TORONTO, June 3 – Our Flash Drive made it three straight graded stakes scores, with her latest triumph coming in the $175,000 Royal North (G2) on Saturday afternoon at Woodbine.
Our Flash Drive, bred and owned by Live Oak, is on a roll.
After taking the Bessarabian (G2) to close out her 2022 campaign and the Whimsical (G3) to open up her 5-year-old season, the bay mare turned her talents to the turf and came away with another impressive triumph in the 6 ½ furlong race for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up, besting a game Sweet Enough (GB) and a hard-charging Millie Girl.
Forest Drift fired out of the outside gate and crossed over to take the early lead as Patrick Husbands, aboard Our Flash Drive, settled into second spot, followed by Imagery and Sweet Enough (GB) through an opening panel reached in :22.92.
Still freewheeling on the front, 34-1 Forest Drift led the field through a half-mile in :45.24 as Husbands continued to keep close tabs on the front-running longshot.
Turning for home, Husbands roused Our Flash Drive and the Mark Casse trainee responded, cutting into the lead of a determined Forest Drift before striking front and going on to notch 1 ¼-length score in a time of 1:13.88 over firm ground. Sweet Enough (GB) finished second, a neck ahead of Millie Girl, who was a neck in front of Forest Drift.
Adaay Asia (GB), Baby No Worries, Imagery, Ambassador Luna, Owen’s Tour Guide and Demodog rounded out the order of finish.
“When Johnny’s [jockey, Velazquez] horse [morning line 3-1 second choice Bay Storm] scratched, I said, ‘You know what? Get in the clear and keep your eyes on the horse on the lead,’” said Husbands. “And that horse on the lead, she was doing it so easy. Her ears were pricked, and she was doing it so easy. I said, ‘I’ve got to go after this filly now.’ She [Our Flash Drive] is a class horse and when you go into these races, you have to ride them with confidence.”
It was the seventh win, to go along with three seconds and a third from 16 starts for the Florida-bred daughter of Ghostzapper.
Our Flash Drive paid $4.30 for the win.
In other Saturday stakes action, Souper Hoity Toity fended off Moira, Canada’s reigning Horse of the Year, to win the $150,000 Belle Mahone (G3).
It was a case of stakes déjà vu for owner Live Oak Plantation, trainer Mark Casse and jockey Patrick Husbands, who teamed to win the Royal North (G3) one race earlier with Our Flash Drive.
Sent off as the 5-1 second choice to 1-5 Moira, last year’s Queen’s Plate (now, King’s Plate) Woodbine Oaks Presented by Budweiser and Fury Stakes victress, the daughter of Uncle Mo needed to bring her A-game in the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta race for fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up.
Husbands guided his bay 4-year-old filly to the front soon after the gates opened and took the field through a tepid opening panel of :25.26. Il Malocchio sat second while Moira, who broke from post one, settled into stride along the inside in her first start as a 4-year-old.
On top by a head over Il Malocchio after a half-mile timed in :50.75, the pacesetting pair continued their duel around the turn for home as Kazushi Kimura, aboard Moira, urged the bay for her best run down the lane.
After getting the upper hand on Il Malocchio, Souper Hoity Toity braced for the challenge of Moira, who began to cut into her lead but fell a neck short at the wire.
The final time was 1:44.49.
“From looking at the Racing Form – Mark doesn’t give me instructions, he depends on me – there was no speed in the race. The only way I could beat this filly [Moira] today, I’ve got to walk this race. If I walk this race, she can’t get out. She [Souper Hoity Toity] is all guts.”
Purrfect, Il Malocchio, Keyflower (FR), Saratoga Vision and Sister Seagull completed the order of finish. Batyah and Missy Greer were scratched.
Bred in Kentucky by Dr, Richard Holder and Coolmore, Souper Hoity Toity ($13.70) is now 6-1-0 from 10 lifetime starts. She came into the Belle Mahone off a troubled seventh in the Sand Spring Stakes on April 1 at Gulfstream.
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms