Chickieness back to stakes company in Xtra Heat

Morris Kernan Jr. and Jagger Inc.’s Chickieness, popular winner of the Maryland Million Lassie last fall, chases her second straight win and second in a stakes in Saturday’s $100,000 Xtra Heat.

Chickieness raced eight times for breeder, trainer and co-owner Jamie Ness as a 2-year-old, running second in back-to-back stakes at Delaware Park behind then-undefeated Bound by Destiny before breaking through with a come-from-behind 1 ½-length triumph in the Lassie.

Following that effort the Blofeld filly ran third in an optional claiming allowance sprinting six furlongs and fourth to undefeated Malibu Moonshine in the seven-furlong Maryalnd Juvenile Fillies before rebounding with a front-running 3 ¾-length optional claiming allowance score Dec. 17.

“After she won Maryland Million Day we tried her in a couple other spots including the stake there. She was still eligible for the allowance, and she was able to win that the last time she ran,” Ness said. “There isn’t a lot of other options with a filly like this. You either run in the stake or you sit in the barn. She had a good work last week and that’s where we’re headed. She’s Maryland-bred, so we’re going to run her in Maryland.”

Out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Chickaletta, Chickieness had things her way last out under regular rider Jaime Rodriguez, setting solid fractions before pulling away to win in 1:06.18 for 5 ½ furlongs. After making her first four career starts in Delaware, her last four have come at Laurel.

“The last time she actually won pretty easy, so maybe she’s still getting better. I think she’s still going to have to continue to improve to take on open stake fillies, but that’s what we’re going to try,” Ness said. “She’s done very little wrong. It means a little extra being the owner-breeder, and I ran the mare. She’s been at my farm since she was born so it’s nice to see her develop.”

Rodriguez returns to ride from the rail at topweight of 124 pounds, yielding six pounds to each of her five rivals.