Focusing on fillies


Last month, I wrote briefly about Sabellina, the New York-bred mare who was a favorite of mine; Matt Lyons, general manager of Woodford Thoroughbreds in Versailles, Kentucky, commented on the post to let us know that Sabellina was at his farm in Kentucky and that her first foal would go through the ring during this week’s Fasig-Tipton yearling sale.
Matt was incredibly gracious and friendly when I stopped by the stall of the Pulpit filly last Sunday; he had her brought out and walked around for me, knowing full well that I was NOT there as a potential purchaser.


She got a high bid of $100,000 on Monday night as hip #1, short of her reserve, so earlier this week, she went back home to Kentucky. According to Lyons, she handled the trip here and back well, and she’ll now be turned out for a month before likely heading to training in Ocala. Though she is still for sale and potential buyers have expressed interest, she’ll go into training and race for Woodford if she doesn’t sell.

In other filly news: I learned recently that a two-year-old daughter of Society Selection and Giant’s Causeway is in the barn of Allen Jerkens, who trained her mother to multiple Grade I victories, including the Alabama, the Test, and the Frizette. Her name is Gossip Gal and she’s a little nutty, according to the trainer and her exercise rider, but learning. Photos to follow. Society Selection is one of the horses that rekindled my interest in racing, and it’s amazing to now be able to watch her offspring—especially a filly—come to the track. .

A number of folks have weighed in with information on Emotion, the puzzling filly who won the first Test in 1992. I am indebted to them for their research and time:

From Maryjean Wall in a comment on the post:

Emotion was the dominant female of 1922, according to Kent Hollingsworth, The
Great Ones. Hollingsworth took on the task of determining which had been the
dominant (therefore, ‘champion’) horses of each division prior to the advent of
voting; it is all we have.

From Valerie Grash of Foolish Pleasure in a comment on the post:

According to “Sires and Dams of Stakes Winners, 1925-74” (which I snagged on
eBay for a song), Emotion ran three years, making 46 starts, with 12 wins and
earning of $20,271. Unfortunately, it doesn’t lay out specific races won by her,
unlike the foals recorded, or which racing year her wins came in, but it does,
interestingly, say that she is only stakes placed, not a stakes winner, since
The Test was only a specially arranged race at 1-1/4 miles.

Do check out Valerie’s new site, Fillies First, devoted to Thoroughbred racing’s great fillies and mares.

And in an e-mail from Allan Carter, researcher extraordinaire at the National Museum of Racing: Emotion’s race record was 46 – 12 – 11 – 11. Her most notable finishes were a second in the 1921 Beldame, the 1922 Coaching Club American Oaks, and the New Rochelle Handicap (to males). She placed in a number of other stakes races, but didn’t win any.

Emotion was the dam of High Strung, who as a 2 year old in 1928 won five of six races, including the Futurity, the Oceanus Handicap and the Pimlico Futurity. His earnings of $153,590 were the highest total that year for a 2-year-old.

Clearly, racing research is a team effort, and thanks to everyone who dug into their resources and came up with all of this information. Would that it were all in one, easily accessible place…

Next Wednesday, August 19th, is the Women’s Day Expo at Saratoga. In the past, this program has focused on health, beauty, and shopping. There will be more of that this year, as we are promised “the latest in fall fashion, jewelry, hair removal, cellulite treatment and beauty products, as well as fertility treatment and programs for seniors.”

Exactly what I go to the track for. You, too?

Fortunately, this year’s program has been expanded to feature information on—wait…yes—horse racing! All Play Stable will provide information for those interested in owning thoroughbreds through syndicated partnerships, and women will be able to learn about career opportunities in the thoroughbred industry from female racing professionals at the Racing Vocations Table, which will feature female handicappers, writers, jockeys, trainers and other professionals.

After years of programs that focus on how we can look better by buying clothes, jewelry, make-up, or plastic surgery, an emphasis on involvement in the racing industry is a welcome addition. After all, the NYRA press release says that women “comprise nearly half the fan base at Saratoga Race Course,” and it makes sense that the day will actually highlight what brings the women to the track in the first place.

3 thoughts on “Focusing on fillies

  1. Lucky you! Nice pics of Sabellina's little girl. Think we could pool our money and purchase her? With our educators' salaries… 🙂 jk

  2. Now what you DIDN'T know is that your fine filly was led by Rigo Zapata, one of THE BEST showmen on the circuit… and I ought to know, I've worked with him on several occasions! 🙂 She couldn't have been in better hands.

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