MADAM MEENA TAKES LAUREL FRIDAY FEATURE
Michael Cox’s stakes winner Madam Meena sat just off the lead for a half-mile, took over the top spot in upper stretch and drew clear to a three-length win in Friday’s featured ninth race at Laurel Park, spoiling the return of Grade 3 heroine Victim of Love.
It was the second straight win and fourth in sixth starts and ninth overall for Madam Meena ($4.80), and the second on the program for trainer Jamie Ness. The winning time was 1:09.94 for over a fast main track in the third-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 4 and up sprinting six furlongs.
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“It worked out pretty good,” Ness said. “She went through all her conditions. We’ve been going for every condition we can, and these kind of races are hard to find. That’s why we came down here. We found the right spot for her and she performed for us.”
Johan Rosado was aboard Madam Meena, a 4-year-old daughter of Include who captured the Tax Free Shopping Distaff by 8 ¾ lengths last summer at Delaware Park. Overall she has been worse than third only once in 15 lifetime starts.
“She’s on a roll,” Ness said. “It looks like she’s got a bright future.”
Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Victim of Love was a clear second racing for the first time in 203 days after recovering from colic surgery late last summer. The 5-year-old daughter of champion sprinter Speightstown won the What a Summer and was second in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) last winter at Laurel prior to a 27-1 upset in the Vagrancy (G3) and a third in the Ballerina (G1) over the summer.
Ness also sent out Shanghai Superfly ($3.60), a horse he co-owns with Morris Kernan Jr. and Yo Berbs, to a popular victory in Friday’s fourth race, running down pacesetter Still Having Fun in deep stretch to win by a length over the Grade 2 winner.
In for the $25,000 tag, Still Having Fun was claimed by Ness on behalf of his Jagger, Inc. stable. Still Having Fun, 6, won four of his first eight career races, three of them 2018 stakes – the Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood at Laurel and Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park, his most recent win.
A $12,000 yearling, Still Having Fun put together a record of 24-4-4-3 with $582,817 in purse earnings for owners Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Terp Racing and trainer Tim Keefe. He also ran third in the 2018 Malibu (G1).
“We kind of look for those kinds of horses. To me it’s better to be a has-been than a never-was,” Ness said. “Maybe a change here or there can get him back on track, who knows. We’ll see what happens. I’ve always liked the horse. Tim did a great job with him. He ran a good race today, so we’ll see if we can get him back to where he used to be.”