Beneath the Stars
Beneath the Stars has won two straight allowance races. Photo by Jim McCue.

Leonard Mattingly’s Beneath the Stars, already a three-time winner including two in a row, will make the step up into stakes company in an effort to extend her streak in the $100,000 Gin Talking Dec. 26 at Laurel Park.

Based at Laurel with trainer Anthony Farrior, Beneath the Stars is a 2-year-old daughter of millionaire Connect, who earned four of his six career wins in stakes, three graded, led by the Cigar Mile (G1) as a 3-year-old in 2016. Her grandsire Wild Again was a multiple graded-stakes winner of more than $2 million, including the 1984 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

“You’d think she’s an older horse the way she acts,” Farrior said. “Around the barn she’s great to be around and when she goes to the track, it’s all business. She bows her neck and she wants to train. It’s something they’ve got to be born with.”

Purchased by Farrior’s friend Chris Melton for just $1,500 as a yearling last fall in Kentucky and later sold privately, Beneath the Stars registered a 2 ½-length debut victory July 29 sprinting 4 ½ furlongs at Charles Town. She followed up by running fourth in an optional claiming allowance at Timonium and fifth after stumbling out of the gate in a Laurel allowance Sept. 18.

Farrior stretched her out to seven furlongs for her next start Oct. 16 at Laurel, where she took the lead after a half-mile and went on to win by 1 ¾ lengths. She proved even better in her most recent effort, a front-running 2 ¼-length optional claiming allowance triumph Nov. 4, also over her home track.

“When we ran her at Charles Town first time out, she ran good, but we weren’t real high on her. When she won the allowance race, the number didn’t come back real big but she won,” Farrior said. “Then she won the allowance race again and put up a pretty good number there, so we were like, ‘Wow.’ She’s just getting better and better. It’s been a gradual process every week.

“It seems like she kind of woke up when she won her allowance race here,” he added. “The first time she ran in the allowance race she stumbled real bad. It seems like the horse is getting better every day. I worked her the other day and she worked really good, so there’s no reason not to try her in the stake.”

Beneath the Stars worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 Dec. 15 over Laurel’s newly reconditioned main track. She drew Post 2 in a field of six and will have regular rider J.D. Acosta aboard.

“She got a little bit tired her last work here but she galloped out good. We’ve been galloping a little harder since they added so much sand. The track’s a little deeper, so I think she’s got an advantage by being here, training over the track,” Farrior said.

“I think she’s top three in the race,” he added. “I don’t run just to run; I like to have a shot to win. If she goes forward again, I think she’ll be right there.”

Beneath the Stars will have to contend with Hope Jones’ Buy the Best, who enters the Gin Talking on a three-race win streak. The bay daughter of Tapiture broke her maiden Sept. 28 and defeated winners at first asking Oct. 28, both by open lengths at Delaware Park, before overcoming a slow start to post a 3 ¼-length victory in the six-furlong Smart Halo Nov. 13 at Laurel. The runner-up, Luna Belle, came back to win the Maryland Juvenile Fillies by 2 ¾ lengths Dec. 18.

Also entered are My Thoughts, runner-up in the Oct. 23 Maryland Million Lassie in her most recent start; Moody Woman, coming off a Nov. 20 victory at Laurel in her first race since being claimed from Farrior in mid-October; Sommer Velvet, unraced since a waiver maiden triumph June 4 at Pimlico Race Course; and Click to Confirm, sixth in the Maryland Juvenile Fillies.