Hybrid Eclipse hoping for home field advantage

In Saturday’s $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes for fillies and mares at Laurel Park, Hybrid Eclipse will make her fifth start since joining fall meet-leading trainer Brittany Russell this spring.

The 12th running of the 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and up is the last of three stakes on a 10-race program following the $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies and $100,000 James F. Lewis III for 2-year-olds, both sprinting six furlongs.

She’s won one of those outings, a score in the Caesar’s Wish at Laurel July 2, and finished third or fourth in the other three. Last time out she finished third behind multiple Grade 1 winner Nest, most recently fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, in the Grade 2 Beldame for her first graded stakes placing.

“We were proud of her last race. She got up for third and got her graded-stakes placing, and that was sort of the goal going up there. She picked up a nice check and she came out of the race great,” Russell said. “She’s just thriving right now. Getting back home, she likes Laurel so hopefully all the stars align coming out of that last race.”

She ran third off a 3 ½-month layoff in the 1 1/16-mile Obeah June 8 at Delaware Park, then was a front-running 3 ¾-length winner of Laurel’s one-mile Caesar’s Wish July 2, after which she was purchased by The Elkstone Group’s Stuart Grant.

Russell entered but scratched the 4-year-old Paynter filly in the Nov. 4 Turnback the Alarm (G3) at Aqueduct, which was won by Battle Bling. That gave Hybrid Eclipse, who is three-for-four at Laurel, an extra week rest and a chance to run back home.

“It’s home field advantage,” Russell said. “You sort of have to feel these races out sometimes and see who’s going where. After further review I spoke with Stuart and the group and we decided this time, let’s try and stay home and win one.

Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, gets the call from outermost Post 8.

“It was never necessarily the goal when she first came to me to run in the Obeah as her first run for us, and she stepped up and ran huge that day. It was just really nice to see,” Russell said. “She’s getting good at the right time, and we’re going to run with it.”