Princess Kokachin Upsets Hello Beautiful in $75,000 Politely

November 26, 2021

Whereshetoldmetogo Earns 10th Stakes Win in $75,000 Bender Memorial

LAUREL, MD – Eric Rizer’s homebred Princess Kokachin, taking a four-race win streak into her stakes debut, outran multiple stakes-winning favorite Hello Beautiful for the early lead and never stopped, then waited out a short inquiry to pull the upset in Friday’s $75,000 Politely at Laurel Park.

The 39th running of the six-furlong Politely for fillies and mares 3 and up was the first of two stakes restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses on the post-Thanksgiving Day program, followed by the fifth renewal of the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 4-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs.

Ridden by Xavier Perez for trainer John ‘Jerry’ Robb, who also teamed up to win the last edition of the Politely in 2019 with Anna’s Bandit, Princess Kokachin ($14.40) completed the distance in 1:11.22 over a fast main track. It was 5 ½ lengths back to Never Enough Time in second, and another 1 ¼ lengths to 53-1 longshot Paisley Singing in third.

Hello Beautiful, who entered the race having won three consecutive stakes to bring her career total to eight, was edged at the wire by Brittany Russell-trained stablemate Miss Chesapeake and wound up last of five, producing show payoffs of $21.20, $15.60 and $55.80.

“I just told Xavier to ride her the same way he always does. Don’t worry about who’s in the race, just ride your race, and it worked out good,” Robb said. “[Hello Beautiful] couldn’t keep up with us, and the one post is not good if you can’t keep up. It worked out perfect.”

Princess Kokachin, a 3-year-old daughter of Grade 1 winner Graydar bred in Maryland, broke alertly from Post 2 while 4-year-old Hello Beautiful and jockey Jevian Toledo, sent off at 1-5, gave chase from their rail spot. Once Princess Kokachin established command on the backstretch, Toledo took up slightly and Hello Beautiful dropped back to fourth as the leader set fractions of 21.98 and 45.12 seconds.

Toledo set Princess Kokachin down for the drive once straightened for home and she opened up through the lane to improve to 7-for-11 lifetime. Toledo lodged an objection against Perez for interference, which was quickly dismissed.

“I asked Xavier and he said he was clear, so I was good after that,” Robb said. The trainer scratched stablemate Street Lute from the Politely in favor of Saturday’s $100,000 Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies.

“I thought we would outrun [Hello Beautiful] and I thought the one-hole would hurt her, and it worked out the way we thought it would,” Robb said. “I just wanted to separate my two fillies, and hopefully I can win tomorrow, too.”

The Politely honors Maryland’s Horse of the Year in 1967 and 1968, bred and raced by Mrs. Richard du Pont. Politely won 13 stakes and placed in eight others from age 2 to 5, setting an Atlantic City track record in the 1967 Matchmaker and matching it the following year. Retired following the 1968 season, she won 21 of 49 career starts and was a member of the inaugural Maryland-bred Thoroughbred Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Whereshetoldmetogo Earns 10th Stakes Win in $75,000 Bender Memorial

Whereshetoldmetogo, (MJC)

Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber and BTR Racing Inc.’s Whereshetoldmetogo ran down pacesetter Youngest of Five and held off fellow multiple stakes winner Air Token’s rally to emerge from a three-way photo with a neck victory in Friday’s $100,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial at Laurel Park.

The outcome helped soothe the sting of two hours earlier when Whereshetoldmetogo’s younger Brittany Russell-trained stablemate, eight-time stakes-winning filly Hello Beautiful, ran last of five as the heavy favorite in the $75,000 Politely. Both races were restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses.

It was the second straight and 10th career stakes victory for 6-year-old gelding Whereshetoldmetogo ($6.80), and sixth over his home course at Laurel. The winning time was 1:23.43 over a fast main track.

Jockey Jevian Toledo, who was aboard Hello Beautiful and also rode 2-year-old filly Gamestonks to a maiden victory for Russell in Race 2, kept Whereshetoldmetogo in the clear on the outside as Youngest of Five was sent to the lead from his far outside post and held it through splits of 23.80 and 46.73 seconds chased by graded-stakes placed Galerio and recent Maryland Million Sprint winner Air Token.

Whereshetoldmetogo began to gain ground around the turn and loomed a threat at the top of the stretch as Youngest of Five, racing along the rail, held a slim advantage after six furlongs in 1:10.75. Whereshetoldmetogo came with a steady drive down the middle of the track and was able to extend furthest at the end, with a determined Air Token between the top two.

“He relaxed really good in the beginning and I knew I had a ton of horse. Sometimes he switches leads and sometimes he doesn’t, but today he switched leads and as soon as he did that I said, ‘It’s over.’ He gave all 100 percent,” Toledo said.

Air Token was a nose behind runner-up Youngest of Five with Galerio another 1 ¼ lengths back in fourth. They were followed by Double Crown, Alwaysmining, Clubman and Plot the Dots.

Whereshetoldmetogo was racing for the first time at Laurel since the March 13 Not For Love, the last of three straight stakes wins following the Frank Whiteley and Dave’s Friend to end 2020. He hadn’t started since a neck victory in the Sept. 25 New Castle at Delaware Park, also with Toledo up.

“He’s really easy to ride. You can do anything with him. You can put him up close, you can sit back and he’s still going to give you the run no matter what,” Toledo said. “All the time he tries 100 percent.”

Late longtime owner-breeders Howard and Sondra Bender were fixtures at Maryland racetracks for nearly four decades. Among their more than 500 winners were graded-stakes winners Secret River, Foufa’s Warrior, Promenade Girl, Green Darlin, London Lane and La Reine’s Terms.

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

Photo: Princess Kokachin, (MJC)

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