- Road to the Kentucky Derby
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Ginger trumps Gold in Martha Washington
Millennium Farms and Little Brother Farm's homebred Sister Ginger turned back the game effort of Rose to Gold for a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. The Steve Asmussen trainee was seeking her first win since breaking her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths last October at Remington Park, and finished this one mile contest over the fast dirt in 1:39 2/5.
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. was in the saddle as Sister Ginger tried to rebound off a well-beaten last-of-six placing as the favorite in an optional claimer last out. The bay daughter of Student Council headed straight to the front when the gates opened, but found plenty of company in the form of Lady Stonewall, Rose to Gold and Cloudy in Sandiego just in behind.
Sister Ginger set the pace through splits of :23 4/5, :48 3/5 and 1:13 2/5, and was joined by Rose to Gold on the outside while rounding the final turn. For a moment the even-money favorite appeared ready to draw off, but Sister Ginger fought back on the inside and regained the lead in midstretch.
Sister Ginger kept on motoring as Juan Levya angled Rose to the Gold toward the rail, easily defeating her rival as the 19-1 second longest shot on the board. The sophomore lass paid $41.20, $12.40 and $7.20 to her faithful backers, and earned 10 points on the new Road to the Kentucky Oaks points system for the win.
"It was the perfect trip," Santana said. "She made the lead fairly easily. When I moved her, I had a lot of horse in my hand. She moved nice. When I was beside the number 9 (Rose to Gold), I bumped with her a little bit and my filly got a little scared, but when I pushed her in the stretch, she went on and won the race."
Rose to Gold was game in defeat, easily taking second by 3 1/4 lengths over Broken Spell in her first start back since capturing the Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess last November. Broken Spell had a half-length to spare on American Sugar in fourth, who in turn was a neck up on Liberty Girl at the wire. I Am Miss Brown, Cloudy in Sandiego and Lady Stonewall completed the order of finish after Phonybooksnrecords was scratched.
Sister Ginger was unplaced in her initial outing on Remington's turf last August, but quickly bounced back in a mile dirt contest at that venue to break her maiden next out. She tried turf one more time, finishing second in the La Senorita, before switching back to the main track to just miss by a nose when runner-up in the Mistletoe in early December.
The Kentucky-bred miss made her sophomore debut at Oaklawn on January 11, but was never a factor and finished 23 1/4 lengths behind winner Liberty Girl as the 7-5 favorite. She returned to form in this spot, and now sports a 2-2-0 mark from six starts having doubled her career earnings to $87,761.
Sister Ginger is out of the winning Silver Hawk mare Letters in Silver, who is a half-sister to stakes victress Laurie Begone. This female family also includes Grade 1 scorer Winds of Thought and Group 2 hero Elegant Air.