Repole Stable’s Always Shopping, a graded stakes-winning 3-year-old filly in 2019, is now a graded stakes-winning turf marathoner as a 5-year-old.
The Awesome Again mare showed her versatility in the $125,000 La Prevoyante Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 23, scoring an emphatic three-length win over Delta’s Kingdom. This followed a score in the 1 3/16-mile Via Borghese Stakes last month at Gulfstream and improved her local course record to 3-for-4.
Mired in a slump after winning the Gazelle Stakes (G3) on dirt at Aqueduct Racetrack in April 2019, Always Shopping reversed her form last summer and fall when trainer Todd Pletcher added blinkers and moved her to the turf. She won the Monroe Stakes at Gulfstream Sept. 7 and just missed when second in Keeneland’s Oct. 18 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes (G3T), beaten by a head by Blame Debbie, in the race preceding the Dec. 19 Via Borghese.
“Blinkers. Back to turf. Todd does an amazing job,” said owner Mike Repole of Repole Stable. “I kind of like to bust his chops once in a while and ask him why it took so long to put blinkers. She’s figured it out and (jockey) Irad (Ortiz Jr.) has done an amazing job with her, too.”
Always Shopping was backed to even-money favoritism in the La Prevoyante, and she was always poised to take Saturday’s race. Ortiz had her under a snug hold when inside, just behind early leaders Aunt Hattie and Court Return, and once she was cut loose leaving the last of three turns, the race was essentially over. She completed 1 1/2 miles on firm turf in 2:25.38, following splits of :47.63,1:12.83, and 1:38.11.
“I got a perfect trip. I can’t complain,” said Ortiz. “The filly put me in a good position. I tried to settle down and she settled down and she came back to me, and whenever I asked her she responded very well.”
Always Shopping has now won five of 14 races and $475,105.
Runner-up Delta’s Kingdom rallied from seventh to grab second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of wide-rallying third-place finisher Irony of Reality, a 50-1 longshot.
A homebred for Repole Stable, Always Shopping ($4) is out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare Stopshoppingmaria. Her dam’s lone stakes victory came in the Ladies Turf Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream in 2012, though she also placed as a 2-year-old in the 2011 Frizette Stakes (G1) on dirt and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2T), both at a mile.
Stopshoppingmaria is the dam of two winners, both at the stakes level. Besides Always Shopping, her produce includes Mo Shopping (Uncle Mo ), who captured the Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park in 2018 and also was a distant third that year in the Delaware Oaks (G3).
The mare, returned to the United Stakes in 2019 after she was sent to Australia, also has an active 3-year-old filly in Momaria (Uncle Mo), fourth in her debut at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots Jan. 1, an unnamed Medaglia d’Oro 2-year-old colt, and a Justify yearling colt. (by Bloodhorse.com)
“It’s a really emotional time, actually,” trainer John Kimmel said of the win, Pacific Gale’s first since October 2018. “Mr. (Mike) Morton, he’s my primary owner, he passed away last month and they just loved this filly. Tobey (Morton) has now taken over. We’ve talked about this filly. She was earmarked to (be bred to) Not This Time , and I told her, ‘This filly is training better than I’ve ever seen her train.’
“She’s dappled out and she’s just come into herself, and I was just very optimistic about her today. Even though she’s ‘oh-fer’ the last two years, to see her fire like you’ve never seen her fire was a tremendous accomplishment for a filly that’s been a bridesmaid against some top-quality horses. To see her get her due diligence here today is really, really special.”
Hall of Famer John Velazquez was aboard in the Inside Information, Pacific Gale’s first start of 2021 after her 5-year-old campaign concluded with a third in the Dec. 6 Garland of Roses Stakes at Aqueduct Racetrack. Although they bumped with Piedi Bianchi at the start, the duo quickly recovered from post 6 in a field of eight to find a good tracking spot fifth between horses.
As 2-1 shot Cinnabunny dueled with rival Thismytime through fractions of :22.45, :45.13, and 1:09.86, Pacific Gale ($34.20) got rolling in the final furlongs and swung out three wide with a strong rally. She turned back a game Thismytime to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:22.60 on a fast track. She paid $34.20.
“Finally!” Velazquez exclaimed. “I always try to keep her covered up and make one run with her. Today was the day. I kept her covered up and when we passed the quarter pole and got to the three-sixteenths pole I got out and she responded right away.”
Thismytime finished a length in front of Piedi Bianchi, who put in a mild rally from sixth but could not threaten the top two. Cinnabunny, Dream Marie, Bronx Beauty, Sally’s Curlin, and Sound Machine completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky by Bally Breeders out of the Forestry mare Pacific Whisper, Pacific Gale was a $72,000 purchase by Tobey Morton from the Woodside Ranch consignment to the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training in 2017. She improved her record to 4-6-5 from 28 starts, with earnings of $510,170. She among four winners from 10 foals out of Pacific Whisper and her first stakes winner. Pacific Whisper has an unraced 2019 Bernardini colt named Bourbondini and produced a Malibu Moon colt in 2020. She was not reported bred for 2021.
Pacific Gale is the second graded stakes winner for Flat Out, the grade 1-winning son of Flatter who stands at Mighty Acres in Oklahoma. He is also the sire of 2020 Iowa Oaks (G3) winner Flat Out Speed.
Kimmel left the door open for additional starts for Pacific Gale when asked if she had completed her curtain call.
“Don’t know yet—it’s hard to stop when they run like that,” he said. (by : Bloodhorse.com)