Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Wednesday, September 21, 2016

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/21/2016 #
  • Sarah Sis (Four Footed Fotos)

  • Stig’s Deputy Retires a Winner
  • Sarah Sis Will Try to Earn BC Entry at Keeneland 


Silver Wing Stable’s Stig’s Deputy, a winner and track-record setter in his last start, has been retired according to trainer Manny Perez. The 12-year-old gelding ran his final race on July 23 at Belterra Park, where he set a new course record for five furlongs on the turf when he won in a time of 57.51 seconds.

“John Gerbas gave me 100% confirmation that he’s retired,” Perez said. “He broke the track record that day, and that was it. He will retire to Silver Wing Farm near Midway, Kentucky.”

A son of The Deputy (IRE) out of the Diesis (GB) mare Slipping, the gelding retires with a record of 87-17-9-11 with $244,089 earned the hard way, knocking around in the lower ranks of claiming and allowance races. Stig’s Deputy was bred in Kentucky by Barbara Hunter and sold at the Keeneland September Yearling sale for $2,700. He debuted late in his 2-year-old season at Hawthorne Racecourse, finishing second in his first start. He broke his maiden six races and a year later at Mountaineer. The following summer Gerbas sent him to Perez in hopes a change in training would help the gelding after three poor efforts.

“He was just a horse they couldn’t get to run anymore, he was done,” Perez recalls. “They said, ‘Manny we’ll give you a shot with this horse.’ I told John [Gerbas] we’ll take him to Pinnacle, maybe I’ll build his heart up a little bit because he’s been running horrible for you. I’ll run him over there, put him on a little different of a training schedule and just feed him a lot. Now he’s like a butterball turkey.”

In his first start with Perez, the gelding won by 6¾ lengths at the now-defunct Pinnacle Race Course outside Detroit. He followed that up with a win sprinting over the turf at Arlington International Racecourse. In his 29 starts at Arlington, he won six times and hit the board another eight.

“He never liked the Polytrack – nothing against it, but he just didn’t want anything to do with it,” Perez commented. “None of his family has either – Creme Brulee [his sister], Hegewisch [his brother], none of them.”

Stig’s Deputy failed to hit the board in his seven starts on a synthetic track, confirming Perez’s assessment. The turf was the gelding’s preferred surface, and the going never seemed to matter with wins coming on soft, yielding, good and firm courses. Though he tried dirt 18 times, he only managed two wins.

Stig’s Deputy will join other retirees at Silver Wing Farm like Covert Mission, a gelding that won at Arlington International Racecourse for Gerbas and Perez in 2013 and paid $198.40. His trainer is happy to see the 12-year-old leave the track in good health, and already has his replacement in the barn – Stig Deputy’s 2-year-old half-brother, Break The Deal.


Joe Ragsdale’s Sarah Sis will point for the Grade II Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 8 following her win in the Grade II Presque Isle Masters on Sept. 19 according to trainer Ingrid Mason. The 4-year-old daughter of Sharp Humor won in wire-to-wire fashion in the 6½-furlong race when making her fourth start on a synthetic track.

“That was a tough race, much tougher than what she’s faced, other than in the [Grade I] Ballerina,” Mason said. “In the Ballerina though, she didn’t seem to get along well with the deep track. I felt [the Presque Isle Masters] was a good spot for her because she does take to the [synthetic]. I ran her back kind of quick, but she really didn’t run the last two times at Saratoga. She came back so good and was doing wheelies in her stall. Horses have peaks and valleys, and when they seem to be doing well that’s when you’ve got to find a race for them.”

“I saw the field, and it didn’t have a lot of speed in it,” Mason continued. “So that was the plan with [jockey Florent Geroux], if she wants to go, let her rock ‘n roll unless somebody’s going crazy on the front end. I loved her post position on the outside; it gave us some options.”

“Then she popped out of the gate the way she did,” Mason said. “And I’m watching her ears doing this [making flicking back-and-forth motions] and I know this filly pretty well – when she does that they’re going to have a rough time beating her because that means she’s comfortable, she’s happy doing what she’s doing and feeling really good. So at that point I got really excited. I saw them all coming and I was just calling for the wire. I think we had a lot of people bringing her home.”

It was the fifth graded-stakes win for Sarah Sis, who captured the Grade III Chicago Handicap at Arlington International Racecourse earlier this year. In 2015 she won the Grade III Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park, the Grade III Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows, and the Grade II Raven Run Stakes at Keeneland.

“She likes Keeneland, without a doubt that’s one of her favorite surfaces,” Mason said. “The TCA Stakes is a “Win and You’re In” [for the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint], so we figured we’d take a shot at it. This is probably the last race I’ll run her in, unless she goes to

the Breeders’ Cup. She’ll be going to the Fasig-Tipton sale [in November]. We’ve had our fun with her and it’s time for someone else to have some fun with her I, guess. Obviously she has to sell for the right price, but after this race I think she will. She can go back and defend her title next year.”