Heavy rains forced Sunday’s Sweetest Chant onto the main
track, but it mattered little to eventual winner Sassy Image. The daughter of
Broken Vow worked-out a cozy inside trip behind the early speed before rallying
through an opening on the rail en route to a 4 1/2 lengths victory. Robby
Albarado was in for the ride.
Last November Sassy Image won the Golden Rod (G2) at
Churchill Downs about four weeks after she won the Pocahontas (G3). She is now
4-for-8 lifetime with three stakes victories. She is owned by Jerry Romans, the
brother of winning trainer Dale Romans.
Blackwell, who was making her dirt debut, set a strong pace
beneath John Velazquez and was a clear second despite running to the half in a
swift 45.93 seconds for the one mile race. It was another 5 1/4 lengths back to
third place finisher Check the Label and Julien Leparoux.
The final time was 1:37.42.
Romans (Sassy Image) – “It worked out fine for us that the race came off
the turf, but we would have gone ahead if it had been on the grass. It was a
good race for her. Right now the plan is to have two more races and then go in
the (Kentucky) Oaks
(Churchill Downs on Apr. 30). The big question is her next race, which might
have to be on turf, and then have one more race before the Oaks in the Bonnie
Miss here (Mar. 20, Florida Derby Day). We also have Quiet Temper in New
Orleans at Fair Grounds pointing for the Oaks and hope to have them both run,
but we’ll keep them apart until then. We’re going to keep Tapitsfly (winner of
Breeders’ Cup Fillies Turf at Santa Anita) on turf.”
Albarado (jockey, Sassy Image, 1st) - “Last year we thought she
was one of the best two-year-old fillies. She’s matured a lot this year. She
has shown a little more tactical speed early, which is going to benefit her in
the future. She’s a stayer. She stays around. She really doesn’t have a huge
turn of foot, but it’s big enough to get some margin on them turning for home
and sustain it. She was always within herself today and she handled the track