With her impressive victory in Saturday’s Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), folks can finally stop feeling sorry for Paul Reddam’s Land Over Sea. The talented daughter of Bellamy Road had carried the distinction of finishing behind champion Songbird in more races than any other horse — five times — and therefore never had the chance to show the world what she was capable of.
That all changed Saturday as the chestnut Doug O’Neill-trained filly raced for the first time since she broke her maiden last July without Songbird in the gate and romped by 4 1/2 lengths to earn her first career stakes victory.
Under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, Land Over Sea was positioned well back in the early going of the 1 1/16-mile race, content to let Midnight OnOconee set the pace in :23.84 and :47.75 for the first half-mile. By the time Adore, who sat just off the early pace, took command in time to log three-quarters in 1:12.70, Land Over Sea was slowly picking off the tiring rivals while racing wide around the far turn and, with a sixteenth left to run, took command from a determined Adore, held off the late challenge from Dream Dance and drew away to the handy victory under strong left-handed urging, stopping the clock in 1:44.74.
As the 9-5 favorite, Land Over Sea returned $5.60, $3.40 and $2.60. Dream Dance, at 23-1, capped off the $81.60 exacta and paid $14 and $7. Adore held on to third and paid $4 to show. The trifecta was good for $216.40. Northwest Tale, Rachel Alexandra Stakes (GII) winner Venus Valentine, Stage Play, Midnight OnOconee and Street Fancy completed the order of finish.
“She ran so well,” O’Neill said. “I loved where she was all the way around. It did look like Adore wasn’t going to give up the lead, so I got a little worried for a second that we were going to run second again to a nice filly. Johnny kept after her and Land Over Sea loved the long stretch and really took advantage of it. There was no quit in her. I’m so grateful for Reddams for giving me this filly and the opportunity.”
With Saturday’s win, Land Over Sea more than doubled her career earnings to $472,000 and her record stands at 8-2-4-1. In addition to the Fair Grounds Oaks and her maiden score, the Kentucky-bred filly was also second in the Chandelier Stakes (G1), Las Virgenes Stakes (GII) and Santa Ysabel Stakes (GIII), all behind Songbird. She was also third in last year’s Del Mar Debutante (GI).
Though no decision on where Land Over Sea will race next has been made, it’s a good bet she’ll be back for the first Friday in May at Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks (GI) and a rematch with Songbird. Regardless of history, it’s always nice to head into the biggest race of a career with a victory under the belt.
“A lot of credit goes to the filly,” O’Neill assistant trainer, Jack Sisterson, said. “She has a great will to run. And a lot of credit to Songbird showing how good she is. The Oaks is the plan. I’ll let Doug and the Reddams decide, but it’s good to go on to Kentucky with a confident win like that.”