Can the Queen shortens up in Jameela

On May 20 Joanne Shankle’s Can the Queen sped to the front early and kept right on going to record a 6-1 upset in The Very One Stakes on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard.

Saturday, for the first time since, she’ll return to sprinting on the turf in the $75,000 Jameela Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies and mares as she seeks her third career stakes victory and seventh win overall. The Jameela is the sixth race on a 10-race program.

Bred in Maryland by Carol Ann Kaye, Can the Queen is a daughter of Can the Man.

It’s been quite a journey for a mare who at one point was a longshot even to make the races: standing in a field and not fully broken early in her three-year-old year, with a reputation as a bit of a mean horse. Though she won at first asking, it wasn’t until midway through 2021, her five-year-old season, that she truly blossomed, earning her first stakes victory in the July 2021 Sensible Lady Turf Dash at Laurel.

This year Can the Queen has a first and a second from three starts. In her season bow, she finished fourth against the boys in the King T. Leatherbury Stakes at Laurel behind True Valour, who finished third in the Grade 1 Jaipur in his next start. All three of her starts this year have come in stakes company.

“She’s very happy right now and I’m confident in her, but you never know. There can always be another one faster than everyone else,” said trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon said. “If you don’t compete, you never know. We have the opportunity to compete again this year, so we’ll see.”

Most recently Can the Queen stretched out to a route of ground, leading most of the way in the All Brandy Stakes before getting reeled in late and settling for second, a half-length behind Why Not Tonight.

“She ran a huge race. Unfortunately she got beat, but that’s the game. She could have won the race, but we cannot win everything,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “It was a chance to see how she would handle going long. She had never run that far in her life and I was like, ‘I think this filly can go a little longer,’ and she did. She showed me something. She handled the distance well.”

Can the Queen is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Jameela and will have Victor Carrasco in the irons.

Ellanation (8-1) and Dendrobia (10-1), respectively first and second in the 2021 Jameela, are back for another try. Dark Hollow Farm’s 6-year-old homebred mare Ellanation has gone winless in six starts since last year’s victory,  placing three times, while Cynthia McGinnes and Francis Clemens’ Dendrobia exits a closing second to Whispurring Kitten in a six-furlong turf sprint July 3 at Laurel.

Can the Queen
Can the Queen won The Very One Stakes. Photo by Allison Janezic.