Trippi filly – R Heat Lightning strikes in Gulfstream Oaks


Trippi filly, R Heat Lightning another Gr success

Trippi must surely be the most valuable stallion ever to stand in South Africa. He is in the Top 3 of the North American General Sires List, and by Monday morning he could well be in the Top 2. His filly R Heat Lightning won the Gulfstream Oaks (Gr2) by over 8 lengths in an absolute doddle.

But it gets even better for fans of Trippi. His son Gourmet Dinner is a genuine sort who should make the field for the Kentucky Derby. Another one of his son’s, Travelin Man, is the odds-on favorite to win the Swale Stakes (Gr2) also at Gulfstream Park.

Both Travelin Man and R Heat Lightning are trained by Todd Pletcher.

R Heat Lightning certainly looked like a potential Kentucky Oaks (G1) favourite. The bay Trippi filly toyed with six opponents in a dominant 81⁄4-length romp under John Velazquez in the $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks (G2). Following her 71⁄4-length tour de force in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at one mile on February 26, R Heat Lightning was equally impressive at the 11⁄8-mile Kentucky Oaks distance in the Gulfstream Oaks and could be awfully tough to beat on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

“She relaxed really well again today,” Velazquez said. “The race set up perfectly. They were going fast enough so we could track the pace and have something to run at. She was so relaxed and had plenty to finish. She made my day.”

R Heat Lightning stalked pacesetter Triune from fourth early through an opening quarter in :23.06 and a half-mile in :46.32 under a snug hold by Velazquez. R Heat Lightning moved up on the outside of the leader on the final turn while still under a tight hold and accelerated effortlessly to the front entering the stretch, where Velazquez took a peek back to see if she had any company. The competition, however, was overmatched.

R Heat Lightning surged away with minimal encouragement and cruised to victory in 1:49.27 on a track rated as fast to give trainer Todd Pletcher, owner-breeder E. Paul Robsham, and Velazquez a sweep of Gulfstream’s two graded stakes on Saturday. The trio teamed to win the Rampart Stakes (G3) by eight lengths with Awesome Maria one race earlier on the card.

R Heat Lightning won the Spinaway Stakes (G1) at two and finished second in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). She finished a disappointing fourth in her three-year-old bow in the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) on January 30, but R Heat Lightning has scorched her opposition since that defeat.

“I wasn’t surprised that she ran that kind of race today after the way she ran the last time [in the Davona Dale], and she ran almost as fast as Awesome Maria,” Pletcher said. “I didn’t think she got quite the respect she deserved after winning the Spinaway and finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup [Juvenile Fillies] last year, but now I think she’ll be recognized at the head of the class. If she comes out of the race all right then we’ll point her for the [Kentucky] Oaks.”

Bred in Florida, R Heat Lightning is out of the winning Gold Fever mare Yellow Heat. She has four wins and three seconds from eight career starts and earnings of $952,800.—


Gulfstream Park, April 2, $300,000, 3yo, f, 9f, fast, 1:49.27.
1- R HEAT LIGHTNING, 122, B. f. 3, Trippi—Yellow Heat, by Gold Fever. Owner, E. Paul Robsham Stables LLC; breeder, E Paul Robsham Stable LLC (Fl.); trainer, Todd A. Pletcher; jockey, John R. Velazquez. $180,000. Lifetime: 8-4-3-0, $952,800. Full to Hot Trip ($96,770).
2- Island School 116, Dk b. or br. f. 3, A.P. Indy—Mumbo Jumbo, by Kingmambo. Owner, Sarah Sharp Farish; breeder, Sarah S. Farish (Ky.); trainer, Claude R. McGaughey III. $60,000.
3- Salary Drive 116, Dk b. or br. f. 3, Mizzen Mast SD—Sporty Card, by On to Glory. Owner, Joel A. Kligman; breeder, Joel Kligman (Ky.); trainer, Edward Plesa, Jr. $30,000.
Margins: 8 1/4, 4, 10;.
Also ran: It’s Tricky 118 ($15,000), Kindersley 116 ($9,000), Triune 116 ($6,000), Beso Grande 116.

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