Talk Veuve To Me strong in Grade III $200,000 Indiana Oaks
Story by Jennie Rees, Eclipse Award winning turf writer
Talk Veuve to Me was the toast of Indiana Grand, romping to a 4 3/4-length victory over Figarella’s Queen in Saturday night’s Grade 3, $200,000 Indiana Oaks.
“She showed what I was expecting her to show,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset, who began training only last year and earned his second graded stakes victory, following Quip in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March. “It was maybe a little quicker than what I was thinking on paper. But she took the lead pretty easy. You could see that she was looking around a lot, just went to the wire cruising.
“She’s very unlucky being born in one of the best years —how many good fillies do we have this year? — between Monomoy Girl, Midnight Bisou and Red Ruby and I’m sure I’ve left out some. It’s a very, very strong year for 3-year-old fillies. I don’t know where everybody wants to go. She may have to face them and turn the table on some to be in the top three. But we are what we are.”
With Julien Leparoux aboard for the first time, Talk Veuve to Me tracked front-running long shot Molecules before taking over on the far turn. It was just a matter of how far she would win by, with Leparoux gearing her down in the late stages, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.15. She paid $2.20 to win as the 1-10 favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies.
“I’ve been watching her races,” Leparoux said. “She’s got that tactical speed. The 1 horse (Molecules) wanted to be on the lead, but she relaxed beautifully off of the 1. She’s pushbutton. On the second turn, I just let her go on her own. I didn’t really ask her. She went to the lead and relaxed again and went on in the straight again. She’s a very nice filly.”
It was Talk Veuve to Me’s first start around two turns, with Leparoux saying, “I think two turns will be good for her, even more distance will be OK for her.”
Figarella’s Queen, a 13-1 shot ridden by Robby Albarado, closed from sixth to finish 6 3/4 lengths in front her Brad Cox-trained stablemate Kelly’s Humor.
“She ran huge,” Albarado said. “The winner might be one of the top three fillies in the country. To be second to her is not too bad.”
Skeptic finished another head back in fourth, followed by Harbor Lights, Molecules and Diamondcoat.
Talk Veuve to Me, a daughter of Violence, originally was purchased by Brisset privately after she failed to sell at a 2-year-old auction. Brisset was about to go out on his own, after being an assistant to Hall of Famer Bill Mott, and he sold part-interest in Talk Veuve to Me to good friend Stephen McKay.
The filly was second in her debut at Ellis Park last summer, then sidelined by a slight stress fracture. Returning to the races in March at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, she won by 11 lengths and the Team Valor International syndicate bought majority interest.
In her next two starts, Talk Veuve to Me was second in Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Eight Belles on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, then second in New York’s Grade 1 Acorn behind Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl.
“She had two real hard races, the Acorn, the Eight Belles,” said Team Valor president Barry Irwin. “We wanted to find a spot we were confident she would win. Just so she wouldn’t lose another race and get seconditis. Rodolphe picked out this one, and it worked out great.”
Talk Veuve to Me will ship to Saratoga on Monday, Brisset said. Asked if he was looking forward to a rematch with Monomoy Girl, Irwin said, “Not really at this moment. Maybe later. She’s still lightly raced. We still don’t know what she wants to do yet. One thing that’s encouraging about her, when she breezes in the morning, she completes the work. When she goes into the next turn galloping out, she takes off again. Who knows? She might go a mile and an eighth, mile and a quarter.”