Party At Page’s up in time to win Lady Finger

Monday, October 5th, 2020

Party At Page’s won Monday’s Lady Finger Stakes for trainer Jeremiah Englehart (left) and jockey Reylu Gutierrez. SV Photography.

By Tom Law

Matt Hand isn’t afraid to take a chance buying a young horse with what might look like a light pedigree page.

Hand, who runs Emcee Stable, did just that when he studied the catalog page for Hip 4425 at last year’s Keeneland September yearling sale. Selling on the last day of the marathon auction out of the Cross Keys Sales LLC, agent, consignment, the daughter of Gemologist went through the ring without any blacktype under her first dam and only one winner listed.

The pedigree continued to improve after Hand, with a signoff from Travis Durr, bought the filly for $10,000 and it moved forward again Monday when the now-named Party At Page’s got up late to win the $118,587 Lady Finger Stakes at Finger Lakes.

“She’s been a filly that’s surprised all of us,” said trainer Jeremiah Englehart, who trains the filly for Emcee Stable, James Boswell and Mark Wipperman’s Gold Star Racing Stable and Brian McKenzie. “Matt, he buys a really interesting horse to say the least. He’s not afraid to take a shot on a page. He didn’t spend a whole lot for her and she was the right horse.”

Party At Page’s earned back her purchase price finishing second behind Irish Constitution in her debut July 24 at Saratoga Race Course, picking up $12,400, before adding another $34,100 for her three-quarter-length maiden win Aug. 28 at Saratoga.

A head victory over Summer Brew in the 6-furlong Lady Finger under Reylu Gutierrez added another $71,152, bringing the tally to $117,652 for a filly that’s exceeded expectations from Day 1.

“She’s gutsy. Every race she’s run well,” said Englehart, who won the 2017 Lady Finger with Indy’s Lady and last year with My Italian Rabbi. “She surprised me the first race she ran and I had a little bit more confidence in her in the second race.

Blame It On Mary, who shipped to Finger Lakes from Belmont Park for trainer Eddie Barker off a third in her lone start downstate Sept. 20, took the initiative from the break. The daughter of Blame carved out honest fractions of :22.91 and :45.80 while racing just off the rail on the backstretch and around the far turn.

Gutierrez stayed busy on Party At Page’s, keeping the 4-5 favorite fourth and well off the fence through the opening fraction and up to third around the far turn, just behind 2-1 second choice Summer Brew.

Summer Brew engaged Blame It On Mary just before turning for home but the leader spurted clear again when the field of six New York-bred fillies straightened. Blame It On Mary still led by a length from Summer Brew at the eighth pole with Party At Page’s another length back in third.

Gutierrez gave Party At Page’s a few quick cracks of the whip left handed and hand rode the filly inside the sixteenth pole to get past Summer Brew by a head with Blame It On Mary a neck back in third. The first three were 14 ¼ clear of fourth-place Crazy Delight and the winner finished in 1:12.57.

“I didn’t like how the track has been playing up here so I really didn’t think that she’d have the best chance here today with how the track was and being down in the inside,” Englehart said. “But Rey worked out a really good path and got her home.”

T/C Stable LLC, which bred multiple Grade 2-placed and former classics hopeful Tiz Mischief and 10-time winner and $147,365-earner Can’t Say No, also bred Party At Page’s. Foaled at Saratoga Glen Farm in Schuylerville, she’s the first New York-bred produced by the winning Lion Heart mare Auntgrace, who started her career in California after being a $225,000 purchase at the 2008 Barretts Equine Ltd. Mary 2-year-olds in training sale.

Party At Page’s became her dam’s fifth winner in her late August maiden score and first stakes winner Monday. She’s also the dam of winners Zen’s Surprise, Island Tap, Avenida Manana and Kona Kai, who finished second in his debut at Ellis Park last year about two weeks before Party At Page’s went through the ring.

“Matt really liked her at the sale even if he wasn’t a huge Gemologist fan,” Englehart said. “And I thought we had Finger Lakes to back up on, but the has produced winners so we were hopeful. We liked her and bought her half brother, a yearling by Normandy Invasion, privately in Kentucky this year.”

The Normandy Invasion colt is also a New York-bred, along with Auntgrace’s 2020 foal, a colt by New York-based stallion Central Banker. She was bred back to Central Banker in 2020.

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