The connections of 3-10 favorite Donna Veloce expected a straightforward trip in Sunday’s $100,500 Santa Ysabel (G3), forecasting her speed to come in handy from her rail post. But when the Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender did not break cleanly at Santa Anita, the plan went out of the proverbial window. That turned out to be no problem for Donna Veloce, who outclassed her foes in the end.
Although the Simon Callaghan trainee was a little keen early, regular rider Flavien Prat got her settled comfortably just behind the leaders. Pacesetter Gidgetta was pressed by Speech, with Tiz Fake News chasing on the outside until she couldn’t keep her position. That opened the door for Prat to steer Donna Veloce off the fence, into the clear, and into contention.
As Speech headed Gidgetta on the far turn, Donna Veloce was poised alongside, and the heavy favorite asserted herself at the top of the stretch. She was entitled to do just that, considering her tough beat at the hands of British Idiom in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and another narrow loss to now-retired Bast in the Starlet (G1). There was no one of that caliber here, and Donna Veloce opened up by 4 1/4 lengths to score a deserved first stakes victory.
Negotiating 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.43, Donna Veloce earned 50 Oaks points. Her new total of 62 pushes her into second on the leaderboard, after Finite (70 points).
“I thought it was a perfect race,” Callaghan told Santa Anita publicity. “We didn’t plan to take back like that. I thought she would be the fastest filly, Flavien went to Plan B, letting them go when she didn’t break good. She got a good schooling, got around them and I think that is gonna serve her to good effect in the future.”
Speech was best of the rest by 3 1/4 lengths, banking 20 points. Storie Blue finished the same margin back in third (10 points), and the winner’s stablemate, Paige Anne, took home 5 points in fourth. Gidgetta tired to fifth, and Tiz Fake News trailed. Gingham, the only entrant besides Donna Veloce with points on the board (5), was scratched.
Donna Veloce races for the partnership of Kaleem Shah (who purchased her for $800,000 as a 2-year-old in training at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale) and the Coolmore principals Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
Bred by the Coolmore-affiliated Coin Broker Syndicate (so named from her dam), Donna Veloce is by Uncle Mo, who stands at Coolmore’s North American arm, Ashford Stud. She is out of the Montjeu mare Coin Broker, herself a homebred daughter of 1999 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies heroine Cash Run. This is the immediate family of Grade 1-winning sire Forestry.
Donna Veloce has bankrolled $490,000 from a 4-2-2-0 record, but her future broodmare value is far in excess of that figure.