Amazing Buy still paying off

3-year-old filly stays true to reputation with win in Wide Country Stakes

Horse Racing

February 13, 2005|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

The best 3-year-old filly in America ran yesterday at Laurel Park. That statement comes from Ernie Paragallo, who happens to own the filly, Amazing Buy.

The daughter of High Yield, whom Paragallo bought one year ago for $350,000, won the $75,000 Wide Country Stakes for her third triumph in four starts. Based at Aqueduct, Amazing Buy has won two stakes already this year.

"She's as good as any 3-year-old filly in America right now," Paragallo said. "She's the best filly I've owned."

Paragallo, who lives on Long Island, campaigned two outstanding colts: Unbridled's Song, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 1995 and Florida Derby and Wood Memorial Stakes in 1996, and Artax, who was champion sprinter in 1999.

Paragallo chose the one-mile Wide Country for his filly as another stepping stone to the Kentucky Oaks. Spotting her as the likely winner, bettors sent her off at 2-5 odds. At the head of the stretch, as she began stretching her lead to four lengths, she looked like a runaway winner. But then, the Pimlico-based Take a Check launched her rally. The local filly cut into the New York filly's lead with every stride.

A photo finish determined Amazing Buy prevailed by a nose, completing the mile in 1 minute, 40.70 seconds. Rutledge Ballado, a Michael Dickinson-trainee, finished third, 5 1/2 lengths behind Take a Check. Jennifer Pedersen, who trains Amazing Buy, said she thought the long stretch utilized for Laurel's mile races caught her filly by surprise.

"She did what she had to do," Pedersen said. "Game and racehorse. Those two words go with her."

Paragallo said he thought Amazing Buy was sick. She finished slower than usual, he said, and she returned to the winner's circle short of breath. He suspected an infection or mucus in the lungs.

"That ain't her," Paragallo said, referring to her lethargic finish. "She won because she's just a classy filly. She won on heart alone."

If Amazing Buy has a flaw, then it's her appetite, Paragallo said. His 5-year-old daughter Valerie nicknamed the filly Miss Piggy. Pedersen said it took long gallops and "the Jenny Craig diet" to slim down the hungry filly.

Amazing Buy paid $2.80 to win and topped a $15.20 exacta and $45.20 trifecta. Paragallo and Pedersen have sent several horses down from Aqueduct to race at Laurel since the new dirt surface opened.

"I think they did a fabulous job," Pedersen said. "It's very kind to horses. All my horses have come out of races here in excellent shape."

NOTES: The 358 early nominations to the Triple Crown were the fewest since 1996 and down 20 percent from last year. The drop off was attributed to Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, which caused the loss in 2002 of an estimated 1,700 foals in Kentucky. ... The Fasig-Tipton Midlantic winter mixed sale Monday at Timonium dropped off in all categories compared to last year's sale. The gross ($807,900) was down 38 percent, the average ($7,213) down 26.9 percent, the median ($4,000) down 20 percent, and horses sold (112) down 15.2 percent. The sales topper ($80,000) was the 8-year-old mare Tanta Bertie in foal to Lion Hearted.

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