De Francis Regains Grade 3 Status, Three Others Listed

De Francis Regains Grade 3 Status, Three Others Listed

Never Gone South Seeks Second Stakes Win in Marylander
Selima Runner-Up Look Who's Talking Back With Fillies

LAUREL, MD - The Maryland Jockey Club announced today the prestigious $350,000 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash has been upgraded to a Grade 3 race for 2016 by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

The De Francis, first contested in 1990, has played host to champions Housebuster, Safely Kept and Cherokee Run. The race lost it graded status when it wasn't run in 2008 and 2010. Gentlemen's Bet was placed first in this year's De Francis due to the disqualification of Trouble Kid.

Along with the De Francis, three other Maryland Jockey Club races were upgraded from non-Listed Black Type to Listed.

The Very One, won the past two years at Pimlico by the multiple graded-stakes winner Ageless, was upgraded, as was the Stormy Blues at Pimlico, won this year by another multiple graded-stakes winner in Lady Shipman. Laurel's Wide Country Stakes, won by Gypsy Judy over Grade 3 winner Hot City Girl, was also upgraded.

Never Gone South Seeks Second Stakes Win

Never Gone South, winner of the Strike Your Colors Stakes at Delaware in August, will stretch out to seven furlongs Saturday when he meets six other 2-year-olds in the $100,000 Marylander.

Trained by Cathal Lynch and owned by M M G Racing Stable, the 2-year-old has yet to go beyond six furlongs. After breaking his maiden first time out at Parx in June over five furlongs, Never Gone South, a son of Munnings, won the five-furlong Strike Your Colors before returning from a three-month layoff to finish second Nov. 14 at Laurel in the six-furlong James Lewis III Stakes.

"We think [the distance] will help," said Lynch of the Marylander. "I think the further he goes the better, and he's out of a Perfect Soul mare so turf would probably not be a big stretch in his future. For now, we're going to run seven-eighths and we'll step up to two turns."

Lynch said the colt was given a break after the Strike Your Colors and "was a hair short for that last race. He should be a little tighter with (the Lewis) under his belt."

"Everything is good with him so far," he added. "He should be bang-on for Saturday."

Selima Runner-Up Look Who's Talking Back With Fillies

After trying the boys and finishing third Nov. 11 at Laurel in an allowance optional claiming event, Skeedattle Associate's Look Who's Talking will take on six 2-year-old fillies Saturday in the $100,000 The Gin Talking at seven furlongs.

After breaking her maiden at first asking on the turf at Laurel, Look Who's Talking finished second over a sloppy track in the Selima and fifth on the turf at Belmont in the Miss. Grillo (G3) before finishing third last time out against the boys in a race moved off the turf to Laurel's main track.

"I wanted to do something with her, and I didn't want to have that much time off between her last race and this race coming up, so that's why we went ahead and ran her," said trainer Robin Graham of the daughter of Cape Blanco. "It was supposed to be on the turf that day and I think we would have fared a little better if it had stayed on the grass. It still gave her something to do and she got something out of it, so now we're in good shape."