Trainer Ken Allard speculated that Ask the Moon was a quick filly, but he didn’t know exactly how quick until the game daughter of Malibu Moon zipped to the lead at the top of the stretch, and drew away to her first stakes victory in the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, for two-year-old fillies, at Laurel Park on Dec. 22.
Maryland-bred Ask the Moon, piloted by Hiram Rivera, pressed the pace three wide under a light hold, while stakes winner and favorite Hartigan, winner of the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel on November 24, set the pace through moderate early fractions of :23.96 and :48.04. Looming within striking distance of the lead, Ask the Moon gained command approaching the three sixteenths pole, and courageously widened her margin to score by 4 ¼ lengths over runner-up Hartigan. Kosmo’s Buddy, a three-time stakes-placed daughter of Outflanker, finished 6 ¼ lengths behind the second-place finisher. Ask the Moon, owned by Millicent Johnsen, completed the one-mile race in 1:40.16 over a fast track.
“I saw my filly in good position,” said Rivera. “I had a lot of horse, and I moved, and she won easily.”
Ask the Moon is the first stakes winner and second winner from two foals for the winning Valid Appeal mare Always Asking. The victory represents the second straight win for Ask the Moon, who won an entry level allowance race by 1 ¾ lengths at Philadelphia Park on November 17. In her third career start, Ask the Moon won a maiden special weight by 10 ¼ lengths at Laurel on August 22. All three of her victories have been over a mile. The Maryland Juvenile Filly triumph elevates her bankroll to $81,200.
“I was real pleased with her when we came down here and she broke her maiden, and I though she liked this course,” Allard said. “I said to Hiram (Rivera) there appears to be a lot of speed but this filly is pretty quick, too, and I didn’t mess it up with any strict instructions. Just come away and use your best judgment, which he did, and the results speak for themselves.”—Mary R. Marshall