Buff My Boots
Buff My Boots (#5) bested Sparkle Sprinkle in the Maryland Million Lassie. Photo Allison Janezic.

Sometimes a race is a standalone event. And sometimes it’s an event on a continuum.

Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie for two-year-old fillies was of the latter variety, with a race three weeks back the first installment.

Buff My Boots, a daughter of Buffum, wasn’t fastest away — that was Sparkle Sprinkle — but she soon grabbed control, and when Sparkle Sprinkle put a head in front with an eighth-mile to go, she fought back to prevail by a half-length in 1:11.14 on a fast main track.

“She’s tough,” said winning rider J. D. Acosta. “Every time she’s in front, she’s relaxed, waiting for horses, and when they come to her, she always puts up a really good fight.”

In a sense, winning trainer John Salzman, Jr. said, the race’s key moment had come three weeks earlier Oct. 3. That day, Buff My Boots and Sparkle Sprinkle had squared off in a speed duel, the former prevailing in the duel but both finishing well behind ultimate winner Click to Confirm.

“I would rather settle who’s the fastest in that race between me and [Sparkle Sprinkle],” Salzman said. “If I took a hold of my horse and [Sparkle Sprinkle] ran, I would have kicked myself in the butt, but that settled it for this race instead of taking it away from us in this race.”

Though Sparkle Sprinkle broke on top, Acosta quickly moved Buff My Boots to the lead, with Xavier Perez aboard Sparkle Sprinkle willing to cede the advantage. Buff My Boots led by a length after an opener in 22.59 seconds.

“If she’d outrun me the other day, I’d have done exactly what he did,” Salzman said. “I would have took back off him.”

Perez tipped Sparkle Sprinkle off the fence and revved up a run as the field turned for home. In fact, the Jerry Robb trainee put a head in front with a furlong to go. But Buff My Boots still had more. 

“She loves to battle under stress,” Acosta said.

Longshot My Thoughts, trained by Tim Woolley, came running late under Carol Cedeno but could not quite get to the winner, finishing a half-length behind. Sparkle Sprinkle was a half-length farther back and just a head in front of late-on-the-scene Luna Belle, the lukewarm 2.90-1 post time favorite.

Buff My Boots, out of the Not for Love mare Shekeepsherbootson, was bred in Maryland by Hope Hill Farm and is owned by Bird Mobberley LLC.

Buff My Boots now has three wins from five career starts, with earnings of $115,998. But it may have been a third-place finish that mattered most.

“They’re both nice fillies,” Salzman said of his horse and Sparkle Sprinkle. “But instead of us killing each other today, it was settled two weeks ago for a much smaller purse.”