Generosidade lives up to her name with $144.80 upset of San Luis Rey

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March 14th, 2016

Overlooked as the longest shot on the board at 71-1, Uruguayan-bred mare Generosidade shocked the boys in Sunday’s $201,725 San Luis Rey (G2) at Santa Anita and sparked a generous win mutuel of $144.80.

The 1 1/2-mile turf test served up a strong South American theme. Generosidade was representing all-Brazilian connections – owner/breeder Haras Phillipson as well as the trainer/jockey tandem of Paulo Lobo and Tiago Pereira. Chasing her home were Chilean-bred Quick Casablanca and Brazilian-bred mare Energia Fribby to round out a clean sweep of the trifecta for their native continent.

Generosidade’s only prior stakes victory had come in a Brazilian Group 1 in May 2013, the 1 1/4-mile GP Organizacao Sul Americana de Fomento ao Puro Sangue de Corrida (G1). Although winless since November of that year, she’d been sparingly raced in the interim. The daughter of Nedawi was a creditable sixth next time in the Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini (G1), South America’s “Arc.” She summered in France in 2014, with no memorable result.

Resurfacing with Lobo in Southern California last year, Generosidade wound up seventh in both the Gamely (G1) and Royal Heroine (G2) over inadequate trips. She was not seen again until the January 17 Astra at this course and distance, finishing sixth to San Luis Rey rival Havanna Belle off the 6 1/2-month layoff. Stripping fitter here, and suited by the rain-affected track, she jumped up for an historic victory.

Now in its 65th running, the San Luis Rey had been won by a distaffer only once before – 20 years ago, by Windsharp over eventual champion turf mare Wandesta in 1996. The race no longer has the luster of bygone days, when its honor roll included the likes of Quicken Tree, Fiddle Isle, Big Spruce, Avatar, Caucasus, Noble Dancer and John Henry (who each won it twice), Perrault, Erins Isle, Prized, Kotashaan, Bien Bien, Sandpit, and Marlin.

Generosidade was given a textbook, ground-saving trip by Pereira, who is best known for his ride aboard 2010 Dubai World Cup (G1) upsetter Gloria de Campeao. Reserved near the back of the pack behind fractions of :24.18, :47.61, and 1:12.29 on the good turf, she began to improve her position at the mile mark in 1:38.20, and benefited from a rail-skimming passage on the final turn. Generosidade was in the slipstream of pacesetter Havanna Belle until angling out for the drive, where she split the leader and Highball and forged ahead. The 1 1/2-length winner clocked 2:28.60.

Quick Casablanca, who accompanied 2-1 favorite Big John B at the tail of the field, finished a lot better to snare second by a neck from fellow closer Energia Fribby. Continuing his good run of form in defeat, Quick Casablanca may yet have another win in him.

The 30-1 Energia Fribby fared best of the Neil Drysdale quartet, outperforming better fancied stablemates Power Foot (fifth), Gaga A (sixth, a Phillipson homebred and maternal relative of Generosidade) and the tailed-off Going Somewhere.

The 10-1 Highball, a close fourth, likewise outperformed fellow Phil D’Amato trainees Big John B, who never factored in seventh, and Havanna Belle, who tired to eighth.

With the top four going off at odds of 71-1, 10-1, 30-1 and 10-1, the 9-2-6-8 superfecta ($1) was worth $87,409.60. The other $1 exotics totaled $578.20 (exacta) and $6,197 (trifecta).

Generosidade improved her scorecard to 17-5-2-2, $206,896. She might call it a career on that note, with an impending decision about a date in the breeding shed.

Quotes from Santa Anita

Winning rider Tiago Pereira: “I was so excited because this is only my second graded win in North America (after last December’s Daytona [G3]). Generosidade was so good today. We sat behind, we let the pace go and the last three-eighths, I was able to get outside and get up to win it. I thank Paulo, the owners, the horse, everyone that has helped me.

“Paulo told me to relax the first part of the race the other times I rode her because she liked to do that when she ran in Brazil. But, in the three races here, they were not so good, maybe she didn’t love the track. Her last work was good and today she was too good for them.”

Winning trainer Paulo Lobo: “She’s a marathon horse. She loves the distance and we were looking for a mile and a half. She had her race (in the Astra) and we pointed for this race. I think the rain helped me because she’s seven years old, she has issues, little problems, and the softer ground helped her.

“Tiago knows her very well. This is the fourth time he’s ridden her. She’s an easy filly that comes from behind. She ran huge today.

“The owner is from Brazil but he breeds in Europe and races there also. He has a huge farm in Sao Paulo. We’ll decide whether or not to breed her this week.”

Jockey Tyler Baze on runner-up Quick Casablanca: “I tried to thread the needle and a horse stopped in front of me. The horse is on the top of his game right now. He’s doing awesome. I can’t wait for the next one.”

Jockey Rafael Bejarano on beaten favorite Big John B (seventh): “If we have an excuse, it’s that my horse would prefer a firmer turf. The grass is really soft and my horse, he likes it better when it’s firm.”

Photo courtesy of Benoit.