Sheilahs Warcloud narrowly defeated in the Maryland Million Lassie (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md.— Sheilahs Warcloud, beaten a neck as the favorite in her stakes debut last month, returns for owner, trainer and co-breeder Justin Nixon against fellow stakes-placed Kissedbyanangel and Determined Sail in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Saturday, Dec. 2 at Laurel Park.
The 37th edition of the Maryland Juvenile Filly co-headlines a nine-race program with the 42nd running of the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile, both for Maryland-bred/sired horses sprinting seven furlongs.
First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Bred with Dr. Megan Kerford, Nixon had no hesitation when it came to naming the chestnut daughter of multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Madefromlucky, who stands at Northview Stallion Station.
“She’s always had a real forward attitude, and that’s why I named her after my mom. No nonsense, no messing around, got some sass to her and she’s just done everything right for us,” Nixon said. “There’s not really much to complain about. She’s trained on well and raced dynamite, always very professional. She’s just been a treat.”
Sheilahs Warcloud graduated at first asking Aug. 10 at Colonial Downs, a six-furlong maiden special weight sprint she won by 2 ¼ lengths. Next she tried open company in a Sept. 16 optional claiming allowance at historic Pimlico Race Course, running second to Irish Maxima, who came back to be fifth in Aqueduct’s Frizette (G1).
A half-sister to two-time winner Gastown Babe, Sheliahs Warcloud was the popular choice in the Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 14 at Laurel. She sat off a duel up front, came with a four-wide rally to draw even in deep stretch with leader Miss Harriett – a first-time starter sent off at 62-1 – but ultimately fell short.
“I thought she ran great,” Nixon said. “Miss Harriett ran lights out and I thought we had her. She came out to us a little bit and maybe it just intimidated her just a touch and we couldn’t get by that filly. We ran as good as we can run and not win. It was a little disappointing that we didn’t win but we were pretty thrilled that she was second in a good race. She’s stakes placed and in only three starts she’s been very productive. We’re very excited about her. She’s Maryland-bred and Maryland-sired, and we’re hoping if she stays healthy we can have a lot of fun next year as well.”
Xavier Perez, aboard for all three starts, gets the return call from outermost Post 8.
“She hasn’t been a total surprise but she’s exceeded my expectations of her. She’s trained professionally in the mornings. In her works she was always rateable and respectful of the rider. To see her do it in the afternoon as well, it makes you feel good that all the practice pays off,” Nixon said.
“They don’t often run the way they work. Game day is different than practice day, but she’s been a pro on the track and at the races,” he added. “And I think she’ll benefit from a little added ground. Seven-eighths should help her a little bit and I think down the road going long she’ll be fine doing two turns, as well.”
Joanne Shankle-owned and trained Kissedbyanangel, claimed for $12,500 out of her debut win Sept. 10 at Pimlico, finished a troubled third in the Lassie and has come back to run twice since. Second in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Oct. 28 at Laurel, she was a 2 ¼-length winner of a similar spot Nov. 17 going one mile.
D Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Determined Sail is entered to make her main track debut for trainer Phil Schoenthal. The bay daughter of champion Bernardini broke her maiden and was third behind well-regarded Tok Tok in the Kitten’s Joy on the Colonial Downs turf this summer, and has been off the board in two subsequent grass starts at Laurel, including the Sept. 30 Selima.
Morgan’s Ford Farm’s Binnie makes the jump from debut winner to stakes for trainer Brittany Russell. After being scratched from a planned Oct. 13 debut after acting up at the starting gate, the full sister to Crabcakes – named for the late horsewoman that bred and raced the multiple stakes winner, Elizabeth ‘Binnie’ Houghton – rallied for a two-length waiver maiden claiming victory Nov. 2 at Laurel.
Completing the field are Lucky Cougar, a Thistledown maiden special weight winner Sept. 5 that ran fourth in the Lassie and third in a Nov. 22 allowance at Mahoning Valley in her last two starts; Still Game, a debut winner for trainer Richard Sillaman in August at Delaware Park; and maidens Big Earn and Little Crybaby.