Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bessie M gets elusive stakes trophy

Two starts after settling for second by a desperate head in stakes company at Calder Race Course, BESSIE M assured her name will appear in all-caps on catalog pages for decades to come by taking the Dolly Jo Stakes at Calder on Sunday by a comfortable 2 1/4 lengths.

The 3-year-old filly by Medallist-Catalita, by Mountain Cat, has proved to be a fantastic claim by Platinum Equestrian Corp. and trainer Antonio Sano. After taking her for $25,000 from a NW2L claiming event at Gulfstream in January, Bessie M's new connections have never seen her finish off the board. After a third and a second-place finish, she posted back-to-back wins for them at Calder in April and May, then hit the board in the Regal Gal Stakes (third) and Leave Me Alone Stakes (second a head) before winning in optional-claiming company her last out at Calder, on Aug. 20.

On Sunday, Bessie M and Daniel Centeno rated in fifth, 6 1/2 lengths off a blistering 21.13 opening quarter set by Orlando Bocachica and Afleet Lass, then blew by the rest of the field and wore down the game leader in the stretch to draw clear by the wire. Max Speed and Juan Leyva finished third by 6 1/4 lengths. Final time for six furlongs was 1:10.81.

Bessie M was bred in Maryland by Mr. & Mrs. Charles McGinnes, and I had hoped her connections might prep her for the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff at seven furlongs this coming weekend at Laurel. No complaints, however, about her scoring a stakes win, wherever it might be.

I shortlisted Bessie M as a Priority 2 prospect for a bargain-seeking client at last year's Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. She sold to William H. Harris for $35,000 as Hip 59 and presented him with a win photo from a dead-heat victory at Delaware Park as a 2-year-old. Harris would lose her on that January day at Gulfstream for $25,000, and Platinum Equestrian has been well-rewarded for its claim ever since.

I actually questioned the price Harris paid at the sale, but then again, we were there looking to buy a horse for even less than $35,000 -- which was already at least 25 percent below the sale average. But I stated here that: "This girl oughta be a decent racehorse for someone (though) she only rated Priority 2 status for me primarily because of the very slow start by her sophomore sire, who has just 10 winners so far from his freshman crop of 59 foals. ... (It) was hard to deny the fleetness of her 22 2/5 quarter over a slow track."

With the stakes score, Bessie M becomes the first stakes-winner from that bargain-basement list of 48 horses, whose average bid (sold or RNA) at the sale was under $24,000 and less than half the sale average. She is among four horses stakes-placed or better from that group of 48.

Bibblesman, who sold for $22,000 as Hip 337, has two wins and placed second in the Peppy Addy Stakes at Parx for $90,860. Spring Jump, a $19,000 purchase as Hip 234, is 3-for-11 with a second-place finish in the White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware Park as a 2-year-old, for $80,700.

The real tragedy from the group is Rough Sailing, a $40,000 buy as Hip 250, who broke maiden on Arlington's grass at first asking and was second in the Arlington-Washington Futurity-G3 for $37,534, but slipped entering the first turn of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf and was euthanized after breaking his shoulder in the fall.

Of the 48 bargain prospects, there are 43 starters (89.6 percent), 25 winners (52.1 percent) and 13 multiple-winners (27.1 percent).

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