Eminently close to Grade I glory

So near and yet so far was the adage most widely chanted around the Mike Stidham barn in the wake of the Grade I Debutante Stakes at Del Mar Saturday after Her Emmynency ran the race of a lifetime to finish a neck second in one of the toughest two-year-old races run anywhere this season.

Her Emmynency was given a Georgia peach of a ride by Joe Talamo. He settled his mount in a nice rhythm near the heels of the leaders for the first half of the race. But when they sluiced into the home stretch, Talamo hit the turbo-drive button, taking a narrow advantage for the briefest of moments – but Sunset Glow, the eventual winner, wasn’t to be denied. The two girls locked horns down the stretch for a ding-dong battle that will live long in the memory, with Wesley Ward’s much-journeyed filly prevailing by an agonizing neck at the wire.

“Oh, man, that was a tough beat,” said Talamo of his gutsy mount straight after the race. “She ran great. She’s a really nice filly.”

Take nothing away from Her Emmynency, this was a performance and a half from a horse having only the second start of her career. Proud owners Dawn and Ike Thrash can rest easy in the knowledge that, unlike Sunset Glow who already has notched five runs and two stake wins in two different continents, Her Emmynency has a world of growing up to do. And her scintillating run proves again, as if the point needs any more hammering home, that few trainers if any place their young horses better than Stidham.

While on the subject of talented young horses, Stidham looks to have unearthed yet another exciting addition to the roster after Indygo Bo showed guts aplenty to knuckle out a fighting win on his debut at Arlington today.

Unusually slow out of the gates for one of Stidham’s, Indygo Bo under jockey Carlos Marquez waited patiently at the back of the field, with Marquez happy to let the son of Indygo Shiner find his feet. But when Indygo Bo did find his feet, boy did he fly, charging down the stretch to get up at the wire to prevail by a neck for owner Mark Breen.

And the fun is far from over this Labor Day weekend for the Stidham barn. Tomorrow at Arlington Stidham has Swift Sword, Sanculpa, Forest Elf and Lookingforyou entered, while Pirate’s Trove bids for her own slice of big race success in the Etobicoke Stakes at Woodbine.

Pirate’s Trove is one of seven to line up in the $100,000 race for three-year-old fillies, and this daughter of Speightstown is a 7/5 early morning line chance. Her overall record reads two-for-two – including a fine success last time out in the Duccess Stakes, also at Woodbine. And jockey Florent Geroux is again in the saddle.

Check back in again later in the week for a round-up of the week’s action, and a look ahead to the weekend fun.


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