by James Scully
The spotlight shines in this column on recent performances that may have not
received much attention.
On New Year’s Day at Aqueduct, AMAZING BUY (High Yield) earned her first win
in striking fashion, romping to a 10 1/2-length, wire-to-wire decision in her
second career start. Purchased for $350,000 as a two-year-old, the Jennifer
Pedersen-trained sophomore filly finished a decent third in her career bow last
month before improving substantially in Saturday’s six-furlong test. She drew
off easily while coming home in a fast :23 2/5, earned a 103 BRIS Speed rating
and is bred for longer distances.
At Santa Anita, SKUKUZA (Lord Avie) continued to impress with his third
straight victory last Wednesday (12/29). Following a lengthy layoff, the
four-year-old gelding broke his maiden in his third career start in mid-October
and then defeated allowance rivals at Hollywood Park in November. The John
Sadler charge squared off against a strong allowance field here and got the job
done from just off the pace, rallying to the lead in upper stretch and gamely
withstanding all challengers to the wire to win by three parts of a length.
Skukuza received a 97 Speed figure.
PUSSYCAT DOLL (Real Quiet) is the first foal from Grade 1 winner
Hookedonthefeelin (Citidancer) and represented well the Mike Pegram/Bob Baffert team with a
three-length maiden score on Friday. Making her third career attempt in the
one-mile maiden special weight, the newly turned three-year-old showed speed
early before settling for jockey Rene Douglas and rallied boldly to the front
leaving the far turn under a long hold. She galloped home over the sloppy track.
MOTHER (Lion Hearted), another good-looking three-year-old miss in the
Baffert shedrow, crushed her maiden special weight rivals on Sunday at Santa
Anita, cruising to an eight-length win on the front end in her second career
outing. She earned a respectable 93 Speed figure over the wet-fast track and
went heavily favored in the six-furlong affair. Mother, who originally sold for
$10,000 as a yearling, was acquired by Thomas van Meter for $150,000 as a
two-year-old in training.
DILIGENT PROSPECT (Diligence) returned off a lengthy layoff to record his
second straight victory in easy fashion last Thursday, defeating optional
claimers by two lengths over the muddy Santa Anita oval. The gray three-year-old
colt, who earned a 109 Speed rating for his 3 1/2-length maiden score in late
May at Hollywood, showed good speed from the start here and came home quickly
under jockey Jon Court. Diligent Prospect had to need the start off the shelf
and turned in a very encouraging performance for conditioner Doug O’Neill.
At Fair Grounds, CARLEA (Carson City), who was coming off a close runner-up
finish in her second career start at Woodbine in November, recorded a sharp 2
3/4-length maiden score on Sunday over a well-meant rival (it was seven lengths
back to third). Trained by Josie Carroll, the three-year-old filly earned a
solid 92 Speed figure and she’s bred to stretch out in ground nicely off this
victory at six furlongs.
CAPE HOPE (Cape Town) appears to have a bright future on the grass off her 6
1/4-length triumph Monday in New Orleans. A six-length maiden winner when trying
the grass in mid-December, the Dallas Stewart-trained sophomore filly continued
to show her prowess for the green in this about one-mile optional claiming event
and now owns a 4-2-0-1 overall mark.