LAUREL, Md. –Joanne Shankle’s Can the Queen, narrowly beaten in her two-turn debut last month, will get back to doing what she does best – sprinting on the turf – when she chases a third career stakes victory in the $75,000 Jameela.
Bred by Carol Ann Kaye and trained by Laurel’s summer meet leader Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, 6-year-old Can the Queen attempted to stretch her speed out in the 1 1/16-mile All Brandy June 19 at Laurel. She opened up by more than four lengths at one point and took a two-length lead into the stretch before being reeled in by Why Not Tonight near the wire and ran second by a half-length.
“She ran a huge race. Unfortunately, she got beat, but that’s the game. She could have won the race, but we cannot win everything,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “It was a chance to see how she would handle going long. She had never run that far in her life and I was like, ‘I think this filly can go a little longer,’ and she did. She showed me something. She handled the distance well.”
Five of Can the Queen’s six career wins from 17 starts have come at the Jameela’s 5 ½ furlongs, and she is 3-for-8 lifetime over the Laurel turf. Fourth in last year’s Jameela after setting the pace, Can the Queen won the 2021 Sensible Lady and May 20 The Very One sprinting five furlongs on the grass at historic Pimlico Race Course.
“She’s very happy right now and I’m confident in her, but you never know. There can always be another one faster than everyone else,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “If you don’t compete, you never know. We have the opportunity to compete again this year, so we’ll see.”
Can the Queen’s victory in the $100,000 The Very One – held on Black-Eyed Susan (G2) day, May 20 – came after she ran seventh in the race the previous year, beaten 3 ½ lengths by subsequent two-time Grade 3 winner Caravel after encountering traffic trouble.
“Unfortunately she had a lot of trouble on the trip and she could have won it. To come back this year, it’s very special to win on one of those days,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “She’s been great, she’s been awesome. She’s lovely. She was a huge project for me and fortunately she came out good.”
Ellanation and Dendrobia, respectively first and second in the 2021 Jameela, are back for another try. Dark Hollow Farm’s 6-year-old homebred mare Ellanation has gone winless in six starts since last year’s victory, placing three times, while Cynthia McGinnes and Francis Clemens’ Dendrobia exits a closing second to Whispurring Kitten in a six-furlong turf sprint July 3 at Laurel.
Louis Ulman and Stephen Parker’s Whiteknuckleflyer broke her maiden on the grass last fall at Laurel and was third in restricted allowance May 26 on the Pimlico turf to open her 3-year-old season. She enters the Jameela having won two straight, both 5 ½-furlong allowance races rained off the turf to the main track.
Completing the field are Margie’s Heaven, Mattitude, Spun Glass, Golden Can and Island Philo.
Jameela won 16 stakes including the Maskette (G1), Ladies (G1) and Delaware (G1) handicaps before being retired following the 1982 season as the first Maryland-bred to surpass $1 million in lifetime earnings. She had two foals before passing away from colic in 1985, the first being 1988 champion sprinter Gulch.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo: Can the Queen’s victory in the $100,000 The Very One on Black-Eyed Susan (G2) day, May 20. (Maryland Jockey Club)