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‘Sassy’ Eyeing Breeders Crown

Published: October 1, 2018 12:31 pm ET

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After a long and successful stint in the rough and rugged Filly and Mare Open class at Yonkers Raceway, the sport's newest millionaire, Newborn Sassy, has her eyes set on one of the sport's biggest 'crowns.'

Newborn Sassy surpassed the million dollar mark in career earnings earlier in the month when she picked up her 32nd career triumph for owners CC Racing LLC and Jo Ann Looney-King.

"We call her our overachiever," Looney-King said. "When I watch her race on Friday nights, I can hardly believe that the long-legged filly we bought as a yearling has become the darling of the mares open at Yonkers."

Bred by Winbak Farm, Newborn Sassy, by Western Ideal, was purchased by her current owners for $38,000 at the Lexington Select Yearling Sale. Normally staying in the $15-$20,000 range for yearlings, ‘Team King’ extended its budget a bit to bring Sassy aboard. "We really liked her family," Looney-King said. "She was long-legged and otherwise fairly average looking, but we were crazy about the family."

Newborn Sassy proved her worth right from the start, as she reeled off eight consecutive wins in her juvenile campaign, which included the prestigious Matron Stakes at Dover Downs. Team King was thrilled with her performances, but was anxious to get her stronger and sounder for her three-year-old season.

"When she came back as a three-year-old, she was still a shrinking violet," said Looney-King. "She still had the same 'why do you think she looks like that' jogging issue."

After a series of near-misses to begin her sophomore season, Newborn Sassy finally reached the winner's circle in an elimination of the James Lynch at Pocono. She went on to enjoy a solid stakes season, which included wins in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event, the Adioo Volo, the Lady Maud, the John Simpson, and a Breeders Crown elimination victory to cap off her sophomore campaign.

"There were times where she raced in some of the major stakes and we felt that maybe we were playing ball in the wrong park," said Looney-King. "But she always came through no matter what; making money, paying bills, and doing her job."

Since the start of her four-year-old season until now, Newborn Sassy has mainly faced open female foes. She has won 15 times against open horses since mid-May of 2017.

Although her performances on the track speak for themselves, Newborn Sassy’s pre-race score downs leave a little to be desired. "’Sassy’ has a very sloppy way of scoring down," said Looney-King. "We always tell the drivers 'you won't like her scoring down, but you'll love her in the race.’ I think all the drivers respect ‘Miss Sassy.’ Every 2.5 times she goes to the track, she comes home a winner."

Back on the farm, Newborn Sassy has the luxury of having the same caretaker since she was two years old. Kate Moore has been with Team King for 15 years.

"Kate is the best, but she has spoiled Sassy to death," Looney-King jokes. "Sassy's stall is right by the wash stall so she watches all the action going on. She has her head over the gate all day begging for carrots. She is so kind and wonderful to be around."

As for what's ahead for Team King's talented mare, it looks like another race season is in the works, but Looney-King insists the horse will call the shots. They are in no hurry to change her status to a broodmare.

"It's been one helluva Sassy year," Looney-King said. "And as we know, Newborn Sassys are hard to come by."

(Post Time with Mike and Mike)


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