This is the EIGHTH weekly installment on Winbak Farms, one of the most successful breeding farms in the sport of harness racing.
By Mike Bozich for Post Time with Mike and Mike
NEWEST MILLIONAIRE NEWBORN SASSY EYES BREEDERS CROWN
After a long and successful stint in the rough and rugged Filly and Mare Open class at Yonkers Raceway, the sport's newest millionaire, Newborn Sassy, has her eyes set on one of the sport's biggest 'crowns'. She surpassed the million dollar mark in career earnings earlier in the month when she picked up her 32nd career triumph for owners CC Racing LLC and Jo Ann Looney-King. "We call her our overachiever", Looney-King said. "When I watch her race on Friday nights, I can hardly believe that the long legged filly we bought as a yearling has become the darling of the mares open at Yonkers."
Bred by Winbak Farm, Newborn Sassy (Western Ideal-Sass Newton) was purchased by her current owners for $38,000 at the Lexington Select Yearling Sale. Normally staying in the $15 - $20,000 range for yearlings, Team King extended their budget a bit to bring Sassy aboard. "We really liked her family," Looney-King said. "She was long legged and otherwise fairly average looking, but we were crazy about the family."
She proved her worth right from the start, as she reeled off 8 straight wins in her freshman season, which included the prestigious Matron Stakes at Dover. Team King was thrilled with her performances, but were anxious to get her stronger and sounder for her 3-year-old season.
"When she came back as a 3-year-old, she was still a shrinking violet," said Looney-KIng. "She still had the same 'Why do you think she looks like that' jogging issue."
After a series of near-misses to begin her sophomore season, she finally hit the winner's circle in an elimination of the James Lynch at Pocono. She went on to enjoy a solid stakes season, including wins in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event, the Adioo Volo, The Lady Maud, The John Simpson, and a Breeders Crown elimination win to cap off her sophomore campaign. "There were times where she raced in some of the major stakes and we felt that maybe we were playing ball in the wrong park," said Looney-King. "But she always came through no matter what. Making money, paying bills, and doing her job."
Since the start of her 4-year-old season until now, she has mainly faced open female foes. She has won 15 times against open horses since mid-May of 2017.
Although her performances on the track speak for themselves, her pre-race score downs leave a little to be desired. "Sassy has a very sloppy way of scoring down," said Looney-King. "We always tell the drivers 'you won't like her scoring down but you'll love her in the race'. I think all the drivers respect Miss Sassy. Every 2.5 times she goes to the track, she comes home a winner."
Back on the farm, Newborn Sassy has the luxury of having the same caretaker since she was 2-years old. Kate Moore has been with team King for 15 years. "Kate is the best but she has spoiled Sassy to death," Looney-King jokes. "Sassy's stall is right by the wash stall so she watches all the action going on. She has her head over the gate all day begging for carrots. She is so kind and wonderful to be around."
As for what's ahead for Team King's talented mare, it looks like another race season is in the works, but Looney-King insists the horse will call the shots. They are in no hurry to change her status to a broodmare.
"It's been one helluva Sassy year," Looney-King said. "And as we know, Newborn Sassys are hard to come by."