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Inveigled Chasing Stakes Success in $100,000 James F. Lewis III
Miss Harriett Seeks Second Straight Win in $100,000 Smart Halo
Among Three $100,000 Stakes on Saturday’s Nine-Race Program
LAUREL, MD – Mark B. Grier’s Inveigled, an eye-catching maiden winner over the track last month, returns to face seven rivals including stakes winners Copper Tax, Catahoula Moon and Sweet Soddy J in Saturday’s $100,000 James F. Lewis III at Laurel Park.
The 12th running of the Lewis for 2-year-olds and 27th edition of the $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies, both sprinting six furlongs, join the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and up on the nine-race program.
First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Inveigled ran a troubled third, three lengths behind runner-up Regalo, in his Sept. 15 debut at Pimlico Race Course. Regalo would come back to graduate by 5 ¼ lengths as the favorite Oct. 26 at Laurel.
Trained by Jane Cibelli, Inveigled drew the rail, quickly opened up and drew off to win by eight lengths in front-running fashion Oct. 5 at Laurel, posting splits of 22.54, 45.50 and 57.42 seconds before completing 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.99.
“We knew he could run,” Cibelli said. “I was disappointed in his first race, but then we put the blinkers on and it changed everything. He was impressive and he did it so easily.
“He had been breezing well in the morning, but I do think he took a step forward each time,” she added. “He took a step forward into that race and then he’s taken another step forward from that race. He breezed the other day and put in a great work. He does things so easily, this horse.”
Inveigled has worked three times at Laurel since his win, posting back-to-back five-furlong moves of 1:01.80 Oct. 27 and 1:00.20 Nov. 4, each the fastest of the day. Charlie Marquez, up for the maiden win, returns to ride from Post 6.
“I’m confident in him. Obviously [Copper Tax] is going to be very tough, but I think we drew well, a little bit toward the outside which is good, so we don’t have to be on the lead. He had the one hole last time so you kind of have to go, but he doesn’t need to be on the lead.
“The horse tends to get a little amped up but as long as he keeps his head together and keeps calm, he’s good,” she added. “We’ve schooled him in the paddock, we’ve schooled him in the gate [so] we’ve done everything on our end. Hopefully he’s a good boy and he gets on with business.”
By Enticed, a graded-stakes winner at 2 and 3, and out of the Quality Road mare Kitty Quality, Inveigled fetched $52,000 at OBS’ 2-year-old in training sale in June. He had his first three breezes at Delaware Park starting in mid-July before taking up residence at Laurel in mid-August leading up to his unveiling.
“The first time we breezed him we said, ‘Wow, this horse can run a little bit,’ which is surprising because he came out of the June sale and his breeding is a little obscure,” Cibelli said. “Hopefully it wasn’t just that he beat some bad maidens [and] he really is a nice horse. You never know. There’s a lot of horses that look good coming out of maiden races and then you put them up against real horses and they don’t show up. We’ll see. It’s going to be a big test.”
Rose Petal Stable’s Copper Tax is the horse to beat, having put together a four-race win streak at Delaware Park by 23 combined lengths capped by his gate-to-wire 6 ¾-length triumph in the Rocky Run. By Copper Bullet, his only loss came when beaten a neck in debut in a five-furlong waiver maiden claimer June 10. He has been favored in all five of his starts.
Copper Tax’s stablemate, Frank Sample’s Maryland homebred Secret Zipper, is also entered. He has also raced exclusively at Delaware, running third in his Aug. 30 debut before graduating by a neck in a similar waiver maiden claiming spot Oct. 7. Maryland’s leading rider, Jaime Rodriguez, is named on both horses.
Super C Racing Inc.’s Catahoula Moon has been third or better in four of his five starts, including a maiden special weight victory Sept. 4 at Timonium. Most recently the Golden Lad colt came from mid-pack to register a 4 ¾-length triumph in the Maryland Million Nursery Oct. 14 at Laurel.
Built Wright Stables’ homebred Sweet Soddy J opened with two wins, the second a three-length upset at 9-1 odds despite a troubled trip in the Sept. 2 Timonium Juvenile. He has faced stakes company since, running third in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile on the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs and finishing off the board in the Oct. 7 Champagne (G1) at Aqueduct and Oct. 27 Bowman Mill at Keeneland, the latter behind undefeated Glengarry.
Buccherino, an optional claiming winner Oct. 8 at Laurel; Bolt of Aurum, fifth to Copper Tax in the Rocky Run; and Give It a Whirl, a winner of two straight including a July 14 optional claimer at Laurel before running fourth in a Delaware allowance Sept. 27 behind Copper Tax in his most recent start as well as the Aug. 26 Sapling at Monmouth Park, complete the field.
