HELLO BEAUTIFUL LOOKS TO DOUBLE UP IN SAFELY KEPT
Two Grade 3 winners, a multiple graded-stakes placed filly and another who is undefeated and actually sharing the same shedrow are among the competition awaiting Hello Beautiful as she goes after her second straight stakes win and fourth overall in Saturday’s $100,000 Safely Kept at Laurel Park.
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The seven-furlong Safely Kept is one of six stakes worth $600,000 in purses on the nine-race Fall Festival of Racing program that includes the $100,000 Primonetta at six furlongs and $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go going about 1 1/16 miles, both for females 3 and up.
First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful won back-to-back stakes, the Maryland Million Lassie and Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, to cap her juvenile season and has earned all five of her career victories in eight tries over her home course for trainer Brittany Russell.
The latest win was perhaps her most impressive, rebounding from a pair of off-the-board finishes in out-of-town stakes including her graded debut to romp by 11 ¼ lengths in the Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 24. In all, her Laurel victories have come by 40 ½ combined lengths – more than eight lengths per win.
“We were just delighted with that performance, and I think the even better thing about it was how well she came out of the race,” Russell said. “She came out of the Distaff like it was nothing. She was back to the track bouncing within a couple days, so that makes us feel good moving forward into this race.”
Russell said she considered other spots for Hello Beautiful, including the Primonetta against older fillies, before settling on the Safely Kept which keeps her against fellow sophomores. Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell – aboard for all five of the filly’s wins – returns to ride from Post 8 in the field of nine.
“It’s not restricted, but … it’s what we wanted – stay home, with Sheldon, and try and win sort of an open stake,” Russell said. “She’s amazing. She really is. We want nothing more than to see her continue to stay on the upswing like we thought we would be earlier in the year. We’ve just had to be patient and kind of ride the wave.”
One of Hello Beautiful’s rivals will come out of the same barn. Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc. and Ten Strike Racing’s Lady Rocket has raced just twice but is undefeated against maiden special weight and open allowance company at Saratoga and Keeneland for trainer Brad Cox. Russell worked for the Kentucky-based Cox for four years before returning to Maryland and going out on her own.
“I told him weeks ago when he was thinking about bringing her that we would take her,” Russell said.
Project Whiskey, Fly On Angel and Reagan’s Edge all bring graded-stakes credentials to the Safely Kept. Cash is King and LC Racing’s Project Whiskey won the Delaware Oaks (G3) July 4 and was second in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) but has had less success in two subsequent trips to Maryland, finishing off the board in the Weber City Miss at Laurel and Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico Race Course. She will break from Post 7.
“She’s drawn some pretty lousy posts so we were hoping for a little better draw, something toward the outside,” trainer Robert E. ‘Butch’ Reid Jr. said. “She’s been stuck on the rail the last few times and hasn’t gotten away from the gate real clean, so a little better break and a little better position for her helps. She’s doing really well. On her day she’s right there with them.”
Joseph Besecker’s Fly On Angel stepped up to win the seven-furlong Charles Town Oaks (G3) Aug. 28 in her first start since being claimed by Maryland’s leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez. In her only start since, she got bumped at the start and dueled through sharp fractions for a half-mile before tiring to be sixth in the six-furlong Miss Preakness (G3) Oct. 3.
“She came back good and her last breeze here at Laurel made me happy. She did really good that day and that’s why we’re going to run here,” Gonzalez said. “She didn’t get a clear trip last time. We’re going to try here because going seven-eighths maybe she’ll have more of a chance to get to the lead.”
Gonzalez also entered BB Horses’ Landing Zone, riding a four-race win streak into her 19th career start and first in a stakes. She will be cutting back to a sprint for the first time since a 5 ½-furlong starter optional victory in the Laurel slop Aug. 13 to kick off her current stretch.
“This filly has changed. She’s like a different filly now. She’d doing good, and after the last race she came back happy,” he said. “She trains good every day, better and better. I think she is going to run good.”
Lael Stables’ Reagan’s Edge ran behind Frank’s Rockette in both the 6 ½-furlong Victory Ride (G3) July 4 at Belmont Park and six-furlong Prioress (G2) Sept. 5 at Saratoga, beating Hello Beautiful in the latter. Last out, she was fourth by three-quarters of a length in the seven-furlong Raven Run (G2) Oct. 17 at Keeneland.
Completing the field are 2019 Gin Talking winner Bella Aurora, Bobby’s Goldengirl and Madam Meena.