Multiple Stakes Winner Phlash Phelps Out for the Year with Bone Bruising Shimmering Aspen Entered in Saturday’s Charles Town Oaks (G3)
LAUREL, MD – Hillwood Stable’s multiple stakes winner Phlash Phelps will miss the rest of the year with bruising of the cannon bones, denying the 6-year-old gelding the chance at a rare third consecutive victory in the Jim McKay Maryland Million next month.
Phlash Phelps, a bay son of leading Maryland sire Great Notion, has raced only one this year, rallying from far back to win the six-furlong Mister Diz by a neck as the favorite June 24 at Laurel Park. Among the horses that finished behind him that day were stakes winners Talk Show Man, Blu Moon Ace, Sonny Inspired and Ben’s Cat, the late champion’s final start.
Based at Laurel with trainer Rodney Jenkins, Phlash Phelps shows only one work since the Mister Diz, a half-mile breeze in 46.80 seconds July 28 at Laurel – the third-fastest of 53 horses at the distance.
Jenkins noticed something amiss in the way Phlash Phelps was moving on the track in the space before and after his lone breeze, and sent him to the New Bolton Center in Kennett Square for evaluation, where the bruising was detected.
“Phlash will not be back this year. He has bone bruising of all four cannon bones. He’s not lame at all, but his stride is about half the size it usually is. That’s the reason I haven’t run him since the Mister Diz,” Jenkins said. “I just never was happy. He’s worked good but I’m not going to run that horse until he’s 100 percent. They said I can put him back to work in January.
“It was a couple weeks after the Mister Diz that I noticed it,” he added. “I said to the girl that gallops him, ‘He’s not moving like himself.’ If you watch him jog and everything you’d say he’s fine, but I know him. He’s pretty good most of the time.”
Jenkins said two of his other top horses, grass specialist Top of Mind and multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Shimmering Aspen, have had similar issues. Shimmering Aspen’s showed up after her maiden triumph last fall but she has gone on to win four of her last five starts including back-to-back stakes.
Top of Mind hasn’t raced since finishing eighth in the Cape Henlopen July 8 at Delaware Park. The five-time winner was second last fall in the Commonwealth Turf Cup (G2), set to be run Sept. 30 as the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup.
“They just need time. They want them out six hours a day in the fields. They said to keep them moving and everything,” Jenkins said. “They don’t go lame; they just get short-strided.”
Phlash Phelps had won the last two editions of the Maryland Million Turf. Horses to win consecutive Maryland Million races are Ben’s Cat (2010-12), Countus In (1989-91), Docent (2001-03), Mz. Zill Bear (1993-95) and Hall of Famer Safely Kept (1989-91). Eighttofasttocatch also won the Classic three times (2011, 2013-14).
The 32nd Jim McKay Maryland Million will take place Oct. 21 at Laurel.
While Top of Mind will also be out for the rest of the year with bone bruising, Shimmering Aspen is entered to make her return to graded stakes company in Saturday’s Charles Town Oaks (G3). She is the third of four also-eligibles in the seven-furlong sprint that drew an overflow field of 14.
Shimmering Aspen faded to seventh after taking a short lead into the stretch of the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 19, racing inside on a tiring sloppy and sealed main track at historic Pimlico Race Course. She bounced back to take the June 17 Alma North and Aug. 12 Twixt, both seven furlongs at Laurel, by 11 ¼ lengths combined.
“She’s doing well. She’s acting like her old self. She’s pretty much the same all the time,” Jenkins said. “I really think she fits in the race. Seven-eighths I think is her best distance and she has speed so the racetrack should suit her. She’s doing well. We hope she runs well.”
Impressive Maiden Winner Theodosia Exciting Prospect for Team Lynch
Stretched out to a mile after three foundation-building sprint races, Equine Prep’s well-regarded Theodosia earned her first career win Sunday at Laurel, forging a short lead in mid-stretch and powered down the center of the track to a 1 ¼-length maiden victory.
Theodosia, a gray or roan daughter of Exchange Rate, went the distance in 1:38.85 over a fast main track in the $40,000 maiden special weight for juvenile fillies. She had never run farther than the 5 ½ furlongs of her previous effort, when she rallied to be third Aug. 24 at Delaware Park.
“[Equine Prep director] John O’Hara and I were talking about her and we kind of prepped her to go long. We’re hoping having a nice filly at this time of year that wants to go two turns can be a lot of fun,” Laurel-based trainer Cal Lynch said. “It was nice to have a few races under her. She had good experiences every time, and Jevian did a great job. We’re delighted.”
