Motion Wants His Horses to Shine Preakness Weekend

Motion Wants His Horses to Shine Preakness Weekend

Queen of the Mud Makes Seasonal Debut in $100K The Very One
Waves of Mischief Looks to Take Next Step in $100K Hilltop

LAUREL, MD – Make no mistake about it, trainer Graham Motion wants to win wherever he starts a horse.

It’s just a little more special when he runs horses on Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course.

“Look, I tend to point horses for this weekend,” Motion, whose home base is the Fair Hill Training Center about an hour north of Pimlico. “This is a big weekend for us, it’s out local track.”

One of the horses Motion is aiming at Old Hilltop is Queen of the Mud, an Irish-bred 4-year-old filly who is entered to run in the 24th running of $100,000 The Very One Stakes Friday.

The five-furlong The Very One on the turf for fillies and mares 3 and up is among six stakes, three graded, worth $1 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program headlined by the 100th running of the $300,000 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, serving as a fitting prelude to Saturday’s 149th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

First race post time is 11:30 a.m. EST.

Queen of the Mud, owned by Siena Farm LLC, Michael E. Kisber, Peter Deutsch and the Elkstone Group LLC, will be making her first start since winning a 51/2-furlong allowance at Keeneland on Oct. 23. The break was a planned one after the daughter of Kodiac ran three times as a 3-year-old.

“We gave her the winter off,” Motion said. “We wanted to give her a chance to grow up.”

There is certainly pedigree in Queen of the Mud that would suggest she could become a factor on the grass. She is a half-sister to Facteur Cheval, who was an upset winner of the $5 million Dubai Turf in March.

“We entered her in a couple allowance races and they haven’t filled,” Motion said. “This is kind of Plan B, but I think she belongs. I think she is very capable.”

In her last race, Queen of the Mud rallied off a wide trip to get up and win by a half-length as the 2-1 favorite. Flavien Prat, who has ridden Queen of the Mud in two of her three starts, will have the mount on Friday.

Among those entered to run against Queen of the Mud is the Brittany Russell-trained Bosserati, who is owned by Joel Politi. The 4-year-old daughter of Holy Boss will be ridden by Sheldon Russell.

Bosserati will be making her first start since July 15 when she faded to fifth after setting the pace in the Blue Sparkler Stakes at Monmouth Park. She has won both her starts at Pimlico and they were five furlongs, albeit not in stakes company.

“It’s a tough ask,” Brittany Russell said. “But with a turf sprint filly like that, it’s kind of hard to find a prep race for her. She’s worked along every week, and she’s been doing everything right. She seems to be ready to roll.”

Trainer Cherie DeVaux will try again with Port Townsend, a 4-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo. She finished 10th in her last start after prompting the pace in the Giant’s Causeway (G3) at Keeneland on April 13. She is owned by Blue Haven Farm and will be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr. , who was the jockey when Port Townsend won her two career races, both at 5 ½ furlongs on grass.

“She ran well at Keeneland,” DeVaux said. “She got stopped in the stretch. We want to get some black type on her.”

Gregory Kaufman’s Kaufymaker will make her 5-year-old debut for trainer Wesley Ward and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez. The daughter of Jimmy Creed was last seen running ninth in the Woodford Stakes (G2) at Keeneland last October. This will be her 11th career start at seven different tracks. She has three wins, a second and two thirds in nine career starts on grass.

Also entered are Hollywood Walk, Lilly Simone, Shoshanah, All That Magic, Dulce Kiara, Future Is Now, La Traviesa and High Class. Anonymously is entered for main track only.

Waves of Mischief Looks to Take Next Step in $100K Hilltop

After one start, filly Waves of Mischief showed trainer Brendan Walsh she was ready for tougher competition. The 3-year-old daughter of Into Mischief gets the opportunity Friday when she takes on nine others in the 52nd running of the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

Unraced as a 2-year-old, Waves of Mischief opened her career with a one-length win under jockey Tyler Gaffalione going 1 1/16 miles on the Keeneland grass on April 18.

“I thought she ran well and showed plenty of room for improvement, too,” Walsh said.

Waves of Mischief’s breeding doesn’t cry out for grass being out of the dam Pearl River by Quality Road.

“But when you look into the family, there are plenty of grass runners,” Walsh said. “We always liked her but once we put her on the grass at Palm Meadows, she really started to excel on it.”

Gaffalione will return to ride Waves of Mischief, who is owned by Qatar Racing LLC.

She Feels Pretty, owned by Lael Stables and trained by Cherie DeVaux, will make her 2024 debut after being last seen finishing third as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar last November. The daughter of Karakontie had won both of her prior starts at age 2, one of them being the Natalma (G1) at Woodbine.

“She might be a week short, but it’s a logical spot to get her started back,” DeVaux said.

Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride the filly for the third time.

Just Better, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, owned by Whisper Hill Farm LLC and to be ridden by Franke Dettori, won her only start on turf at 1 1/16 miles. Her other two starts came on off tracks and she has a win and a second.

Trainer Chad Brown also has a lightly raced filly in the race in Expatriate, who is owned by First Row Partners and Team Hanley. The daughter of Cairo Prince won her debut by a neck going a mile on Feb. 14 at Gulfstream Park. Flavien Prat will be on board.

Also entered for the Hilltop are Roanan Goddess, Royal Wintour, Society Ball, Turf Rocket, Modern Sound and Brown Sugar Babe.