Hello Beautiful
Hello Beautiful dominated the Maryland Million Distaff. Photo Allison Janezic.

Whenever trainer Brittany Russell has designs on giving stable star Hello Beautiful some time off, the 4-year-old filly has other ideas.

Fresh off a record-tying performance in last month’s Maryland Million Distaff, Hello Beautiful will go after her ninth career stakes victory in Friday’s $75,000 Politely at Laurel Park.

The 39th running of the six-furlong Politely for fillies and mares 3 and up and fifth renewal of the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs highlight a nine-race, post-Thanksgiving Day program.

Both races, restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, return after a one-year absence due to the coronavirus pandemic. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.

On Oct. 23 Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful became only the seventh horse since the event’s inception in 1986 to win a third Maryland Million race, adding to her victories in the 2020 Distaff and 2019 Lassie.

It was the third consecutive win for the Golden Lad filly and 10th in 18 career starts including a 9-for-13 record at Laurel, her home track. In the time since her most recent win, Hello Beautiful showed Russell she’s raring to go.

“She’s great. She’s awesome. She’s touting herself again. If there was any indication otherwise, we would skip it, but it seems like a good spot,” Russell said. “It would probably be this spot and potentially the MATCH Series race in December if all goes well. Then she’ll probably get some sort of a break.”

The $100,000 Willa On the Move for fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs is Dec. 26 at Laurel is the finale of the filly and mare dirt sprint division in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series. Hello Beautiful leads the division with 27 points, also good for the overall series lead.

“It’s one of those things. Why not?” Russell said. “She’s ready to go. It’s a good spot, [so] let’s run.”

Russell purchased Hello Beautiful for just $6,500 from Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic December 2018 mixed sale at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. She has gone on to earn $582,570 in purses with $265,460 coming in six 2021 starts. Her four 2021 wins have come in the What a Summer, Alma North, Weathervane and Distaff.

“We’re kind of blessed with a good thing here. She spoils you because you walk into the barn and – I’m touching wood as we talk – it’s one of those things. She just goes about her business every day,” Russell said. “She trains and she’s straightforward. There’s never anything to get too excited about. I’m walking in the barn and dealing with the 30-plus others that all have issues, and she spoils you. You walk her over there, she runs in good races, and she wins. She’s just a pleasure to train.”

Hello Beautiful has finished worse than third just four times in her career, the most recent coming when fifth in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 20 at Laurel. She was second in her return, the June 13 Shine Again at Laurel, prior to her current win streak.

“She’s easy-going and she’s nice to be around. She’s a very good girl,” Russell said. “You walk in the barn and she always has her butt to the stall door. That’s her. She does her thing every day and she doesn’t really like her schedule to be changed, but she’s a cool filly. Everybody that’s around her loves her. Her rider loves her. Her groom loves her. She’s nice to have around.”

Her 2019 Maryland Million Lassie win was not only the first stakes win for Hello Beautiful, but also the first for Russell in her first full season as a trainer. Her most recent Maryland Million win came by 3 ½ lengths over Malibu Beauty with Street Lute third; both runners return in the Politely.

“That was awesome, just to see that she was able to do it three years in a row,” Russell said. “To just kind of be able to maintain that form and stay on her game for so long, we’re lucky. Hopefully she has another good year because it looks like we’ll probably get to race her next year.”

Jevian Toledo will ride Hello Beautiful from the rail at topweight of 124 pounds.