Challenge: Looking for Separation

Sudden Separation looks for a fifth stakes win in Merial Distaff.

Q-Racing Jounal

Larry Sharp grazes his stakes winner Sudden Separation. PHOTO: Q-Racing Journal/Andrea Caudill

Sudden Separation is likely to be one of the favorites in the $126,500 Merial Distaff Challenge Championship (G1) on Saturday, and with good reason. The 4-year-old daughter of Inseperable has had an incredible year, winning five races – including four stakes – by daylight every time. The stakes wins began with the Golden Driller Stakes at Fair Meadows and include the Keokuk Stakes (G3) over a field with Bank of America Challenge Championship (G1) contender Mister Big, and the Merial Prairie Meadows Distaff Challenge over fellow Distaff Championship contender Send Me This Wagon. To date she has won or placed in nine of 13 starts and has earnings of $81,047.

She has overcome a lot to get to where she is. When she was a 2-year-old, she came down with pigeon fever, a severe bacterial infection that causes painful intramuscular and internal abscesses. Her connections were patient with her, though, allowing her to take the time she needed to heal and fully recover, leading to her rather sudden appearance on the stakes scene this year. 

“It ended up being quite a deal with her, but it’s paying off now,” said trainer Larry Sharp. “This year she started off really well. I started her at a claiming price (this spring) to get her mind on winning, and she just went up the ladder for us. She’s a neat little mare.”

Sudden Sensation is easy to handle and haul, and understands her job on the track.

“She just does her job, sticks her nose in that V and leaves,” he said.

Sudden Separation is a homebred for Duane Murphy of Aurora, Missouri, and comes from the breeding program of Sharp’s Barley & Sharp Farm. Murphy also raced Sudden Separation’s dam, Okie Dokey Annie, the winner of the 2006 Kansas Futurity (G2) and 2007 Central Distaff Challenge and earner of $94,773.

Bye Bye Birdy is a half sister to Dashin Bye
Strong Hope. PHOTO: Q-Racing Journal/

Okie Dokey Annie’s immediate female family is a line cultivated by Sharp for many years, and goes back to their foundation mare, Bye Bye Imgone. The 1982 mare, acquired as a baby by Pat Sharp and Barbara Barley, is a fountainhead producer. Among her foals are Superior Race Horse and producer Sweet Bye And Bye ($324,563) and stakes winners including Bold Farewell ($79,915), as well as many more. Sweet Bye And Bye is the dam of runners and sires Dashin Bye ($305,250), Strong Hope ($209,395), Chick Happens ($39,747) and Sweet First Down ($146,374), as well as distaffer Sweet Adios ($66,023), second dam of stakes-placed Diez Quatro ($82,883) and third dam of stakes winner I V Gone ($113,938) and Bye Bye Cartel ($66,160). This family also produced recent Ruidoso Futurity (G1) finalist Jess Burnin ($21,675), stakes winner Missourian ($175,293) and Bye Bye Eagle Eye ($191,091) 

This family also produced Sharp’s other Challenge entry, Bye Bye Birdy, who races for Barbara Barley in the Adequan Derby Challenge Championship (G3). 

The daughter of Hawkinson is out of Sweet Bye And Bye, and has won or placed in nine of 11 career starts, with earnings of $49,217. 

As a freshman, she showed potential as in her second career start she ran a narrow second to eventual Grade 1 winner Gold Digging Ashley ($355,195), but she sustained a minor injury that caused Sharp to take her home to rest. She has come back this year to qualify to the $136,400 Retama Park Derby, and then in September, she was second behind AJs High in the Adequan Prairie Meadows Derby Challenge, and followed that with a third in the QHRA of Indiana Derby. 

“She’s made a good account of herself,” Sharp said. “She’s a pretty honest filly.” 

The Bank of America Challenge Championships are November 7 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. Stay tuned to complete coverage from the Q-Racing Journal at

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