From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Big Bertha Stable’s hard-knocking mare Brenda’s Way, second last time out in the Nellie Morse, will be one of the favorites Saturday when she meets eight others in the $75,000 Conniver Stakes at Laurel Park.
Brenda’s Way will be meeting some of the toughest, most consistent Maryland-bred fillies and mares in the seven furlong Conniver, including the stakes winners Miss Bullistic, Lionhearted Lady and Eddy Gourmet.
Laurel’s first race post time Friday through Monday is 12:25 p.m. The Conniver will be run as race eight on Saturday’s nine-race program.
Friday’s program begins with a Super Hi 5 carryover in the first race of $16,096.23 and a Rainbow 6 carryover of $4,336.57.
Brenda’s Way, a 6-year-old daughter of graded-stakes winner Weigelia trained by Damon Dilodovico, has earned $329,000 during a career that includes a victory in last year’s Geisha Stakes and a third-place finish in the 2014 Conniver. After winning an allowance optional claimer at Delaware Park in October, Brenda’s Way finished ninth in an allowance optional claimer at Laurel Dec. 5 before finishing second Jan. 2 in the 1 1/16 mile Nellie Morse, a race in which she opened up 12 lengths before being caught by Love Came to Town down the stretch.
“The last time we went seven eighths was two starts ago (Dec. 5) and it was just an odd day for her,” Dilodovico said. “Everything that day from the morning when we got there until I legged up the rider, everything was upsetting her. She was washed out in the paddock, she was difficult at the gate and ended up getting off poor. I don’t know what it was. I was expecting a big effort from her that day as well, and it was just a disaster.”
Things improved in the Nellie Morse, however, and Brenda’s Way “gave me a really nice effort last time with (jockey) Nik Juarez.”
Dilodovico says Brenda’s Way, who has placed first, second or third five out of seven times at the distance with two wins, has been “training well.”
“We were able to keep her moving inside the barn while the track was closed (due to weather), so we don’t feel like we lost anything,” he said. “I got a nice breeze in her Friday before the storm came and she is doing well.”
Jevian Toledo, who rode Brenda’s Way in eight consecutive races before the Nellie Morse, will be back aboard Saturday.
JoAnn Smith’s Lionhearted Lady, a 5-year-old mare trained by Hamilton Smith, has placed no worse than third in seven of eight trips (three wins) at Laurel and won her only start at seven furlongs in the Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 17. Since the Million, she has finished third in the Willa On the Move and seventh in the Thirty Eight Go Go. Victor Carrasco has the mount.
Three horses enter the Conniver having run last time out in the What A Summer. E Dubai’s Humor comes into the Conniver off a third-place finish in the What A Summer. Eddy Gourmet, who is two-for-two at seven furlongs, finished fifth in the What A Summer while Charm City checked in sixth.