July 27, 2017 - Saratoga, Race 5, Msw, USD $83,000, 5 1/2F
Sly Roxy, F, 2, 2015 by Speightstown
1st Dam: Roxy Gap (Ch. female sprinter & older mareCan & MGSW, $952,790), by Indian Charlie
2nd Dam: Harts Gap, by Saint Ballado
3rd Dam: Special Test, by Hawkin's Special
Owner: George Yager
Breeder: Blue Heaven Farm (KY)
Trainer: Mark E. Casse
Sly Roxy broke well from her far outside draw, stalked the pace and kicked clear to a decisive first out tally in a race rained off the turf at Saratoga Friday. The first foal out of three-time graded stakes winner and Canadian champion older mare and female sprinter Roxy Gap (Indian Charlie), she was never far back in second behind a quarter-mile in :22.56, seized command coming off the turn and rallied clear to notch a convincing 5 1/2-length victory. Gio Game (Gio Ponti) completed the exacta.
Roxy Gap is herself a half-sister to SP Cummings Road (Speightstown). The winner’s second dam, Harts Gap (Saint Ballado), captured two stakes events, while third dam Special Test (Hawkin’s Special) was a multiple stakes winner. Roxy Gap produced a filly by Medaglia d’Oro in 2016, a filly by Empire Maker in 2017 and was bred back to Pioneerof the Nile this spring.
RNA Proves to be Blessing in Disguise…
When Sly Roxy RNA’d for $195,000 at OBS March after breezing in :10 flat, owner George Yager was disappointed at first as she was one of three horses purchased by bloodstock agent David Meah for his first yearling to 2-year-old pinhooking venture.
That initial disappointment turned to excitement Thursday as the daughter of two-time Sovereign Award winner Roxy Gap (Indian Charlie) charged home to a “TDN Rising Star”-worthy 5 1/2-length victory on debut in a sloppy off-the-turfer at Saratoga. The bay is now under consideration for a possible start in the GII Adirondack S. Aug. 12, according to trainer Mark Casse.
“She had me screaming,” Yager told the TDN Thursday afternoon. “She worked quick at the Ocala sale, but they just didn’t go for her. Mark told me she could run and now here we are talking.”
The Los Angeles, California, resident continued, “I was a little upset about not being able to sell her because the whole intention was to pinhook. I knew Roxy Gap was trained by Mark at Woodbine, so I contacted Mark and he said he would be delighted to train her. Now we are both delighted.”
Sly Roxy, who is the first foal out of Roxy Gap, originally left the ring unsold at Keeneland September, as well, on a final bid of $190,000.
“She was my top pick and the most expensive purchase I made in September,” said Meah, who is an assistant to trainer Richard Baltas in addition to his bloodstock work. “I went back to the barn and they said the owner really wanted $200,000. I said I won’t give you $200,000, but my offer of $175,000 stands until noon tomorrow. Sure enough, they took the offer and we took her straight down to Robbie Harris [of Harris Training Center] in Ocala with the intention of pinhooking her.”
With her pedigree and physical, Meah thought a fast breeze would make her an expensive juvenile and was initially thrilled with her :10 flat work.
“We were all excited, but there was something about the work,” Meah, who purchased GISW Union Strike (Union Rags) at the 2016 OBS April sale on behalf of the Ruis family, explained. “She didn’t really stride out as good as we’d hope and I know because I am looking at 2-year-olds to buy. She still worked fast and came out of it good, so I called the George and said, ‘I kind of hope she doesn’t sell unless we get double the money, like $400,000 or something.’ He set the reserve at $200,000 and when she didn’t make it, I was actually quite happy.”
While Sly Roxy may have taken some time to return Yager’s investment, one of the horses Meah purchased for the 71-year-old provided the pinhooking success he was looking for. A Scat Daddy colt out of Trusty Lady, purchased for $100,000 at Keeneland September, summoned $400,000 from Narvick International at the OBS April sale after breezing in :10 flat (Click here for OBS April story).
“I had been using another bloodstock agent and didn’t have any success, so I gave it a year’s rest and decided I wanted to pinhook. So I called up David and said, ‘Go down there and see what you can find,'” Yager said. “He found three for me, Sly Roxy, a Scat Daddy and a Temple City filly [now named Temple Princess], who is being trained by Jeff Mullins [after RNAing for $37,000 at OBS April].”
Yager, who is a consultant in the entertainment industry, has been involved with Thoroughbreds for over 30 years. He founded BG Thoroughbred Farms in Hemet, California, three years ago in partnership with longtime friend and trainer Hector Palma.
“I was always enthralled by horse racing from the time I was a young man,” Yager said. “I liked the betting aspect. I used to go to the races with my dad.”
He continued, “I’ve been involved with horses on the periphery for many years, but recently things have started to escalate. Hector Palma and I breed, we do lay-ups, we train. We are an all purpose facility.”
Yager and Palma stand eight stallions at BG Thoroughbred Farms, including GISW Misremembered and MGSW Daddy Nose Best. Yager will sell some of his foals for the first time this year in an effort to support his expanding stud roster.
“It is kind of a new thing that I am planning to sell this year,” he said. “I have four in the Northern California sale and four in the Del Mar sale. In the beginning I kept them, but I believe I have some real quality. I am still learning the business in many ways and you have to sell, which is what got me involved in the pinhooking. That is the next step with the farm, selling these eight babies. My hope is that these stallions produce and then I sell more and more.”
Yager, who races under BG Stables, has about 30 horses in training, mostly in California with Palma as his primary conditioner. Sly Roxy is his only East Coast runner.
When asked who the best horse he ever owned was, Yager replied, “I hope it’s my Roxy!”