Room for Me, Lady Sabelia too fast for their stakes rivals
Room for Me was strongly favored to turn back graded stakes winners Princess Violet and Classic Point in Saturday's $100,000 Garland of Roses at Aqueduct, and the five-year-old mare came through with flying colors in an impressive 3 3/4-length triumph in the six-furlong dash for fillies and mares.
Owned and trained by David Jacobson, who claimed the daughter of Harlington for $12,500 back in February, Room for Me seized the lead from pacesetter Jubilant Fashion at the quarter pole and drew off to score in a time of 1:09.87 over a fast track. She paid $3.90 as the odds-on choice.
"You always hope they'll turn out to be this good when you claim them, but this has been a pleasant surprise," Jacobson said. "She had good form, was running decent looking races, so it was a nice horse to claim at the time. The intention was to bring her back for the Claiming Championship here in March."
Finishing second was Princess Violet, who had defeated eventual Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) winner Stopchargingmaria in the Madison (G1) at Keeneland in April. The Garland of Roses was the first start for Princess Violet since June, and she should move forward after this get-fit trip.
Classic Point finished fifth for the third consecutive time, and is evidently not the same mare she was last fall and winter when she captured the Go for Wand H. (G3) and Inside Information (G2) in back-to-back starts. The Jimmy Jerkens trainee turns seven at the first of the year.
Room for Me won the $50,000 Videogenic, at Aqueduct on March 21, by 13 1/2 lengths in her debut for Jacobson. She subsequently captured two allowances and the $77,000 Regret at Monmouth, and also placed in the Vagrancy H. (G3) and Ballerina (G1). Most recently, Room for Me rallied for seventh in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland following a slow start.
"She banged her head on the gate in the Breeders' Cup," Jacobson revealed. [Jockey] Victor [Espinoza] said that took her out of the race, but she still ran a really good race, getting beat five lengths after coming from dead last.
"She'll let me know where to go next. It's one race at a time. I don't plan out a long term campaign with fillies and mares as much as with geldings, but we'll see how she is and look to run back in New York."
Other female sprinters were in action Saturday at Laurel, where 1-5 favorite Lady Sabelia won the $100,000 Willa On the Move comfortably by 1 3/4 lengths under Horacio Karamanos. It was the fourth stakes win of the season for the five-year-old Majestic Warrior mare, who covered six furlongs in 1:10.17 over a fast track.
Owned by Mrs. Frank Wright and trained by Robin Graham, Lady Sabelia earned her signature victory in February when taking the Barbara Fritchie H. (G2) over Princess Violet. Also the winner of last year's Willa On the Move, Lady Sabelia was entering off a 7 1/4-length romp in the $100,000 Pumpkin Pie at Belmont on November 1, her first outing since May.
Lady Sabelia will likely point for a title defense of the Barbara Fritchie, scheduled for February 13.
(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)