Interstatedaydream captures the Allaire DuPont Distaff May 19 at Pimlico (Barbara Singer/Past The Wire)
Saturday Stakes Expected To Be Last Start for Multiple Graded Winner
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md.— Flurry Racing Stable’s Interstatedaydream, a two-time graded-stakes winner that has enjoyed success in her only two prior trips to Maryland, will get the chance to end her career on a positive note when she takes on eight rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Twixt at Laurel Park.
The 41st running of the 1 1/16-mile Twixt for fillies and mares 3 and up is the third of four stakes worth $500,000 in purses on an 11-race program headlined by the $150,000 Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds and $150,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies scheduled for the turf.
Rounding out the stakes action on opening weekend of Laurel’s calendar year-ending fall meet is the $100,000 Japan Turf Cup scheduled for 1 ½ miles on the grass. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Owner Staton Flurry said Interstatedaydream, a 4-year-old filly trained by Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, is entered in Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale which runs Nov. 8-16. The daughter of champion Classic Empire has a record of 5-3-3 from 12 starts with purse earnings of $663,869.
“This will more than likely be her last race,” Flurry said. “She’s given us a good run. I’m really not into the breeding side; I like the racing side. I think 4 turning 5 is kind of their peak, so let’s just see how she comes out of it. We are planning on putting her in the November sale, so hopefully she can go out a winner in this race.”
Interstatedaydream became a stakes winner with a 6-1 upset in last year’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at historic Pimlico Race Course, where she returned to capture this year’s Allaire du Pont on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard as the 3-5 favorite. Both races came at 1 1/8 miles.
A winner of the 2022 Indiana Oaks (G3), Interstatedaydream followed the du Pont running second in the 1 1/8-mile Lady Jacqueline June 24 at Thistledown and third in the one-mile Groupie Doll Aug. 13 at Ellis Park, beaten a total of five lengths.
Interstatedaydream lost by less than three lengths in each of her first two races this year, when she was third behind Secret Oath and Clairiere in the Azeri (G2) and fourth in the Doubledogdare (G3), the latter as the favorite.
“She’s been a consistent horse,” Flurry said. “She’s just had some bad luck in her last two races. We hooked two real monsters in the Azeri but every other race she’s run this year I feel like she could have finished better than she did, going into the races, the way she was training and everything. She just ran into a bad set of circumstances.”
The connections had initially considered keeping Interstatedaydream closer to home for the 1 1/16-mile Locust Grove (G3) Sept. 16 in Kentucky but opted instead for the Twixt.
“It was shaping up to be more of a Grade 1 than a Grade 3 … so we said, ‘Let’s dodge the tough competition and point toward Laurel,” Flurry said. “We looked around and said, ‘Let’s get her back to Maryland. She seems to really like that state.’”
Among the horses standing in Interstatedaydream’s way are defending Twixt champion and Grade 3 winner Battle Bling and multiple stakes winner Hybrid Eclipse, one of two entries from Maryland’s leading trainer, Brittany Russell.
Flurry got his biggest win as an owner in partnership on 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Shedaresthedevil, a multi-millionaire that was retired following last season and sold for $5 million at the Keeneland sale. He anticipates a similar feeling when Interstatedaydream is no longer racing.
“It will be bittersweet, same way as when we had Shedaresthedevil. When it was her last race, it was like, ‘Man.’ You know what’s on the table before her and hopefully you can go out with a strong finish,” Flurry said. “Battle Bling looks like a salty horse. Brittany’s got two in there, and when you’re in Maryland, or really anywhere Brittany has a horse, you know she’s going to be tough.
“It’s going to be a salty race,” he added. “Hopefully we can break good and get a good spot to sit and make a late run. We’ll see how it plays out. You can never predict how the race is going to go, you just hope it’s an easy, smooth trip.”
Sheldon Russell has the call on Interstatedaydream from outermost Post 9.
Michael Dubb and Gandharvi Racing Stables’ Battle Bling led most of the way to win last year’s Twixt by 1 ¼ lengths in the midst of a three-race win streak capped by her front-running triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Turnback the Alarm (G3) at Aqueduct. She has yet to win back and will be making her first start since finishing sixth in the July 8 Delaware Handicap (G2) behind subsequent Grade 1 winner Idiomatic.
