Ocala Victory May be Swan ‘Song’ for Plesa-trained Mare
Successful Song surged through the stretch to catch odds-on favorite Golden Mystery to capture the last stakes race of 2012 at Gulfstream Park Sunday. Her hard-fought victory in the $100,000 Ocala Stakes may also be the soon-to-be 6-year-old mare’s last race for Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation.
“It’s possibly her last race. They plan on making her a broodmare this coming year,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. following the daughter of Successful Appeal’s fourth career stakes triumph. “There’s a possibly one more start for her (Florida Sunshine Millions Distaff on Jan. 19). I’ll get together with Mrs.Weber and Bruce Hill, general manager, and they’ll make the decision, and whatever they decide is fine.”
If the six-furlong sprint for Florida-bred fillies and mares was her last race, Successful Song went out a most impressive winner. Rated in second under jockey Joel Rosario, as many as five lengths behind pacesetting Golden Mystery on the backstretch, Successful Song began to advance on the 4-5 favorite on the turn into the homestretch. Although Golden Mystery had been left alone on the lead for the first five furlongs, the mile distance of the Ocala and the relentless stretch drive by Successful Song proved too much for the favorite who has almost exclusively sprinted during her career.
Despite strong handling by jockey Luis Saez, Golden Mystery falter late to fall short by a half-length, as the 5-2 second choice edge away to victory under Rosario.
“I wanted to lay closer to the lead, but we were going fast early on, so I let her take her time, and she got the job done,” said Rosario, who is riding at Gulfstream fulltime for the first time this meeting. “It was easy with only a four-horse field. She tried hard and I knew in the middle of the race I would have to wait a little, because sooner or later (Golden Mystery) would quit. So I had confidence.”
Golden Mystery, who had finished second in the six-furlong Sugar Swirl (G3) on Dec. 8, held second, nearly four lengths ahead of My Pal Chrissy, the 5-2 third choice ridden by Luca Panici. Callmethesqueeze and jockey Elvis Trujillo finished fourth and last in the small field, reduced by the early scratches of Speak Easy Gal and Tale of Peace.
Successful Song, who ran the mile in 1:37.71, boosted her career bankroll to $417,538 with the $60,000 winner’s share of the purse.
“We know she can go the distance. I told Joel (Rosario), ‘Take what they give you. With four horses in the race, you don’t know what the pace will be. If it’s slow, he can be on the lead; if it’s fast, he can lay off them.,’” said Plesa after saddling the 2057th winner of his career. “It was a riders’ race, as far as I was concerned, and he answered the call and won the way we hoped.”
Sunday’s performance was considerably more impressive than her distant seventh-place finish in last season’s Ocala.
“She might have been a little beat up from the races beforehand. She might not have come into this race just as well as she did (in last season’s Ocala),” said Plesa, whose mare hadn’t run since finishing third behind My Pal Chrissy in Calder stakes in early November. “We kind of backed off her a little coming into this race, because it was a target for us.”