Hello Beautiful, American Sailor hit the road

American Sailor
American Sailor won Laurel Park’s allowance feature against a bevy of stakes winners. Photo Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

Multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Hello Beautiful, stabled at Laurel Park with trainer Brittany Russell, will be making the first start outside of her native Maryland when she tackles 10 rivals in Sunday’s $100,000 Audubon Oaks at Ellis Park.

Russell and owners Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stable and Magic City Stables also considered Saturday’s Test (G1) at Saratoga, led by rising star filly Gamine, before settling on the Oaks. Both races are contested at seven furlongs.

“Gamine looks like she’s a super-special filly, so we were just kind of trying to duck our heads this time,” Russell said before Royal Thunder ran second as the favorite in Thursday’s opener as live racing returned to Laurel Park. “I just want to give our filly a chance to keep winning and keep building her confidence.

“If it comes time to have to take on something like her next time, OK, cool. We’re OK with that. It just felt like the right thing to do to keep our filly on the right path,” she added. “Sometimes you see horses take on these monsters and it kills their confidence and knocks them out for a long time.”

Winner of the Maryland Million Lassie and Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship to close her 2-year-old season, Hello Beautiful has raced twice this year. She rebounded from her seventh-place finish in a turf sprint June 1 – her only time running out of the money in eight starts – with an allowance romp over the main track 19 days later.

Russell said Hello Beautiful was scheduled to leave for Kentucky Thursday evening and arrive the next morning, and she and her husband, injured jockey Sheldon Russell, would join her stable star later that afternoon.

“I’m sending one of my best guys with her, so she’ll be traveling with someone. Sheldon and I are going to fly out after training. She’ll arrive tomorrow and she’ll just walk anyway, and I’ll have someone with her who’s good and knows her well,” Russell said. “She won’t do much when she gets there. I’ll probably just focus on giving her a paddock school and letting her get her energy back from the ship.”

Sheldon Russell has been the only jockey to ride Hello Beautiful in her races, but he was sidelined 4-6 weeks with a broken wrist suffered July 16 at Delaware Park. Two-time Eclipse Award winner Julien Leparoux will ride from Post 2, and all fillies will carry 118 pounds.

The Audubon Oaks goes off as Race 8 at Ellis with a post time of 4:10 p.m.

“She’s in good hands,” Brittany Russell said. “The main thing is she’s doing well. We’re hoping we’re going to a spot where she can jump up and win and keep her going in that direction.”

Another Laurel-based horse heading out of town for stakes action is Wayne Potts-trained gelding American Sailor in Saturday’s $200,000 Troy (G3) at Saratoga, a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint for 4-year-olds and up. It will be the first graded attempt for the 8-year-old stakes winner since finishing 10th in the 2016 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G3).

American Sailor opened 2020 with a front-running one-length third-level optional claiming allowance triumph June 8 at Laurel, then was beaten 1 ¼ lengths when second after setting the pace in the Wolf Hill Stakes July 18 at Monmouth Park. Tyler Gaffalione will ride Saturday from Post 2 in a field of seven led by graded-stakes winners Imprimis and $2 million earner Pure Sensation.

The Troy is Race 8 on a 12-race card at Saratoga with a 4:22 p.m. post time.