Silmaril has a chance to reach $1 million in career earnings when she faces seven other fillies and mares in the $80,000 What A Summer Stakes Jan. 12 at Laurel Park.
The 7-year-old is just $15,027 shy of becoming the 17th Maryland-bred and fifth mare in history to reach the milestone. A win or second-place finish would allow the daughter of Diamond to join elite company. She is the defending champion of the What A Summer and has won eight starts at the six-furlong distance.
“If she could go out a winner by reaching the million-dollar mark, that would be a dream come true,” trainer Chris Grove said.
Owners Stephen Quick and Christopher Feifarek have indicated the bay mare will be going to the breeding shed at Stephen and Sue Quick’s St. Omer’s Farm in Harford County, Md., immediately after reaching the million-dollar plateau. She is out of the Spend a Buck mare Kattebuck.
“She’s more than just a horse,” said Grove, who also conditions multiple stakes winners Lexi Star and Five Steps. “She is like part of the family. It is going to be heart-breaking when she leaves, but she will go on to do bigger and better things in the broodmare shed.”
Silmaril, who is 2-1 on the morning line and will get jockey Jeremy Rose, has won 15 of 35 starts, including 11 stakes at five different distances. She had a chance to reach the $1 million milestone with victories in her last two starts of 2007, but finished second in both the Oct. 13 Maryland Million Distaff and a $42,000 allowance event Nov 7.
“Everybody has been asking if she is washed up, which is kind of crazy in my mind because she earned more than $400,000 last year,” Grove said. “On Maryland Million day, she was giving up nine pounds to Akronism and ran an incredible race. In her last start she bled very badly, which she had never done, and For Kisses has gone on to win a stakes.”
Cigar tops the Maryland-bred list with earnings of $9,999,815. The mares ahead of Silmaril are Safely Kept, Shine Again, Jameela, and Urbane.
“That is incredible company,” Grove said. “She is a celebrity on the racetrack, and maybe a small portion of the Saturday crowd will be there to see her run.”
Despite her success, Silmaril is not the morning-line favorite. That honor goes to the speedy 4-year-old filly Your Flame in Me (9-5), who has won four of six lifetime starts. The Mike Trombetta trainee has won three stakes – the Gin Talking at Laurel, the Xtra Heat at Pimlico Race Course, and the Lady Tak at Aqueduct. No one has ridden the filly except Jose Caraballo and he will put her on the engine once again.
“A second-place finish for Silmaril works for me,” Trombetta said. “We have been able to duck her quite a bit, but I have seen them come to town to try and beat her and fail. I am sure she’ll make an excellent broodmare. My horse has been really good and is as game as she gets. There are two types of speed horses that like to be near the front and horses who like to be on the front. This is a very fast filly. She is ready to go.”
In addition, Richard Dutrow sends Baby Bird (3-1) from New York to challenge the top two. A four-time winner, Baby Bird ran second in Laurel’s Anne Arundel Stakes when she was a 3-year-old but only started three times last year. Her last race produced a sluggish eighth-place finish in the Nov. 23 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct. Horacio Karamanos picks up the mount.
Rounding out the field will be La Chica Rica, Andrea’s Pic, All Giving, Keep On Talking, and Scheing E Jet.