Monday, July 8, 2013

After the Auction: Stop Smiling

As an avid fan of sales with possible aspirations to become an adviser/bloodstock agent, auctions are one of my favorite topics to write about on Past the Grandstand. “After the Auctions” feature horses I selected in sales that have found success after the sale. *Note: If an “After the Auction” features a two-year-old, it will also be listed as a “Juvenile Spotlight.”

In 2011, Weemissfrankie captured the hearts of many racing fans, winning her first three starts as a two-year-old in southern California, including the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (GI) and the Oak Leaf Stakes (GI). The loveable chestnut filly would only race twice more, finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) and fourth in the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (GI) before an injury kept her from racing ever again. Nearly a year after her final start, it was announced that she had been retired and sold to Japan.

Although Weemissfrankie is now out of American racing fans’ grasp, they now have the chance to relish her half-sister, Stop Smiling. Among my 2012 Keeneland September Yearling Sale selections, Stop Smiling debuted on July 6, 2013 at Hollywood Park for the same connections as champion Blind Luck.

After breaking slowly, the bay filly inched closer to the leaders along the rail under the urging of Julien Leparoux. Stop Smiling unceasingly advanced along the inside, racing mid-pack as the horses entered the far turn. Continuing her rally on the rail, Stop Smiling had just a handful of lengths to overcome in order to seize the lead as the field turned for home. Angled to the outside of the leader by Leparoux down the lane, Stop Smiling found her best stride within the final sixteenth of a mile, using her long, effortless strides to surpass the leader, coasting to a 1 ½-length victory.

Stop Smiling may be a half-sister to a multiple grade one winner, but her pedigree is rather unpretentious, as her sire is the rather unknown It’s No Joke. A multiple graded stakes winner, It’s No Joke has also sired the stakes-winning Jokes N Jazz and the graded stakes-placed Bear No Joke. It’s No Joke is a son of elite sire Distorted Humor, who topped the North American leading sires list in 2011 and has been among the top ten sires since 2005.

Other than being a half-sister to Weemissfrankie, the bottom side of Stop Smiling’s pedigree is also quite modest. The most obvious highlight is her broodmare sire, Meadowlake, who is the maternal grandsire of the likes of the grade/group one winners Henny Hughes, Reynaldothewizard, and Seventh Street.

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