Its a Journey among the Weber City Miss headliners
Prognosis. second best in the Wide Country, will try it again in the Weber City Miss. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Maggi Moss’ stakes-placed filly Its a Journey will travel from New York to make her seasonal debut for new trainer Linda Rice in Saturday’s $100,000 Weber City Miss at Laurel Park.
The Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies, run at about 1 1/16 miles, is designated as a ‘Win and You’re In’ race giving the winner an automatic berth in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 20 at Pimlico Race Course.
It shares Saturday’s 10-race program with the $100,000 Federico Tesio, which offers Triple Crown-nominated horses an automatic ‘Win and You’re In’ berth to the Preakness Stakes (G1) May 21 at Pimlico.
A daughter of Grade 2 winner and Grade 1-placed Jump Start, Its a Journey is unraced since finishing second to Behrnik’s Bank in the six-furlong Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies Stakes Nov. 25 at Penn National. She was moved to Rice’s barn this year and shows six works since mid-February at Belmont Park for her debut.
The Weber City Miss will be the longest test yet for Its a Journey, who broke her maiden going six furlongs Oct. 10 and returned to beat males in a one-mile allowance 19 days later, both also at Penn National.
“She had run pretty well as a 2-year-old. I gave her a break when I picked up the filly and based on the way she trained and her conformation I thought that she would actually like the distance,” Rice said. “She ran a mile last year and she trains like she will appreciate the distance, as well.”
No stranger to shipping in and winning Maryland stakes, Rice is looking forward to a sophomore campaign with Its a Journey, purchased for $105,000 last May out of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-old in training sale.
“I’ve been very pleased with her progress since she arrived in New York. She has really flourished,” Rice said. “I felt this was one of the options we had in front of us and was the best opportunity. [The Black-Eyed Susan berth] would be a nice added bonus, but right now we’re just hoping to get her going in the right direction as a 3-year-old.”
Also taking aim at the Weber City Miss is fellow New York-based trainer Todd Pletcher with Alto Racing’s Alto Belle. The bay daughter of Trappe Shot opened her 3-year-old season running sixth in the Busanda Stakes after stumbling at the start, but rebounded to win a one-mile entry-level allowance March 5 at Parx.
Alto Belle raced three times at 2, capping her juvenile season with a front-running 18 ½-length maiden special weight romp Nov. 20 at Aqueduct.
“It was a good win at Parx. She didn’t get a great trip the time before that so it was nice to regroup and get a win with her,” Pletcher said. “Now we’re hoping we can step back into a stake and get her some black type.”
Locally based trainer Mike Trombetta will counter with a pair of fillies in R. Larry Johnson and R.D.M. Racing Stable’s In the Navy Now and Triple Threat’s A.P. Majetstic. In the Navy Now has made all six of her career starts at Laurel including a third-place finish in the March 12 Caesar’s Wish, where she was bumped at the start and beaten a nose for second. Most recently fourth in a March 5 Parx allowance, A.P. Majetstic will be making her stakes debut.
“[In the Navy Now] got away really bad last time and I think if she’d have broken normally she might have been able to get out and get up for second. The winner was the best horse that day but she closed up a lot of ground and it’s nice to see them do that,” Trombetta said. “I’m going to take a shot with [A.P. Majetstic] and if the race doesn’t look too tough we’ll give her a try.”
Prognosis, runner-up in Laurel’s Gin Talking Stakes at 2 and Wide Country Stakes Feb. 15; Include a Check, second to Alto Belle at Parx; and Redmoor, a 9 ¼-length maiden winner March 12 at Fair Grounds making her stakes debut round out the field.