Affirmed H. (gr. III)

(gr. III , 8.5f ,)

TWO STEP SALSA (DK B/ h, 119 lb) $64,260
Petionville —Two to Waltz , by Seattle Slew
B—Everest Stables Inc., KY.; O—Everest Stables, Inc.; T—Julio C. Canani

Tres Borrachos (B g, 116 lb) $21,420
Ecton Park —Pete's Fancy , by Peteski
B—Phil Houchens, KY.; O—Greely, C. Beau, Greely IV, John J. and Houchens, Phil; T—C. Beau Greely

Dixie Chatter (B h, 120 lb) $12,852
Dixie Union —Mini Chat , by Deputy Minister
B—Herman Sarkowsky, KY.; O—Herman Sarkowsky; T—Richard E. Mandella

Margins: 3¾, 2½, 1½. Others: Bingham 114($6,426) , Wind's Legacy 115($2,142) , Exuma 114 . Winning Jockey, Martin A. Pedroza.

No one could keep up with Two Step SalsaÕs moves when he dominated the June 15 Affirmed Handicap (gr. III) by 33Ú4 lengths at Hollywood Park and notched his second straight stakes victory in the process.

Leading at every call in the 11Ú16-mile contest under jockey Martin Pedroza, the homebred son of Petionville coasted home in 1:41.57 and improved his earnings to $203,990.

Two Step Salsa, who had not even attempted two turns prior to the Affirmed, easily turned back bids by grade I winner Dixie Chatter and Tres Borrachos at the top of the stretch en route to his fourth win in five starts.

Trained by Julio Canani for Everest Stables, Two Step SalsaÕs sole loss came in a runner-up effort on turf in the April 25 Harry Henson Stakes, also at Hollywood.

ÒThis horse is just a freak, thatÕs all I can say,Ó Pedroza said. ÒJulio didnÕt tell me too much. I work for him every day, and he has a lot of confidence in me. (Two Step Salsa) is one of those that when you ask him, itÕs like a push button.Ó

Two Step Salsa, who did not race as a 2-year-old, broke his maiden in his first try at Santa Anita Park in January. He came into the Affirmed off a score in the May 18 Lazaro Barrera Memorial Stakes (gr. III) at Hollywood.

Jeff Nielsen, who owns Everest Stables, bred Two Step Salsa in Kentucky. A native of Minnesota, Nielsen named his racing stable after his real estate investment company.

Beginning his career as a breeder in the early 1990s, Nielsen currently owns around 200 horses, including three stallions and more than 60 broodmares.

Among the numerous successful stakes winners Nielsen has campaigned over the years are grade I winners Noble and Nice and Island Fashion, plus Two Step SalsaÕs sire Petionville, a winner of three graded stakes in 1995, including the Ohio Derby (gr. II) and Louisiana Derby (gr. III), and an earner of $811,905.

Nielsen boards his horses at Pope McLeanÕs Crestwood Farm near Lexington.

Two Step Salsa was bred from the unraced Seattle Slew mare Two to Waltz, who is a full sister to stakes winner My True Lady.

Two Step Salsa is Two to WaltzÕs second winner from two foals to race. Her last two foals, both colts, are full brothers to Two Step Salsa. One is a yearling, and the other was born May 19. Two to Waltz was bred to Petionville on a June 12 cover.

Petionville is the sire of 25 stakes winners, including other 2008 added-money winners MikeÕs Pet, Preciousville, and Snake Proof. Petionville stands for $15,000 at Crestwood.ÑE.M.