MD. MILLION: HELLO BEAUTIFUL POSTS HISTORIC WIN
Hello Beautiful won the Maryland Million Distaff last year. She was eight-for-nine at Laurel Park, and three-for-five at the 7-furlong distance. She was the .20-1 favorite. She won her last race by 10 lengths.
None of that mattered. At Laurel Park, owner Mark Parkinson was nervous.
“I kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong,” he said.
But nothing went wrong, nothing at all, and the filly he owns in partnership with Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, K-Mac Stables, and Magic City Stables cruised to her second straight win in the Distaff, leading gate to wire and hitting the finish line 3 1/2 lengths ahead of runner-up Malibu Beauty.
She broke from post 2 under Jevian Toledo, in the saddle for the second consecutive race with her regular rider Sheldon Russell sidelined with a foot injury. Hello Beautiful went to the lead and stayed there, running a quick quarter in 22.59 before moderating to a 45.65 half.
“The challenge with a 7-furlong race,” said Parkinson, “is whether she goes too fast in the first half. I saw the first quarter in 22 and thought we were in good shape, and when she went 45 and change, I thought she had a really good chance. The jockey did a great job of keeping her from getting out too quickly.”
With her Distaff repeat, Hello Beautiful becomes just the seventh horse to win three Maryland Million races. She won the Maryland Million Lassie Stakes in 2019. Among the other three-time winners are recent millionaire Eighttofasttocatch and national Hall of Famer Safely Kept.
Trainer Brittany Russell bought Hello Beautiful at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Winter Mixed Sale, paying $6,500 for the daughter of two-time Grade 3 winner Golden Lad, who stands at Northview Stallion Station for $5,000. After she broke her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths in a waiver claiming race, her third start, at Laurel in July 2019, Parkinson and his partners bought her.
“I’m involved with an ownership group led by Brad Weisbord, and we were incredibly impressed by her,” said the owner. “We wanted to keep her with Brittany because she’d done such a good job with the horse, and obviously we made the right decision.”
Now 10-3-1 from 18 starts, eight of those wins in stakes, the dark bay/brown filly has earned $582,000. She was bred in Maryland by Hillwood Stables and is out of the Tiznow mare Hello Now. She tops the listen of Golden Lad progeny by earnings.
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Originally from Kansas, Parkinson and his family now live in Bethesda.
“It’s been terrific to be able to drive less than half an hour to see this magnificent horse and to work with Brittany and Sheldon and the whole team,” he said. “I’m looking for some more Maryland-breds to have with Brittany.”