Miss Bullistic wins the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park. Miss Bullistic is trained by Hamilton Smith for Kathleen Willier and was bred in Maryland by Graham Motion. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Miss Bullistic wins the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park. She’s the lukewarm favorite in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

How good was the Maryland Million Lassie?

How you answer that question will go a long way towards answering this one: who will win Friday’s Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship?

Consider a couple of facts:

  • four of eight horses to run back following the Lassie won their next start;
  • two of those four winners won stakes races next out;
  • seven of eight improved their Beyer speed figures in their next start, and the eighth equaled her Lassie Beyer.

In other words, it seems reasonable to assume that was a pretty solid juvenile heat.  With six runners from that race entered Friday, the Lassie could have a major impact.

The Lassie winner was My Magician, a daughter of young sire Street Magician, who was 28-1 when the gates opened.  She stalked the pace, cleared to a three length lead in the lane, then just held on to get the money.  She earned a 56 Beyer that day, and her light credentials — just that one win from three starts and a career-best 56 Beyer — land her at 10-1 on the morning line.

But her picture may be brighter than at first it seems.  For one thing, there is that game win in the Lassie, and what we now know about that group of horses.  For another, her distant third-place finish to Lake Sebago in her prior start — which at the time seemed somewhat damning — looks a little better now that Lake Sebago has won two straight stakes against open company.

Like the Lassie but not the winner?  There are still plenty of ways to go in this race.

Lassie runner-up Rocky Policy (10-1) will, like My Magician, make her first start since that day; and she certainly rates a shot here.  She was a closing second, beaten just a neck, and with regular rider Luis Garcia riding in Tampa, will get the services of Victor Carrasco aboard.

Miss Bullistic (7-2) ended up nowhere as the second-favorite in the Lassie, which seemed to confirm what many suspected: that the daughter of Bullsbay is a turf horse.  But she bounced back from that to win the Donna Freyer Stakes at Parx Racing, a South Carolina residency race.  It’s not clear exactly what she beat that day, but she earned a solid 68 Beyer and squelched chatter about her dirt suitability.

Other Lassie runners slated to post in the Juvenile Filly Championship include the rapidly improving Mo Bagels (6-1), who will get a class test after beating lesser by six lengths in each of her last two starts; Spotted Heart (15-1), whose follow-up was a maiden score; and 30-1 Sara Rocks, who’s run three times since, including a score in a very slow division of the Tri-State Futurity.

If you’re inclined to look elsewhere, there are plenty of good options in the 13-horse field.

Phil Schoenthal trainee Pret Say Eye (5-1) ran second in two starts earlier in the year, finishing behind next-out Tremont Stakes winner Bessie’s Boy in a maiden event before finishing second to Government Shutdown in Pimlico’s Rollicking Stakes.  The daughter of Ready’s Image is bred to like a little more ground than the short sprints she’s run, and she shows a bullet five-furlong work coming into this event.  But the seven-month break is a question mark, and this is no easy assignment.

My Magician (Street Magician-My Rib, by Partner's Hero) wins the Maryland Million Lassie. T: Michael Trombetta. O: R. Larry Johnson and RDM Racing Stable. B: Dr. and Mrs. Tom Bowman, Brooke Bowman, R. Larry Johnson. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

My Magician (Street Magician-My Rib, by Partner’s Hero) wins the Maryland Million Lassie. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

Parx shipper Everything Lovely (4-1), trained by Kathleen De Masi, broke her maiden by a half-dozen before running second to Darling Sky — later second to Lake Sebago in the Gin Talking Stakes. And  Michael Trombetta trainee Candida H. (6-1) has run second to solid animals — stakes-placed E Dubai’s Humor in one race, then flashy first-out winner Whimsicality in another — in her three tries to date.

One other winner — Sagamore Farm’s Ginger N Rye — is scheduled to start.  She’s 15-1 on the morning line and enters off a close win over Clem Gem, who’s also here.

The Juvenile Filly Championship is carded as race eight and scheduled to go off at 3:55 p.m.