December 10, 2019

MONSTER SLEEPING SCARY-GOOD IN MARYLAND MILLION LADIES Capuano Sets Record for Wins, Lionhearted Lady Wins Distaff

Laurel, MD – Charles Reed’s Monster Sleeping asserted her superiority over Maryland turf fillies and mares with a stylish performance in the $123,750 Maryland Million Ladies at Laurel Park. Winning her second restricted stakes in her last three starts, the daughter of Oratory broke well, tracked Whisper Hill Farm’s Florida ship-in Can’t Explain and powered clear to a 3¾-length victory, giving veteran trainer Dale Capuano a record-setting 11th Jim McKay Maryland Million tally.

Ridden by Sheldon Russell, Monster Sleeping traveled the 1 1/8-miles distance in 1:51.37 on firm turf after stalking earlier fractions of 24.30, 49.47 and 1:13.53, before taking over and running a mile in 1:38.84. Sent off at 2-1, the 6-year-old dark bay mare returned $6.40, $4 and $3.20, earning $68,750 to boost her career bankroll to $474,380. The Ladies was her ninth career victory in 46 starts and second stakes win of 2015, following August’s $60,000 Jameela Stakes at Laurel going six grassy furlongs.

“I really have to congratulate Dale for having her ready to go,” Russell said. “We had a great trip.

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There wasn’t a whole lot of speed in the race and she got away really well. We got outrun going into the first time by (Can’t Explain), so we let her go. Going into the final turn, I had plenty left and she was really relaxed and all horse. Down the lane, I had no worries and I really didn’t have to work that hard.”

Capuano echoed Russell’s sentiments. “She broke well like she usually does,” he explained. “We knew the outside horse had a little speed, but I thought we might outrun her. Sheldon let that filly go and (Monster Sleeping) relaxed nicely, picked it up and made a nice little run to the end. I’d like to get one more race in before year’s end.”

Thomas and Tara Rooney’s 23-1 longshot Lucy Boo closed well to finish second under Roimes Chirinos for trainer Tim Keefe, returning $16 and $8.80. Breeder-owner-trainer Gretchen Mobberley’s Pauline’s Pride, ridden by Larry Mejias at odds of 21-1, was 1¾ lengths astern in third, returning 6.40 to show.

The Maryland Million Ladies was completed by Magician’s Vanity, Can’t Explain, Dance With Gio, Swoop and Moral High Ground. Lionhearted Lady was scratched.

One race later in the card, JoAnn Smith’s aforementioned Lionhearted Lady flattered her connections’ judgment when taking the $102,000 Maryland Million Distaff for trainer Hamilton Smith. After breaking well under Xavier Perez and stalking from the rail, the daughter of Lion Hearted drove to the lead and held off morning-line favorite Aix en Provence by two lengths, completing seven-furlong event in 1:24.31 and returning $6.60 as the 2-1 favorite. The victory was trainer Smith’s sixth Maryland Million victory and Maryland sire Lion Hearted’s ninth.

“My filly has been working good in the morning,” Perez said. “She worked five furlongs in a minute flat easy, so I knew she would be tough today. She broke good out of the gate and wanted the lead, so I let her go. Once she gets the lead, she never wants to give it up.”

“It was between going on the grass and this spot, but I really think she’s better on the dirt,” Smith said of the decision to go in the Distaff. “Had it been a mile or a mile and a sixteenth, I would have thought about the turf, but she likes these middle distances. These seven-eighths races are some of the toughest to win; it’s a long sprint. She showed us last year in the fall that the middle distance is what she wanted. The horse practically has to be on top of her game during the whole race and fortunately today she was up to it. She’s rounding into form.”

Aix En Provence was followed by My Magician, Miss Bullistic, Oh What a Delite, Smitten by Gold, Classy Coco, Spotted Heart, Katie’s Caddie and Nastar Medallist.

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