Malibu Moonshine breaking her maiden on a super sloppy track by 6 lengths at Pimlico Sept. 9. (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)
Liquidator hopes to bounce win into Stakes Debut
Notes: Barbosa Triples Friday; Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 Carryovers Saturday
By David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md. – Happy Face Racing Stable’s Malibu Moonshine, scratched as a top contender from last month’s Maryland Million with a fever, returns to Laurel Park to make her Maryland and stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies.
The 36th running of the Juvenile Fillies and 41st edition of the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile, both seven-furlong sprints for Maryland-bred/sired 2-year-olds, co-headline a nine-race program that begins at 12:05 p.m.
Bred by Dr. Ronald Harris Parker, Malibu Moonshine is based in New York with trainer
Charlton Baker, who captured the Feb. 19 Barbara Fritchie (G3) with Glass Ceiling in his first trip to Laurel since winning the 2017 Primonetta with Absatootly.
Malibu Moonshine, by Bourbon Courage, overcame a poor break to rally for a popular six-length maiden special weight triumph Sept. 11 at historic Pimlico Race Course in her only race to date.
“She always showed promise. She worked great coming up to that race,” Baker said. “We had her in Saratoga and we were planning on running her there. The owner suggested because she’s a Maryland-bred that we ship her to Maryland to run her, so we did that.
“She ran pretty good. She broke not great, but she didn’t show her normal speed. I thought it was just a little greenness, but she sort of kicked in on the turn and won like we expected her to do,” Baker said. “She overcame a lot. It was a sloppy track, and she took some dirt. She got a lot of experience for a horse that’s had one start. It wasn’t the strongest field, but she did what she had to do.”
Baker planned to bring Malibu Moonshine back for the Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 22, but the chestnut filly got sick and was withdrawn the morning of the race, won by Chickieness, who returns Saturday.
“She had a little setback when she was supposed to ship for the stake. She got a temperature that morning when we came in to get her ready, so that kind of gave her a little setback going forward,” Baker said. “But she’s doing good. We missed a little time with her but she’s good enough to get back racing, so we’ll take a shot with her.”
Malibu Moonshine has had three timed breezes since missing the Lassie including a bullet five-furlong move in 1:00.20 Nov. 28 over the Belmont Park training track. Angel Cruz gets the riding assignment from the rail in a field of 11.
“She’s been training good. Her last few works have been pretty good,” Baker said. “She always showed some potential in her works. She was a horse that we knew would be OK. She worked against some good horses and she did fine. She’s a nice little filly and she’s going to get better.”
Chickieness, bred in Maryland by trainer Jamie Ness’ Jagger Inc., which co-owns the daughter of Blofeld with Morris Kernan, came with a steady run to register a 1 ½-length win as the favorite in the Lassie after finishing second to then-undefeated Bound by Destiny in a successive Delaware Park stake. She has never been off the board in six starts.
Last out, Chickieness ran third in a Nov. 14 optional claiming allowance at Laurel to Tappin Josie, claimed out of that race for $62,500 by fall meet-leading trainer Brittany Russell, who is represented Saturday by Bosserati. The Joel Politi homebred was third in the Lassie after setting the pace and figures to be a factor up front once again.
After facing Chickieness and Bound by Destiny at Delaware, Louis J. Ulman’s Skylar’s Sister ran a strong second in the Lassie, less than a length ahead of Bosserati. She exits the same Nov. 14 optional claimer as Chickieness and Bosserati where she had to settle for fourth after finding trouble.
“What happened was she had some traffic early on and she had to wait and go around and was wide. The winner was really strong, but I didn’t think we got beat that far for second,” trainer Dale Capuano said. “I think the ground we lost may have cost us second, but she tried. We’ll give her a try in here and see what happens.”
Carlos Lopez, up in her last race, has the return call from Post 9.
“She’s doing fine,” Capuano said. “She’s run into some pretty nice horses, so I expect her to run one of her better races Saturday.”
Angel Art, Fast Tracked and Touisset all enter the Juvenile Fillies off maiden wins. Copper Penny Stables’ Angel Art, trained by two-time Juvenile Fillies winner Mark Shuman, dueled through the stretch but held on for a three-quarter-length triumph while drifting in in a six-furlong maiden special weight Nov. 19 at Laurel. Queen of Song (2008) and Spotted Heart (2014) are Shuman’s previous winners.
