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Pharoahs Baby Gyal Stepping Up in $100,000 Beyond The Wire
Joined By Stablemate Cats Inthe Timber in 3-Year-Old Filly Stakes
Among Five Stakes Worth $450,000 in Purses Saturday, March 18
LAUREL, MD – G S S Tbred’s Pharoahs Baby Gyal, a daughter of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah exiting a mid-January romp over winners, is set to make her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Beyond The Wire at Laurel Park.
The 35th running of the one-mile Beyond the Wire for 3-year-old fillies is among five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on an 11-race program, co-headlined by the $100,000 Private Terms for 3-year-olds.
First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Trained by Brittany Russell, Pharoahs Baby Gyal – nicknamed ‘AP’ by her team – has been given plenty of time to bounce back from a front-running 10 ½-length optional claiming allowance triumph Jan. 13 at Laurel, also going one mile. She has breezed four times including back-to-back half-mile bullets last month.
“She ran huge last time. We were excited. I kind of felt like she would have a breakthrough race when we finally would run her long,” Russell said. “She’s just a really high-energy, good-training filly. We tried to back off of her after the last one. That was sort of by design. This was the race were targeting the whole time. She’s done everything we’ve asked. Knock on wood she has a good week because she hasn’t had a bad day since her win.”
Pharoahs Baby Gyal was purchased for $42,000 as a 2-year-old in training last June in Ocala and ran second in debut, a five-furlong off-the-turf maiden special weight in September at Pimlico Race Course. She graduated next out sprinting 5 ½ furlongs, then stretched out to three-quarters and ran fifth in her first try against winners in mid-November.
“We’ve always liked her,” Russell said. “When she came from the sale we always thought that she was going to need a little more time to develop, but every time I did something with her she stepped forward. She’s just a racehorse.
“I think going long she’ll be speed. I think she’s going to be the catch-me-if-you-can type,” she added. “She just has that natural wind on her. You can see when she breaks running, she just cruises. She has that high cruising speed.”
Russell also entered Haymarket Farm homebred Cats Inthe Timber, a daughter of Honor Code that has followed a similar path as her stablemate. Second in debut last September, she rallied to win by a neck as the favorite in a six-furlong maiden special weight on Halloween weekend.
Third to Pharoahs Baby Gyal in mid-January, beaten a head for second, Cats Inthe Timber was a determined neck winner of a one-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 28 at Laurel, forging a short lead at the top of the stretch and dueling through the lane on the inside.
“She’s doing well, and she ran a big race when she ran last in the allowance,” Russell said. “She’s not a real big filly. You might look at her and think a route might not be what she wants, but it’s just her style. For a small filly she covers a lot of ground. She is gutsy. She’s not big but there’s a lot inside, and you saw that in that last run. That’s all you can ask for in a racehorse, really. I think she learned a lot when she ran third to [Pharoah’s Baby Gal] and she got a lot out of that race. I think she can run well, too.”
Jevian Toledo will ride Pharoahs Baby Gyal from the rail while Jeremy Rose gets the call on Cats Inthe Timber from Post 2 in a field of seven.
Drawing the far outside is 124-pound topweight Cairo Sugar, owned by AP Stable and trained by Parx-based Alan Bedard. The daughter of Cairo Prince out of the Awesome Again mare Spun Sugar enters the Beyond The Wire having won two straight capped by the one-mile Maddie May Feb. 19 at Aqueduct.
“After we won the stake race up in New York we started thinking she might be what we think she is,” Bedard said. “I was just eyeballing a nice stakes spot for her. It’s a little too soon for a New York stakes and a little too soon for a Parx stake, and this one was just perfect. It was a month away and gave me time to get her ready for it, so we aimed for it. We’re hoping to step up and get it done.”
Cairo Sugar has been worse than third just once in six starts, that coming when fourth in her mid-October unveiling at Penn National. She wound up running second twice and third once to cap her juvenile campaign, and has been perfect so far in 2023 including a maiden triumph Jan. 19, also a mile at Aqueduct.
“We just felt that we’ll keep her at this distance for now. She definitely has some nice breeding to go longer, so we felt that this was a good spot for her. She’s still maturing. She’s a young 3-year-old, so as she matures we’ll stretch her out a little bit more. Sometime down the road we’re even thinking about turf because the Cairo Princes seem to be doing very well on the turf,” Bedard said. “I think even these next couple of starts she’ll mature even more, so who knows where she’ll take us.”
Regular pilot Andrew Wolfsont comes in to ride Cairo Sugar from outermost Post 7.
“She seems to us like she’s a tactical speed-type horse. We never felt she had to be in front, and I don’t think she’s that type of horse that just wants to run off with speed,” Bedard said. “If they decide they want to give us the lead one day, we’ll take it, or we can sit back off it and make a run like we did in a couple of her other races. With maturity also, she can handle doing that.”
Timothy Frietag’s Happy Clouds is entered to make her 11th start and first in a stakes for Anthony Farrior, tied with Jamie Ness for second among North American trainers with 57 wins from 99 starters (27 percent). Farrior claimed the Paynter filly for $12,500 out of a Jan. 8 win at Laurel and she came back to win by 5 ¾ lengths next out before finishing second as the favorite in each of her last two races.
Robert Rutherford’s homebred We’ll See won her first two races at Penn National last year by 20 ½ combined lengths. The Bruce Kravets trainee has raced twice at Laurel this year, finishing third to L Street Lady in the six-furlong Xtra Heat Jan. 21 and fourth to Stonewall Star in the seven-furlong Wide Country Feb. 18.
Voodoo Mama Juju, bred and owned by Designated Hitters Racing, is entered out of her 1 ¾-length maiden claiming triumph going about 1 1/16 miles Feb. 18 for trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon. Similarly making her third start is Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable’s Lady Lowery, who will be trying dirt for the first time after two races on the all-weather surface at Turfway Park, the most recent a 2 ¾-length maiden special weight score Feb. 15.
Run as the Caesar’s Wish through 2017, the Beyond the Wire was renamed to recognize the founding of an industry-wide initiative between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Horse Breeders Association and Maryland jockeys to facilitate safe and enriching placements for retired Maryland-based racehorses.