By Sarah Mace
Repole Stable’s Super Surprise, a 4-year-old daughter of Repole stallion Giant Surprise (Rockridge Stud), added to an already impressive resume on Super Bowl Sunday at Aqueduct when she parleyed a stalking trip into victory in the $100,000 Biogio’s Rose Stakes for older New York-bred fillies and mares.
Super Surprise was sent off as the second betting choice in the field of six at odds of 5-2, while Isabelle, drawn just to her inside in post three, was favored at even money. The last time the pair met, in the Bay Ridge Stakes on December 11, Isabelle outfinished her rival by five-plus lengths at the same at 1 mile and 70-yard trip over the Aqueduct inner track.
Minded to be involved from the first, Super Surprise settled just off the flank of an eager Isabelle, who tossed her head some in the early stages. Super Surprise then kept close tabs on her rival round the clubhouse bend and along the backstretch as Isabelle clocked an opening half mile in 49.06.
Jose Ortiz aboard Super Surprise began to shake up his mount in the far turn. When they pulled even with Isabelle approaching the quarter pole, Ortiz set her down for the serious business of the drive.
Isabelle put up a brave fight at the rail, but Super Surprise was destined to turn the tables this go-around, and began to edge ahead. Fully in command in the final sixteenth, Super Surprise drew off to win by 2 1/2 lengths stopping the clock at 1:44.59 after a mile in 1:37.95.
Jules and Rome (5-2), who did not get off to a particularly good start, got third three-quarters of a length further back, followed across the line by Daisy Cutter, Legally Bay and Dream On. [REPLAY]
“I thought she got a good trip,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “The idea was for Jose to play the break and let her run into the first turn and go from there. He put her in a good spot right outside Isabelle and we got the better of her this time. Isabelle had a ground saving trip the last time we ran into her [in the Bay Ridge] and we went wide on the turn, but Isabelle’s still a good horse and we got the good end of the deal this time.”
Jockey Ortiz reported, “Super Surprise] broke great. [Jules N Rome] didn’t break, which surprised me a little bit. Kendrick [Carmouche, aboard Isabelle] went ahead and I sat in control and tracked the whole way. I knew heading for home that we both had a lot of horse. He was going easy and I was going easy, so by the three-eighths pole, I made my move and I’m glad it worked well. I just appreciate the opportunity. She was very good today, just perfect.”
Concluded Ortiz, “She’s a really good filly. The last time, the other filly [Isabelle] ran her eyeballs out and she got there. Today, like a match race, I felt like, and we won. Turned the tables a little bit. Todd [Pletcher] always does a great job with her and she was ready.”
Bred by Allen C. Hallet, and foaled at Hallet Thoroughbreds in Cato, Super Surprise is one of four winners from five foals to start out of Miz Lynne Kelly, a seven-time winner and six-figure earner by Langfuhr. Miz Lynne Kelly has a two-year-old by Soaring Empire named Captain Empire, and in 2016 was bred to Palace.
Mike Repole purchased Super Surprise for $55,000 at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton New York-bred preferred yearling sale. Now a winner of three stakes races, after scoring in the the Maid of the Mist in 2015 and Fleet Indian in 2016, she has a record of four victories, two seconds and two thirds from nine starts and has earned $462,300.