BALTIMORE, Md. – Joanne Shankle’s Can the Queen will reign for another year after reeling in pacesetter Spicy Marg and drawing away by 1 ¾ lengths to defend her title in Saturday’s $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The fifth running of the five-furlong Sensible Lady for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting five furlongs on the grass was the first of four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on the final Saturday program of the nine-day fall meet.
Ridden by Jean Alvelo, Can the Queen ($18.40) completed the distance in 56.60 seconds over a firm course and provided Shankle with her first stakes victory as a trainer, six days after registering her first training win. The multiple stakes-winning owner had worked the past 10 years as an assistant to Rudy Sanchez-Salomon.
It was also the third straight win from five career tries over the Pimlico course, all three wins coming in stakes following the 2021 Sensible Lady and May 20 The Very One.
“I thought she would be more of a favorite than a long shot,” Shankle said. “She loves this turf course here.”
Spicy Marg, trained by Wesley Ward, was intent on the lead from her outside post position and rocketed through a quarter-mile in 21.77 seconds and a half in 44.55 as Dontletsweetfoolya, a multiple stakes winner on dirt, and Can the Queen gave closest chase. Spicy Marg turned for home still in front and going well but Can the Queen gained steadily through the lane.
“I was told to try and get her to the lead [or] try to get her close. I just kept her busy and kept her close, and she just responded. She did really well,” Alvelo said. “I was thinking if she just keeps running the same pace she’s going to run right [by] him. She had a lot in her and when I asked her, she just gave me even more.”
Whispurring Kitten closed stoutly from far back to be second, a neck ahead of 30-1 long shot Can’t Buy Love. It was another nose back to Spicy Marg, followed by Honey Pants, Ellanation, Dontletsweetfoolya, Miss J McKay, Creative Credit, Grade 3 winner Robin Sparkles and Golden Can.
Can the Queen now has seven wins from 19 career starts. She entered the Sensible Lady have run seventh, beaten 4 ¼ lengths, in the 5 ½-furlong Jameela contested over a Laurel Park turf course rated good July 30.
“She was doing well,” Shankle said. “We gave her a little break in between the race. She worked very well last time, and I knew she was going to show up.”
Turf sprinter Sensible Lady took consecutive runnings of Pimlico’s The Very One in 2012 and 2013, two of her seven wins in 14 starts at 3 and 4. The Street Sense filly was trained by Tim Salzman for Three Lyons Racing, who purchased her for $9,500 as a 2-year-old at Ocala’s April sale. She went on to earn $436,640 from 22 starts. From May 2012 to June 2013, the filly won six stakes while racing at Pimlico, Colonial Downs, Penn National and Saratoga and placed in three others during the 10-race streak.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo by Jim McCue/MJC