Thalita sets her stall for the 1000 Guineas
THALITA, a Soul Warrior-bred filly out of the Eddington mare Luminous Trieste, established herself as the pre-race favourite ahead of next month’s first Classic event — the 1000 Guineas for fillies — with a commanding victory in The Portmore on Saturday, May 6, 2023.
The Portmore, the final stop on the “Road to the Triple Crown” for fillies, was run over 7 1/2 furlongs (1,500m) with a total purse of $3 million. Thalita, trained by Jason DaCosta and ridden by Dane Dawkins, won by five lengths in a time of 1:34.2. The splits were 23.2 x 46.4 x 1:12.2.
Thalita wasn’t the fastest to exit the starting gates as the chestnut filly raced in mid-pack in the early exchanges of the Graded Stakes for native-bred three-year-old fillies. Thalita came into view leaving the six-furlong (1,200m) mark, slipping down in fourth place, trailing stablemate Mamma Mia (Phillip Parchment) who led ahead of Bootylicious (Reyan Lewis) and Durocell (Bebeto Harvey). Thalita circled Durocell and pursued Mamma Mia and Bootylicuous through the half-mile (800m) bend, turning the race into a three-horse scrap. With Mamma Mia still leading, Thalita hugged the inside rails and came through with a powerful run in deep stretch to overcome opponents. Mamma Mia completed the exacta for both owner Carlton Watson and DaCosta. Aria’s Reign (Raddesh Roman) finished in third place.
TRAINER’S COMMENTS — JASON DACOSTA
“We always had high hopes for Thalita. In the back-end of last season she had a few niggling issues that we had to deal with. We gave her a little rest and brought her back and she was a much-improved filly this season, and I am expecting good things from her as well. Hopefully, she keeps sound and healthy and continues to improve and she will have a decent shot in the Classics. This race shows that she will cover a distance of ground, so we will keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.”
JOCKEY’S COMMENTS — DANE DAWKINS
“The trainer said to get a good break but she didn’t break that sharp and so I had to hustle her up a little. When I looked to the inside I saw my dangers going forward and so I said I couldn’t let them give me too much work to do, and urged my horse to stay as close as possible. Leaving the five furlong marker and heading into the half-mile turn, I saw three horses inside and so I took a pull and took my horse inside as well, because I didn’t want to get swung off the track when I turned for home. She wasn’t giving me anything at the three-furlong marker but I kept on pushing and pushing until she responded in the straight. She gave me everything in the end and we won quite easily. She is a nice filly and she is improving as well.”
All things being equal, Thalita will be the overwhelming favourite for the 1000 Guineas. Her performance in The Portmore demonstrated the calibre of runner she is at this point in her career, and with only eight races under her belt there is still space for development. Aside from Thalita‘s performance, Mamma Mia must be applauded for her battling spirit in finishing second while Aria’s Reign and Brown Skin Girl, who finished third and fourth, respectively, can be seen making progress.