Street Lute
Street Lute won the Smart Halo Stakes. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski.

In last month’s Maryland Million Lassie, Street Lute found herself with work to do in the stretch. And even as she began bearing down on the tiring leader, Trip to Freedom, the later-running Miss Nondescript was revving up a run of her own.

Saturday, in the $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park, the two-year-old daughter of Street Magician wasn’t taking any chances. Under jockey Xavier Perez, Street Lute sat off the early speed, slipped through inside, and drew away to win by nearly three lengths.

“In the Maryland Million, she had to chase the speed and hold off the closers,” winning trainer Jerry Robb said after the Smart Halo. “And she didn’t see the horse [Miss Nondescript] coming, or I think she might have won.

“She thinks she won it, so we’re going to tell her she did,” Robb added.

Fortunately for the trainer, he won’t have to use subterfuge on his filly after the Smart Halo.

Leaving from the rail, she was away alertly, but not as quickly as was the Parx shipper Donnybrook Girl, who zipped to the lead and moved over to the fence. That left Street Lute in the pocket, right off the heels of the leader and sealed in to her outside by the Arnaud Delacour trainee Be Sneaky.

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Donnybrook Girl led by 1 ½ lengths after a sharp opening quarter-mile in 21.69 seconds.

“The instructions [to Perez] were to get a good break and see,” Robb explained. “I thought the five [Prodigy Doll] might go and he didn’t, so you never know what they’re going to do, so you have to leave it up to the jockeys. And he let the three go and laid right off.”

That proved to be the winning move. Rounding the turn, Donnybrook Girl drifted out a bit, leaving an inviting opening on the rail, and Perez and Street Lute pounced. The duo led by 1 ½ lengths after a half-mile in 44.75 seconds.

“Somehow he got through on the three,” Robb said. “It worked out perfect.”

In the lane, Street Lute was never threatened en route to winning in 1:09.85 for six furlongs over a fast main track. Out of Sorts, a $1,000 auction purchase trained by Brittany Russell, rallied from last into second, a length ahead of Be Sneaky in third.

Street Lute, off as the 3-2 favorite, paid $5.00 to win and topped an exacta that returned $7.10 for a buck.

Street Lute is owned by Lucky 7 Stables. She was bred in Maryland by Dr. and Mrs. Tom Bowman and Dr. Brooke Bowman. She now has three wins from four career starts, and the winner’s share pushed her earnings to $170,220.

As for the future, Robb said that he expected that Street Lute would make her next start in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship December 5 at Laurel.