Draws Rail Against Seven Rivals in Six-Furlong Sprint Friday
LAUREL, Md. – Whenever trainer Brittany Russell has designs on giving stable star Hello Beautiful some time off, the 4-year-old filly has other ideas.
The 39th running of the six-furlong Politely for fillies and mares 3 and up and fifth renewal of the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs highlight a nine-race, post-Thanksgiving Day program.
Both races, restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, return after a one-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
On Oct. 23 Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful became only the seventh horse since the event’s inception in 1986 to win a third Maryland Million race, adding to her victories in the 2020 Distaff and 2019 Lassie.
It was the third consecutive win for the Golden Lad filly and 10th in 18 career starts including a 9-for-13 record at Laurel, her home track. In the time since her most recent win, Hello Beautiful showed Russell she’s raring to go.
“She’s great. She’s awesome. She’s touting herself again. If there was any indication otherwise we would skip it, but it seems like a good spot,” Russell said. “It would probably be this spot and potentially the MATCH Series race in December if all goes well. Then she’ll probably get some sort of a break.”
The $100,000 Willa On the Move for fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs is Dec. 26 at Laurel and the finale of the filly and mare dirt sprint division in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series. Hello Beautiful leads the division with 27 points, also good for the overall series lead.
“It’s one of those things. Why not?” Russell said. “She’s ready to go. It’s a good spot, [so] let’s run.”
Russell purchased Hello Beautiful for just $6,500 from Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic December 2018 mixed sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. She has gone on to earn $582,570 in purses with $265,460 coming in six 2021 starts. Her four wins have come in the What a Summer, Alma North, Weather Vane and Distaff.
“We’re kind of blessed with a good thing here. She spoils you because you walk into the barn and – I’m touching wood as we talk – it’s one of those things. She just goes about her business every day,” Russell said. “She trains and she’s straightforward. There’s never anything to get too excited about. I’m walking in the barn and dealing with the 30-plus others that all have issues, and she spoils you. You walk her over there, she runs in good races, and she wins. She’s just a pleasure to train.”
Hello Beautiful has finished worse than third just four times in her career, the most recent coming when fifth in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 20 at Laurel. She was second in her return, the June 13 Shine Again at Laurel, prior to her current win streak.
“She’s easy-going and she’s nice to be around. She’s a very good girl,” Russell said. “You walk in the barn and she always has her butt to the stall door. That’s her. She does her thing every day and she doesn’t really like her schedule to be changed, but she’s a cool filly. Everybody that’s around her loves her. Her rider loves her. Her groom loves her. She’s nice to have around.”
Her Distaff win was not only the first stakes win for Hello Beautiful, but also the first for Russell in her first full season as a trainer. Hello Beautiful cruised by 3 ½ lengths over Malibu Beauty with Street Lute third, both of which return in the Politely.
“That was awesome, just to see that she was able to do it three years in a row,” Russell said. “To just kind of be able to maintain that form and stay on her game for so long, we’re lucky. Hopefully she has another good year because it looks like we’ll probably get to race her next year.”
Jevian Toledo will ride Hello Beautiful from the rail at topweight of 124 pounds.
Russell also entered MOW Racing’s Miss Chesapeake, a 3-year-old daughter of Uncle Lino that won her only prior start, a 2 ¾-length triumph as the favorite in a six-furlong waiver maiden claimer Oct. 22 at Laurel.
R. Larry Johnson’s 5-year-old homebred mare Never Enough Time is second to Hello Beautiful in the MATCH division standings and third overall. Winner of the 2020 Alma North and Skipat in successive starts last fall, the Mike Trombetta trainee was third in the Weather Vane and second in the Oct. 31 Pumpkin Pie at Belmont Park in her two most recent starts.
Street Lute is an eight-time stakes winner for Lucky 7 Stables and trainer Jerry Robb, the most recent coming in the Sept. 25 Tax Free District at Delaware Park prior to the Maryland Million, where she was beaten a nose for second. She is 9-for-15 lifetime and five-for-eight at Laurel, never having finished worse than third.
Robb won the Politely the last time it was run with Anna’s Bandit in 2019. He also entered Eric Rizer’s 3-year-old filly Princess Kokachin, a winner of four consecutive races since Sept. 18 and six of 10 starts on the year, the last coming by 5 ¼ lengths in a Nov. 13 optional claiming allowance at Laurel.
Malibu Beauty, winner of the Aug. 21 Miss Disco at historic Pimlico Race Course and second in the Tax Free District and Maryland Million Distaff; stakes-placed Paisley Singing; and Proper Attire are also entered.
The Politely honors Maryland’s Horse of the Year in 1967 and 1968, bred and raced by Mrs. Richard du Pont. Politely won 13 stakes and placed in eight others from age 2 to 5, setting an Atlantic City track record in the 1967 Matchmaker and matching it the following year. Retired following the 1968 season, she won 21 of 49 career starts and was a member of the inaugural Maryland-bred Thoroughbred Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo: Hello Beautiful winning the Maryland Million Distaff under Jevian Toledo on Oct. 23, 2021. (MJC)