Girl Trouble Ready for Bigger and Better Things by Bill Finley
When trainer Butch Reid went to the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic Yearling Sale he wanted to bring home a New Jersey bred. He liked the program and the big purses the Jersey-breds run for at Monmouth. Based at Parx, it was an easy ship up the road to Monmouth for Reid. So the idea was, don't pay a lot, get a Jersey-bred that caught his eye and win a race or two at Monmouth.
He got what he wanted, and a whole lot more.
On behalf of owners Swilcan Stable and LC Racing, Reid bought a Jersey-bred daughter of Fast Anna for $15,000. Fast forward some 15 months later and that horse, Girl Trouble, is among the hottest 3-year-old fillies in the sport. On Jan. 3 at Parx, Girl Trouble romped by 5 1/4 lengths in the Parx Futurity. It was her third straight win and part of a streak in which she has captured her last three races by a combined margin of 19 1/4 lengths. All three races were contested at seven furlongs or shorter.
“We're going to find out how good she is,” Reid said. “She has a real good head on her shoulders and I don't think her going longer will be any problem at all. Her next race will be at least a mile.”
Reid has enjoyed a lot of success buying cheap horses at the sales. The list includes Morning Matcha, an $18,000 purchase who made $653,390. There was also Vero Amore. A $15,000 purchase, she is the dam of Reid's champion Vequist.
The story of Girl Trouble actually begins well before her purchase as a 2-year-old. Shopping at the 2020 Keeneland January Sale, Greg Kilka and Bright View Farm owner Christine Connelly picked out a broodmare prospect, a Ghostzapper filly named Adorabella. They paid $14,000 for a filly, not necessarily a bargain on paper since she never raced.
“The physical was attractive,” Kilka said. “She was from a good young family. There seemed to be some upside so we took a shot.”
Girl Trouble is her first foal.
At first, it appeared that Girl Trouble was going to turn out to be a useful Jersey-bred who would probably be in over her head in open-company stakes races. She debuted on June 4 at Monmouth and ran second in a state-bred maiden. She won her next start and then finished second in an allowance at Parx, which was followed by a third-place finish in the White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware Park. Though she earned some black type in the Delaware race she was soundly beaten, losing by 10 ½ lengths.
Next up was an allowance race at Parx and, by then, the lightbulb had come on. She won by eight lengths and was in hand under Paco Lopez when going across the wire. She came back to win the Future Stars Futurity Division S. at Parx and then the Parx Futurity. She won both races easily.
Reid said he believes the reason Girl Trouble turned things around starting with the Parx allowance was that the stable decided to make a jockey switch to Lopez.
Reid knows that the real test will come when Girl Trouble is given her chance in longer races. She has never won beyond seven furlongs and her only try in a route or around two turns came in the one-mile White Clay Creek Stakes. He said he is looking at races at Aqueduct and at Laurel for Girl Trouble's next start. It could come in the March 4 Busher at Aqueduct, a one-turn, one-mile race with a purse of $250,000. The winner of the Busher gets 50 Kentucky Oaks points, more than enough to get into the race.
Naturally, Connelly and Kilka are thrilled with Girl Trouble and the prospect that she might just be the type who can win a graded stakes.
“We are excited about her success and versatility,” Connelly said of Girl Trouble. “She was an attractive and athletic youngster but didn't really stand out amongst her cohorts. They were a good group and most have already won. Yet, she is the big one now.”
Kilka and Connelly also own a young broodmare in the 7-year-old Adorabella who is worth a lot more than the $14,000 they paid for her. Her second foal is a colt by Bucchero and is a newly turned 2-year-old. She also has a yearling colt by Classic Empire. Both colts are New Jersey-breds. She was not bred in 2022. This year, she will be bred to Medaglia d'Oro. Kilka was unsure whether or not that horse would be a registered New Jersey bred.
In the meantime, the breeders will watch the progress of Girl Trouble intently. Is she Kentucky Oaks material? She has to prove a lot before the answer to that question is yes, but she's certainly heading in the right direction.
“This is actually the first foal that Christine and I have partnered on,” Kilka said. “We're excited to have had some success so quickly. This is quite a thrill.”