Wesley Ward is off to an incendiary start so far this meet, winning with seven of 11 starters, and the owner/trainer has an excellent chance of improving the barn’s high percentage when Sweet and Lowdown takes on eight other fillies and mares three and older in Friday’s featured $44,000 allowance optional claiming race.
The five furlong dash over the turf course looks like a sweet spot for the filly, who shares her name with the 1999 Woody Allen film that garnered Sean Penn and Samantha Morton Academy Award nominations in their acting categories.
The bay 3-year-old filly has proved to be a pretty good bargain. Bred in Kentucky by Fares Farm, she is a daughter of 2006 Juvenile champion and 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and the Dynaformer mare Mombasa. Along with her nice bloodlines, her resume includes $85,238 in earnings from three wins, one second and two thirds in nine starts.
Sweet and Lowdown has won two of her three starts in 2012, first at Gulfstream and then Woodbine at the same distance as Friday’s feature and she came in fourth last out on April 25 in a $56,000 allowance test at five-and-a-half furlongs at Keeneland. She’s raced at distances from four-and-a-half furlongs to one mile in her nine starts, and has been tried on dirt, turf, and Polytrack at seven different racetracks.
“We’ve tried other things with her but sprinting five-eighths on the turf is her game,” said Ward. “She’s turned out to be a nice filly.”
Sweet and Lowdown tuned up with a pair of bullet works on Keeneland’s Polytrack and will be dangerous if left alone on the lead. With plenty of other early speed in the race, the pace may benefit Revenge, trained by Bill Mott and invading from Belmont, or Caribbean Lady, who is dropping down from stakes company last out in a turf sprint at Colonial Downs. Caribbean Lady comes from the barn of Tony Dutrow, who also sends out Madrilena. They will not run as an entry due to separate ownership.
MO MO MO MO IMPRESSES IN MAIDEN WIN
The racing office carded the first test for two-year-old New Jersey-breds last Sunday (June 24) and it was Mo Mo Mo Mo who bested the other seven juveniles in the field. Moreover, he fought back after losing the lead around the far turn and showed some true grit while breaking his maiden in his first outing.
“I’m very proud of him,” said trainer David Nunn. “I’ve always thought highly of him and expected good things from him, but you never know until the gate opens. He’s going to get a little vacation and I’m pointing him to the Jersey Futurity (to be added to the stakes schedule and be run here on October 6).”
The Diane Boyken homebred is by Mo Mon and the Lyphard’s Ridge mare Silent Ridge. That makes him a half-brother to Paisley Park, who was trained by Joe Pierce, Jr. during her three-year career (2002-04) here and was always known for being extremely game.
“That mare (Silent Ridge) did nothing but produce winners,” said Nunn, a former jockey who during his career galloped horses for Hall of Famers LeRoy Jolley and Mack Miller. Nunn also was the exercise rider for dual grade one winner Formal Gold, the winner of the 1997 Grade 2 Iselin Handicap, for longtime Monmouth horseman Bill Perry.
“In that Juvenile race that Mo Mo Mo Mo won, four of the eight horses in the field were sired by Mo Mon,” said Nunn. “Diane has bred a lot of nice horses. She had the stallion, but he died last year. I’m happy to have this horse in my barn.”
Nunn has entered Withgreatpleasure, the winner of her last two races in optional claiming allowance company at Parx and Belmont, in Saturday’s $75,000 Lighthouse Stakes for fillies and mares going one-mile-and-a-sixteenth on the main track.
When asked which of the horses he’s trained has been his best, he replied, “That’s easy. It’s her.”