.”
Trainer Nick Canani’s Romacaca raced close to the pace in second with fractions of :23.42, :47.65, 1:11.41, and the mile in 1:34.89.
“I think we went just a little too fast,” said jockey Paco Lopez. “My filly was a little keyed up in the beginning of the race and she settled a little more down the backside. We were able to get past the horse on the lead (Speak Easy Gal) but just couldn’t hold off the winner.”
Canani was pleased with his mare’s performance but has not decided what race will come next for her.
Live Oak Plantation’s Unbridled Humor, who was sent off as the third choice, just missed third by a nose after stalking the pace in third.
“She ran great,” said trainer Graham Motion. “To be honest, the mile and an eighth is probably a little too far for her. I think we will give her a little break on the farm, Live Oak, and talk to Mrs. Weber to see where she’ll run next.”
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