Al Stall, Jr. continued his strong 2012 Saratoga Race Course meeting by sending out Sign to an impressive debut victory on Sunday.
Sign drew the rail post and left the gate in seventh before flashing speed along the inside to race in third, 1 ½ lengths behind the leader, through an opening quarter-mile in 22.56 seconds. After dropping back to fourth while awaiting running room on the turn, the daughter of Pulpit circled the field four wide and needed only minimal urging from Rosie Napravnik to run up the score in deep stretch.
Off at 10-1, Sign paid $22.00 and ran six furlongs in 1:10.37.
“She was professional [training earlier this summer at Keeneland], but we didn’t know if she could do that at Saratoga,” said Stall. “I don’t know what was behind her [in her maiden win], but I’ve never had a 2-year-old win like that on dirt here. That’s what gets you out of bed in the morning. She’s kind. I tried to get her behind dirt in the morning, and her mind is good, very good. She comes from a very good Claiborne family where all the horses have innate class, and she’s just like some of the other ones I’ve had.”
Sign, a homebred for Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm, is out of Cross, who won a restricted stakes on turf via disqualification as a 2-year-old. A half-brother to Cross, Lattice, captured the Grade 2 American Derby and Grade 3 Louisville Handicap, also on grass.
Stall, who trained both Cross and Lattice during the latter stages of their careers, always thought Sign would do her best running on the dirt.
“If you look at her, physically, she looks like a dirt type,” said Stall. “She has a big, powerful hip on her, and she gave me a dirt feeling, just being around her. She doesn’t have a tremendous stretch.”
Stall, who is based in Louisiana in the winter and Kentucky in the spring and fall, said the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs in October is a possible target for Cross.
On Friday, Stall sent out 2-year-old colt Central Banker to a maiden victory, and one day later Stall won with Magical Moon, a 2-year-old filly who broke her maiden by 10 ½ lengths in a turf sprint. Both Central Banker and Magical Moon were second-time starters.