Little Linzee Follows in Mom’s Footsteps With Debut Victory at Saratoga

July 29, 2022

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jan Durrschmidt’s homebred filly Little Linzee won on debut Thursday at Saratoga Race Course, posting an 18-1 upset score in a 5 1/2-furlong turf maiden special weight for New York-bred juvenile fillies.

Confidently handled by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano through a light rain over the firm going, Little Linzee stalked the pace down the backside before taking the lead in the stretch and holding off 2-1 mutuel favorite Souffle by a nose for trainer Domenick Schettino.

“It’s a great feeling. Everybody wants to come up here and win,” said Schettino. “When you win with 2-year-olds first-time out it’s a special feeling.”

The Honorable Dillon grey gave Schettino something else to smile about, as he brought both her and her dam, Gee Linz, into the winner’s circle on debut at Saratoga – albeit a decade apart.

By Frost Giant and out of the Distinctive Pro mare Lil Linzer, Gee Linz drew off to a three-length debut score over a muddy and sealed Spa main track on August 5, 2012 and was promptly haltered by David Jacobson for $50,000.

“They trained in similar ways,” said Schettino. “They’re anxious and always want to do things first. They acted typically the same way around the barn with the same demeanor.”

Schettino said Little Linzee tipped her hand for an auspicious debut when firing a bullet workout going a half-mile in 48.66 seconds on July 18 on the main track.

“She had been training well in the morning with another filly I had here. She’d shown that she’s pretty fast in the morning,” said Schettino. “She’s a lot like her mom where she wants to go.”

The dam Gee Linz posted a record of 28-7-6-4 for purse earnings of $169,469, ending her racing career at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with trainer Wendy Anderson, winning four consecutive races from May-July 2014.

Gee Linz finished a close fifth in her final career start, defeated less than a length in a six-furlong claiming sprint on August 1, 2014, but still found her way back to the Empire State.

“I wanted her as a broodmare so I contacted the racing office at Assiniboia and gave my information for her trainer,” said Durrschmidt. “Someone had tried to claim her from her last race, but the claim was voided because of a misspelling. I bought her back privately and got International Horse Transport to bring her to New York.”

Not only did Durrschmidt raise Little Linzee and Gee Linz, but the connection also goes back a generation further to Gee Linz’s dam Lil Linzer. The family tree made the win all the more special, which Durrschmidt said Schettino was expecting.

“She was gutsy yesterday. Dom told me, ‘get ready for the picture at Saratoga,’” said Durrschmidt. ‘I was so happy she won for me and for Dom’s crew. All the backstretch people don’t get enough recognition. They do it for the love of the animal.”

Little Linzee is also a half-sister to another horse in Schettino’s barn, Danzigwiththestars, a 4-year-old gelding by War Dancer, who has enjoyed success of his own at Saratoga. He earned his third Spa win this year in an optional claimer on July 15.

Schettino made mention of that date specifically since it was exactly one year to the date that Danzigwiththestars broke his maiden at Saratoga last year, both times under the guidance of jockey Luis Saez and traveling the same distance of 1 1/16-miles on the grass – and both times at healthy odds of 7-1.

Durrschmidt also said there is a weanling full brother to Danzigwiththestars on the farm, who will soon be broken at Hickory Tree Farms in Virginia.

“I foal them out and at five months they leave and are out of my hands,” said Durrschmidt.

Schettino said he will be looking forward to meeting the next member of the family, while he works on finding a next spot for Little Linzee.

“Little Linzee is following in her brother’s footsteps,” said Schettino. “They all love to win at Saratoga.”

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Saratoga Logo

@jonathanstettin Great article!

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