Photo by Maryland Jockey Club
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md. – Baxter Racing Stable’s Swayin to and Fro, showing a new dimension, took advantage of her inside draw to lead all the way around and edge clear late to notch her second career stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Safely Kept at Laurel Park.
The 32nd running of the Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies was the first of three stakes on the post-Thanksgiving program, followed by the $100,000 City of Light for 3-year-olds, also at seven furlongs, and $100,000 Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles.
Ridden by Grant Whitacre for trainer Mario Serey Jr., Swayin to and Fro ($15.80) completed the distance in 1:24.00 over a fast main track for her fifth win in six career tries over Laurel’s main track. Her prior stakes victory came over elders in the restricted Shine Again Sept. 10 at historic Pimlico Race Course.
“We drew the rail and that was Mario’s call to just go. He said, ‘If she gets tired, she gets tired. Just send her to the front and let’s see what we’ve got,’” Whitacre said. “He changed up the training with her and it paid off today.”
South Carolina-bred Swayin to and Fro broke sharply and was quickly in front under Whitacre, running splits of 22.72 and 45.78 seconds while pressed to their outside by 11-1 long shot Liscolvin. Swayin to and Fro dug in again once straightened for home to keep Liscolvin and 7-2 betting favorite Bazinga C at bay before drawing clear to win by 3 ½ lengths.
Liscolvin held off Bazinga C by a head for second, and it was 3 ¼ lengths back to Moody Woman in fourth. Buy the Best, November Rein, Grade 1-placed Divine Huntress, Click to Confirm, Half Is Enough, Vibrant Judy and Still My Babe completed the order of finish. Sweet Gracie, Last Leaf and Noble Bid were scratched.
“They weren’t making me go terribly fast and probably about the three-eighths pole I felt her take a breath. It wasn’t like she was getting tired; she was just in hand the whole way and I knew I had plenty left. It worked out perfect,” Whitacre said.
“She kicked away and there wasn’t that much competition with her pushing her along. I felt her kind of come back to me a little bit and I kept asking her a little bit and she picked up the bit again and went on,” he added. “She wasn’t even blowing coming back, so that was great.”
The Safely Kept honors the champion sprinter of 1989 and member of the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011. The daughter of longtime Maryland sire Horatius was the first sprinter to top $2 million in earnings, the first Maryland-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race in the 1990 Sprint (G1), a four-time Maryland-bred champion including Horse of the Year twice (1989,1990) and is one of only seven horses to win three Maryland Million races. She won 24 races, 22 in stakes, from 31 lifetime starts.