Too much Toupie in Stormy Blues

“Too much Toupie” was the theme of Sunday’s $100,000 Stormy Blues Stakes for three-year-old fillies at Laurel Park.

Under a confident Jorge Ruiz ride, Toupie stalked the pace, surged clear in mid-stretch and went on to win by 2 ¼ lengths over Parola Sicura and the late-arriving Cap Classique, zipping the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:01.66 on firm turf.

A “very nice” Father’s Day gift, trainer Graham Motion called it.

Toupie, a three-year-old Uncle Mo filly, is a homebred for Wertheimer et Frere. She earned her third win from seven career outings and second in stakes company. The victory pushed her career bankroll to more than $230,000.

“I had a lot of confidence in her,” Motion allowed.

Well placed confidence, as it turned out, which the betting public shared. Toupie left the gates as the 6-5 wagering favorite.

Ruiz, aboard for Toupie’s fourth consecutive outing and fifth in her last six, rode like he was on the favorite, allowing her to settle while perched outside and a couple of lengths off the pace set by El Terreno. El Terreno led by a length after an opening quarter-mile in 22.09 seconds, with Toupie fourth, 2 ½ lengths behind..

In the lane, Ruiz asked his horse for run, and she delivered it readily. She wrested command from El Terreno in mid-stretch, inching away from that rival, and easily held safe runner-up Parola Sicura and Cap Classique, who closed from last for the show spot. 

“Once she broke well, I felt pretty confident,” Motion said. “I just worried in a big field if she got stuck behind some horses or hung out wide.”

Toupie began her career last July on the Laurel main track, winning by eight lengths. Motion then switched her to the grass for the Rosie’s Stakes at Colonial Downs. Running against the boys, she finished a good second behind No Nay Mets, who in his next start was the beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

Two starts later, Toupie earned her first stakes win, securing the Stewart Manor Stakes going six furlongs on the grass at Aqueduct.

Toupie was clearly best in the Stormy Blues. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski.

“She was always one of our most impressive two-year-olds,” Motion said. “But what impressed me is how much she’s changed from last year. We tried her on the dirt at Tampa [a third-place finish in the Sandpiper Stakes] and then gave her a little break. When she came back to me at Palm Meadows, I just couldn’t believe how much she had changed. She just developed into this much stronger, bigger filly, very classy.”

In her return to action, she finished a good second in the Mamzelle at Churchill Downs, and now she has her first win of the year.

Racing options in Toupie’s racing specialty – sprinting on the turf – aren’t as plentiful as in many other categories, especially restricted to three-year-old fillies. Motion said she would be pointed to a next date at Saratoga, which presents two turf sprint stakes for sophomore fillies, the $150,000 Coronation Cup July 12 and the $150,000 Galway August 10.

Toupie returned $4.40 to win. The exacta, with Parola Sicura off at 34-1, paid $33.40 for a one-dollar wager.

Toupie was bred in Kentucky and is the first foal out of the graded stakes-placed Tapit mare Amertume.