Heritage Meet Resumes with Nine-Race Card Friday

Heritage Meet Resumes with Nine-Race Card Friday

Sheilahs Warcloud, Zuma Top 3-Year-Old Filly Feature
Nominations Close Saturday for Spectacular Bid, Xtra Heat

LAUREL, MD – Multiple stakes-placed Sheilahs Warcloud and impressive debut winner Zuma, a $200,000 yearling trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, are among eight 3-year-old fillies set to line up in Friday’s feature as live racing returns to Laurel Park.

Post time for the first of nine races is 12:25 p.m.

Sheilahs Warcloud, owned, trained and co-bred by Justin Nixon, won her debut last August at Colonial Downs and run second in three subsequent starts. She was beaten a neck as the favorite in the Maryland Million Lassie and came up two lengths short in the Maryland Juvenile Filly, the latter Dec. 3. Xavier Perez rides from outermost Post 8.

StarLadies Racing and KatieRich Stables’ Zuma, a daughter of Grade 1 winner Arrogate that fetched six figures in August 2022 at Saratoga, was shipped from New York to Parx for her unveiling last November, a popular three-length triumph going a mile and 70 yards. Abner Adorno comes in to keep the mount from Post 5.

Favored at 2-1 on the morning line from the rail is Respect the Valleys’ Perfectly Wicked, who graduated in a one-mile off-the-turf maiden special weight last September at Laurel for 2023 Maryland training champion Brittany Russell. Third in the Tempted at Aqueduct, the Wicked Strong filly was fifth in a one-mile optional claimer on Turfway Park’s all-weather surface Dec. 13.

Russell also entered All Goodrich and Mark Parkinson’s homebred Sky Victory, a six-furlong maiden special weight winner in November at Delaware Park that ran fourth as the favorite going the same distance in her first try against winners Dec. 23 at Laurel.

In Race 7, a seven-furlong waiver maiden claimer for 3-year-old fillies, Russell entered the pair of K Kake Pop and Independence Way, neither in for a tag. K Kake Pop has race twice, running third and second in a pair of similar spots, while Independence Way was a troubled seventh in her line start.

Russell made history in 2023 as the first female trainer to register the most wins in a year at Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course, with 118. Jaime Rodriguez led the annual jockey standings with 166 wins.

Rodriguez has continued his hot hand in 2024, registering a hat trick on each of the first three days of Laurel’s winter Heritage Meet, going 9-for-19 (47 percent). He is named in seven races Friday, eight of nine races Saturday and seven of nine races Sunday.

There will be carryovers of $1,992.14 in Friday’s 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 4-9) and $1,848 in the $1 Jackpot Super High Five (Race 6).

Nominations close Saturday for a pair of $100,000 stakes for 3-year-olds to be run Saturday, Jan. 27 – the six-furlong Xtra Heat for fillies and seven-furlong Spectacular Bid. Nominations are free and can be made by contacting stakes coordinator Eleanor Albert at Eleanor.Albert@marylandracing.com or 1-301-725-0400.

The Spectacular Bid is the first in Maryland’s series of stakes for 3-year-olds on the road to the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 18 at Pimlico. The Xtra Heat starts 3-year-old fillies on the path to the Black-Eyed Susan (G2), celebrating its 100th running this year on Preakness Eve.