Southlawn (JennyPhoto/Past The Wire)
NYRA Press Office
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Robert E. Masterson’s graded stakes-winner Southlawn, a troubled fifth last out in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, breezed back a half-mile in 49.49 Sunday over the Spa main track.
Trained by Norm Casse, the Pioneerof the Nile bay captured the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in March, but has endured poor racing luck since, finishing 10th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in May where she bumped with rivals into the first turn and encountered more traffic trouble when swinging wide and brushing with foes again into the stretch. Last out, on July 22 in the nine-furlong CCA Oaks, Southlawn stumbled out of the gate from the inside post and rushed up to attend the pace before fading.
“She worked an easy half,” Casse said. “She came out of the race fine. It’s just a throw out race. It’s hard for a filly to overcome a break like that. She came out of the race well and has been doing well ever since.”
Southlawn is nominated to the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama presented by Keeneland Sales on August 19 here, but Casse said he wants to see one more work before considering any potential targets.
Southlawn posted an impressive 3 1/4-length victory over eventual Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks-winner Pretty Mischievous in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, equaling a career-best 86 Beyer. The $290,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase is out of the multiple graded stakes-placed Uncle Mo mare Mo d’Amour, a half-sister to the multiple graded stakes-placed Colonial Creed.
Marylou Whitney Stables’ graded stakes-winning Kentucky homebred Pretty Birdie has been retired.
The 4-year-old Bird Song grey captured the 2021 Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga as the highlight of a 13-race career in which she posted a record of 4-3-1 for purse earnings of $521,488. Her ledger includes a pair of stakes wins last year at Oaklawn Park in the Purple Martin and Poinsettia along with a strong second in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs.
Pretty Birdie made four starts this year, hitting the board twice before a last-out seventh in her turf debut on June 16 at Ellis Park.
“We tried her on turf one time and it seemed like she didn’t appreciate that, so we decided it’s time for her to be a mom. She doesn’t owe us anything and we’re proud of what we were able to accomplish with her,” Casse said.
Casse said he’s already looking forward to seeing Pretty Birdie’s progeny take flight.
“One of the coolest things about training for the Marylou Whitney Stable is that they breed to race,” Casse said. “Now, two or three years down the line, I’ll be training the babies of the horses that I’ve trained. Not too many ownership groups are doing it like that anymore and I’m proud of that.”
Pretty Birdie is out of the Street Sense mare Bird Sense, who is a half-sister to the graded stakes-placed Bird Maker and stakes-placed Cheechako.