Jerry Romans Jr.'s Sassy Image took over from Decelerator in upper stretch and pulled clear for a convincing 3 3/4-length score in the $163,200 Golden Rod (gr. II) (VIDEO) on Nov. 28, as she swept the juvenile fillies stakes at the Churchill Downs fall meet.
A daughter of Broken Vow —Ideal Image, by Hennessy, Sassy Image won the one-mile Pocahontas (gr. III) back on Nov. 1 at Churchill in similar stalk-and-pounce fashion. Only this time, she was even more impressive.
Ridden by Robby Albarado, Sassy Image raced in fourth through the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod while Vivid Colors set the pace (:23.30, :47.29) under Calvin Borel. Decelerator and Terry Thompson stalked the leader and moved up to take the lead approaching the far turn.
But Sassy Image was moving right with Decelerator from a four-wide path and came on to nearly even terms with the new leader when hitting the quarter-pole. Those two dueled briefly when they straightened away, but Sassy Image slowly began to inch away in upper stretch. She opened up a big advantage approaching the sixteenth-pole and cruised to victory.
The final time on a fast main track was 1:44.51. Decelerator was runner-up by 7 1/4 lengths over Upperline.
Trained by Romans' brother, Dale, Sassy Image was making her fifth straight appearance in graded stakes company. She was runner-up in the Adirondack (gr. II) at Saratoga in August before finishing off the board in the Spinaway (gr. I) and Darley Alcibiades (gr. I). The Pocahontas was her first stakes victory.
The chestnut filly is now 3-1-1 from seven starts and has earned $247,684. She was bred in Kentucky by J C Davis Farm and purchased for $42,000 at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale.
“This is so exciting to win the two top graded stakes races for 2-year-old fillies," Jerry Romans said. "We grew up here at Churchill Downs. We’ll take it one race at a time but, of course, the Kentucky Oaks would be the master plan if she keeps moving forward, stays healthy, and keeps doing what she’s doing. She’ll probably get a little time off, go to Florida and shoot for the big spring races.”
The winner paid $4.60, $2.,80, and $2.20 as the favorite. The exacta (1-5) returned $17.80 and the trifecta (1-5-3) was $55.40.
Vivid Colors was fourth, followed by All Due Respect, and Canadian Storm.