When trainer Brett Calhoun privately purchased 3-year-old Jody Slew from Larry and Joy Lay’s Jenna Lee Farms late last year, he thought he had a turf filly on his hands.
But in her last two starts, the daughter of Slew City Slew has proven that she has much more to offer. In fact, she has shown so much talent on the dirt that Calhoun, along with new owners Bill Martin and Dan Morgan, think she has a legitimate chance at capturing the lilies in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I)
Martin, who lives in Dallas and is in the real estate business, also owns dual grade III winner Mr. Nightlinger with Carl Moore Management. In partnership with Morgan, a Florida resident who works in the concrete business, Martin additionally campaigns Dubai Majesty, who was named Florida’s champion grass mare in 2009.
Calhoun, impressed with Jody Slew since her third-place finish in the Caressing Handicap on the Churchill Downs grass last November, had trouble finding the right spot for the filly’s next start after acquiring her for longtime clients Martin and Morgan.
“This time of year it’s hard to find grass races for 3-year-old fillies that have already won a couple races, so we decided to find out once and for all if she was a straight grass (filly), or if she was going to be alright on the dirt,” said Calhoun, who entered Jody Slew in the Jan. 23 Tiffany Lass at Fair Grounds for her 2010 debut.
Sent off at odds of 23-1, the bay filly pleasantly surprised her connections when she posted a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the one-mile race. In the Feb. 20 Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III), Jody Slew again pulled off an upset score when she came from last-to-first and in the final strides to edge Quiet Temper.
“She has really has blossomed every day,” said Calhoun. “I think she’s one of those horses that’s getting better every week. She’s really maturing and has continued to progress. We’re looking forward to the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II, March 26), obviously with the Kentucky Oaks in the back of our minds.”
Four of the last five winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to win on the first Friday in May (or the last Friday in April, as is sometimes the case): Rachel Alexandra, Proud Spell, Summerly, and Ashado.
Calhoun said Jody Slew displays a calm, yet vigorous stride during morning training sessions, which is a contrast to her tenacious, come-from-behind style in the afternoons.
“She’s really a quiet filly,” he explained. “She’s energetic in her training, but trains relaxed; she likes her job. It’s a little funny, in the morning she breezes pretty sharp a lot of times, and then in the afternoon, you’re afraid she’s going to show too much speed. You’d think she’d be a little closer to the pace, but she completely drops out of it in her races and makes it one run from behind.”
Bred in Kentucky by Brandwine Farm, Jody Slew is out of the Housebuster mare Trustbuster. She will enter the Fair Grounds Oaks sporting a record of 4-0-3 from nine starts and earnings of $185,179.