Florida-bred Sabatini became a stakes winner in just her second career start as she ran down fellow Florida-bred Mystic Lake to win the US$93,818 Star Shoot for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine Saturday. Sabatini also gave jockey Sophia Vives her first career stakes victory and her fifth win on the opening day card.

Mystic Lake broke on top but was quickly engaged by Dancing Duchess to her outside as Sabatini raced a length-and-a-half behind those two in third during the early going of the six-furlong test. Mystic Lake and Dancing Duchess extended their lead to two-and-a-half lengths through a half-mile in :45.08 before Sabatini swung to the outside to begin closing in on the two frontrunners coming out of the far turn.

The three fillies hit the top of the stretch together but Sabatini found another gear as they passed the eighth pole and won convincingly by two-and-a-quarter lengths in a final time of 1:10.02 on the synthetic main track.

Mystic Lake and Dancing Duchess continued race-long their battle to the wire with Mystic Lake finishing a neck in front for second. Rosa was fourth followed by C C Royal, Winsome Beauty and Miss Roberts (GB).

Sabatini, who was coming off a third-place finish against maiden special weight fillies going six furlongs on the synthetic main track at Turfway Park on March 23, paid $28.70 to win.

“I could feel at the three-eighths pole that I had a lot in the tank and just had to find an open spot and it all worked great for us,” Vives said.

“It was a perfect trip. She has a lot of heart and hopefully, we can carry on this year with her.”

Canadian Hall of Fame trainer Josie Carroll said she believed in Sabatini but was surprised by her powerful victory.

“I loved her first race at Turfway – she ran up into some trouble,” Carroll said of Sabatini. “For a first-timer, she had every reason to back out and instead she dug in and ran on to be third. I was so proud of her there.

“It’s early in the year and this filly was training extremely well and with her pedigree, it would mean a lot if she got a piece of it. Did I expect that explosive performance? Probably not. But I believe she’s that kind of horse. I just didn’t know that she was ready to do that much already.

“This young rider listens very well. She’s done everything we’ve asked of her.

“I’m very excited and very grateful to the owners of this horse for sending her up here to Woodbine. They knew she was a special horse and we’re very fortunate to have her here.”

By Uncle Mo out of Gabriellestoblame, by Blame and bred by Bridlewood Farm, Sabatini now has earnings of $57,888 in her two starts for owners NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods.

Gabriellestoblame was purchased as a yearling at Keeneland September by Bridlewood Farm for $330,000 and now has two winners from two starters. She has a Florida-bred 2-year-old full-sister to Sabatini and Florida-bred weanling colt by Violence, both bred by Bridlewood Farm.

Sabatini was consigned as a 2-year-old by Pick View at the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale where Solis/Litt purchased her for $625,000.

Return to the April 27 issue of Wire to Wire