01/04/2017 12:20PM

Servis develops another fast filly in Ms Locust Point

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Ms Locust Point will be pointed to the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park.

In the fall of 2015, John Servis won a Parx maiden race with a 2-year-old filly and then sent her to Laurel Park for the Gin Talking Stakes, which she won easily. From there, it was off to Florida, with the Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream Park circled on the calendar.

As it turns out, Cathryn Sophia was up to the challenge and won by 5 1/2 lengths. She added the Davona Dale next and then finished a close third in the Grade 1 Ashland before scoring her biggest win before a national audience in the Kentucky Oaks.

Fast forward a year, and Servis has another promising filly in his barn. Last weekend, Ms Locust Point parlayed a Parx maiden win into an impressive score in the Gin Talking. On Tuesday, she headed south to Florida.

“We’re going to take it one step at a time with her, but we’re going to follow the same path we did with Cathryn and point to the Forward Gal,” Servis said.

Like Cathryn Sophia, whom owner Chuck Zacney purchased for $30,000 at the Midlantic fall yearling sale in Timonium, Md., Ms Locust Point was a bargain buy. She was picked out of the 2015 Keeneland January sale by clocker and handicapper Bruno de Julio for a four-person partnership that included his friend Jim Reichenberg, a handicapper from Maryland.

De Julio and his partners attempted to resell Ms Locust Point at the 2015 Keeneland September sale, but there was little interest.

“Some of the group wanted to pinhook, so we put her in the September sale,” de Julio said. “I thought we might get $50,000 or $60,000, but we got nothing. We bought her back for $27,000, and Jim and I bought out the other partners.”

Ms Locust Point was sent to former jockey Rudy Delguidice at the Classic Mile Training Center in Ocala, Fla., for her early training and then joined Servis’s barn at Parx over the summer.

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Ms Locust Point ran well in her career debut in October but ended up second-best after sprinting off to a clear lead.

“I thought she would win that day, but once she got running, she didn’t settle as nice as I would have hoped,” Servis said.

Ms Locust Point got a little sick after that race, according to de Julio, but was impressive in winning her second start by 4 3/4 lengths in late November. She stalked the leader that day, took command nearing the stretch, and pulled away without jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. ever asking for her best.

The seven-furlong Gin Talking came up a paceless race, and Vargas sent Ms Locust Point to the front. She was never seriously challenged while scoring by 4 1/4 lengths under a hand ride. Her final time was quicker than the colts went in the Marylander Stakes, and she earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 88.

While no one is predicting that Ms Locust Point will become the next Cathryn Sophia, she is off to a nice start and figures to be a key player in the Grade 2 Forward Gal, a $200,000 race at seven furlongs Feb. 4.

“She’s a gorgeous filly; she looks like a big colt,” Servis said. “But Ms Locust Point and Cathryn Sophia are apples and oranges. She doesn’t do things as easy as Cathryn, but she’s a lot easier to train. We had to start and stop with Cathryn a lot at the beginning of her career, but this filly really hasn’t missed a beat.”