Maryland Jockey Club photo
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md.— Morris Kernan Jr. and Jagger Inc.’s Chickieness, popular winner of the Maryland Million Lassie last fall, chases her second straight win and second in a stakes in Saturday’s $100,000 Xtra Heat.
Chickieness raced eight times for breeder, trainer and co-owner Jamie Ness as a 2-year-old, running second in back-to-back stakes at Delaware Park behind then-undefeated Bound by Destiny before breaking through with a come-from-behind 1 ½-length triumph in the Lassie.
Following that effort, the Blofeld filly ran third in an optional claiming allowance sprinting six furlongs and fourth to undefeated Malibu Moonshine in the seven-furlong Maryalnd Juvenile Fillies before rebounding with a front-running 3 ¾-length optional claiming allowance score Dec. 17.
“After she won Maryland Million Day, we tried her in a couple other spots including the stake there. She was still eligible for the allowance, and she was able to win that the last time she ran,” Ness said. “There isn’t a lot of other options with a filly like this. You either run in the stake or you sit in the barn. She had a good work last week and that’s where we’re headed. She’s Maryland-bred, so we’re going to run her in Maryland.”
Out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Chickaletta, Chickieness had things her way last out under regular rider Jaime Rodriguez, setting solid fractions before pulling away to win in 1:06.18 for 5 ½ furlongs. After making her first four career starts in Delaware, her last four have come at Laurel.
“The last time she actually won pretty easy, so maybe she’s still getting better. I think she’s still going to have to continue to improve to take on open stake fillies, but that’s what we’re going to try,” Ness said. “She’s done very little wrong. It means a little extra being the owner-breeder, and I ran the mare. She’s been at my farm since she was born so it’s nice to see her develop.”
Rodriguez returns to ride from the rail at topweight of 124 pounds, yielding six pounds to each of her five rivals.
Trainer Brittany Russell entered the pair of Grace and Charm and L Street Lady. Jeff Drown and Nicky Drion Thoroughbreds’ Grace and Charm graduated in her fourth and most recent start, a gate-to-wire maiden special weight triumph going six furlongs Jan. 1 at Laurel by 4 ½ lengths. Madaket Stables’ L Street Lady also exits a powerful maiden special win, hers by 7 ½ lengths sprinting 5 ½ furlongs Dec. 4 in her second lifetime start and first on dirt.
Robert Rutherford’s We’ll See, a Pennsylvania homebred daughter of champion Uncle Mo, is entered to make her stakes debut for trainer Bruce Kravets after winning her first two starts at Penn National by 20 ½ combined lengths, neither as the favorite.
Runnymoore Racing’s Filtered Light, a 3 ¼-length maiden special weight winner over fellow Pennsylvania-breds Dec. 12 at Parx; and Mario Serey Jr. owned and trained Ojitos Bellos, sixth after encountering trouble in the Dec. 30 Gin Talking at Laurel two starts back, are also entered.
The Xtra Heat honors the champion 3-year-old filly of 2001 and 2015 Hall of Famer that won 26 races, 25 in stakes, and nearly $2.4 million in purses from 36 starts between 2000 and 2003. Racing primarily for Marylanders Harry Deitchman and Kenneth Taylor and trainer John Salzman Sr., who purchased her for $5,000 as a 2-year-old in training, she won at least one graded-stakes every year she raced and 11 in all, including the Prioress (G1) and back-to-back editions of the Barbara Fritchie (G2), and was also multiple Grade 1-placed against males.