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Pagan Priestess Prevails In Maryland Million Ladies
LAUREL, MD. 10-06-12---Former Maryland mainstay turned New York journeyman Mike Luzzi gave a flawless performance as he guided Pagan Priestess to victory in the $100,000 Jim McKay Maryland Million Ladies at Laurel Park.
Traversing the firm turf in 1:49.40 for the nine furlong distance, Pagan Priestess threaded her way through traffic and slipped inside frontrunner Weeper in mid-stretch to win by a length, with Dance With Gio finishing a fast closing third.
“The race set up perfect,” Luzzi said. “This was a typical turf race where I got through on the rail. I was loaded the whole way. Turning for home I was just waiting for a spot. Then it opened when the kid (Manuel Chaves on Weeper) drifted off the rail. I had to get through pretty quick and finished up great.”
Luzzi now has five Maryland Million victories, but his first since 1997.
Robbie Bailes trains the daughter of Oratory.
“My instructions were simply just save as much ground as you can early and try to be within striking distance at the top of the lane because this filly will be running late,” Bailes said. “She’s really gotten good lately. It took a long time to get a distance race to fill so she was a little late coming around but she’s a totally different horse from a month and a half ago when she was running in a $5,000 lifetime claiming condition. She’s really come into her own.”
This was the second Maryland Million score for Bailes, who won the Sprint Starter Handicap with Snooky’s Taylor in 1994.
Pagan Priestess paid $15.20 and led a $216 exacta and a $1385.20 triple.
About Laurel Park
Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.