Photo by Jim McCue/MJC
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md. – The Elkstone Group’s Grade 2-placed Hybrid Eclipse, under a patient ride from Sheldon Russell, split horses in mid-stretch and went on to earn her second stakes win in Maryland this year in Saturday’s $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go at Laurel Park.
The 12th running of the 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and up was the last of three stakes on a Harvest Festival program following the $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies and $100,000 James F. Lewis III for 2-year-olds, both sprinting six furlongs.
Second to multiple Grade 1 winner Nest in her prior start, the Oct. 9 Prioress (G2) at Aqueduct, Laurel-based Hybrid Eclipse ($8) was entered but scratched from the Nov. 4 Turnback the Alarm (G3) by trainer Brittany Russell to race over her home track, where she is now 4-for-5 lifetime.
“It just seemed like the smart thing to do,” Brittany Russell said. “She loves this racetrack. She’s done a lot of good here, so it was nice for her to come back and get win.”
Sheldon Russell found himself uncharacteristically far back on Hybrid Eclipse in the early going as New York shipper Baby Man went a quarter-mile in 23.20 seconds and a half inf 47.53, pressed by the 9-5 multiple stakes-winning favorite Malibu Beauty.
Hybrid Eclipse moved into contention after Malibu Beauty went six furlongs in 1:12.29 to take over the top spot, and Sheldon Russell was able to find room between the leader and Berate on the far outside to launch their bid, coming with a steady run to the wire to win by three lengths in 1:40.05 over a main track rated good.
“I was a little unsure, honestly, down the backside. Sheldon looked like he was chugging on her bit and I just wanted to see her kind of engage and run on the bridle and get comfortable,” Brittany Russell said. “Honestly, she really never did. He just kind of stayed on her and she responded. So, whatever it took to get it done, they made it happen.”
Berate stayed up for second, two lengths ahead of 30-1 long shot Champagne Toast. It was a neck back to Malibu Beauty in fourth followed by Click to Confirm, Timonium Distaff winner Breviary and Baby Man. Grade 2-placed Beguine was scratched.
Hybrid Eclipse joined Brittany Russell in the spring after racing previously for trainer Linda Rice. The 4-year-old filly ran third in the Obeah at Delaware Park and won the July 2 Caesar’s Wish at Laurel in her first two starts for Russell, after which she was purchased by Elkstone’s Stuart Grant for $107,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s July horses of racing age sale.
“I had her for another client and when she went through the sale and Stuart purchased her, we had some expectations. She’s doing exactly what we’re hoping she would,” Russell said. “Stuart’s been awesome. He’s supported me. He’s sent us a lot of horses and we’ve had a lot of bad with the good, so it’s really fun to win a stake for him today.”
The Thirty Eight Go Go honors the two-time Maryland-bred champion bred and trained by Hall of Famer King Leatherbury. Eight of her 10 career wins came in stakes including the Gardenia (G2), Tempted (G3) and Maryland Million Lassie in 1987 and three consecutive runnings of the Geisha (1988-90).