July 19, 2017 - Del Mar, Race 5, Msw, USD $60,000, 5F
Just a Smidge, F, 2, 2015 by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Pooh Corner, by Tapit
2nd Dam: Opulent, by Meadowlake
3rd Dam: Katilac Ofthestars, by Katowice
Owner: Debbie Lanni
Breeder: Carolyn R Vogel (KY)
Trainer: Bob Baffert
There may not be a higher-quality filly maiden over the course of the next six weeks at Del Mar, and it was Debbie Lanniâ€™s Just A Smidge (Into Mischief) who went on to a narrow, albeit impressive victory to become Wednesdayâ€™s second TDN Rising Star.
A $39K KEENOV weanling RNA, the gray filly blossomed into a $425K Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile after covering a quarter mile in a co-fastest :21 2/5 and was knocked down to agent Donato Lanni, who told TDN Editor In Chief Jessica Martini that he was bidding on behalf of an undisclosed client.
Favored at 2-1 with $2 shy of $100,000 on her nose, Just A Smidge wasnâ€™t off the best and had to be hustled along by Rafael Bejarano, but she did so willingly and was alongside pacesetting Tyfosha (Flatter), the 5-2 second choice, as they hit the turn. The latter, runner-up to subsequent runaway Landaluce S. winner Surrender Now (Morning Line) on debut June 9, was not quitting down on the inside, but Just A Smidge was just that little bit better in the dying strides and had a 1 1/2-length margin on the line. Varanasi, the most expensive of Jimmy Creed (Distorted Humor)â€™s first-crop yearlings at $385,000, was a distant third as the 3-1 third betting selection.
Just A Smidge is the second foal produced by Pooh Corner, who was purchased by Carolyn Vogel for $105,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September sale. The mare is the dam of a yearling filly by Verrazano, foaled a filly by Stormy Atlantic this season and was bred back to Mshawish. Just A Smidge is bred on the reverse cross responsible for the likes of Grade I winners Hansen (champion), Careless Jewel, Sweet Loretta and Tell a Kelly.
Owner Debbie Lanni is the widow of J. Terrence Lanni, the former chief of MGM Mirage and former partner in the legendary Baffert-trained Game On Dude (Awesome Again). Lanni did not get to see the victory, but listened to a call of the race from her friend Bernie Schiappa, who was also part-owner of Game On Dude.
â€œI am actually on a cruise between Finland and Denmark,â€? Lanni said. â€? But we were well-represented there in the winnerâ€™s circle by my son Patrick. Iâ€™m so excited and looking forward to her future and thanks to Bob Baffert for finding her.â€?
Lanni parted ways with the fleet Reneesgotzip (City Zip) in 2015, selling her for an even $1-million at Fasig-Tipton November to Shadai Farm while pregnant to Medaglia dâ€™Oro. But it didnâ€™t take long for the bug to bite again.
â€œI told Bob I wanted to get back in and he said heâ€™d look, told me to be patient. Itâ€™s very exciting. What a great way to get back into it!â€?
Click for more on Debbie Lanni from Jessica Martini.