08/27/2010 11:27AM

Sugarinthemorning validates owner's opinion

Email

It was Social Belle’s figure that caught Stephen B. Weissman’s eye on a Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita in March 2002. Her speed figures, to be exact.

The mare was in the first race at Santa Anita on a Saturday, a $20,000 claimer, and Weissman saw the then 5-year-old as a broodmare prospect, one who had recorded Beyer Speed Figures of 93 and 103 in two of her first three starts.

“She was going downhill and I bought her for $20,000,” he said. “The mare was beautiful. I thought, How can she not produce?”

Weissman, a retired attorney from Dana Point, Calif., was proven correct, but he had to wait longer than expected. Earlier this month at Del Mar, Sugarinthemorning, by Candy Ride out of Social Belle, won her debut in a maiden race for statebred 2-year-old fillies.

Weissman and Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally saw enough from the filly that day to consider Sugarinthemorning a candidate for the $250,000 Darley Debutante, a Grade 1 over seven furlongs next Saturday.

“Something about her is very elegant, very classy,” Weissman said. “I think she ran through the stretch with her ears up in the air.”

With $30,000 in earnings, Sugarinthemorning is Social Belle’s richest runner of three horses to reach the races. The 13-year-old mare has not been bred every year since she her retirement from racing.

Social Belle was covered by Candy Ride in 2007, but Weissman said he was “summarily rejected” by leading Kentucky farms when he inquired about sending the mare to several stallions last fall for the 2010 breeding season.

So, Social Belle stayed in California. She was bred to Stormy Jack, a Bertrando horse who stands for $2,500 at Harris Farms in Coalinga, Calif. Stormy Jack is best known as the sire of Bob Black Jack, who set a six-furlong world record (since broken) of 1:06.53 in the 2008 Sunshine Millions Dash at Santa Anita.

“No one wanted to breed to her,” Weissmann said. “I said, ‘ [Sugarinthemorning] is outstanding.’ They said, ‘Not interested.’

“I had no where to go. So I said, ‘Let’s breed to a sire that produced the fastest horse that ever ran.’ That’s who she’s in foal to now. Now, I’m getting calls.”

Weissman co-owns Sugarinthemorning with his 13-year-old granddaughter, Samantha Clement. They were in attendance for the maiden win, which the loquacious Weissman is quick to point out had a faster final time – six furlongs in 1:10.41 – than the 1:10.81 clocking by maiden 2-year-old males on that program.

“She’d never had dirt in her face until then and she got blocked on the rail,” Weissman said. “She never changed leads.”

McAnally saw enough to aim Sugarinthemorning for the Darley Debutante, expected to attract division leader Wickedly Perfect, who won the Grade 3 Sorrento Stakes on Aug. 6.

McAnally was impressed with Sugarinthemorning’s maiden win.

“She ran a very nice race,” said McAnally. “She’s a pretty filly. She layed in behind horses and picked them up in the stretch.”

Weissman had horses with the late Hall of Famer Charlie Whittingham in the 1980s and early 1990s, and with McAnally since the mid-1990s. Weissman has owned such stakes runners as Stephanie Byrn, who was third in the 1982 Hollywood Starlet, and the McAnally-trained Domonation, who won a division of the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar in 1999.

Maybe Sugarinthemorning will make that list by the end of her career.

“You have few things in life with such passion as racing,” Weissman said. “In racing, people abuse you. They say, ‘Why are you in this? What are you doing?’ If you stand tall, you will have a moment in the sun.”