Made Bail breaks his maiden. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

by Nick Hahn

For owner, breeder, trainer Susan Cooney, retiring a special mare is a big moment.  Her accomplished six-year-old mare,  the stakes-winning Embarr, wrapped up her racing career in early November at Aqueduct in last place.

“She’s now headed to be a member of the broodmare band,” said Cooney.

“I struggled with what to do,” Cooney said, confessing that she hated to take Embarr off the track. The daughter of Royal Academy won nine races and more than $358,000 in her racing career.

Now, the aptly named Made Bail looks to get sprung into the void left in Cooney’s barn and heart.

“It seemed like an appropriate name,” Cooney said she thought when playing off the name of his sire, Closing Argument, and damsire.

Out of an Emancipator mare, Leva Mae, it made sense to name the young foal Made Bail, especially when Cooney referred to the young colt as “Bailey” in reference to famed attorney, F. Lee Bailey, who defended O. J. Simpson, among many others.


At Laurel Park, Made Bail has blitzed through the mud this autumn with two tactical wins at six furlongs.  Saturday, in the $100,000 Marylander, Made Bail will try seven.  Again, there is a good chance of going over the wet.

“I don’t know if it moves him up as much but he can certainly run over it.  It certainly hasn’t moved him down,” explained Cooney.  “He has tactical speed and is very ratable.  Sheldon [Russell], who rode him in his first two victories] has done a good job with him.  He’s pretty versatile.  You can put him where you want in a race.”

Jockey Sheldon Russell, who skippered the two Laurel wins, will be at the Claiming Crown on Saturday.  So, as Made Bail’s owner, breeder and trainer, Cooney asked the jockey about a fill-in.  Russell backed Jevian Toledo.

“He’s an up and coming young rider,” noted Cooney.  “Sheldon thought he’d suit the horse. You can talk to him about stuff like that.”

Embarr won the Brookmeade in 2011 and (here) 2012.

Embarr won the Brookmeade in 2011 and (here) 2012. Photo by Nick Hahn.

Consider Russell a member of Team Made Bail.

Made Bail’s last outing was a five-length score on Thanksgiving Day just nine days ago.  Cooney discounts the quick turnaround, factoring the margin of victory and more importantly the easy-go of Made Bail’s trip.  A week prior to the Turkey Day trot, Cooney’s husband Pat filled in on to ride the gelding in a work and bulleted a 48 2/5 second half-mile at Laurel without recognition of the time.

“Good thing we didn’t have a jockey on him, he might have gone 46,” joked Cooney. “He’s an improving two-year-old.  That’s what everyone wants to have.”

Saturday, you might have him at a price, as Made Bail lists 15-1 in the morning line.