Keeneland: I'm Already Sexy wows rookie owners

Anna Seitz's plan was rooted in the realistic when a dark bay daughter of Ready's Image was purchased for her and her partners at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton October yearling sale.

Best case scenario, Seitz thought members of the newly-formed Hit The Board Stables partnership she spearheaded would share some good company and knowledge while getting a thrill out of seeing their colors show up on the Kentucky racing circuit.

"If we won one race we'd be really happy but I thought, 'Oh we can go to the races and have a drink together, dress up, enjoy the day.' That was our goal," Seitz recalled. "We didn't expect this."

The first horse purchased with the $20,000 the group raised, the filly now known as I'm Already Sexy, has carried her connections into the can't-script-this-kind-of-luck category.

I'm Already Sexy will break from the outside post No. 9 in Saturday's Grade I, $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland.

Having grown up around the industry, Seitz created the 18-person strong Hit The Board Stables as part of her initiative to give friends and new fans a chance to experience the inner workings of the sport.

The economics of both the country and the Thoroughbred industry have made racing partnerships as abundant and successful as they ever have been. While becoming the next Dogwood Stables or Team Valor was not the genesis behind Hit The Board Stables, the fact they have a graded stakes winner taking them to the top ranks in their first deep dive is about as fantastic as they could fathom.

"I wanted a way to get new people involved in racing and I thought, 'Lets put a little partnership together for everyday people who aren't millionaires so they can enjoy watching their horse train and coming out to the barn in the morning,'" said Seitz, who works as a marketing assistant for Fasig-Tipton and whose family operates Brookdale Farm. "For most of them (this is their first racehorse) but ... no one in this group has ever had one like her before.

"A lot of the partners are people who live in Lexington and always dreamed of running at Keeneland, so when she broke her maiden there it was like, 'Are you kidding me?' And then to go on and be invited back for the Queen Elizabeth."

Picked out of the sale by California-based agent and longtime Seitz friend Bob Feld, I'm Already Sexy indeed broke her maiden second time out at Keeneland last October and followed that outing with a victory over the Churchill Downs turf in November.

After returning from a short freshening earlier this year and a botched outing at Arlington in June when she was pulled up but walked off with no apparent injury, the Wayne Catalano-trained filly has won three of her last four outings.

Her gate-to-wire triumph in the Grade III Pucker Up Stakes at Arlington on September 14 showed a new dimension to her running and sent her posse over the moon. Though the QEII field with the likes of Grade I winner Alterite represents a huge class jump for I'm Already Sexy, she has history — as well as her recent form — in her corner.

Since 2004, winners of the Pucker Up have gone on to take three editions of the QEII.

"From Day One she was training well. She pulled a couple stunts on us but the rest of her races were very good performances," Catalano said. "It's nice to be involved in that group, and everybody is so excited about it. That's what the game is all about. She's in good form and you can't ask for better than that."

Though I'm Already Sexy remains the only horse owned by the Hit The Board partnership, Seitz said more than a few in the group have already discussed going in on other offerings — especially since their current star is slated to sell in the Fasig-Tipton November sale.

The emotional return the filly has provided has far surpassed her owners' initial financial investment, they say. Most importantly, the lessons they have learned from her ascent have given them the foundation for remaining in the sport long term.

"We can all come out here and they can watch her be shod, they can watch her get a bath, get tacked up," Seitz said. "Doing it as a group, I try and make it educational and eventually if they want to go on and do things on their own or partner up together, they at least have a little bit of a base.

"Everyone dreams of buying a horse and going on and doing great things with them. That's why we continue to keep trying to keep doing this because everyone wants to experience this."

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