Saturday, October 2, 2010

Four noses, only two noses apart

On Friday night at Charles Town, Sultry Gibson nearly became the eighth multiple-winner from my sales-tip class of 2010.

She also nearly finished fourth.

In a 4 1/2-furlong allowance for 2-year-old fillies, the Gibson County filly broke sharply and led the field through an opening quarter run in a brisk 21.99. But she was far from loose on that lead, as two horses to her inside -- even-money favorite Regina Beatriz was only a head behind, and 30/1 long-shot Hey U held the rail position, just another head in arrears.

Coming off the turn, Hey U surged to a half-length lead as Regina Beatriz checked out, eventually finishing seventh of eight. Sultry Gibson momentarily also looked beaten, then dug in for the stretch run as second-favored Ann's Mink (4/1) -- who had broken her maiden in an August stakes race at Charles Town -- loomed to her outside. Those three had a knock-down, drag-out for the last sixteenth as 18/1 shot Cuttin Edge Kitten closed from sixth place, with a rush, on the far outside.

It was a four-horse photo at the wire.

Ultimately, the picture showed Ann's Mink had her nose in front when it counted. But Sultry Gibson and Hey U couldn't be sorted out, with the connections settling for a dead-heat for place. Cuttin Edge Kitten was deemed to be another nose back in fourth.

Four noses, separated by two noses.

Sultry Gibson was withdrawn from May's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-year-olds in training, on auction day. She was bred in Florida by North Star Equine Inc. and is campaigned by Jocelyn Dickey McKathan. She was shipped north from Calder after three winless starts, and joined the barn of trainer Melissa Hunt. Apart from a fourth place finish last out, well in arrears of stellar Twelve Pack Shelley in the Miss Shenandoah, a $100,000 Charles Town stakes race, Sultry Gibson has never finished worse than a nose out of first in three other starts at the West Virginia racetrack.

I'm still crossing my fingers that the filly will be returned to Florida in the winter, to face statebred company at Tampa Bay Downs. There, I hope, she'll find her way onto the grass at least once. Her late sire's best 2-year-old this year is turf-sprint stakes-winner Ayoumilove, and Gibson County's sire was the Irish-bred In Excess, who certainly gets his share of turf runners. Sultry Gibson's dam, Sultry Peg Cee, is by Sultry Song, sire of turf millionaire and Breeders' Cup Mile upsetter Singletary. And Sultry Gibson's second dam, Hasty Lass, won stakes races on both dirt and turf.

It is reasonable to believe that Sultry Gibson might handle the grass.

As it stands, her $3,900 paycheck Friday night pushes the 2010 sales-tip class bankroll a few hundred bucks above $1.3 million. Sultry Gibson's personal stash has reached $32,040 from seven starts.

Follow my 187 sales picks, and a few pans, in the list at the bottom of this former post.

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