Empyrean Stables' Zipessa broke through the graded ranks July 4 at Parx Racing, obtaining the lead early and maintaining it late in the $200,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (gr. IIIT). Watch Replay
Trainer Mike Stidham had the 4-year-old City Zip filly ready to rumble, and she set comfortable opening fractions of :24.37 and :48.72 under a snug hold from jockey Florent Geroux. She went three-quarters in 1:12.36 and turned back the challenge of Tammy the Torpedo, then sprinted clear under left-handed urging through a 1:35.62 mile en route to a two-length victory.
It was a well-measured ride from Geroux, who one day earlier captured the United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park aboard World Approval, and who also won the June 30 Iowa Oaks on Family Tree. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile turf test was 1:41.42 on a course rated firm.
Off at odds of 5-2, Zipessa paid $7.40, $3.40, and $2.60. Tuttapaesi brought $3.40 and $2.60, and Tiger Ride returned $3.20.
Zipessa was bred in Kentucky by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and Sally S. Humphrey out of the Horse Chestnut mare Precious Princess. She passed through the auction ring twice: as a $30,000 weanling consigned by Lane's End to Off the Hook, agent, at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, and as a $67,000 yearling purchased by Marette Farrell from the St. George Sales consignment to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale.
Stidham brought the chestnut filly into the Penny Memorial off a third-place finish in the June 11 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (gr. IIIT) and a fourth in the May 7 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIT), both at Churchill Downs. She improved her record to four wins and a third from seven starts for earnings of $227,850.