01/17/2010 1:00AM

Sassy Image takes advantage of surface switch


Either trainer Dale Romans is a lucky man or he spends a lot of time watching The

Weather Channel.

No matter the reason, things couldn't have worked out better for Romans and his multiple stakes winner Sassy Image, who got a huge break when Sunday's was taken off the turf then made the most of the opportunity, drawing off to an easy and popular 4 1/2-length victory over Blackwell in the one mile test for 3-year-old fillies.

Sassy Image closed out her 2-year-old campaign with a pair of easy graded stakes wins at Churchill Downs. The Sweetest Chant was to have been Sassy Image's turf debut had it gone off as scheduled, but early-morning downpours and an additional shower during the course of the program gave track management little recourse but to switch the race from the grass to a sloppy main track.

"The long-range forecast was for rain and I was hoping the race would come off the turf," said Romans, who surprised many by entering Sassy Image instead of his Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Tapitsfly in the Sweetest Chant. "I didn't want to enter Tapitsfly and then scratch her. I needed to get a race into Sassy Image, she's been training very well and finally things worked out for me."

With her regular rider Robby Albarado aboard, Sassy Image rated off the early pace of Blackwell while saving ground around the second turn. Sassy Image found ample room inside the leader to readily take control entering the stretch then edged well clear while kept under pressure to the end.

Blackwell easily held off Check the Label to finish more than five lengths clear for second money. Risky Rachel and Strike It Rich rounded out the complete order of finish. Both Lucky Lass and Dancing Rage were scratched after the race was taken off the turf.

"She was a little closer today than she had been, but she was a little fresh and I was happy to see her there," said Romans who added he would like to get one more race for Sassy Image before the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss here on March 20.

Sassy Image, a daughter of Broken Vow owned by Romans's brother Jerry Romans, ran a mile in 1:37.42 over the sloppy track and paid $3.40.