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Motion Hoping for $150,000 Selima Repeat with Invincible Gal
Kidnapped Looks to Escape with $150,000 Laurel Futurity Victory
BALTIMORE – A year after sending out Sharing to victory as a prelude to her upset triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), trainer Graham Motion brings another promising 2-year-old in Invincible Gal for Saturday’s $150,000 Selima at Pimlico Race Course.
The 91st running of the Selima for juvenile fillies and 94th renewal of the $150,000 Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds, both going 1 1/16 miles on the turf, help comprise a Preakness Day program of 12 stakes races, seven graded, worth $2.7 million in purses featuring the $1 million Preakness (G1) for 3-year-olds and $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies.
This will be just the fourth time the Selima, normally held 30 miles south at Laurel Park, is being run at Pimlico and the first since Hear Us Roar’s victory in 2004. Other editions at Old Hilltop came in 1943 and 1979.
Sharing made her stakes debut in the Selima, just her third career start, cruising to a popular 2 ½-length score. Six weeks later she topped 13 rivals including favored English import Daahyeh to win by 1 ¼ lengths at odds of nearly 14-1.
The Selima will also be the third start for Michael Ryan, Jeff Drown and Team Hanley’s Invincible Gal, a British-bred daughter of Invincible Spirit that debuted with a half-length maiden special weight triumph Aug. 7 at Saratoga.
In her most recent start, the one-mile Sorority Stakes Sept. 7 at Monmouth Park, Invincible Gal got bumped at the start and found herself stuck inside near the back of the pack with three furlongs to run, but closed to be second by a half-length behind Mischievous Dream.
Motion sent Invincible Gal from the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. to Pimlico to school in the paddock during the races Sept. 24. She drew Post drew Post 3 in a field of eight for the Selima and will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, up for her maiden triumph.
“Johnny won on her and, obviously, that’s one of the reasons we’re doing it because he’s there and he can ride her back,” Motion said. “I thought she was a little unlucky in the Sorority to just get beat. She didn’t get out until the stretch but it was a pretty good effort, I thought.”
Four horses – Fluffy Socks, Golden Voice, Zeyaraat and Line Dancing – enter the Selima off maiden special weight victories, the latter going a mile over Laurel’s world-class turf course Aug. 28. Tic Tic Tic Boom ran third as a maiden in the Sorority, just a half-length behind Invincible Gal.
Other maidens trying the Selima are Celestial Cheetah and Domain Expertise, who respectively came within a head and a half-length of graduating in their most recent starts.
First run in 1926, the Selima is named for the great English race mare who was imported to the U.S. in the 1750s by Benjamin Tasker Jr., manager of the famed Belair Farm in Prince George’s County. The daughter of the Godolphin Arabian, considered ‘Queen of the Turf,’ also gained fame as a broodmare.
Kidnapped Looks to Escape with $100,000 Laurel Futurity Victory
Main Line Racing Stable’s Kidnapped, a neck away from being undefeated for Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winning trainer John Servis, goes after his second straight victory as he makes his grass and stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Laurel Futurity.
A gray or roan son of Violence out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Bai Bai Baby, Kidnapped is one of six horses in the field of 10 coming off victories. Going up against fellow Pennsylvania-breds Sept. 7 at Parx, he rated off the pace before taking over at the top of the stretch and drawing away to a 3 ¼-length score in 1:05.72 for 5 ½ furlongs.
In his Aug. 18 debut, also at Parx where Servis is based, Kidnapped acted up at the gate then got to running once the doors opened, dueling throughout but falling short at the sire. He went off favored in both of his starts, each coming on dirt.
“He’s a homebred of ours, and he’s a nice horse. We’re kind of excited about him,” Servis said. “He’s shown from Day 1 that he’s got some ability. He’s never turfed, but he’s got pedigree for turf. I’ve been wanting to stretch him out anyway, he wants to go farther. I think he’ll take to the turf. He acts like he wants to go two turns anyway, so we’ll see.”
Trevor McCarthy rides Kidnapped from Post 4.
No One to Blame, Light Us Up, Arrest Me Red, Tijuana Brass and Nautilus each graduated in their previous start, all at different tracks – Delaware Park, Monmouth Park, Laurel Park, Indiana Grand and Saratoga, respectively.
Though he has gone winless in three tries, Albert Frassetto’s Pivotal Mission is the only horse in the Futurity with stakes experience, having run second by a half-length in the one-mile Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sept. 7. He is one of two Futurity horses from the barn of trainer Graham Motion, along with Wootton Asset, a two-time winner in his native France making his U.S. debut.
Pivotal Mission, by Noble Mission, finished sixth in his unveiling July 18 and was a hard-luck third, beaten less than a length, in his next out Aug. 8, both at Saratoga, but will be fitted with blinkers for the first time in the Futurity. Hall of Famer John Velazquez, who rode in Kentucky, gets a return call from the rail.
“He’s probably the richest maiden in the country, I should think, because he was second at Kentucky Downs in the stake last time,” Motion said. “He really shouldn’t be a maiden. He had a couple of tough trips at Saratoga and I thought he ran well last time at Kentucky Downs. Johnny can ride him back because he’s there that day. I’ll put blinkers on him because Johnny thought last time that that might help him.”
L and N Racing’s Hidden Enemy, winless in two starts, completes the field.
The Futurity has a rich history dating back to 1921 inaugural winner Morvich, who would go on to win the 1922 Kentucky Derby. The Futurity has also been won by Triple Crown champions Affirmed, Citation and Secretariat along with Barbaro, Spectacular Bid, Tapit, In Reality, Honest Pleasure and Quadrangle.
From its 1921 debut through 1965, the Futurity was run at Pimlico before being moved to Laurel Park in 1966. Before this year, it returned to Pimlico in 1979 and 2004.