This girl named “Sarah” finally had a reason to smile.
Joe Ragsdale’s Sarah’s Sis notched her first career stakes victory, holding off Oceanwave by a half-length in the $150,000 Honeybee (G3) for 3-year-old fillies Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn.
Sarah Sis had teased trainer Ingrid Mason in three previous stakes attempts, including two at Oaklawn, when she was beaten a neck by unbeaten Promise Me Silver in the $100,000 Dixie Belle Jan. 15, and, in her two-turn debut, a head by champion Take Charge Brandi in the $100,000 Martha Washington Jan. 31.
But Sarah Sis broke through in the Honeybee, inheriting the lead from a leg-weary Super Saks turning for home under Julio Felix.
Oceanwave, who ran greenly in the stretch, closed strongly to finish second, 4 1/4 lengths ahead of Pangburn. Oceanwave was the actual betting favorite, although the top three finishers all went off 5-2.
Purr, Bootsy’s Girl, Desert Valley, Indian Annie and Super Saks completed the order of finish. Promise Me Silver was scratched.
Sarah Sis paid $7.80, $3.60 and $2.80. Oceanwave paid $4.40 and $3. Pangburn paid $2.40.
Sarah Sis, who carried 117 pounds, ran 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in 1:46.94.
Mason and Felix said the race unfolded exactly the way they believed it would, with the ultra-fast Super Saks setting blazing early fractions.
“When I knew that filly would be long gone, I thought she’d (drop) anchor, and I thought we would have a good spot to track her,” Mason said.
Super Saks, exiting a front-running 11-length maiden victory sprinting, opened a seven-length advantage after running the first quarter in :22.92. Super Saks’ lead was six lengths after a half-mile in :46.36, but she began to tire on the second turn.
Sarah Sis, six lengths behind after a half-mile, began to reel in Super Saks on the outside on the second turn and took command in the upper stretch.
Sarah Sis was five lengths clear in midstretch and held Oceanwave safe in the final yards.
“I wasn't worried about her,” Felix said, referring to Super Saks. “I knew she was going too fast up there, because my filly broke like a rocket. When she opened up on me, my filly kind of got off the pace and I was pretty happy at that point.”
Sarah Sis increased her career earnings to $203,000 following her third victory from six lifetime starts. The daughter of Sharp Humor also ran second in last fall’s $100,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes at Arlington. Mason said Sarah Sis “very possibly” will make her next start in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) April 4.