Greg Tatum’s Fast Tracked was a determined maiden claiming winner over Cynergy’s Electra Nov. 6 at Laurel going seven furlongs in her only start, while Paul Berube, Karen Linnell and Spinnaker Hill Farm’s Touisset sprung a 12-1 upset of her six-furlong maiden claimer second time out Nov. 3 at Delaware Park.
JoAnn Smith’s Gormley’s Gabriela finished third at odds of 24-1 in the Nov. 12 Smart Halo at Laurel, her stakes debut. Her trainer, Hamilton Smith, previously won the Juvenile Fillies with Gin Talking (1999), True Sensation (2001), Pour It On (2003), Money Fromheaven (2018) and Luna Belle (2021).
Cynergy’s Electra, younger half-sister to 2021 Timonium Juvenile winner Cynergy’s Star, and maiden claiming winners Liquidator and Rowsie Express complete the field.
2YO Filly Liquidator Takes Momentum into Saturday’s Stakes Debut
Not the 1 Stable Inc.’s Liquidator, on the improve with wins in two of her last three starts, aims to keep the momentum going when she makes her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies.
Bred by Country Life Farm/Stone LLC, Liquidator was off the board in each of her first two races this summer, both against maiden special weight company, including a fifth in the slop Sept. 11 at Pimlico to Malibu Moonshine, who also returns in the Juvenile Fillies.
Back at Laurel, she splashed to a 5 ¼-length maiden claiming win over a wet track third time out then found some early trouble before winding up fourth in a $40,000 claimer Nov. 7. Most recently, she dug in through the stretch to prevail by three-quarters of a length in a similar spot last time out.
“I think it helped when we dropped her down to the $20,000 [level] the first time. That gave her a little better chance up against some horses that she could compete with, and the seven-eighths seems like it’s helping her,” trainer Linda Albert said. “Even when she got beat a couple races ago, she showed a lot more energy early in the race. She’s coming around a little bit.”
Liquidator, whose sire, Divining Rod, ran third to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the 2015 Preakness (G1), wheels back in just eight days for the Juvenile Fillies.
“When we won the other day, I reminded myself that I had nominated for this stake. I just put her in because it doesn’t cost anything, and then I said let me go see when it is – ‘Oh, it’s next week,’” Albert said. “Well, she can do this. She’s a sturdy little horse, so she’s good. We’re excited about it.”
Liquidator drew Post 6 in a field of 11 for the Juvenile Fillies under jockey Tais Lyapustina, who has ridden the granddaughter of three-time Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire Peace Rules in each of her first five starts.
“It’s been a joy, actually from the first time I rode her,” Lyapustina said. “She’s really matured since then. She gets better with every race, learning every time she runs. It’s been very nice and I’ve been very fortunate to be on her. I’m grateful I can ride her in this race.”
Notes: Barbosa Triples Friday; Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 Carryovers Saturday
Trainer Hugh McMahon swept the early daily double Friday with Stimulus Maker ($8.80) in Race 1 and Johnnyfrenchfri ($5.80) in Race 2. McMahon will send out SAB Stable Inc.’s Rowsie Express first off the claim in Saturday’s Maryland Juvenile Fillies …
Johnnyfrenchfri was the first of three winners for apprentice Jeiron Barbosa, followed by Lunar Ice ($8.40) in Race 7 and Italian Dressing ($16) in Race 8 … Fellow apprentice William Humphrey doubled with Our Hoisted Mast ($9.40) in Race 4 and Blameitonthefun ($15) in Race 9 …
Jockey Sheldon Russell, out since being unseated Nov. 19 at Laurel, returned to run a closing second behind 13-1 long shot Blaze On ($28.80) with betting favorite Ella Victorina in Race 5, a 5 ½-furlong maiden claimer for 2-year-old fillies. Russell is named again in two of nine races Sunday …
There will be carryovers of $12,306.04 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 4-9) and $5,270.06 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 (Races 5-9) Saturday. Tickets with four of six winners in Friday’s Rainbow 6 paid $138.52, while those with four of five winners in the Late Pick 5 were worth $19.05.