by Chad Cooper
Homebred Upends Ladies Turf 1-2 Finishers Room to Finish, Net a Bear
Oak Tree Stable’s homebred Offspring took advantage of a race flow that played to her strengths, got first run on defending champion Net a Bear, and easily held that rival at bay for a 1 ¾-length win in Saturday’s $60,000 Red Camelia for state-bred fillies at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The win helped make amends for her third-place finish as the favorite behind Room to Finish and Net a Bear in the local Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Turf in December.
Brian Hernandez Jr. kept Offspring (3.20-1) in close attendance to a dawdling early pace, as Marywood got loose and carved out tepid fractions of 25.10 and 50.65. Meanwhile, even-money favorite Room to Finish was a compromised fifth along the rail early and Net a Bear took all the worst of it, as she settled in last in the field-of-8. The tempo quickened entering the far turn. Marywood came under fire and Offspring was produced 4-wide while taking dead aim on the leader, with Room to Finish taking an inside route and Net a Bear rallying widest of all. Offspring took charge in deep stretch as Marywood relented and Net a Bear closed fastest of all to secure the place by a half-length over the game pacesetter, with Room to Finish a disappointing sixth. Offspring finished the about 1-mile distance in 1:39.80 over a firm Stall-Wilson Turf Course.
“We were able to get the perfect trip from the outside,” Hernandez Jr. said. “We were able to slide over to the 2-path and here on this grass course it makes a big difference to save all the ground as much as possible and that’s what we were able to do today. It makes it easy when you have a filly like her that was taking me there the whole way.”
Oak Tree Stable bred Offspring, a 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief, but sold her at auction for $130,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company June 2018 Two-Year-Olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale. She went 3-for-13 for trainer Carlo Vaccarezza , which included a pair of state-bred optional-claiming wins over the Stall-Wilson in March of 2020, then struggled in a pair of off-the-board finishes in Kentucky last September and October.
Trainer Joe Sharp claimed her for her breeders for $62,500 at Keeneland in October with an eye to the state-bred grass stakes this winter in New Orleans and Offspring rewarded her old but new connections with a strong third here behind Room to Finish and Net a Bear in the Ladies Turf. She hit the board in a pair of off-the-turf races here in January and February but clearly relished getting back to the Stall-Wilson while moving her lifetime mark to 4-for-17.
“She’s really just had tough luck with the weather this meet and we obviously know grass is her preferred surface,” Sharp said. “She’s just an honest mare that’s made a living all winter off-the-turf and making he best of bad situations. I was happy for her to be able to get the stakes win that she needed for her future.”
Room to Finish couldn’t double up on her Ladies Turf win over her two biggest rivals while running for the fourth time at the meet for trainer Wayne Catalano. The 6-year-old daughter of Giant Oak was also second in the open Marie Krantz Memorial in January and entered off an eighth-place finish in the open Albert M. Stall Memorial March 6. Room to Finish hugged the rail much of the way in the Red Camelia under Adam Beschizza but couldn’t deliver her patented late run behind the slow early fractions.
“The pace didn’t help,” Beschizza said. “She’d rather be held together than having to chase her. I was happy and comfortable where I was but they just didn’t come back to me. She was beaten fair and square.”