Effortless Victory for Omaha Beach Filly in Santa Ynez

Kopion | Benoit

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Spendthrift stallion Omaha Beach got the first graded win of his nascent sire career with a blowout victory by Kopion (f, 3, Omaha Beach–Galloping Ami, by Victory Gallop) in Santa Anita's GIII Santa Ynez S. Sunday. Three of the four fillies in the gate were by first-crop sires, but it was the least experienced of the newly minted sophomore fillies whom the public pegged at 1-5 and who put herself firmly in the early GI Kentucky Oaks conversation. The Santa Ynez was worth 10 points on the Oaks trail on a 5-3-2-1 scale.

Kopion broke smoothly from the Santa Ynez rail, but there was trouble just to her inside as 5-2 second-choice Tambo (Enticed) stutter stepped and stumbled. She was quickly left several lengths back as Kopion continued unbothered and under a hold while in front with authority. As the chestnut cruised through a :23.70 first quarter with her ears flicking back and forth, Tambo went outside horses and caught up with the short field.

Both Kopion and rider Flavien Prat had enough of the stalking Don't Bring Crazy (Maximus Mischief) by the :46.55 half as Prat imperceptibly gave the filly his blessing to let it out the smallest of notches. She quickly opened up and the race was over before the stretch as Kopion put 5 3/4 lengths on the field while Prat sat almost motionless and never asked her. It was clearly a special performance. Don't Bring Crazy held second over Tambo, who got up for third.

“Her trip was good,” said Prat. “She was a bit sharper today but she jumped well out of there and she looked around a bit when she was on the lead. Besides that she did everything perfect. It's always special when I ride for [Richard] Mandella.”

Kopion debuted Nov. 26 in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Del Mar with a sharp win and an 83 Beyer Speed Figure. Prat was aboard that day as well. Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella and Prat also teamed up to win this race last year with Ice Dancing (Frosted); Prat was making it three in a row and four of the last six in the Santa Ynez with additional wins in 2022 with Under the Stars (Pioneerof the Nile) and in 2019 with Bellafina (Quality Road). Just a week prior to Kopion's Santa Ynez, Mandella and Prat had joined forces to close out 2023 with Forbidden Kingdom (American Pharoah)'s win in the GII Joe Hernandez S. Forbidden Kingdom is co-owned by Spendthrift; Kopion is owned outright by the farm as a $270,000 Keeneland September buy.

“It looked like when she went out to the track she settled down, she warmed up nice, and went to the gate nice,” said Mandella about Kopion's first graded win. “She left there running and she kind of gave us that feeling when we were in the paddock. She showed her class.

“The only time she didn't work good was with Tamara; I can't explain it but she just didn't want any part of it.”

It was just a few months ago that Tamara (Bolt d'Oro)–a 'TDN Rising Star' and winner of the GI Del Mar Debutante S.–was the undisputed star of the crop for both Spendthrift and the Mandella barn. The daughter of the Spendthrift/Mandella multiple champion Beholder (Henny Hughes) has been sidelined since coming out of the Breeders' Cup with a fractured splint bone in her left hind leg.

Pedigree Notes:

Much has been made of the perceived underperformance of the 2023 freshman sires in the graded department, but Omaha Beach finished top of the class for the year by both graded performers with four and black-type horses with 11 before coming out firing with his first graded winner in the first week of 2024. The MGISW son of War Front–like Kopion, also trained by Mandella–has 25 winners in his first crop and three black-type winners. In addition to Kopion's graded victory, his GSP-Ire daughter Launch finished second Sunday in Gulfstream's Glitter Woman S.

Kopian is out of a daughter of 1999 champion older horse Victory Gallop, reportedly still standing in Turkey at the age of 29 this year. Victory Gallop has 37 stakes winners as a broodmare sire.

From the prolific 'Ami' family, Kopion is a half to 2016 Canadian champion Amis Gizmo (Giant Gizmo) and to GSW & GISP Ami's Flatter (Flatter). Others in the immediate family include dual 2017 Canadian champion Ami's Mesa (Sky Mesa). Kopion's dam has a 2-year-old colt named Authentic Gallop (Authentic), a yearling filly by Essential Quality, and was bred to Uncle Mo for this term. The juvenile was a $300,000 Keeneland September buy by Greg Tramontin.

Galloping Ami was honored with Canada's Sovereign Award for Outstanding Broodmare for 2016; her full-sister, Victorious Ami, was given the same award for 2017.

Sunday, Santa Anita
SANTA YNEZ S.-GIII, $98,000, Santa Anita, 1-7, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:23.89, ft.
1–KOPION, 120, f, 3, by Omaha Beach
1st Dam: Galloping Ami (Outstanding Broodmare-Can), by Victory Gallop
               2nd Dam: Secret Ami, by Secret Claim
               3rd Dam: Sybelle Ami, by Alwasmi
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($270,000
Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Tall Oaks Farm
(KY); T-Richard E. Mandella; J-Flavien Prat. $60,000. Lifetime
Record: 2-2-0-0, $96,600. *1/2 to Aragorn Ami (Aragorn
{Ire}), SW, $112,535; 1/2 to Ami's Flatter (Flatter), GSW &
GISP, $536,931; 1/2 to Amis Gizmo (Giant Gizmo), Ch.
3-year-old Colt-Can, GSW, $800,022. Werk Nick Rating: B.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or the free
Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
*1st graded winner for first-crop sire (by War Front).
2–Don't Bring Crazy, 120, f, 3, Maximus Mischief–Lily Maria,
by Paynter. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE.
($60,000 Wlg '21 KEENOV; $140,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP).
O-Mark Davis; B-Mullikin Thoroughbreds (KY); T-Doug F.
O'Neill. $20,000.
3–Tambo, 120, f, 3, Enticed–Flatter Me First, by Flatter. 1ST
GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($29,000 Ylg '22 KEEJAN; $25,000 Ylg
'22 KEESEP; $70,000 2yo '23 OBSMAR). O-SAF Racing,
Neil A. Haymes, James E. McCadden, and William Strauss;
B-Thoroughbred by Design LLC (KY); T-Peter Eurton.
$12,000.
Margins: 5 3/4, 4 3/4, 5 3/4. Odds: 0.20, 16.00, 2.90.
Also Ran: Bossy Bruin Gal. Scratched: Petit Filet.
Click for the Equibase.com chart or the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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