Equiano filly wins Florida Oaks

British-bred filly Baciami Piccola has a Group 1 summer campaign in sight after winning the G3 Florida Oaks (1700m) at Tampa Bay Downs.

The progressive daughter of Swettenham Stud shuttler Equiano (Fr) was having her first start in the USA and her first start past 1200m on Saturday.  “We’ve been working quite a bit and I like her,” jockey Julien Leparoux said.  “She can be temperamental but we get along.

“She broke good and I took her back to save ground.  I knew she was going to kick and close strong.  There were questions before the race because this was her first time going that far but she competed and has some guts.”

Baciami Piccola (3f Equiano – Lucky Legs by Danehill Dancer) had won on debut in Italy and was also runner-up in the LR Prix des Reves d’Or in France before shipping Stateside last year.  “She came over in August and was a little slow to get adjusted to the way we do things,” trainer Brian Lynch recalled.  “To get the distance today shows she has an abundance of talent.”

Lynch will give Baciami Piccola another start at Keeneland in April and her main goal is the $1 million G1 Belmont Oaks Invitational (2000m) on turf on July 9.

Agent Marco Bozzi originally bought her for 33,000 euros at the 2014 Arqana October yearling sale and she later changed hands privately to brothers John and Jerry Amerman.

Baciami Piccola is the first foal of Windsor winner Lucky Legs and she has a 2yo sister by Equiano that was retained by her breeders after being passed-in at last year’s Arqana August yearling sale.

From just a handful of runners in the USA, Equiano has also sired last year’s Santa Anita stakes winner Belvoir Bay and G3 Commonwealth Oaks runner-up Lola Beaux.

Closer to home, Equiano has classy youngster Valliano ready to target VOBIS and Inglis bonus races in the next month.  He won the $250,000 Inglis Premier at Caulfield last month before an unplaced effort in the G1 Blue Diamond.

Lindsay Park trainers David Hayes and Tom Dabernig will nominate Valliano for the $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush at Bendigo next Saturday and $100,000 Inglis VOBIS Gold Plate at Cranbourne on April 1.