Sopran Basilea gives Motion 9th win in Dick Memorial
Make it nine wins for Graham Motion. The Motion-trained Irish-bred Sopran Basilea prevailed by a neck in the Grade 3, $250,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 ⅜ miles on the turf. It was Motion’s ninth win in the event.
Under jockey Jorge Ruiz, and stretched out to an 11-furlong distance she clearly relished, Sopran Basilea slipped through inside to run down longtime leader Ever Summer for the win, her first in just her second start in Motion’s barn after running previously in Italy.
“I thought Jorge gave her a beautiful ride,” Motion said. “I honestly didn’t know she was this good, but off her European form, you know, she looked like she was.”
Sopran Basilea had won a Group 2 race and a Group 3 race in Italy in 2021 and then finished second in those same two races last year. Her first try for Motion came in the Grade 3 Gallorette at Pimlico, in which she rallied to finish second.
But Motion had believed all along she would want more ground than the 1 1/16 miles on offer in the Gallorette. The 11 furlongs of the Dick Memorial offered exactly that, to go along with a turf course rated soft that may have been more to her liking – and more similar to what she was used to in Europe – than the rock-hard course she encountered at Pimlico.
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The win gave Motion his record ninth victory in the Dick Memorial, which has been run 27 times. It was Motion’s first win in the event since 2017.
“It’s been a lucky race for us,” Motion said. “It’s not a complete surprise, I guess, because we train a lot of distance fillies. But it’s just a thrill; we have a good history with Delaware, and we’ve been coming here a long time.”
Sopran Basilea paid $9.00 as the third choice in the seven-horse field. The exacta, with 21-1 Ever Summer in second, returned $65.60 on a one-dollar wager.
Sopran Basilea, owned by Madaket Stables LLC and Bill Strauss, now has six wins and $512,145 in earnings, from 17 career starts.
Running time for the Dick Memorial was 2:20.27.