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.
Miss Harriett Seeks Second Straight Win in $100,000 Smart Halo
A month after registering one of the biggest upsets in Maryland Million history, which also happened to be her career debut, Narrow Leaf Farm homebred Miss Harriett goes after her second straight win in Saturday’s $100,000 Smart Halo.
Based at historic Pimlico Race Course with trainer Brandon McFarlane, Miss Harriett had posted five timed breezes, none longer than four furlongs, leading up to the Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 14 at Laurel, where she returned $126.60 as the second-longest shot in a field of 13 at 62-1. Port Louis ($137) in the 2019 Starter Handicap is the largest Maryland Million win payout.
“She’s always shown talent, 100 percent,” McFarlane said. “I work slow and I never set her down once, so we really didn’t know what she was.
“I didn’t have a big foundation under her. She only had about four halves, never worked her five-eighths, never really got into her that much,” he added. “These are horses that had run three, four, five times, so they were fit.”
Breaking from Post 12, Miss Harriett was hustled near the front by jockey Jean Briceno before taking over the top spot after a half-mile. She took a 1 ½-length lead into the stretch and kept favored Sheilahs Warcloud at bay down the lane to win by a neck. Briceno returns to ride from Post 7 in a field of 10.
“She’s never been super quick out of the gate so I told the jock to try to get her to settle and then make one run,” McFarlane said. “He kind of hustled her out a little more than I expected, so when she was sitting second I was afraid she was going to get tired on me. But she dug in. I was surprised, but I wasn’t surprised.
“She came out of the race real good and she’s done everything right,” he added. “There were was two options, either this or an allowance on the 19th. But this is the right distance and she hasn’t any setbacks, so we said we might as well give her a shot.”
Miss Harriett is a half-sister to Keep Momma Happy, winner of the 2012 Maryland Million Nursery in his debut, also bred and owned by David Baxter. Keep Momma Happy drew outermost Post 14, was sent off at 23-1 and came with a seven-wide run to win by a neck.
“My owner kind of had that in his mind, too,” McFarlane said. “It was a little bit like, ‘I’ve done this before and we won,’ so that was another reason why we went in there.”
McFarlane won the 2018 Skidmore at Saratoga with Laurel maiden winner Chattel, who suffered a catastrophic injury after clipping heels in her next start, the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint. The Lassie was his first Maryland Million victory.
“That was the first time I had ever been to the Maryland Million. I [usually] don’t go because I’d never had a horse to run that day, but it was pretty cool,” he said. “[Miss Harriett] can only get better off that last race. I expect her to run well. After that first race, she showed she can compete with these horses. We’ll know more after this one.”
Other stakes winners in the Smart Halo are Low Mileage and Princess Indy. Bird and Grady’s Low Mileage returns to dirt after two grass starts, winning the 5 ½-furlong Jamestown Sept. 2 at Colonial Downs and running fifth in the 1 1/16-mile Selima Sept. 30 at Laurel. The bay daughter of Mineshaft won a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight in debut May 5 at Laurel and was second facing the boys in a July 14 optional claimer behind Give It a Whirl, who is entered in the James Lewis.
Euro Stable’s Princess Indy was a five-length winner in her July 15 unveiling at Monmouth Park for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, who won his second straight training title. From there the Lord Nelson filly ran fifth in the Adirondack (G3) at Saratoga, returned to Monmouth to capture the one-mile Sorority Aug. 20, and most recently ran sixth in the Oct. 7 Frizette (G1) at Aqueduct, also at a mile.
DARRS Inc.’s Cap Classique, purchased for $145,000 as a 2-year-old in training in May, steps into stakes company after winning each of her first two starts for Maryland’s leading trainer, Brittany Russell. She won on turf first out Aug. 17 at Colonial and was a seven-length winner Oct. 7 at Laurel; both runners-up came back to win their next start including Smart Halo rival Roanan Goddess.
In from out of town are Caress, an Oct. 5 maiden winner at Aqueduct for trainer George Weaver; Deboisblanc, trained by two-time Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox and coming off an open allowance win Oct. 9 at Horseshoe Indiana; and the Todd Beattie-trained pair of Vicountess, a debut winner on Presque Isle Downs’ all-weather surface Oct. 10, and Ms. Tart, a winner on turf and all-weather yet to run on conventional dirt.
Twin Oaks Bloodstock, Joseph Bulger, Will Campbell and IEE Racing Stables’ Miss Justify, a daughter of 2018 Triple Crown champion Justify that was a 3 ½-length maiden special weight winner at odds of 15-1 sprinting 5 ½ furlongs Oct. 1 at Laurel for trainer Susan Cooney, completes the field.
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.