STREET LUTE SOLID FAVE IN GIN TALKING
Lucky 7 Stables’ Maryland-bred filly Street Lute, a neck shy of being undefeated through five starts, will go after her fifth win, fourth in a stakes and third in a row in the $100,000 Gin Talking.
Trained by Jerry Robb, Street Lute won each of her first two starts including her stakes debut in the 5 ½-furlong Small Wonder Sept. 26 at Delaware Park. She got caught near the wire of the Maryland Million Lassie after taking the lead late, but has responded with wins in the six-furlong Smart Halo Nov. 14 and seven-furlong Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Dec. 5.
In all, Street Lute has won her races by 10 ½ combined lengths and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. Xavier Perez has been aboard for each of her last two starts and has the call again from Post 5 of seven.
Perez likened Street Lute to another Robb-trained star, the 6-year-old mare Anna’s Bandit, an 11-time stakes winner for whom he has been the regular rider. Perez took over on Street Lute after Brian Pedroza went down with an injury.
“She’s an easy-going filly to ride. It’s pretty similar to Anna’s Bandit, that’s why I think I got to bond with her so quick because she’s a straightforward filly and she’ll do whatever I ask her to do. She can go to the lead, she can settle and stalk and she’s not afraid of anything,” Perez said. “Like she showed the first time I rode her, she went through the rail, and the second time I rode her she spilt horses and showed bravery all the time. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to come back and I think it’s going to be a beautiful Christmas present for me.”
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Robb, a winner of 2,042 races in his career, won five times at Laurel last weekend, from nine starters. That included a hat trick on Saturday. He’s won with 54 of 232 starters in 2020.
Respect the Valleys’ Out of Sorts (7-2) rallied from dead last with a six-wide run on the far turn to be second behind Street Lute in the Smart Halo, beaten 2 ¾ lengths. That race came less than two weeks after the Dramedy filly romped by 10 ¾ lengths in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Laurel, just her second career start.
“We ran her back in 13 days and I thought it was a really good effort. Now that we’ve been able to give her a little bit of time and let her kind of catch her breath and get some works into her since then, I think she’ll run really well. I think she’ll really like the seven-eighths, too,” trainer Brittany Russell said.
“Running her back in 13 days I think she was maybe just a little edgier and just letting her catch her breath this time around I think she’ll be better at the gate,” she added. “Hopefully she comes away a little better. If she can just sit like she did last time and make a run at them I think she’s sitting on a good effort.”
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Russell will also saddle Reassured, a two-year-old Bandbox colt, in the 1 1/16-mile Howard County Stakes. He’s been in the money in all four of his starts, including a third-place finish in the Maryland Million Nursery. He broke his maiden by nearly nine lengths last time out.
“That first run [going two turns], I think it was just a little bit of bad luck that day that he didn’t win, but looking back it was probably great because he now has two races under his belt going two turns. It’s all good experience,” Russell said.
“He ran huge last time,” she added. “We’re running him back in 16 days. I wish he had a little bit more time but he’s a big, good-training horse. He doesn’t miss a beat in the morning. I feel good about running him back, but we’ll see. Sometimes it catches up with them and they surprise you, but I think he’ll run well. He bounced out of that win like a good horse.”
The lukewarm favorite in the Howard County is the Gary Capuano trainee Shackqueenking. The Shackleford colt, 5-2 on the morning line, was second last time out in an allowance contest won by yet another Russell trainee, the well regarded Hello Hot Rod, a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Hello Beautiful.