Despite her long odds and modest past performances, Sassy Syrinx has something to prove in Saturday’s $714,050 Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Scoring from post 10, she is listed as 30-1 on the morning line.
Eleven years ago her dam, Syrinx Hanover 3,1:53.2 ($1,699,426), won this same race en route to an unblemished season which also included victories in the Breeders Crown, Del Miller, Matron. Her efforts resulted in Dan Patch Award divisional honors, as well as being named Trotter of the Year over international sensation Varenne. She won all 12 of her starts at age three, as well as the Breeders Crown and the Goldsmith Maid at two.
Having descended from such racing royalty, Sassy Syrinx earned a $90,000 yearling price tag two years ago when the gavel fell at the Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, PA. Bred by Jeff Gural’s Little E LLC, NY, NY and Cynthia Fazio of Colts Neck, NJ, she was the last foal from that grand trotting filly.
Unraced at two due to “colt soreness” she was brought back to race in the New Jersey Sire Stakes in May. In her third lifetime start she finished third, parked every step of the way, in the $150,000 NJSS final, race timed in 1:54.2 with a last quarter in :28.1.
This effort showed her Delaware-based trainer, David Smith, and her Monroe, NJ owners, Lenore Fazio & Robert Molfetta, some greatly anticipated promise.
One month later she left out of the 10 hole in a maiden race, was first over and made the top in a :56.2 half. She got beat by a length at the wire, finishing second in 1:54.3. The following week she took her record in the same class in 1:54.1 at the Meadowlands, winning by nearly 10 lengths over the only track she has ever raced.
Oaks competition is another matter, explains Smith, “The 10 hole in the Oaks took some of the wind out of my sails. The competition in her last trip from post 10 was considerably easier. There is some early speed in the Oaks final so I don’t think we will be leaving against them.”
Sassy Syrinx gets the services of Jim Morrill Jr., who “has had his fair share of luck with longshots,” notes trainer Smith. “The only instructions I will give Jimmy are to ease her up to the gate and then take it from there.”
Morrill Jr. stated after the eliminations that, “if I would have stayed in with her, she would have been a lot closer. I ended up with bad cover, but she trotted right to the wire. With smooth sailing we are looking for money and I think she can get it.”
Smith got the horse from his friend Mike Capron, who conditioned the filly leading up to her first start. When it was time to race, Capron opted for Smith to take over the training duties due to his experience with young horses. “I picked her up around May 1 when she was getting close to the race,” Smith said. “She needed a little fine tuning, and he asked me for a hand.”
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