Home Raised Whisper Hill Farm Great Sonata (Medaglia d’Oro) hit a jackpot just in time on Saturday to edge Joy S. exacta of Gulfstream’s GIII Kitten for Todd Pletcher’s fuego barn. royal spirit (Into Mischief) was second best, while favored Cash (Tapit) – making his first start since finishing ninth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf – settled for third after leading the way.
Second from its Belmont reveal to the next GIII Futurity winner S. Slipstream (More Than Ready) in October, Grand Sonata donned a cap and dress around two laps in an off-field Keeneland on October 16. He was a close-up fifth with some trouble in Big A’s Central Park S. on Nov. 27, and showed good resolve to take the Dania Beach S. by a head here on New Year’s Day.
Off at nearly double his 3-1 morning line quote as Coinage took a lot more action than expected, Grand Sonata came off the rail nicely and settled into a good pocket behind Coinage and at inside Royal Spirit. Grand Sonata had clearly run after six panels in 1:11.88, but Tyler Gaffalione had to sit patiently and wait for daylight. Framed by Speaking Scout (Mr. President) as he tried to tip over, Grand Sonata had to brake, but once Speaking Scout could no longer keep pace, he was free to lengthen his stride and he s is resolutely accelerated to get up from a neck.
“I thought he was a little overlooked today,” said Pletcher, who saddled the top two at the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational Turf S. last Saturday, of the winner. “All of his grass races have been good. He had a very difficult trip to Aqueduct and didn’t take the win, but he’s a very good colt; very professional.”
Pletcher continued, “We were concerned that there wasn’t a lot of pace on paper and Coinage can be tricky when it comes loose, so we wanted to be aware of that. The fractions were quite modest. I thought both horses were in good positions and both finished well. In fact, I thought maybe Royal Spirit had it for a second, but this horse has a big turn around and Tyler knows it. Once he cleared it up, they were done in a hurry.
Gaffalione said, “I had a ton of horses. I had to be patient to wait for a seat. A small crack opened up and he hesitated a bit, but I had so much horsepower that he eventually pulled through and finished the job well. Mr. Pletcher and I spoke before the race. He said he didn’t see much speed in the race and just had to keep up [Coinage] around there and wait for a spot. When he came out, he finished really well.
Saturday, Gulfstream Park
KITTEN’S JOY S.-GIII$100,000, Gulfstream, 2-5, 3 years old, 1 1/16 mT, 1:41.53, fm.
1-GREAT SONATA, 123, c, 3, from Medaglia d’Oro
1st jump-off: AP Sonata, by AP Indy
2nd Dam: Moonlight Sonata, by Carson City
3rd dam: Wheatly Way, near Wheatly Hall
1ST WIN RANKED STAKES. ($125,000 RNA Ylg ’20 KEESEP).
O/B-Whisper Hill Farm, LLC; T-Todd A. Pletcher; J Tyler
Gafflion. $60,140. Lifetime record: 5-3-1-0, $193,920. job
Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report and 5-cross pedigree.
2–royal spirit118, c, 3, Into Mischief–Don’tforgetaboutme, by
Malibu Moon. TYPE BLACK 1ST GRADUATED. ($450,000Ylg ’20
FTKSEL). O-Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable; B-Claiborne Farm
(KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $19,400.
3–Cash123, c, 3, Tapit–Ingot d’or, by Medaglia d’Oro.
($450,000 Ylg ’20 KEESEP). OD. J. Stable LLC, Broman, Sr.,
Chester and Broman, Marie; B Chester Broman & Mary R.
Broman (New York); T-Mark E. Casse. $9,700.
Margins: NK, 1 1/4, HF. Odds: 5.80, 5.20, 1.80.
Also raced: Eldon’s Prince, Red Danger, Speaking Scout, Father Glado, Red Knobs. Click for it Chart Equibase.comthe TJCIS.com PP or the free Equineline.com catalog style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
Grand Sonata is the 86th ranked winner by Darley, stalwart Medaglia d’Oro, seven of whom are out of AP Indy mares, including GISWs Plum Pretty and Bolt d’Oro. AP Indy is the broodmare sire to an incredible 116 total ranked/group winners.
Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill paid $1.1 million for her dam AP Sonata, a daughter of GSW Moonlight Sonata and half of Grade II winners Wilburn (Bernardini) and Beethoven (Sky Mesa) as a yearling KEESEP. The late filly’s best result was third place out of nine furlongs on Keeneland ground.
Grand Sonata’s full sister in 2017 died in 2019, as did AP Sonata.