“She was working real good going into her last race and she really didn’t run how I expected her to, so we kind of gave her a little time until this start,” trainer Rob Atras said. “She’s been training really good. Obviously we were a little concerned with her last race, but we didn’t really find anything on her so we gave her a little bit of time and decided to point toward this race, where she’s run well. We’re hoping she can get back into form.”
Battle Bling opened her 5-year-old campaign running second in the Ladies on New Year’s Day and third to next-out Doubledogdare winner Frost Point in the Heavenly Prize, both at Aqueduct. Angel Cruz, up for last year’s Twixt, gets the return call from Post 8.
“Basically, we’re just trying to get her back into form, but from what I’ve seen in the morning we’re hopeful that she’ll do that,” Atras said. “She’s worked real steady, no interruptions, so everything like that’s been good. She’s coming into it fresh and training well. Sometimes these mares, they get a little bit older and they lose their competitive edge a little bit. I’m hoping that’s not the case. If she runs like she’s been training, I think that she’s going to be very competitive.”
The Elkstone Group’s Hybrid Eclipse was scratched from last year’s Twixt but returned the next week to run third in the Beldame (G2) and later won the Thirty Eight Go Go, her second stakes win at Laurel following the Caesar’s Wish in late spring. The 5-year-old mare has added two more Laurel stakes wins this year, in the 1 1/16-mile Nellie Morse Feb. 18 and a repeat in the one-mile Caesar’s Wish July 15, her most recent start.
“There wasn’t really anything else for her that made sense so we kind of pointed for this spot,” Brittany Russell said. “It just seemed to work out. She’s trained well and she’s done everything right and she’ll be ready to go.”
Hybrid Eclipse raced in last and trailed by as many as 8 ¼ lengths after a half-mile in the 2023 Caesar’s Wish before uncorking a rally under jockey Joe Rocco Jr. to catch Award Wanted by a neck. Intrepid Daydream, winner of the Sept. 16 Shine Again at Pimlico, was third.
“Around the turn I thought, ‘Man, this filly might be going the wrong way. Like, this might be it,’ and then she kind of came from the clouds and got herself up,” Russell said. “Joe rode her so well. It was really rewarding because these fillies sometimes they fall off a bit and eventually they’re done and it was nice to see that she found her way back in the winner’s circle, in a good way.”
Russell also entered Full of Run Racing and Madaket Stables’ Batacuda, a winner of three of four career starts. Trained by Cox for her first three races, she was moved to his Russell, his former assistant, in the spring and debuted for her with an impressive four-length optional claiming allowance triumph Aug. 30 at Delaware Park.
“We actually got her because she’s just a little tricky and they just thought maybe a change of scenery to Fair Hill might be good for her, and she’s done really well out there,” Russell said. “She’s a talented filly. She has some quirks about her but it’s probably going to be time [to try her]. She needs to step forward and either be that kind or not, really.”
ZWP Stable and Non Stop Stable’s Malibu Beauty is a four-time stakes winner, three of them coming at Laurel, the most recent in the 1 1/8-mile Carousel last December. She is 0-for-3 this year with a third in the Jan. 21 Geisha at Laurel and a second in the Aug. 26 Timonium Distaff.
AMO Racing USA’s Miss New York was supplemented into the Twixt for her first start since finishing eighth in the July 29 Monmouth Oaks (G3). Prior to that, the Jorge Delgado trainee won the one-mile, 70-yard Boiling Springs at Monmouth by 2 ¾ lengths. The Good Magic filly’s first win came last November in a maiden special weight on the all-weather Tapeta at Gulfstream Park.
Freccia d’Argento, third or better in 17 of 30 career starts; Champagne Toast, third to Hybrid Eclipse in the 2022 Thirty Eight Go Go; and Six the Hard Way, third in the April 15 Weber City Miss, complete the field.
Twixt was a Maryland-bred champion every year she raced, from 1972-75, retiring as Maryland’s all-time money-winning mare. Her 18 stakes wins were also a Maryland-bred record on the flat. Bred and owned by Mr. and Mrs. John Merryman and trained by their daughter, Katy Voss, Twixt won the Barbara Fritchie (G3) and was named Maryland’s Horse of the Year in 1973 and 1974.