It has taken 85-year-old breeder and owner Thomas Bosch of Holiday, Fla. his entire adult life to get a horse like It’s Me Mom.
The wait has been worth it.
“We’ve had a lot of winners, but none like her,” said Bosch’s wife of 59 years, Jean, after the 3-year-old filly, trained by Lynne Scace, closed her ascendant 2011 campaign with an awesome 8 ¼-length victory from Moon Buzz in Saturday’s $50,000-guaranteed Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
It’s Me Mom’s time of 1:09.68 for the six furlongs shattered the stakes record of 1:10 2/5 set by Forli’s Lass in 1993 and was less than a second off the track record of 1:08.69 set in April by Sneaking Uponyou.
It’s Me Mom, who turns 4 Sunday on the Jan. 1 birthday celebrated by all Thoroughbreds, is 8-for-13 lifetime, including four stakes victories. The winner’s share of $30,000 raised her career earnings to $335,200. It’s Me Mom paid $3.60 as the heavy favorite in the 10-horse field. Her winning margin was the same as the margin she posted winning the Minaret Prep on Dec. 7.
“Oh, we love her,” Jean Bosch said. “She’s wonderful. She has always been good to us. Her mother (She Too, whom the Bosches bred to Put It Back to produce It’s Me Mom) was great for us, too – she broke her maiden here at Tampa in 2006. We had hopes It’s Me Mom would be this good, but we didn’t know. We just hoped and hoped.”
“Day by day as she grew up, I knew she was going to be good,” said Thomas Bosch, who has been in the sport 65 years as a rider, trainer, breeder and owner. “She breaks so alertly, it’s hard to believe. I hope she stays sound.”
Ridden by regular rider Willie Martinez, It’s Me Mom was ahead by three lengths before the other nine fillies and mares had a chance to react. With scant encouragement from Martinez, It’s Me Mom cranked out quarter-mile fractions of 22.07 and 44.65 and was never threatened a step of the way, Martinez sitting virtually statue-like throughout the stretch.
“She is something, for sure,” Martinez said. “She broke a bit to the outside which she tends to do, but I wanted her to be out there anyway. As fast as she is, she has learned to relax once she gets into stride. I work her in the mornings and she has been getting more handy to be on. It’s a treat to ride her. She used to be hard to control, but she’s gotten to be a real pro.”
Scace had the flu and was unable to attend, but her assistant, Ray Stifano, seemed certain It’s Me Mom’s performance cheered up Scace considerably.
“We go by ear with her. We try to pick good spots for her and the money adds up,” Stifano said. “She might go a mile. I think she’ll be a graded stakes winner next year.”
Stifano, himself 82, was delighted for the Bosches, who also bred, own and race It’s Me Mom’s 2-year-old full sister, Eyes of Love. “They are the most beautiful people anybody could ever train for,” Stifano said.
Leandro Goncalves, the jockey on runner-up Moon Buzz out of the Steve Margolis barn, offered no excuses.
“The winner was just too much today,” Goncalves said. “We got away a step slowly and I was farther back than I had hoped. We stayed wide on the best ground in the turn and she put in a real run and was going well, but the winner was just too much filly today.”
Yournotthebossofme finished third.
Goncalves did not win on the card but finished 2011 with 298 victories, third-best in the nation behind Deshawn Parker and Ramon Dominguez. Trainer Jamie Ness was shut out Saturday but finished the year with 330 victories, second in the nation to Steven Asmussen.
Ness won with 32 percent of his starters, the highest mark in the country among trainers with 400 or more starters.
Live racing resumes Wednesday. Tampa Bay Downs remains open every day for simulcast wagering, no-limits poker in the Silks Poker Room and golf fun and instruction at the Downs Golf Practice Facility.