It’s Virginia-bred weekend here in Maryland. Four of the eleven races on Laurel’s Saturday card are Virginia-bred stakes scheduled for the turf. There is some rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, so hopefully those races can stay on the grass.
Eye Of The Wildcat made her career debut going 6 furlongs in Sunday’s sixth race. Helen Polinger’s filly broke slowly but ran on well after that while being navigated through traffic by jockey Sheldon Russell.
“Unfortunately, Steve (Hamilton) couldn’t ride her because he got hurt, he was the one that had been doing all the work on her,” Tim said. “I had to replace him with Sheldon and he had never been on her.”
The 3-year-old will benefit from the experience and should run well in the same waiver maiden claiming condition next time out.
Bay Of Sighs “ran her race,” as Tim said when finishing third in Sunday’s seventh. She never threatened to win but tried hard and stayed on well through the stretch.
Enchanted Evening was sent off as the favorite in Sunday’s 10th, but the gamblers who bet her down to 3-2 had to be discouraged when the 4-year-old filly who usually shows speed missed the break. Taken out of her comfort zone racing near the front, she never made any impact and finished sixth.
Emma’sdiamonddiva is scheduled to race on turf for the first time in Friday’s opener. The filly owned by Tim Hopkins drew the rail and will be ridden by Sheldon Russell.
“She’s got a little turf pedigree,” Tim said. “I expect her to like it. I’m not certain it’s going to move her up but it might. I’m excited to try her on it and I think she’ll run well. I’m hopeful the weather holds out.”
Irish Access is also entered in a turf race this weekend. She goes in the fourth race and is the barn’s first runner on Saturday.
“She’s been great,” Tim said. “I know her Beyer numbers have leveled off at the mid-sixties. She’s going to have to run a better number than that to win this race. She’s been training very well. She’s a big, hearty, sound filly. She liked the grass when she ran on it before. I’m hopeful she runs a good race.”
Sister Says will contest the second of four Virginia-bred stakes races on Saturday’s card. Officially, she races in M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes which is the day’s seventh race. Tom Teal’s filly was second in the race last year when racing as a 3-year-old against older competitors.
“I was disappointed in the number they gave her last time,” Tim said of her seasonal debut in which she made a big late run and finished second. “She’s been training great. It’s not as easy of a race as I thought it might be but I think it’s doable. I’m happy I got a race into her.”
Best Way will make his third career start in Saturday’s 11th race. The 3-year-old showed improvement when finishing second last month at Pimlico. He moves up in class to the $40,000 maiden claiming off that effort. He’ll break from post 2 with Forest Boyce aboard.
A little later Saturday, Chobee Girl is set to make her second start this year in Charles Town’s seventh race. Angel Cruz has the mount.