08/26/2015 5:06PM

Yonkers: Lucky buy Purrfect Bags favored in Lady Maud

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Mike Lizzi
Purrfect Bags won the Lismore final at Yonkers in May.

If you only pay attention to the major stakes races on the schedule, you probably have not heard of Purrfect Bags. Purchased on a whim by owner Joann Looney-King, the 3-year-old pacing filly from humble beginnings has risen up and starts as the 6-5 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $116,430 Lady Maud final at Yonkers Raceway.

As the story goes according to Looney-King, she was heading to Frank Chick’s Harness Horse Sale in December of 2013 with $2,000 in her pocket looking for a weanling to purchase and they all went for more than she wanted to spend. She spotted a Delaware bred by Badlands Hanover that caught her eye and the rest is history.

“I called my husband (trainer Jim King, Jr.) to tell him and he said, ‘Don’t you remember that mare? I trained her and you owned her.’,” said Looney-King referring to Purrfect Bags’ mother, Purrfectly Bad.

It turns out that Purrfectly Bad lived up to her name and was not much of a racehorse. “She couldn’t pace more than 33 seconds and I go and buy her foal. I completely forgot we owned her,” said Looney-King. “I got really lucky, because I never would have bought [Purrfect Bags] if I remembered.”

From the moment Purrfect Bags began training it was obvious she had the knack for racing that her mother lacked.

“Jim trained her down and loved her,” said Looney-King, who got further confirmation of her lucky buy. “Timmy (Tetrick) came down one day and he took her out and came off the track smiling. I knew that smile right away meant he loved her.”

While Purrfect Bags only has one win against open company on the stakes scene, she has already proven herself to be fast and versatile. A daughter of Roddy’s Bags Again, she has 14 wins in 17 career starts for $285,612 earned, a healthy return on the original $2,000 investment.

In her last start she faced older foes at Northfield Park and equaled the track record for 3-year-old pacing fillies with a 1:52 3/5 win, her fourth consecutive victory. While she flashed early speed in that race, her lone grand circuit score came from off the pace in the $117,724 Lismore on May 30 at Yonkers. With regular driver Victor Kirby in the bike, Purrfect Bags also set a track record at Harrington when she set her lifetime mark of 1:51 2/5.

On Saturday, Purrfect Bags starts from post two versus a solid field that lacks an obvious top contender for the young lady. Strut My Stuff (post three) comes off a trio of placings and just missed in her last start at Pocono in 1:49 3/5. The only other entrant with recent stakes activity if Bettor N Better (post four), who has won two NY Sire Stakes in her last four starts.

After the Lady Maud the picture becomes foggy for Purrfect Bags. Due to her modest beginning, she is not heavily staked and doesn’t have another guaranteed race on her calendar until the Courageous Lady on November 27 at Northfield.

“We are not sure what to do with her, but she has to race somewhere,” said Looney-King, who basically ruled out supplementing to the Breeders Crown at Woodbine. “I doubt it. It is in Canada and we just weren’t comfortable with it, but we do have more time to think about it.”

Another possibility could be cashing in by selling the horse. “Money talks,” said Looney-King about the prospects of selling her filly, before backing off some. “I don’t know, I’m pretty attached to her.”

For Purrfect Bags and Looney-King the only future that matters is Saturday and she is ready to do what she does best—win.

“She’s just a plain little thing. She doesn’t do anything cute or special, she just brings home money,” said Looney-King.

The Lady Maud is scheduled as race seven on a 13-race card that gets underway at 7:10 p.m. and also features the $149,240 Hudson Filly Trot and two eliminations for the $500,000 Yonkers Trot.