Hybrid Eclipse Gets Job Done in Thirty Eight Go Go

Hybrid Eclipse Gets Job Done in Thirty Eight Go Go

Recruiter Secures Win in $100,000 James F. Lewis III
Twice as Sweet Powers to $100,000 Smart Halo Victory

LAUREL, MD – The Elkstone Group’s Grade 2-placed Hybrid Eclipse, under a patient ride from Sheldon Russell, split horses in mid-stretch and went on to earn her second stakes win in Maryland this year in Saturday’s $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go at Laurel Park.

The 12th running of the 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and up was the last of three stakes on a Harvest Festival program following the $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies and $100,000 James F. Lewis III for 2-year-olds, both sprinting six furlongs.

Second to multiple Grade 1 winner Nest in her prior start, the Oct. 9 Prioress (G2) at Aqueduct, Laurel-based Hybrid Eclipse ($8) was entered but scratched from the Nov. 4 Turnback the Alarm (G3) by trainer Brittany Russell to race over her home track, where she is now 4-for-5 lifetime.

“It just seemed like the smart thing to do,” Brittany Russell said. “She loves this racetrack. She’s done a lot of good here, so it was nice for her to come back and get win.”

Sheldon Russell found himself uncharacteristically far back on Hybrid Eclipse in the early going as New York shipper Baby Man went a quarter-mile in 23.20 seconds and a half inf 47.53, pressed by the 9-5 multiple stakes-winning favorite Malibu Beauty.

Hybrid Eclipse moved into contention after Malibu Beauty went six furlongs in 1:12.29 to take over the top spot, and Sheldon Russell was able to find room between the leader and Berate on the far outside to launch their bid, coming with a steady run to the wire to win by three lengths in 1:40.05 over a main track rated good.

“I was a little unsure, honestly, down the backside. Sheldon looked like he was chugging on her bit and I just wanted to see her kind of engage and run on the bridle and get comfortable,” Brittany Russell said. “Honestly, she really never did. He just kind of stayed on her and she responded. So, whatever it took to get it done, they made it happen.”

Berate stayed up for second, two lengths ahead of 30-1 long shot Champagne Toast. It ws a neck back to Malibu Beauty in fourth followed by Click to Confirm, Timonium Distaff winner Breviary and Baby Man. Grade 2-placed Beguine was scratched.

Hybrid Eclipse joined Brittany Russell in the spring after racing previously for trainer Linda Rice. The 4-year-old filly ran third in the Obeah at Delaware Park and won the July 2 Caesar’s Wish at Laurel in her first two starts for Russell, after which she was purchased by Elkstone’s Stuart Grant for $107,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s July horses of racing age sale.

“I had her for another client and when she went through the sale and Stuart purchased her, we had some expectations. She’s doing exactly what we’re hoping she would,” Russell said. “Stuart’s been awesome. He’s supported me. He’s sent us a lot of horses and we’ve had a lot of bad with the good, so it’s really fun to win a stake for him today.”

The Thirty Eight Go Go honors the two-time Maryland-bred champion bred and trained by Hall of Famer King Leatherbury. Eight of her 10 career wins came in stakes including the Gardenia (G2), Tempted (G3) and Maryland Million Lassie in 1987 and three consecutive runnings of the Geisha (1988-90).

Recruiter Secures Win in $100,000 James F. Lewis III

Lynch Racing and Nick Sanna Stables’ Recruiter kept his perfect record intact with a third straight victory and first against stakes competition in Saturday’s 11th renewal of the James F. Lewis III.

Favored at 6-5 in a field of six, Recruiter ($4.60) gave jockey Angel Cruz his fourth win from five mounts. Two of them came as a replacement for Laurel’s fall meet leading rider, injured apprentice and friend Jeiron Barbosa, also represented by agent Tom Stift.

“It’s been a blessed day,” Cruz said. “It’s my first time winning four races in one day, so I’m just happy. I want to thank my agent and all the owners and trainers for giving me this opportunity. It’s a special day today.”

Recruiter, a front-running winner of his first two starts including a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Oct. 2 at Laurel, broke running and led briefly before 45-1 long shot Coffeewithchris slipped through along the rail and went the opening quarter-mile in 22.53 seconds while stakes-placed Honeyquist, another projected pace player, settled in fourth.

Cruz confidently ranged up to the front after going a half-mile in 45.29 seconds and never looked back, finishing up in 1:09.70 over a main track rated good to win by 2 ¾ lengths. It was another 2 ¾ back to Honeyquist in second, with Heldish edging Coffeewithchris by a head for second. Tiz No Clown and Riccio completed the order of finish. Where Is Mike was scratched.

“My horse had more speed than Honeyquist. It was a matter of how he broke, and he broke really good so I took it from there,” Cruz said. “It worked out perfect because I could sit off and settle my horse and that’s what I did. He settled really good for me.”

The James F. Lewis III honors the late longtime Maryland horseman and first president of Maryland Million Ltd. He bred and/or campaigned a number of prominent runners in the region, led by 1974 Test (G2) winner Maybelline, Flirtation (G3) winner Heartful and multiple stakes winner Swift Attraction. His daughter, Lisa, is a multiple graded-stakes winning trainer based in New York and Florida.

Twice as Sweet Powers to $100,000 Smart Halo Victory

Midwest-based Godolphin homebred Twice as Sweet, making her stakes debut racing for the first time outside Kentucky, collared favored pacesetter Dissolute on the far turn and powered through the stretch to a 6 ½-length triumph in the 26th edition of the Smart Halo.

Ridden by Feargal Lynch for trainer Brendan Walsh, who was in Ireland Saturday, Twice as Sweet ($9) ran six furlongs in 1:10.48 over a main track rated good to earn her second win and first since graduating in a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight on the grass at Ellis Park in August.

Second to subsequent stakes winner Key of Life in her prior start, an Oct. 7 optional claiming allowance at Keeneland, Twice as Sweet settled along the rail in second as Dissolute led through a quarter-mile in 22.53 seconds. Lynch moved up to the outside of Dissolute midway around the turn and was in command at the top of the stretch, drawing away for an easy win.

“She’s a pretty nice filly, very straightforward. She ran into a good one last time. This filly does everything nice. She’s turf or dirt,” Lynch said.

“I don’t think she had a troubled trip. I think she just got forced a little bit wide last time,” he added. “Today it was ideal. She just gave me a lead into the straight and when I turned her loose she just went about her business.”

Miss Georgie held off 24-1 long shot Gormley’s Gabriela by a neck for second with Diamondsifyoudo fourth, followed by Dissolute, Shiny Slam and Bound by Destiny, who entered the race with a 4-0 record including back-to-back stakes. Maryland Million Lassie winner Chickieness was scratched.

Smart Halo, by top Maryland sire Smarten, won the first race on the inaugural Maryland Million Day program in 1986, beating In the Curl by a neck in the Lassie to cap a perfect 3-0 campaign. Bred in Canada by E.P. Taylor and owned by Sam-Son Farm, Smart Halo was trained by Canadian Hall of Famer Jim Day.