08/09/2012 2:23PM

Woodbine: De Gannes goes to bench for Debutante


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Greg De Gannes had been looking forward to sending out Phantom Girl for Saturday’s $150,000 Debutante Stakes. But when Phantom Girl came up with an injury that cut short her season, De Gannes went to the bench and will send out the first-time starter Sweet Redemption in the open six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

“She’s always acted like she was a good horse, from the time she first came around here,” said De Gannes, who conditions the homebred Sweet Redemption for the Southern Chase Farm of Glen and Karen Dodd.

Sweet Redemption had been entered in a maiden race here last Saturday, but De Gannes received permission to scratch the filly with an eye toward the Ontario Debutante.

“I was working my way through the nominations and it looked like it was going to come up a small field,” said De Gannes. “It might be considered a leap of faith but we’ll take a chance. She worked very well last weekend.”

That exercise took place last Sunday when Sweet Redemption breezed five furlongs in 59.80 under Luis Contreras, who has the call for the Ontario Debutante.

Phantom Girl, who finished third in her five-furlong debut here June 24 and then graduated impressively two weeks later at 5 1/2 furlongs, was shipped to Florida late last month.

“She has a very slight injury in her right knee,” said De Gannes. “I think she’s a very nice filly, and we elected to do the right thing and send her back to Ocala. She’ll have arthroscopic surgery next week.”

Phantom Girl, a Florida-bred, races for the Raj Maharajh’s Raroma Stable in partnership with Martha Fisher and Colleen Dedovic.

Tiz Ro looks like a good one

De Gannes is very high on Tiz Ro, an Ontario-bred filly who also is owned by Maharajh. Tiz Ro scored impressively over six furlongs in her debut here July 27.

“She’s definitely the star of the show,” said De Gannes. “She’s always been a very advanced filly. Art Fisher, a very knowledgeable horseman, broke her in Ocala and was trying to convince us to run her at Keeneland this spring. We decided otherwise.”

Tiz Ro is a three-quarter sister to two-time Grade 1 stakes winner Jambalaya and a half-sister to listed stakes winner Riley Ripasso, both of whom were turf specialists, and her debut was scheduled to take place on that surface. The fact that race was switched to Polytrack was incidental as Tiz Ro rallied from just off the pace to score by a widening 5 1/2 lengths at six furlongs.

“She has it all,” said De Gannes. “Athleticism, pedigree, intelligence.

“She’s not a real big filly but she’s very well proportioned. She gets over the ground so easily. And, literally, she’s one you don’t know is in the barn, she’s so uncomplicated.”

Tiz Ro is scheduled to make her next start here Sept. 15 in the Natalma Stakes.

“Being as she’s not a big, robust filly we decided to give the time,” said De Gannes.

The Natalma, a one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies, offers Grade 2 status and a purse of $250,000. The winner also receives a fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.