Emotional Victory for Hello Beautiful in $100,000 Weather Vane

Dreamalildreamofu Catches Artful Splatter Late in $100,000 Twixt

LAUREL, MD – With her regular rider on crutches and watching from the grandstand, Hello Beautiful provided Sheldon Russell with a spectacular get-well gift as she rolled to a popular and emotional 10 ¼-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Weather Vane at Laurel Park.

The second running of the six-furlong Weather Vane for fillies and mares 3 and older was the first of four stakes worth $500,000 in purses headlined by the $200,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) for 3-year-olds and up.

Russell’s wife, trainer Brittany Russell, fought back tears as she tried to explain how much the victory meant to her team, particularly since her husband – Maryland’s top money-earning jockey this year at the time of his Sept. 9 foot injury – will be out indefinitely.

“It’s really bittersweet. I had a tear in my eye, watching it with Sheldon,” she said. “She’s just so special.”

Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful ($2.40), sent off at 1-5, had been ridden by Russell in 14 of her first 16 starts, eight of them wins, including six stakes led by the July 31 Alma North at historic Pimlico Race Course, his 1,500th career victory.

With Jevian Toledo up, Hello Beautiful broke alertly and was quickly in front as her main challenger, fellow multiple stakes winner Never Enough Time, stumbled from the gate. Hello Beautiful was in command throughout, coasting through a quarter-mile in 22.37 seconds and a half in 45.32 and opening up through the stretch to win under wraps in 1:09.56 over a fast track.

“She’s a really special filly. When you have a nice horse like her, anyone can win on her like that,” Toledo said. “I have to give her all the credit. I just put her in the front and she grabbed the bit the whole way. In the stretch I just showed her the stick and she took off, and when I looked back it was easy enough so I just took hold of her and she came back real easy to me.”

Toledo and Russell, both Maryland year-end champions and multiple meet leaders during their careers, are represented by Marty Leonard.

“We have the same agent and we are mates. You never want to see anyone get hurt. I feel bad because I know how special the filly is to him and for his wife,” Toledo said. “Thank God we were able to get the job done. Hopefully he can come back and ride her the next time.”

Stakes-placed Coconut Cake, racing for the first time since March 13, finished second with Never Enough Time two lengths back in third. Praise and Honor and Fifteen Royals completed the order of finish.

The Weather Vane is named for the Maryland-bred champion older filly of 1998 that won 17 of 36 career starts and 14 stakes including the 1997 Safely Kept (G3).

Dreamalildreamofu Catches Artful Splatter Late in $100,000 Twixt

Full of Run Racing and Madaket Stables’ Dreamalildreamofu, placed in back-to-back Grade 3 stakes earlier this year, reeled in a stubborn Artful Splatter with a steady run through the stretch to capture the 39th running of Saturday’s $100,000 Twixt.

It was the second career stakes win for Dreamalildreamofu ($6.20) and second on the day for jockey Jevian Toledo, who captured the $100,000 Weather Vane with Hello Beautiful two races earlier. Toledo also won Race 3 with first-time starter Click to Confirm, like Hello Beautiful trained by Brittany Russell.

“It’s a very special day,” Toledo said. “I’m just blessed.”

A multiple stakes winner trained by Pimlico-based Kieron Magee, Artful Splatter was intent on the lead and opened up under Carlos Lopez through fractions of 23.45 and 46.24 seconds. Dreamalildreamofyou led the second flight tracked by Grade 1-placed Off Topic and Iowa Distaff winner Josie.

Artful Splatter was still in front and hugging the rail after turning for home as Toledo set Dreamalildreamofu down for the stretch drive. Drifting slightly to the middle of the track, the 4-year-old Commissioner filly came with a steady run to catch Artful Splatter and get up by a head while fending off Josie on her outside.

“I just kept my filly right in behind the leader and I know she’s a nice filly, so I was hoping she would do what she did,” Toledo said. “When I asked her, she responded and got the job done.”

Trained by reigning Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, Dreamalildreamofu was second by 1 ½ lengths in the Allaire du Pont (G3) May 14 at Pimlico and third by a length in the Chicago (G3) on Arlington Park’s all-weather surface June 26. She encountered trouble in her previous start when she ran ninth in the Groupie Doll at Ellis Park.

Twixt was a Maryland-bred champion every year she raced, from 1972-75, retiring as Maryland’s all-time money-winning mare. Her 18 stakes wins were also a Maryland-bred record on the flat. Twixt won the Barbara Fritchie (G3) and was named Maryland’s Horse of the Year in 1973 and 1974.


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