Luna Belle “bouncing around the shedrow” after big win
Trainer Hamilton Smith said he remains undecided what to do with 3-year-old filly Luna Belle, Maryland’s 2021 juvenile filly champion who extended her win streak to four stakes with a dominant 3 ½-length triumph in the one-mile Beyond the Wire. Smith co-owns the horse with Deborah Greene and also bred the daughter of Great Notion with Greene and her late father, Fred Greene Jr.
Luna Belle has impressed in each of the four wins, scoring easily and with something left.
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The next local option for Luna Belle is the $125,000 Weber City Miss going about 1 1/16 miles April 16 at Laurel, which affords the winner an automatic berth to the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 20 at Pimlico.
“We haven’t thought too much past this race,” Smith said. “The Weber City is there, and there’s a few out-of-town races coming up a little later on after the Weber City. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with her yet. I’ll see how she goes this week and then make a decision.”
Smith and Greene were at the Elloree Training Center in South Carolina, owned and operated by Smith’s older brother, Goree, to watch some of their 2-year-olds run in the Elloree Trials, including a full brother to Luna Belle, Run Bucky Run.
Luna Belle raced closer to the pace in the Beyond the Wire than she had in her previous races, particularly the Feb. 19 Wide Country, where she had to rally from last and weave through traffic in the stretch, winning by three lengths. Smith’s son and assistant, Jason, saddled Luna Belle Saturday.
“I told my son to tell the jock that going a mile she should be closer than in her sprints, anyway. It looked like speed was holding up pretty good all day. I just told him not to give her too much to do late,” Smith said. “Once she got going you could see he had a pretty good hold of her and he was just trying to contain her all the way down the backside.
“She ran well. When he asked her to go, she went. She finished up good and strong, so I was glad to see that. I always thought she could go a little further,” he added. “It looks like we’ve got some options with her now. She’s not strictly a sprinter, put it that way.”
Jason Smith said Luna Belle exited the Beyond the Wire in good shape.
“She was bouncing around the shedrow this morning, so that’s a good thing. I’m very pleased with how she came out of the race. She ran big. She’s a heck of a filly, I’ll tell you,” he said. “Knock on wood, she keeps moving in the right direction. If she keeps doing the way she’s doing, she’s going to be probably the best filly we’ve ever trained.”
Another runner who exited a stakes win in good shape was J R Sanchez Racing Stable’s Shake Em Loose, who scored in the Private Terms Stakes for three-year-olds. The Private Terms is the second in a three-race sequence of local Preakness preps. The last of the trio is the April 16 Federico Tesio, and Shake Em Loose is pointed in that direction.
As first reported in The Racing Biz, trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, who also owns Shake Em Loose, is giving serious consideration to paying $6,000 to supplement his horse to the Triple Crown series. That would make him eligible to run in the Preakness.
“He’s doing great. He’s really happy. He’s a little tired, but he ran his guts out yesterday. He didn’t want to get beat,” Sanchez-Salomon said Sunday. “Nothing is for sure in this game, but if you get a horse that runs like the way he did yesterday … I don’t know what to tell you. I was just so excited to see him win.”