Saturday’s $75,000 Selima Stakes runs straight through West Virginia-bred Ruby Notion.
The speedy daughter of Great Notion, bred and owned by Silverton Hill LLC, has been installed as a solid 9-5 favorite in the 5 1/2 furlong turf test for two-year-old fillies and she’s looked the part in her brief career. The Wesley Ward trainee most recently blitzed a field of seven rivals to win Monmouth Park’s Colleen Stakes while ridden out, and that merely served to emphasize the talent she’d demonstrated a race before when a good fifth in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot.
In all three of her starts — she debuted victoriously on the main track against maiden claimers at Churchill Downs — Ruby Notion has led after the first call, and in two of those races she never looked back.
“She’s going to be tough to catch in those sprint races on the grass no matter where she runs,” said jockey Rafael Hernandez, who rode her in her first two North American starts. Trevor McCarthy will do the honors on Saturday.
Graham Motion, Kelly Breen, and Robin Graham will send out the runners with the next shortest odds in the Selima.
Motion’s Fly Girl (4-1), owned by Richard Golden, has run well in both her starts, both on grass. She finished second in a Belmont maiden race in July, following that up with a maiden score at Laurel Park at 1-5 odds. Forest Boyce rode Fly Girl, a Maryland-bred, to her maiden strike, but Julian Pimentel will be in the irons in this spot.
That’s because Boyce has moved to Robin Graham’s entrant, Look Who’s Talking (5-1). Boyce and Look Who’s Talking, a Maryland-bred homebred for Skeedattle Associates, teamed up to win at first asking over the strip in mid-August, bursting clear late to win by 1 1/4 lengths after a bit of a rough trip.
“She’s a really nice filly,” said Graham of Look Who’s Talking. “She didn’t have an easy time in her first race, but she overcame it all and won. It was no surprise because she handles everything in stride in the mornings. I’m sure she’ll want longer in the future.”
Kelly Breen will saddle Un Po Di Vino (5-1). The daughter of More Than Ready won at first asking over the Monmouth main track before finishing fourth, though beaten less than three lengths, in the $140,000 Ontario Debutante over the Woodbine synthetic. Her dam, Denim n’ Motion, by Unbridled’s Song, scored her only career win (from just four starts) sprinting on the grass.
Two runners — Hamilton Smith’s Table Jumper, owned by Katherine Willier, and Gina Rosenthal trainee Holiday Wishes, owned by No Guts No Glory Stable and Marisa Gino — are 8-1.
Table Jumper, a Maryland-bred by Jump Start, won impressively at first asking, posting a four-length win in a race in which runner-up Jump for Love won next out. The show horse that day was Espresso Time, a $1 million auction purchase also making her career debut.
“We don’t know about the grass, but she acts like she likes the grass in her breezes,” said Smith of his charge. Jevian Toledo will ride.
Holiday Wishes is the group’s most experienced runner, having made four starts. She won her most recent, logging a front-running score going 7 1/2 furlongs against Delaware Park maidens. Xavier Perez is named to ride, though Holiday Wishes is cross-entered at Delaware, as well.
Rounding out the field are another Ham Smith runner, Azuma Mura (20-1; she “really like the grass,” Smith believes); Todd Beattie trainee Atara (15-1); and Anthony Russo trainee Chief Bow No Move (30-1).
Post time for the Selima is 4:10.