Phlash Phelps Defends Maryland Million Turf Title

December 10, 2019

Devilish Love Edges Complete St. in Maryland Million Ladies

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LAUREL, MD – Hillwood Stable LLC’s Phlash Phelps overcame a wide trip from his outside post position to defend his title in the $125,000 Maryland Million Turf, prevailing by 1 ¼ lengths while narrowly missing a course record in the mile turf stakes for Maryland-sired horses.

Trained by Rodney Jenkins, the 3-5 favorite ran a mile over a firm Dahlia Turf Course in 1:34.57, not far off Tune of the Spirit’s 2005 record of 1:34.26. The Maryland-bred 5-year-old gelding did surpass his stakes record of 1:35.35, set while winning the 2015 Maryland Million Turf by three-quarters of a length. Victor Carrasco was aboard the son of Great Notion in both Maryland Million scores.

Phlash Phelps was floated six-wide around the first turn after breaking from the No. 10 post and raced three wide along the backstretch while stalking a solid pace set by Spartianos, who set fractions of 24.12 (seconds), 46.94 and 1:10.85 for the first six furlongs. Carrasco advanced aboard his mount on the far turn to enter contention heading into the stretch, before asking the favorite for his run. Phlash Phelps responded to draw off to comfortable triumph.

“I always feel pressure when I get the call to ride him and I do not know why. He's such a great horse to ride and always gives his best. Today was just like that,” Carrasco said. “I love riding for the owners and Rodney Jenkins. They are like family. He is just so good.”

Spartianos re-rallied to finish second under Luis Garcia, a head in front of third-place finisher Grandiflora and jockey Horacio Karamanos, who held a narrow lead in mid-stretch.

Phlash Phelps earned $68,750 for his fifth victory in nine starts on turf and his sixth overall victory. After completing his 2015 season with four straight victories, including the campaign-ending triumph in the Maryland Million Turf, Phlash Phelps notched his first stakes victory in five starts in 2016 Saturday.

“We had some bad luck in our last two races. But you can't dwell on that, because this horse always comes into his race ready. Mrs. (Ellen) Charles has always let me take my time with her horses. This race was our target all year long, and now I will give the horse a nice rest. This horse really runs well fresh, so we are looking forward to next year.”

Devilish Love Edges Complete St. in Maryland Million Ladies

Beaten by less than a length as the favorite two years ago, Briardale Stable’s Devilish Love returned to the Maryland Million with a hard-fought nose victory over Complete St. in the $125,000 Ladies.

Ridden by Alex Cintron for former Maryland-based trainer Tony Dutrow, Devilish Love ($11.20) took the lead from pacesetting Pauline’s Pride at the top of the stretch and dueled with Complete St. on her inside through the final eighth of a mile to win in a head bob.

“Tony told me that he had this horse ready and to use my judgment as to whether to go to the front or to drop back a bit and come on,” Cintron said. “My horse broke perfectly and we were in great position throughout the race. It was very exciting at the finish, and my horse really dug in.”

Northern Smile, the 8-5 favorite, was third followed by defending Ladies champion Monster Sleeping and stablemate Rocky Policy. Devilish Love’s winning time for 1 1/8 miles over a firm Dahlia Turf Course was 1:47.69.

“I am really happy with how she raced,” Dutrow said. “We have had her before at Saratoga and Belmont, and she trained really well coming in, but of course you never know how it will turn out. I was feeling really, really good about it coming into today.”

It was the eighth career Maryland Million victory for Dutrow, a son of late Maryland training legend Dick Dutrow, tying him for third overall.

“Days like this are really special,” Dutrow said. “You can see that other states have taken Maryland’s lead, like New York today, in focusing on this sort of day, and we have Jim McKay to thank for this, the innovator he was.

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