Local Motive Digs in to Capture $100,000 James F. Lewis III

November 14, 2021

Buy the Best Extends Win Streak to Three in $100,000 Smart Halo

LAUREL, Md. – Bird Mobberley’s Local Motive, already a stakes winner on the turf, dug in determinedly along the rail through the stretch to hold off Beast Or Famine and capture Saturday’s $100,000 James F. Lewis III by a head at Laurel Park.

The 10th running of the six-furlong Lewis for 2-year-olds was the second of three $100,000 stakes on the program, preceded by the Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies and followed by the Thirty Eight Go Go for females 3 and up.

Ridden by J.D. Acosta for trainer John Salzman Jr., Local Motive ($8.20) completed the distance in 1:10.16 over a main track rated good. It was three lengths back to No Sabe Nada in third.

Slaats, who stumbled at the start and trailed the field early, rallied to get up for fourth followed by Amidships, Tops the Chart, Run to Daylight and Timonium Juvenile winner Cynergy’s Star. Previously undefeated through three starts including back-to-back stakes wins, Run to Daylight went off as the 2-1 favorite.

Amidships, West Virginia-based stablemate of Run to Daylight, was quickest from the gate in and in front after running the opening quarter-mile in 21.98 seconds pressed by Tops the Chart and Local Motive. Acosta and Local Motive forged a short lead after a half in 45.26 and was set down for a stretch drive as Beast Or Famine came rolling on the far outside.

“I was a little worried. I thought that [Beast Or Famine] got by him,” Salzman said. “It’s hard to tell when they’re that far apart in the middle of the racetrack. I wasn’t coming to the winner’s circle until I was sure.”

By Divining Rod, who ran third to 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Preakness Stakes (G1), Maryland-bred Local Motive was making his sixth career start and fourth straight in a stakes. He won the Hickory Tree on the Colonial Downs turf Aug. 2, then was pulled up and vanned off after being struck in the eye by dirt during the Aug. 29 Timonium Juvenile. He returned to be fifth in the Smoke Glacken Sept. 26 at Monmouth Park prior to the Maryland Million Nursery Oct. 23, where he finished third.

“I think he’s getting better with every race,” Salzman said. “I was a little scared after he got hit in the eye at Timonium that he didn’t like the dirt. Today we decided that we’d just take back a little bit and see if he’d finish a little stronger. He ran a big race today.”

Salzman hinted the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile for Maryland-bred/sired 2-year-olds sprinting seven furlongs Dec. 4 at Laurel could be the next stop for Local Motive.

“He’s a nice horse. He was showing some ability. I wasn’t quite sure he was a stake horse, but I knew he had some ability,” Salzman said. “I think he might go on, especially the way he rated a little bit today. The next race is a Maryland-bred race and might not be quite as tough, but it’s seven-eighths to we might get a better feel for it then.”

The James F. Lewis III honors the late longtime Maryland horseman and first president of Maryland Million Ltd. He bred and/or campaigned a number of prominent runners in the region, led by 1974 Test (G2) winner Maybelline, Flirtation (G3) winner Heartful and multiple stakes winner Swift Attraction. His daughter, Lisa, is a multiple graded-stakes winning trainer based in New York and Florida.

Buy the Best Extends Win Streak to Three in $100,000 Smart Halo

Hope Jones’ Buy the Best took advantage of a speed duel in front of her to extend her win streak to three races while making her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Smart Halo at Laurel Park.

The 25th running of the six-furlong Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies kicked off Saturday’s stakes action, followed by the $100,000 James F. Lewis III for 2-year-olds and $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and up.

Jockey Jaime Rodriguez settled Buy the Best ($6) in the second flight as Buff My Boots and Sparkle Sprinkle, respectively first and third in the Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 23 at Laurel, duked it out up front through a quarter-mile in 21.87 seconds.

Sent off as the 2-1 favorite in a field of seven, Buy the Best swept to the lead on the far outside around the far turn following a half in 45.18 and opened up once in command to win by 3 ¼ lengths in 1:09.99 over a main track rated good.

Luna Belle, fourth by a length in the Lassie, rallied for second with Click to Confirm third. Sparkle Sprinkle, Buff My Boots, Trade Secret and Whiteknuckleflyer completed the order of finish.

Based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., Buy the Best was second in debut May 23 at historic Pimlico Race Course. She made her next three starts at Delaware Park, graduating by 4 ½ lengths in a Sept. 29 maiden special weight and following up with a 2 ¼-optional claiming allowance length score Oct. 28.

“She was beautiful at Delaware and we just hoped for more of the same today,” Jones’ niece, Ellie Glaccum, said. “I was a little concerned earlier when I was driving down here, and it was raining because she hasn’t run in the wet yet. What can I say? We’re very blessed.”

Smart Halo, by top Maryland sire Smarten, won the first race on the inaugural Maryland Million Day program in 1986, beating In the Curl by a neck in the Lassie to cap a perfect 3-0 campaign. Bred in Canada by E.P. Taylor and owned by Sam-Son Farm, Smart Halo was trained by Canadian Hall of Famer Jim Day.

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

Photo: Local Motive (MJC)

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