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 Lanni’s Just A Smidge (Into Mischief) who went on to a narrow, albeit impressive victory to become Wednesday’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 wasn’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)’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.
“I am actually on a cruise between Finland and Denmark,” Lanni said. ” But we were well-represented there in the winner’s circle by my son Patrick. I’m so excited and looking forward to her future and thanks to Bob Baffert for finding her.”
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 d’Oro. But it didn’t take long for the bug to bite again.
“I told Bob I wanted to get back in and he said he’d look, told me to be patient. It’s very exciting. What a great way to get back into it!”
Click for more on Debbie Lanni from Jessica Martini.