09/15/2010 2:13PM

Lady Golightly to tackle males in Gottstein

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AUBURN, Wash. – Trainer Tom Wenzel is aiming high with Lady Golightly. After resounding victories in her first two stakes appearances at Emerald Downs, the speedy 2-year-old filly will try the boys Sept. 26 in the season-ending Gottstein Futurity.

Only nine fillies have captured the Gottstein in 72 runnings since the race’s inception in 1940, and only Smarty Deb has won it since Emerald Downs opened in 1996.

Smarty Deb was a rare bird. She ran fifth in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in her first start after taking the Gottstein. Lady Golightly probably isn’t in that class, Wenzel said, but there are a lot of reasons to believe she can be competitive over the Gottstein’s 1 1/16 miles.

Lady Golightly already has a victory around two turns. She rallied strongly to take the one-mile Barbara Shinpoch Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths Aug. 29, her first victory in three starts. And she was even more dominant last Sunday, when she overwhelmed eight rivals in the restricted Diane Kem Stakes, running 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.40 to score by more than eight lengths.

“She pulled up fine, and right now our plan is to take these two weeks and get her ready for the futurity,” Wenzel said Tuesday. “She’s a tall, rangy filly and still has quite a bit of body to her. I don’t think the distance will bother her at all. In fact, I think she’s going to like it.”

Wenzel owns Lady Golightly in partnership with breeders Terry and Mary Lou Griffin. Her dam, Lady Beverly, was a two-time stakes winner at Woodbine who won her only route, and her sire, Matty G, took the Hollywood Futurity by seven lengths. Lady Golightly is bred to thrive at longer distances, but her burst of early speed in the Diane Kem Stakes took even Wenzel by surprise.

“This past week, if you didn’t lay close to the pace, you were going to leave yourself with too much ground to make up, so we purposefully tried to put her in the race early,” Wenzel said. “I thought she’d be a couple of lengths off the pace, no more than four, but the fact she lapped right onto those horses at decent fractions was the most impressive part of the race.”

Lady Golightly has outperformed her male counterparts in each of her past two starts. In the Barbara Shinpoch, she ran a mile in 1:37.80, a full second faster than Couldabenthewhisky’s winning time in the WTBOA Lads on the same day. Sunday, she was two-fifths of a second faster than Mack’s Gold Bullet, who won the Dennis Dodge Stakes for 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Lady Golightly has been assigned Beyer Speed Figures of 71 for each of her past two starts, the two fastest races by a juvenile filly at the meeting. Only two colts, including Wenzel trainee Seattle Sniper, have run faster. Seattle Sniper will join Lady Golightly in the field, Wenzel said, giving the 45-year-old trainer a formidable pair in the $75,000 Gottstein, Emerald’s richest race for 2-year-olds.

McCanna has three ready to go

Leading trainer Tim McCanna may do Wenzel one better. McCanna said Tuesday he plans to start three horses in the Gottstein: Winter Warlock, who won the six-furlong Premio Esmeralda Stakes in early August and was second in both the WTBOA Lads and the Dennis Dodge; Carr Creek, a game maiden winner last Saturday; and Intentional Foul, who finished fifth in the New Westminster Stakes at Hastings in his last start.

“Winter Warlock will probably run in the futurity, and that will be enough for him,” McCanna said. “That will be four or five pretty good races for him. Intentional Foul didn’t show up in Vancouver, he just never fired, but he’s an awfully nice horse. He worked 59 and change Monday with his neck bowed. We’ve got options with him and he’ll probably go on to California after the futurity.”

Wasserman perks up a bit

Wasserman, winner of the 2008 Longacres Mile and the all-time leading money winner at Washington racetracks, finished second Sunday in the $50,000 Muckleshoot Tribal Classic. The 8-year-old gelding had not finished better than fourth in six previous starts at the meeting, so his sharp effort came as a welcome surprise to owner/trainer Howard Belvoir and jockey Jennifer Whitaker.

Wasserman settled in last place, per usual, before seizing an opening at the top of the lane, an unusual twist for a horse accustomed to taking the long way around.

“The one thing you can’t do with this horse is get him stopped. He’s so big, you can’t get him started again,” Whitaker said. “But it opened up in there and I thought, ‘There’s no sense going around.’ He ran like he used to run. When he’s right, he’ll tow me up to them.”

“It was a great effort,” Belvoir said. “It’s the first time this year he’s been able to close. I may run him at Portland Meadows in the Inaugural Stakes, and you’ll see him back here next year.”