Laurel Park Stakes Notes

December 7, 2019

Juvenile Filly Championship Features Matchup of Stakes Winners
Prizes, Calendar Giveaway on Maryland Spectacular Day

LAUREL, MD – Cash is King and LC Racing’s Monday Morning Qb looks to come up big Saturday afternoon as he takes the step up to stakes company for the first time off an impressive maiden triumph in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity at Laurel Park.

The Futurity for 2-year-olds and $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, each at seven furlongs, are among four stakes restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses worth $350,000 in purses on a nine-race Maryland Spectacular Day program.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. with a 12:25 p.m. first post. Festivities include a 2020 Maryland Jockey Club calendar giveaway and the chance to win prizes from the $10,000 giving tree, the latter with program purchase. Also, fans that bring in a new, unwrapped toy or make a donation qualify to receive an item from Laurel’s Give-a-Gift, Get-a-Gift table.

Trained by Parx-based Robert ‘Butch’ Reid Jr., Monday Morning Qb was purchased for $25,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic Eastern Fall yearling sale last October at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. The juvenile son of Imagining debuted Oct. 12 over his home track, finishing second after pressing the pace going six furlongs.

Reid brought him back in another maiden special weight Nov. 16, this one at 5 ½ furlongs, and he responded with a dominant 2 ¼-length victory after initially being reluctant to load in the starting gate.

“We kind of rushed him into his first start. It was Pennsylvania Derby day and he ran respectably and finished second. We gave him a little time and he started to round into his full potential in that second start,” Reid said. “He was a little bit of a handful but a typical 2-year-old colt. His head is getting better now, he’s much better concentrating and I like the way he finished up last time for sure.

“It was only going 5 ½ furlongs but I think he’s really bred to go longer. He’s got Giant’s Causeway on the top side so I don’t think seven-eighths will be a problem, and we’ll be looking to stretch him out from here,” he added. “We’re excited. We think he’s got a big future.”

oseph Besecker’s Laddie Liam has sandwiched wins around finishing third in his lone previous stakes try, the six-furlong Maryland Million Nursery Oct. 19. He graduated with a waiver maiden triumph going three-quarters Sept. 20, his second career start, and last out was a one-length winner in an optional claiming allowance going one mile Nov. 14.

Port Lairge Stables’ Tommy Shelby, based at Pimlico Race Course with trainer Henry Walters, returns to stakes company after winning a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Nov. 10 at Laurel. He ran second in the 5 ½-furlong First State Dash Sept. 28 at Delaware Park and fourth in the Maryland Million Nursery after winning each of his first two starts this summer at Laurel.

Raging Whiskey and Sir Back in Black, respectively fourth and fifth in the James F. Lewis III Stakes Nov. 16 at Laurel; Maryland Million Nursery runner-up Stone Courageous; and last out winners Literally, Mine Not Mine and The Quantico Kid complete the field.

Juvenile Filly Championship Features Matchup of Stakes Winners

Hello Beautiful and Project Whiskey, each coming off their first career stakes victories, will line up in a field that also includes turf stakes winner Miss J McKay in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.

Madaket Stables, Albert Frasetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful has never been worse than third in five career starts, capped by a 3 ¾-length triumph in the six-furlong Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 19 at Laurel, a race where she dueled for the lead before leaving her rivals behind.

“It was really exciting,” trainer Brittany Russell said. “We’ve thought a lot of her, but you don’t want to get too high on them until they give you a reason to, so that was just sort of justification for us. She’s going to be fun to have around. Hopefully she stays healthy and she’ll have a lengthy racing career and maybe go on. At least, she’ll be fun to have in Maryland.”

Since the race, Russell said she kept Hello Beautiful on the same kind of training regimen the juvenile daughter of Golden Lad had going into the Maryland Million. Her husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, will climb back aboard for the sixth straight race.

“She’s doing really well. She hasn’t missed a beat,” she said. “We’re not getting fancy. We’re not trying to change a whole lot with her because what we did last time worked. We’ve just kept her happy and she’s done everything we’ve asked of her in the morning, so we expect her to run well.”

Saturday’s race will be the longest for Hello Beautiful to date, but her trainer has faith she can handle the distance. The filly drew Post 8 in a field of nine; all horses will carry 123 pounds.

“I’m not concerned. The way she works in the morning, she always goes off the right way. Sheldon does a really good job of getting her to relax early in her works and let her finish up. I think that’s the key with the 2-year-olds. She has a lot of natural ability and it’s not like she’s falling down at the end of her races. She always keeps going,” Russell said. “Obviously Miss J McKay is going to be tough to beat, but if you’re going to be good you have to beat the good ones. And, when they’re doing good, that’s the time to try it.”

Cash is King and LC Racing’s Project Whiskey is owned and trained by the same connections as Maryland Juvenile Futurity contender Monday Morning Qb. She even exits the same yearling sale last fall at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, purchased for $35,000, $10,000 more than her stablemate.

“We liked her so much that we took her up to Saratoga and she ran very respectably up there,” trainer Robert ‘Butch’ Reid Jr. said. “Now, it seems after she broke her maiden she kind of really seems like she’s figured it out.”

The Tapizar filly ran third in a pair of maiden special weights at Sartoga, , the latter beaten a head as the favorite going seven furlongs. She has won each of her last two starts, both going seven-eighths at Parx – a maiden special weight Sept. 21 and the Parx Juvenile Fillies Stakes Nov. 4.

“While her numbers aren’t that impressive, she seems like she does just what she has to do. In the stake the other day, she won comfortably and it could have been even a little easier,” Reid said. “She’s a very smart filly and has got a great head on her shoulders. She’s got handy enough speed so she can lay close and [jockey] Frankie [Pennington] can make his move when he’s ready.”

Hufflepuff, third in the Small Wonder Stakes Sept. 28 at Delaware Park and racing first off the claim for trainer Damon Dilodovico; Maryland Million Lassie runner-up Stickingtogether, Naughty Thoughts, Lookin Dynamic, Dancer’s Melody and Lucky Trinity are also entered.

@jonathanstettin great read as always!

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