Fashion Faux Pas makes no mistake in Light Hearted romp
Fashion Faux Pas was much the best in the Light Hearted Stakes. Photo by The Racing Biz.
In the paddock prior to Wednesday’s $50,000 Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park, trainer Arnaud Delacour was playing it coy. Would his horse, Fashion Faux Pas, win, he was asked.
“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “We’ll see.”
Later, after the sophomore Flatter filly had blown up what on paper looked to be a fairly even race with a devastating 14 1/2-length victory, Delacour could laugh at his failure of prediction.
“I thought that she could carry her speed but you never know,” he said. “And I didn’t want to jinx myself.”
Now, with her second stakes win in the bank, Fashion Faux Pas is likely headed to the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks, Delacour said. That race, the top local event for three-year-old fillies, takes place July 6.
“As long as she comes back in good form and trains well, we’ll probably try that,” the trainer said.
Fashion Faux Pas was one of two stakes winners in the field of seven that faced the starter after two scratches. Yet while her stakes win — a four-length score in the Sandpiper at Tampa Bay Downs in December — had been impressive, it left unanswered a critical question: could she go two turns?
The Sandpiper is a six-furlong event, the same distance at which she had also broken her maiden. But in three tries going longer than six furlongs, she had ceded ground in the lane in each.
“The question mark was, can she stay?” Delacour said. “But the pedigree said she could, and that’s why we were taking a shot, and to see if we can do the Oaks next month.”
By Flatter, Fashion Faux Pas is out of the productive Arch mare Clash.
Another factor that gave him confidence, Delacour said, is that his charge seemed to be learning to relax. She had finished second in a pair of turf stakes prior to the Light Hearted, the six-furlong Mizdirection and the one-mile Hilltop.
“Last year she was pretty eager. She was pretty sharp. So she would go like 45-and-change, something like that,” Delacour explained. “When we ran on the yielding turf at Aqueduct, six furlongs, she really relaxed well. And then [jockey Daniel Centeno] came back, and said, ‘You know, boss, she relaxed well, and if we want to stretch, now is probably the time.'”
In the Light Hearted, Fashion Faux Pas broke best of all, but Centeno was in no hurry and allowed Our Super Freak, the multiple stakes-placed Jamie Ness trainee, to seize the early advantage. Our Super Freak led the field through a half-mile in a solid 46.54 seconds, with Fashion Faux Pas just a length back and three clear of the rest.
Rounding the turn, Centeno let Fashion Faux Pas run, and she bounded readily to the front, taking the lead without any real resistance from Our Super Freak. She led by a half-length after three quarters in 1:11.02, and the margin widened steadily from there: to seven lengths leaving the furlong grounds, and 14 1/2 when she crossed the wire while eased up late. Our Super Freak held second by a neck over morning line favorite Nonsensical, a recent maiden winner, and it was another four lengths back to the rest.
Fashion Faux Pas went off as the tepid favorite in a field in which the public could not separate three horses — the top three finishers, as it happened. Fashion Faux Pas paid $6.40 to win and topped a one-dollar exacta worth $10.50.
It was the third win in seven career starts for Fashion Faux Pas and pushed her earnings to more than $116,000.