LAUREL, MD – As a trainer, Brittany Russell knows the best time to take a chance is when a horse is doing well. She shipped Hello Hot Rod from her Laurel Park base to New York last weekend, where the Maryland-bred half-brother of multiple stakes winner Hello Beautiful extended his win streak to three races in Aqueduct’s Jimmy Winkfield Stakes.
As an owner, Russell hopes to experience similar success when Hello Hot Rod goes through the ring Feb. 9 on the second of Fasig-Tipton’s two-day winter mixed sale in Lexington, Ky. The sale begins both days at 10 a.m.
Russell co-owns Hello Hot Rod, a 3-year-old Mosler colt out of the Tiznow mare Hello Now, with Dark Horse Racing. Consigned by ELiTE Sales, he is cataloged as Hip No. 672.
Hello Hot Rod fetched $10,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s 2019 Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling Sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. He has won three of four starts and $113,941 in purse earnings.
“This is a business and it just seemed like sort of a good business move after winning the stake up there. I have some friends between Fasig and ELiTE sales and I thought it was a good move,” Russell said Thursday. “Naturally, I’d love to have him in the barn and keep him and race him, and maybe that can still happen, but we’re going to put him through and just see what happens.”
Hello Hot Rod debuted running second by a neck to Doubleoseven in a six-furlong waiver maiden claimer last Oct. 30. He returned to capture a similar spot going seven furlongs Nov. 13 by 4 ½ lengths, then stepped up to win a one-mile optional claiming allowance triumph by 2 ¼ lengths Dec. 13 in his juvenile finale. All three races came at Laurel.
“He’s the right kind. This is the right kind of horse at this time of year,” Russell said. “He’s won at a mile. He already has that, and he’s a stakes winner. He’s done nothing wrong. That’s what it comes down to. He’s a racehorse.”
Hello Hot Rod was a determined front-running head winner of the seven-furlong Jimmy Winkfield, the first time he didn’t go off as the favorite. He returned to Laurel later that evening, ahead of the winter storm that gripped the New York and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.
“He’s awesome. We got lucky with the snow. It started later up in New York so we were able to get him home right away,” Russell said. “He’s wonderful. You wouldn’t even know he ran. He trained this morning and he’s in good form.”
Russell has Wonder Stables, Robert LaPenta and Madaket Stables’ Little Huntress in the seven-furlong Ruthless for 3-year-old fillies Feb. 7 at Aqueduct. A 14-length maiden special weight winner Dec. 27 at Laurel, the Frosted filly is also nominated to Laurel’s $100,000 Wide Country going seven furlongs Feb. 13.
Little Huntress drew Post 4 in the Ruthless against just four other rivals.
“I entered Little Huntress in the Ruthless this morning because it [is] a short field. We’re going to take a look at it and, obviously, we’re going to heavily consider running Sunday there,” Russell said. “If we opt to skip, she’ll run here in the stakes next week.”
Meanwhile, Russell will send out Cash is King, D.J. Stable and LC Racing’s Mine Not Mine in Friday’s eighth race, a one-mile allowance for Maryland-bred/sired 4-year-olds and up where the Golden Lad colt drew Post 3 in a field of seven and is 6-1 on the morning line.
Mine Not Mine ran third in a similar spot going 1 1/16 miles Jan. 1, his first start in 216 days after finishing 10th of 11 as the favorite in an open one-mile allowance last May. The winner of that race, Toy, also beat Mine Not Mine in his New Year’s Day comeback.
“We were tickled with his last race. To be honest, he was far from being tight to go two turns … meaning he was at least two works short,” Russell said. “He could have used a little bit more, but he was doing well and he was working well so we thought, let’s just give him a race and that should really put him right for this next race.”
Mine Not Mine, also by Golden Lad, made his first two starts for trainer Claudio Gonzalez. In his first two starts after being sold for $210,000 in December 2019 and moved to Russell, Mine Not Mine ran second and third, respectively, to the Gonzalez-trained Lebda in the 2020 Miracle Wood and Private Terms at Laurel.
“He’s a horse that we’ve had high expectations for from Day 1 and he’s had some hiccups along the way. You’re just kind of hoping that every time you run him, maybe this is his chance to shine,” Russell said. “He seems like he’s great right now. He’s on good foot in the morning so I certainly expect to see a good effort from him.”
Jockey Carrasco to Miss Weekend Races, Aiming for Feb. 12 Return
Journeyman rider Victor Carrasco, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2013, will sit out racing this weekend at Laurel Park to continue his recovery from a Jan. 29 spill.
Carrasco was shaken up but escaped serious injury when he went down in the stretch of the fourth race last Friday. He took off his two remaining mounts that day as well as the Jan. 30 program. The Jan. 31 card was moved to Thursday to create a four-day live racing weekend.
“He was shaken up a little bit but the biggest problem he had was in his toe, which is doing good. Nothing major, just a little setback,” Carrasco’s agent, Scotty Silver, said Thursday. “If he’s feeling good, which he says he is as of today, because I talked to him this morning, we’ll be good to go for next weekend.”
Carrasco entered Thursday’s card ranking in the top 10 at the ongoing winter meet in wins (five) and purse earnings ($212,307). Live racing continues Friday through Sunday.
“He’s actually doing much better and we’re shooting for next weekend,” Silver said. “He’s not going to ride this weekend but hopefully everything goes good and he’ll be back definitely by next Friday.”
Agent Tom Stift reported Thursday that jockey Alex Cintron, who last rode Jan. 29 at Laurel, will return to ride Friday.
Notes: Jockey Xavier Perez swept the early daily double with wins aboard Valued Notion ($19.60) in Race 1 and Blue Sky Painter ($9.80) in Race 2 … Disputed Notion ($35) upset Thursday’s finale and produced carryover jackpot payouts of $27,210.10 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $25,658.34 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 to one lucky winner. Disputed Notion was the first winner for owner-trainer Carlyne Tapscott since March 4, 2018 … There will be a carryover of $875.69 in the $1 Super Hi-5 for the opener of Friday’s nine-race program. Post time is 12:25 p.m.
Maryland Jockey Club, Laurel Press Release and Photo