05/16/2006 11:00PM

'Kissntheboys' gives Repp her first stakes


AUBURN, Wash. - Kissntheboysgoodby went from a possible flash in the pan to divisional leader in 1:09 on Sunday, when she won the six-furlong Hastings Park Handicap in convincing fashion.

Kissntheboysgoodby, a 4-year-old daughter of Tropic Lightning trained by Charles Essex, had upset many of the same rivals in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance prep for the Hastings Park on April 22, when she was dismissed at 12-1. She had a conditioning advantage over most of her rivals that day, however, and she also benefited from a five-pound break in the weights with apprentice Kate Repp riding. Repp's apprentice allowance doesn't apply to stakes races, but Essex didn't hesitate to name her back aboard.

"I have a lot of confidence in her," said the trainer. "She gets along with this filly so well. She doesn't fight her early, so the filly finishes for her. Plus I taught Kate how to gallop and I put her up on her first mount, so I thought why not give her a chance in the stakes."

Repp made the most of her chance, relaxing Kissntheboysgoodby just off the pacesetting Marva Jean through a half-mile in 44.80 seconds. Kissntheboysgoodby then forged to the front in the upper stretch and held steady to prevail by three-quarters of a length over the fast-finishing Karis Makaw as the 6-1 fourth choice.

It was the first stakes win for Repp, a 24-year-old native of Auburn, Wash., who came into this meeting with 82 wins from 616 starts. The Hastings Park victory was the second score in a hat trick for the apprentice on Sunday, and the three wins improved her record to 9 victories from 53 mounts at the meeting, good for second in the rider standings.

Sunday's score was the third in a row for Kissntheboysgoodby, who won a six-furlong optional claiming race in her last start at Turf Paradise in February. Kissntheboysgoodby also won one of two tries at a mile in Phoenix, but Essex said she still has something to prove around two turns.

"She beat five maidens in the mud, so I'm not sure that means she is going to be a stakes filly going long," said Essex. "I'll give her a chance to go long again when the time comes, but I don't have to worry about that yet."

Essex, who trained Handy N Bold to a record 10 Emerald Downs stakes wins, said Kissnthe-

boysgoodby will go next in the $40,000 Washington State Legislators Stakes on June 11 at 6 1/2 furlongs. The four subsequent stakes for fillies and mares at the meeting will all be contested around two turns.

Kissntheboysgoodby races for her trainer's father, Dean Essex, who bred the filly from his Chisos mare Raizel. Essex also got the 5-year-old allowance winner Me O Me O My from the same mare, and he hopes to get more good ones from her in the future. He almost lost the chance, however.

"In my great wisdom, I sold Raizel for $500," said Dean Essex. "After Me O Me O My showed she could run, I had to go out and buy her back for $5,000. It wasn't my best business transaction, but at least I got her back."

A Classic Life will be back

The Hastings Park field was reduced to eight with the scratch of last year's Washington Oaks winner, A Classic Life.

"We schooled her in the paddock Friday night, and when we brought her back to her stall something spooked her," said trainer Grant Forster. "She got her front legs over the top of the wall and skinned them up a bit, so I didn't feel comfortable running her.

"It was nothing serious, though, and the Hastings Park wasn't the race that we were aiming for. She is still on track for the longer races later in the season."

Marva Jean gets a vacation

Trainer Frank Lucarelli said Marva Jean will be turned out after running a disappointing sixth in the Hastings Park. The 6-year-old Marva Jean won her first four starts at last year's stand, including the Hastings Park, but she is unplaced in two starts at the current meet.

"She is just not right, and there is no sense running her when she is not at her best," said Lucarelli. "We'll let her get some sunshine, then when she starts looking good again we'll try again."

Imagunna scores as heavy favorite

Imagunna equaled the lowest win payoff in Emerald Downs history when she paid just $2.20 to win Friday night's first-level allowance feature for 3-year-old fillies. Imagunna, a daughter of Petersburg from the barn of trainer Jim Penney, had won her debut against $20,000 maidens by nearly 13 lengths.

More than $20,000 was bet on her in the win pool, including $10,000 in a single bet, and she gave her backers little cause for concern. She opened a three-length lead at the eighth pole, then cruised home by 1 1/4 lengths over Coffeeinparis in 1:03.60 for 5 1/2 furlongs.

Andrea's Wish draws $32K claim

Trainer Carlos Moreno made the most expensive claim of the meeting in Saturday's feature, taking the 4-year-old filly Andrea's Wish for $32,000. Moreno's wife, Maria, is the new owner.

"We've been looking for a horse to claim or buy in California, but we couldn't find anything," said Moreno. "Then I saw this filly and she was just what we wanted, so we took her. She came out of the race really well and I like her a lot. I think we can have some fun win her."

Andrea's Wish, who is at her best in routes, ran a creditable fourth going six furlongs on Saturday.