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Trainer Sweezey Invades Pimlico Eyeing Filly Stakes Sweep
Marlborough Road Looks to Rebound in $100,000 Big Dreyfus
What a Trick Aims to Keep Rolling in $100,000 Sensible Lady
LAUREL, MD – Seeking spots to run a pair of his lightly raced 3-year-old turf fillies, whose starts have been hampered by the wet Mid-Atlantic summer, trainer J. Kent Sweezey has found them on Saturday’s stakes-filled program at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Though it means sending them up against their elders, the 35-year-old Sweezey will run Irish-bred Marlborough Road in the $100,000 Big Dreyfus and speedster What a Trick in the $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash, two of four grass stakes worth $500,000 in purses on a nine-race program headlined by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).
Rounding out the stakes action is the $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby for 3-year-olds traveling 1 ½ miles. First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
The 1 1/8-mile Big Dreyfus and five-furlong Sensible Lady are both for fillies and mares 3 and up. Marlborough Road and What a Trick are the only sophomores in fields of six and seven, respectively.
“I’m going to run two fillies that are 3 years old against older, which I don’t love to do,” Sweezey said. “But, I think with the way the weather’s played out, I’ve scratched off the turf three times. I don’t care who it’s against, they just need to run.”
Sweezey, a 35-year-old former assistant to trainers Jimmy Jerkens, Eoin Harty and Christophe Clement juggling strings in South Florida and on the Jersey Shore, is on track for his best year since going solo in 2017. John McCormack’s Marlborough Road broke her maiden going a mile in her juvenile finale last December at Tampa Bay Downs, but has gone winless with one third in four tries at 3.
Marlborough Road made her first five starts for trainer Brendan Walsh before debuting for Sweezey in the 1 1/16-mile Boiling Springs June 26 at Monmouth Park, running fifth behind stablemate Por Que No. She is a daughter of multiple Group 1 winner The Gurkha out of the Storm Cat mare Song to Remember.
“We’re just trying to find the best spot with her. This is one that we’re taking as stab at, but she’s doing really good and her pedigree suggests that the further they go the better. She’s got a lot of class in that pedigree, so we’ll see how it plays out,” Sweezey said.
“She came out of the stake in real good shape. She hadn’t run in a while, and I don’t think we really got to know her as much as we do now,” he added. “I’m hoping that we’ve figured her out a little bit better and sort of figured out how she wanted to be trained, and hopefully that works out for us.”
Jevian Toledo rides from Post 4 at 116 pounds, getting six to 10 pounds from her rivals.
“I do like that I don’t have to ship her very far. Pimlico is a pretty easy ship for us,” Sweezey said. “She’s incredibly well-bred and owned by a guy that’s very well-respected. I’ve known him a long time and I owe him the opportunity to come and shop some of these races around.”
Klaravich Stables’ Counterparty Risk, a Grade 3 winner over the winter to open her 4-year-old campaign, will take a step back from graded company in an attempt to snap a three-race losing streak in the Big Dreyfus.
Counterparty Risk dead-heated for third with Crystal Cliffs in her most recent outing, the 1 1/16-mile Eatontown (G3) June 20 at Monmouth. She was entered but scratched from Monmouth’s July 17 Matchmaker (G3), where her stablemates Great Island, Kalifornia Queen and Nay Lady Nay respectively ran first, second and fourth in a six-horse field.
Bred in Ireland where she was purchased for nearly $450,000 as a yearling in October 2018, Counterparty Risk is a daughter of Australia and granddaughter of Galileo, both three-time European Group 1-winning multi-millionaires. She broke her maiden second time out last fall at Aqueduct and earned her only other victory from seven starts in the 1 1/16-mile Endeavour (G3) Feb. 20 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Jockey Feargal Lynch, a former champion apprentice in England, has the call from Post 2 in a field of six at topweight of 126 pounds.
Respect the Valleys’ Sailingintothewind is making her stakes debut off a front-running optional claiming triumph May 23 on the Pimlico turf in her 2021 debut for trainer Brittany Russell. Tightly Twisted, winner of the 2019 George Rosenberger Memorial at Delaware Park, also exits a turf win there June 28.
No Mo Lady, four times stakes-placed including the 2020 Gallorette (G3) at Pimlico, and Sister Hanan, third in the 2020 Honey Fox (G3) and 2021 The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park, complete the field.
What a Trick Aims to Keep Rolling in $100,000 Sensible Lady
Mary Jo Kuehn’s What a Trick, a homebred daughter of 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Magician, steps up to stakes company in the Sensible Lady Turf Dash after breaking her maiden in impressive fashion last time out.
Racing exclusively at Gulfstream Park, What a Trick had been knocking at the door since making her career debut Jan. 1. She was third second time out, beaten a length, then finished second in back-to-back starts after setting blazing fractions.
What a Trick rolled by three lengths in a May 16 maiden special weight, her most recent start. She has worked four times at Monmouth Park for her return, her third straight race against older horses, going a half-mile in 48.60 seconds July 11, ranking 12th of 134 horses.
“She had to run against older a couple times and then she finally got through. When you’re – especially on the Gulfstream turf course – if you’re quick like she is, five-eighths is a great spot,” trainer J. Kent Sweezey said. “Coming up here there were lots of options for a straight 3-year-old filly going five to 5 ½ [furlongs] on the turf and she’s scratched out of three races now. Not only is the owner getting a little bit frustrated, I am too. We’re just going to try and see how we do.”
What a Trick drew Post 2 and will carry 116 pounds including jockey Feargal Lynch, getting six pounds from each of her six opponents.
“The owner bred the horse and getting black type is important,” Sweezey said. “You never know how long they’re going to stick around and she’s doing really good right now, so if there’s ever a time to take a shot with her it would be now.”
Cynthia McGinnes and Francis Clemens’ Dendrobia is a 6-year-old mare making her 24th career start and sixth straight in a stakes, having rallied from last to get within a half-length of winner Ellanation at the wire in the five-furlong Jameela July 4 at Pimlico. Also exiting the Jameela is Joanne Shankle’s Can the Queen, who ran fourth after setting the pace.
Flyingontheground, So Gracious, Golden Can and Pat’s No Fool are also entered.