Jockey Jevian Toledo, aboard for the first time, settled Theodosia in for clear run four ride from their far outside post as Stella B. wrested a narrow lead from 33-1 long shot Child’s Play through moderate fractions of 24.41 and 48.41 seconds. Toledo began to launch a bid around the far turn and moved on the leaders after straightening for home, sweeping to the front after six furlongs in 1:13.56 and prevailing to the wire.
Ultimate Challenge was a stubborn runner-up, a neck ahead of late-running Delta House. Sagamore Farm’s Scary Not Scared, a $350,000 yearling purchase last fall making her second career start, wound up fifth as the 8-5 favorite.
Theodosia ran second in her June 17 unveiling behind Limited View, who tried stakes company in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga before coming back to beat winners Sept. 8 at Laurel. Theodosia finished fifth July 30 to impressive debut winner Jehozacat, fourth in the Sorority in her subsequent start.
“John and I talked about her and that’s kind of what we decided where we’re going to go, give her a couple of educational races we thought she could win,” Lynch said. “We wouldn’t have been shocked if she’d have won one of those races, especially first time out, but we ran into the really quick filly of John Salzman’s. She’s run into a couple of good fillies. The filly that beat her at Delaware was a really nice Uncle Mo filly as well. We’re glad to get the win.”
Lucky in Malibu Likely Stakes-Bound Again After Allowance Win
Z W P Stable and Non Stop Stable’s multiple stakes-placed filly Lucky in Malibu is likely headed back to stakes competition following her three-quarter-length allowance triumph Sept. 15 at Laurel.
Trainer Gary Capuano said the $100,000 Tax Free Shopping Distaff for fillies and mares 3 and up going six furlongs Sept. 30 at Delaware Park could be next on the agenda for Lucky in Malibu, a 3-year-old daughter of Lookin At Lucky that has finished second or third in three stakes and fourth in three others including her most recent attempt in Laurel’s Miss Disco Aug. 19.
Last time out, Lucky in Malibu was settled early before coming with a late drive on the far outside from the quarter-pole to the wire in a six-furlong entry-level allowance victory over her elders. She also beat older horses in a similar spot facing fellow Maryland-breds June 25.
“The Delaware certified race at the end of the month is one option for her. Then from there I’m not positive yet. I’m just kind of playing it by ear,” Capuano said. “I was very impressed with her last race. She’s a workhorse.
“She came out of the race good; she’s just tough. She runs,” he added. “She’s one of those warriors that dances every dance and shows up every time. Sometimes she doesn’t get there but if things set up good for her she’s always making that run.”
Capuano also said multiple stakes winner O Dionysus, unraced since April 22, remains at owner Peter Angelos’ Marathon Farm with no timetable yet for his return.
The 3-year-old Bodemeister colt won the Christopher Elser Memorial last year and the Miracle Wood Feb. 18 at Laurel, also finishing second in the 2016 Marylander behind Irish War Cry, the Frank Whiteley Jr., Private Terms and Federico Tesio. The latter two came against Twisted Tom, who went on to run sixth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) then win the New York Derby and Albany.
“He’s doing fine. He’ll be starting back in training soon,” Capuano said. “We’re just giving him plenty of time to develop and mature a little bit. He’s doing well on the farm.”
Late Pick 5, Super Hi-5 Carryovers for Return of Live Racing Friday
There will be carryovers in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $1 Super Hi-5 when live racing resumes Friday at Laurel with an 11-race program that kicks off at 1:10 p.m.
The Late Pick 5, offering an industry-low 12 percent takeout, went unsolved on Sunday’s card, producing a carryover of $4,915.29 for Friday. The popular multi-race wager begins in Race 7 and includes the co-feature, a $35,000 restricted allowance for Maryland-bred/sired horses going six furlongs in Race 10.
Also on Friday’s program is a $40,000 maiden special weight for fillies and mares 3 and older at one mile on the Dahlia Turf Course that attracted a field of 10 in Race 3.
A carryover of $2,098.37 will be available in Friday’s opener, a $17,000 claiming event scheduled at 5 ½ furlongs on the main track.
A total of 126 horses were entered for Saturday’s 12-race program, an average of 10.5 starters per race. Seven races Saturday and five Friday will be contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course, on the Dahlia and All Along layouts.