Reddam Racing LLC’s Land Over Sea returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday at Fair Grounds when posting a 4 1/2-length victory in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
Making her first start away from undefeated champion Songbird since breaking her maiden last July at Del Mar, Land Over Sea went wide on both turns before putting in a furious rally to win going away under jockey John Velazquez.
In the process, the Bellamy Road filly finally managed to top her rival Songbird, at least on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) leaderboard. The Fair Grounds Oaks was the first race worth 100 points to the winner in the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races.
Land Over Sea took those 100 points, added them to the 28 she’d already garnered for finishing second to Songbird in the Chandelier (G1), Las Virgenes (G2) and Santa Ysabel (G3), and catapulted to the top of the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard. Songbird now sits in second with 90 points.
Land Over Sea, who is trained by Doug O’Neill, also finished third to her rival in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) in their very first meeting last September, and improved her record to 8-2-4-1, $472,000 with Saturday’s first stakes score.
Bred in Kentucky, Land Over Sea is out of the Pulpit mare Belle Watling. That makes her a half-sister to War Story, who placed in last year’s Louisiana Derby (G2), Risen Star (G2) and Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds. The gelding would go on to run 16th in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and third in the West Virginia Derby (G2).
Land Over Sea’s third dam, Honest and True, captured the 1980 edition of the Fair Grounds Oaks prior to finishing third in that year’s Kentucky Oaks. Honest and True later foaled champion Epitome, herself the dam of Grade/Group 2 hero Essence of Dubai. This female family also includes dual French champion Green Forest who, like Essence of Dubai, also found success at stud.
FAIR GROUNDS OAKS QUOTES
John Velazquez, jockey Land Over Sea, winner: “I was on the outside and I didn't want to come out of there rushing. She broke a little slow anyway, so I took advantage of that and saved some ground on the first turn. On the backstretch a horse was backing up, so I went around that one and then by the three-eighths I was sitting third and from there it was all her. When I came down the lane, she switched leads and showed the quality she is and what she was chasing out in California (Songbird).”
Doug O’Neill, trainer Land Over Sea, winner: “It went great. She ran so well. I loved where she was all the way around. It did look like Adore wasn't going to give up the lead, so I got a little worried for a second that we were going to run second again to a nice filly. Johnny kept after her and Land Over Sea loved the long stretch and really took advantage of it. There was no quit in her. So grateful for Reddams for giving me this filly and the opportunity.”
Jack Sisterson, assistant trainer Land Over Sea, winner: “A lot of credit goes to the filly. She has a great will to run. And a lot of credit to Songbird showing how good she is. The (Kentucky) Oaks (G1) is the plan. I'll let Doug and the Reddams decide, but it's good to go on to Kentucky with a confident win like that.”
Brian Hernandez Jr., jockey Dream Dance, second: “She ran great. The race kind of fell apart like the last one and she has a great kick. We were on the fence the whole way. We had a little traffic trouble, but came running. It's encouraging for her to run this big.”
Neil Howard, trainer Dream Dance, second: “I will say that she always gives 110%, but that exceeded our expectations off the layoff. She ran great.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey Adore, third: “Good trip and got to the lead pretty easily, but she got a little tired.”
Javier Castellano, jockey Northwest Tale, fourth: “I liked the way she ran today. She rated behind the horse in the lead, and the winner was much the best today.”