G3 winner Hot City Girl tops Willa on the Move entries

by | Dec 7, 2016 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing

Hot City Girl won last year’s Safely Kept at Laurel Park. Photo by The Racing Biz.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Lady Sheila Stable’s Grade 3 winner Hot City Girl, having battled a minor foot issue since mid-summer, is entered to make her return to the races in Saturday’s $100,000 Willa On the Move at Laurel Park.

The six-furlong Willa On the Move for females 3 and up is one of four stakes worth $375,000 in purses on the nine-race program. They are joined by a trio of races for Maryland-bred/sired horses: the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, both at seven furlongs, and the $75,000 Howard M. Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.

By multiple Grade 1 winner City Zip out of the mare Noble Fire, Hot City Girl is a half-sister to 2015 female sprint champion La Verdad. The 4-year-old filly was last seen winning the 6 ½-furlong Union Avenue Stakes Aug. 18 at Saratoga in front-running fashion, her lone win from just three starts this year.

“We had been struggling with a foot abscess,” New York-based trainer Linda Rice said. “I had entered her twice and on both occasions had to scratch her because we just didn’t have her quite where we needed her to be. But, she seems to have it behind her now so we’re excited about running.”

Hot City Girl will break from Post 6 in an eight-horse field as co-highweight of 122 pounds with fall meet-leading jockey Jevian Toledo aboard. Toledo rode Hot City Girl to a fourth-place finish in the Caesars Wish Stakes last March, one of her four career starts at Laurel.

Bred in New York, Hot City Girl enjoyed an outstanding 3-year-old campaign that included victories in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) and Laurel’s Safely Kept, the latter by 8 ¼ lengths last fall. She also finished second by a half-length in the seven-furlong La Brea (G1) Dec. 26 at Santa Anita, and owns six wins and $588,150 in purse earnings from 15 lifetime starts.

“She’s a big, pretty filly and she’s shown some real brilliance here and there. Last year was a very good year for her. She won a Grade 3 and was second in a Grade 1 in California,” Rice said. “This year has been a little bit of a stop and start with the foot issue we’ve had this fall, but we’re hoping for a good winter campaign.”

Among the horses looking to spoil Hot City Girl’s return are Laurel stakes winners Athena and Lovable Lady. From the barn of meet-leading trainer Mary Eppler, Lovable Lady won the Jameela on turf and Politely on dirt before finishing third by a half-length in the Maryland Million Distaff. Most recently, she encountered traffic trouble running next-to-last in the one-mile Geisha Nov. 19.

Mary Grum’s Athena won her only previous start over Laurel’s main track, a one-length victory in the one-mile Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes last December. She has one win from seven subsequent starts, coming in the six-furlong Roxelana Stakes June 25 at Churchill Downs, where trainer Helen Pitts is based.

Athena wheels back 15 days since tiring to third following a wide trip in the Dream Supreme Stakes Nov. 15 at Churchill, also at six furlongs.

“She’s come out of her last race great. [The winner] is a real nice filly,” Pitts said. “We figured while she’s good, we’d give it a shot. She likes the sprints, she likes the track there and she’s pretty sharp right now.”

Rounding out the field are Black Mission Fig, Lake Sebago, Love Came to Town, She’s Hot Wired and Sweet On Smokey.

[su_box title=”WILLA ON THE MOVE STAKES ENTRIES” style=”glass”]
  1. She’s Hot Wired — Trevor McCarthy/Mario Serey, Jr.
  2. Sweet on Smokey — Victor Carrasco/Claudio Gonzalez
  3. Lake Sebago — Brian Pedroza/Jerry Robb
  4. Love Came to Town — Mychal Sanchez/Kevin Sleeter
  5. Athena — Feargal Lynch/Helen Pitts
  6. Hot City Girl — Jevian Toledo/Linda Rice
  7. Black Mission Fig — Carol Cedeno/Michael Lerman
  8. Lovable Lady — Horacio Karamanos/Mary Eppler