STREET LUTE ROMPS IN XTRA HEAT
Lucky 7 Stables’ Street Lute, cutting back to six furlongs for the first time in two months, ran her win streak to four races, all in stakes, with a dominant five-length triumph in the $100,000 Xtra Heat.
A neck shy of being undefeated in seven career starts, Street Lute ($2.80) ran six furlongs in 1:10.31 over a fast main track under regular rider Xavier Perez in her 3-year-old season opener.
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“The horses, they all improve after they win and she’s done nothing but win, so she expects to win,” winning trainer John ‘Jerry’ Robb said. “I think that helps.”
Perez and Street Lute were outrun for the early lead by Trip to Freedom, the Maryland Million Lassie show finisher who went the first quarter-mile in 22.51 seconds. Street Lute, racing in the clear two wide, eased up to take over the top spot following a half in 45.64 and kept rolling, opening up by five lengths heading for home.
“It’s easy to say now, but I kept looking for the fractions to make sure [Perez] was going easy and apparently he was,” Robb said. “I was confident coming into today but after watching the races today and all the closers were winning every race, I was a little nervous from that.”
Miss Leslie, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Ann Arundel County in her previous start, ran second to snap her three-race win streak. It was 3 ¾ lengths back to 30-1 long shot Breeze Off the Bay, who edged Whiskey and Rye by a neck for third. It Can, Plane Drunk, Trip to Freedom and Incomparable completed the order of finish.
Street Lute overcame an eye injury and subsequent surgery to win her debut, delayed to September at Delaware Park. The Street Magician filly won the Small Wonder in her second start and got caught at the wire in the Maryland Million Lassie before reeling off consecutive wins in the Smart Halo, Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship and Gin Talking, the latter Dec. 26.
Robb tied Mike Trombetta for second overall among all trainers with 43 wins in Maryland last year. It was Trombetta’s Miss Nondescript that edged Street Lute in the Lassie.
“The whole barn’s been doing good, not just her,” Robb said. “We’ve been having a great meet, thanks to everyone.”
Last run at Pimlico in 2007, the Xtra Heat honors the Maryland-based Hall of Fame mare and champion 3-year-old filly of 2001 that won 26 of 35 career starts, captured 25 stakes including the Prioress (G1), and was second against the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), both during her championship season.
In the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid, for sophomores, Kenny Had a Notion gutted out a neck victory over favored Maythehorsebewithu. It was the Virginia-bred Great Notion gelding’s third stakes win.
“He’s just gotten better,” winning trainer Dale Capuano said. “His first race when he won at Delaware, he ran a decent race but not that fast. Then the next time was on an off track and he didn’t run well. Then he won on the turf and in the Maryland Million. The turf race seemed to turn him around.”