Swayin to and Fro Swings Win in Willa On the Move

December 31, 2022

Photo by Jim McCue/MJC

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, Md. – Baxter Racing Stable’s Swayin to and Fro shook free of a front-running duel with fellow multiple stakes winner Dontletsweetfoolya and opened up through the lane under a hand ride from jockey Grant Whitacre to cruise to a 6 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Willa On the Move.

Trained by Mario Serey Jr., Swayin to and Fro ($6) ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.59 over a fast main track for her eighth career win, third in a stakes and second straight following the seven-furlong Safely Kept Nov. 26 at Laurel.

Dontletsweetfoolya broke sharply and found herself on an early lead, quickly joined to her inside by Swayin to and Fro as they sped through splits of 23.01 and 46.70 seconds with Fouette and Fille d’Esprit, the 6-5 favorite off back-to-back stakes wins, giving closest chase.

Swayin to and Fro rounded the far turn with a short lead and rolled through the stretch under confident handling by Whitacre to leave her rivals behind. Dontletsweetfoolya stayed up for second, two lengths ahead of Fouette. It was 2 ¼ lengths back to Fille d’Esprit in fourth.

Juror Number Four, Movie Moxy and Flashy Charge completed the order of finish. Moody Woman and Union Lake were scratched.

Serey claimed Swayin to and Fro for $16,000 out of an 8 ¼-length maiden victory May 26 at historic Pimlico Race Course. The sophomore daughter of Straight Talking then reeled off four consecutive wins before earning her first stakes victory in the Sept. 10 Shine Again. Swayin to and Fro snapped a three-race losing streak last out in the Safely Kept.

“Mario was a longtime trainer for me at Parx,” co-owner Kirkland Taylor said. “We saw this horse and said, ‘Mario, look at this horse. We really want to claim this horse.’ As soon as we called and asked him how the horse looked, he said, ‘This horse looks good. We should take it,’ and we followed Mario. From Day 1, it’s all about Mario. He makes the right moves with this horse, and we’re just happy for him.”

Willa On the Move was a Maryland-bred daughter of Assert (IRE) that raced 12 times as a 3-year-old in 1988 winning five stakes, including the Marshua and Gay Matelda at Laurel Park and Moccasin and Caesar’s Wish at Pimlico. From there she won the Ashland (G1), ran third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Alabama (G1) and second in the Gazelle (G1) and Spinster (G1) before being retired following the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). 

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