Sassy Agnes shows heels to competitive Key Cents field for third straight stakes score

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

NYRA/Susie Raisher

By Sarah Mace

Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Sassy Agnes scored her third straight stakes victory when she forged straight to the front of the full, competitive field of Friday’s 6-furlong Key Cents Stakes for New York-bred juvenile fillies and brooked no challenge.

Well-beaten in her August 1 debut, a turf sprint for state-breds at Saratoga, Sassy Agnes hasn’t taken a false step since. When she tried the Saratoga main track for the first time, she finished second to Take Me to Hardoon, a Key Cents rival, before competing twice at Finger Lakes in September and October, in each case collecting a stakes victory.

On September 2 Sassy Agnes won the Lady Finger Stakes by three-quarters of a length to become the first stakes winner for her freshman sire Central Banker while breaking her maiden. Appearing again in Farmington on October 22, she posted an even more impressive 3 1/2-length score in the Shesastonecoldfox Stakes. In all but her first start, the blaze-faced chestnut filly has been forwardly placed.

Drawn in post three of 12 for the Key Cents, Sassy Agnes (5-1) wasted no time, gunning straight to the lead after the bell and opening two lengths on the crowd before the first point of call.

Former nemesis Take Me to Hardoon and longshot My Best Friend mounted early challenges from the two- and three-paths along the backstretch, but Sassy Agnes held her position through a fast early quarter of 21.98.

Take Me to Hardoon backed off to bide her time in third, but My Best Friend pressed on, getting on even terms with Sassy Agnes early on the turn.

Sassy Agnes shook off her would-be challenger by the approach to the quarter pole and began to pull off in the lane. Even though she drifted out late, the issue was never in doubt, as Sassy Agnes crossed the wire alone, a convincing 1 1/4-length winner.

Espresso Shot, who had travelled near the back markers early, barreled down the middle of the track to finish an impressive second, outrunning her 20-1 odds for trainer Jorge Abreu and jockey Eric Cancel. Take Me to Hardoon (15-1) stayed on with determination at the fence to get the show honors. Parx invader and 59-1 longshot My Best Friend completed the superfecta, which paid $4,059 for a .10 cent wager. After a half mile in 45.39, the final time for six furlongs over the fast main track was 1:11.79.

NYRA/Chelsea Durand

Jose Ortiz, aboard Sassy Agnes for the first time, gave a positive appraisal of his mount. “She’s a really nice filly,” said Ortiz. “Today was the first time I’ve been on her and she showed me that she has good form and is very classy. She broke well and went plenty fast for this type of track and then kept going, which was impressive. She looks like a really nice New York-bred.”

Linda Rice, who has capitalized on racing opportunities at Finger Lakes this year like fellow NYRA trainer Rudy Rodriguez, said, “She’s really coming into her own. I kept her at Finger Lakes because I wanted to keep going three-quarters [of a mile] with her. I said let’s bring her down for this race, and then maybe as a 3-year-old, she can compete against open company. She’s very fast.”

Bred by Klaravich Stables and foaled at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds, Sassy Agnes is a graduate of the OBS March 2-year-olds in training sale, where Beach Haven Thoroughbreds made a winning bid of $105,000 after the filly breezed a furlong in :10 seconds flat. Sassy Agnes has three wins and a second from five starts and has already out-earned her purchase price with $168,182 in purse money.

Sassy Agnes is out of Bullish Sentiment, an unraced daughter of Stormy Atlantic and full sister to graded stakes-placed and multiple stakes winner Stormy’s Majesty who was bred in New York by Majesty Stud, LLC and earned $336,649. Her second dam is New York-bred stakes performer Raffie’s Dream. Bullish Sentiment has produced yearling and weanling full sisters to Sassy Agnes and was bred this year to Constitution.

The leading first crop sire in New York and sitting at number five nationally, Central Banker is a Grade 2-winning sprinter by Speightstown out of multiple stakes winner Rhum. He stands at McMahon of Saratoga Thoroughbreds for a 2019 fee of $7,500.

Leave a Reply