05/12/2003 11:00PM

Filly does her parents proud


AUBURN, Wash. - According to Herman Sarkowsky, who bred He's Tops and Takeaway, both were cut out to be nice horses. And Sarkowsky, who has been represented by Grade 1 winners such as Phone Chatter and Dixie Union, knows a nice horse when he sees one.

Unfortunately, neither He's Tops, who is by Seattle Slew and out of a Mr. Prospector mare, nor Takeaway, a daughter of juvenile champion Fly So Free and a half-sister to $843,000 winner Supercilious, reached their potential. Now their daughter, Youcan'ttakeme, who won last Sunday's stakes at Emerald Downs, is doing the job for them.

"He's Tops had pneumonia when he was a baby, and they had to take out a rib to get to the infection," said Sarkowsky. "He still wanted to be a racehorse, but the operation affected his wind and he was only good for five furlongs. I retired him after four races, but I liked him so much I decided to give him a chance to prove himself as a stallion.

"He went to stud in 1998, and I stood him for nothing for the first three years. He still didn't get many mares, so I bred six of my own mares to him."

One of the mares Sarkowsky bred to He's Tops in 1999 was Takeaway, who never made it to the races because of a training injury. The resultant foal was Youcan'ttakeme, who is now making a reputation for herself while proving the quality of both of her parents.

Last year, Youcan'ttakeme was named Washington-bred 2-year-old filly of the year after posting a sensational maiden win, running fourth against the boys in the Gottstein Futurity, winning an allowance race at Keeneland, and running fourth in the $214,000 Great State Challenge Juvenile Fillies at Sam Houston. She began her 3-year-old campaign with a win over allowance rivals at Oaklawn Park, and last Sunday she earned her stakes brackets with a six-length win in the Federal Way Handicap at Emerald, getting the 6 1/2 furlongs in a stakes-record 1:14.40.

Under Gary Baze, who was winning his third stakes from as many tries at the meeting, Youcan'ttakeme was briefly last of seven after breaking from the inside post, but she drove up along the rail to lead by a length after a quarter-mile in 22.20 seconds and was never seriously threatened. Top Penny, another stakes-winning daughter of He's Tops, closed strongly to edge even-money favorite Bisbee's Prospect for second by a neck.

"It's really quite gratifying for me to see members of He's Tops's second crop run one-two in a stakes," said Sarkowsky. "It's nice to see Takeaway's daughter win it, too. I just bred her to Dixie Union, and now that baby will have a stakes-winning sibling."

If Youcan'ttakeme has boosted the reputations of her sire and dam, she is also doing her part to make a name for her young trainer, Grant Forster. The son of successful Hastings Park-based trainers Dave and Terri Forster took over his father's local stable earlier this year, and Youcan'ttakeme gave him his first stakes winner.

"It's pretty exciting for me to win my first stakes for Mr. Sarkowsky, who has been such a great patron of the game and one of my biggest supporters, and it is even more exciting to think about what this filly might do in the future," Forster said. "She ran against some of the best fillies of her crop in the Midwest, and she more than held her own. I've got to think she'll be awfully tough for the rest of this meeting."

Untamed Passion: More bad luck

Sunday was a frustrating day for owner Jerre Paxton and trainer Bob McMeans, and not only because their Bisbee's Prospect ran third as the favorite in the Federal Way. At least as disappointing was that their Untamed Passion lost all chance at the start in an optional claiming race that went as the second. Favored at 4-5, Untamed Passion conceded 15 to 20 lengths at the start before closing to be beaten less than eight lengths by Princess Forever.

"They said she dwelt, but the way I saw it the assistant starter grabbed her head right before they popped the gate," said McMeans. "She hates people messing with her head, and if she could go without a head man there would be no problem."

Untamed Passion, a regally bred 4-year-old daughter of Pulpit and Lotta Dancing, by Alydar, showed enormous talent in her four-length debut win here last August but has since had no luck. She was scratched after she went to her knees in the paddock while attempting to make her second start last season, then she was scratched again because she broke through the gate prior to an allowance race here April 26.

"Her tail didn't even touch the ground, so I didn't think she should have been scratched in the paddock last year," McMeans said. "And the gate crew admitted that it was their fault she broke through the gate in April.

"She's not really a bad actor, so I don't really know how I'm supposed to address the situation. I suppose we'll have to school her some more, but that won't do much good because there is never a problem in the morning."