Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) starter Bsharpsonata may be the current stable star in the barn of John and Tim Salzman, but she is not the first filly to draw attention to the Maryland-based father-and-son training team.
John Salzman trained and co-owned champion Xtra Heat, who holds the record for most stakes wins (25) for a North American-based female. The daughter of Dixieland Bandended her career in 2003 with a record of 26-5-2 from 35 starts. She earned $2,389,635.
Xtra Heat is now a broodmare whose first foal, Southwestern Heat (by Gone West), is a stakes winner trained by the Salzmans.
“Her (Bsharpsonata’s) form at this time is as good as Xtra Heat’s was at the same time (in the same number starts),” said John Salzman, who is overseeing the filly’s training at Churchill Downs while his son Tim is in Maryland. “She is a real nice filly, but they (Xtra Heat and Bsharpsonata) are totally different. My filly (Xtra Heat) was a sprinter and this filly (Bsharpsonata) is a distance horse. This filly, she has run on the dirt, turf, and Polytrack. She has run in the mud, she has run short, and she has run long. Is she an Eclipse Award winner—I hope she is—and I really think she might be. If she can win this race, then she would be one of the candidates.”
The elder Salzman stopped short of saying he believed Bsharpsonata could end her career as good or better than Xtra Heat, but didn’t rule it out, either.
“Each race is a different race and it is hard to say at the end of her time if is she going to be as good as Xtra Heat. I hope she is,” he said. “She has the ability to do it, but keeping them sound is one of the main things and keeping her head straight is another. I guess we will just wait and see what happens.”
Bsharpsonata (Pulpit—Apasionata, by Affirmed) has been a model of consistency in her 10-start career. She has six wins and one second-place effort to her credit thus far in her career. She began her sophomore campaign with a win in the Tropical Park Oaks and followed that effort with wins in the Forward Gal and Davona Dale Stakes, both grade II at Gulfstream Park. Most recently, she finished second to fellow Oaks starter Little Belle in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) over the Polytrack at Keeneland.
“This filly is really a nice filly,” John Salzman said. “She just keeps getting better, and there is no place I can knock her.”
Racing as a homebred for John Sykes’ Cloverleaf Farm, Bsharpsonata finished up her Oaks preparations April 23 with a five-furlong work in :59.80 under jockey Eric Camacho, who has the mount in the Oaks.
In a different move, the connections of fellow Oaks starter Golden Doc A asked if she could work behind Bsharpsonata in an attempt to put dirt in the face of the filly.
“We were planning on working in 1:00 or 1:01, so it was pretty close,” John Salzman said. “It was just a maintenance work for us. I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on my horse. I was just trying to keep her fit.”
Bsharpsonata, who walked the shedrow April 24, will gallop between 1½ to 2¼ miles until the May 2 Oaks.
Tim Salzman is expected to join his father in Louisville April 30.