Maywood Park (5/25/13)
Contact: Tom Kelley
TAMARAC SASSY TAKES VIOLET IN FRONT STEPPING FASHION
Speed and an inside post can be a winning combination on a half-mile oval, and that was the case once again on Friday night at Maywood Park as Neva Jane Ikeler’s Tamarac Sassy stormed right to the front and made every call a winning one, taking the $47,866 Violet Stake by a hard fought neck in 1:55.1.
|Tamarac Sassy and driver Casey Leonard teamed up to take Friday's $47,866 Violet Stake in 1:55.1 at Maywood Park.|
Hustled away from post position four by driver Casey Leonard, the eight-year-old daughter of Us And Them cruised through relatively pedestrian opening splits of 27.2 and 57.2.
“I knew that getting to the front and being able to control the tempo was going to be the key in this big field,” explained Leonard. “We were able to get away with a nice second quarter breather and I knew I had a longshot out there next to me (98-1 outsider Tweeds Fly N Star) so I was pretty confident at that point.”
Things started to heat up though as the field raced under the finish wire for the first time, as driver Kyle Husted sent Party Hangover three wide around the stalling first over longshot. Moving with a full head of steam, Party Hangover had drawn to within a nose of Tamarac Sassy as the two mares raced side by side past the three quarter-mile mark in 1:25.2.
“Once that other mare came up to us I could feel my mare really start to dig in,” said Leonard. “Even though the other horse had gotten that close and may have even put a head in front of my horse I knew mine still had a little something left to give.”
And dig in she did, finally putting away the challenge of Party Hangover, who after dropping nearly three-quarters of a length behind at the top of the stretch, made one final surge at the wire to draw within a neck of the winner. Party Hangover was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role on this night while Dee Dee Sage (Todd Warren) took advantage of a ground saving trip from the rail to grab the show dough.
When asked in the winner’s circle if Tamarac Sassy, who now sports a record of 6-2-1 in 16 starts this year for trainer Terry Leonard, could be classified as a half-mile specialist due to her success in recent years at Maywood, Casey pondered the question.
“Yeah I guess that’s a pretty accurate statement,” he said. “She can go with these top mares when they shift over to Balmoral but on this half-mile oval she’s got a bit of an advantage over them because she is so quick away from the gate and she gets around the turns so well. She’s just an all-around tough mare.”
Sent off as the second choice in the wagering Tamarac Sassy returned $9.60, $4.60 and $3.00 while upping her career bankroll to $251,326.