Skeedattle Associates' homebred Dixie Talking was unraced at the beginning of December and a stakes winner at year's end when she beat seven other Maryland-bred fillies in Thursday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. The 2-year-old filly who has won both career starts became the 100th lifetime stakes winner for her sire, Dixieland Band. Also the leading broodmare sire in North America this year, Dixieland Band is one of the original stallion at William S. Farish's Lane's End Farm in central Kentucky.Dixie Talking tracked pacesetter Sweetsoutherndessa and three others to the top of the lane, then rolled to victory in final time of 1:47.71 for 1 1/16 miles. Favored Take a Check rallied for second, 1-1/4 lengths short while Sweetsoutherndessa held on for third. Abel Castellano Jr., who rode the winner, said, "This is a nice filly. When I got outside she was feeling full of run and when I asked her to go from the quarter-pole to home she gave me a really nice run." Dixie Talking paid $8.40 and topped a $25.80 exacta and $188.80 trifecta. "The only thing lacking was the experience, but she knows how to do things. I wanted her to sit off the pace so that worked out fine," said trainer Robin Graham, who conditions the winner at Pimlico. "I get on her myself in the morning so I'm a pretty good judge of how prepared she is. Abel did a great job. This is the first time he's been on her. We were aiming for this race all year. I'm just glad the timing worked out. She's very kind to be around and she has a good work ethic, but like her mother, you do things on her terms." Graham knows the filly's mother intimately because her dam Gin Talking won this race in 1999. At that time Gin Talking was trained by Hamiton Smith. However, the following year Graham took over the training of Gin Talking and guided her to three stakes wins and Horse of the Year honors in the state. Take a Check, the 7-10 choice, raced erratically down the backstretch and extremely wide through the turn, then got untracked belatedly. Trainer Richard Small and jockey Jozbin Santana thought the slow pace of :25 for the quarter and :49.90 for a half-mile was too slow for the daughter of Touch Gold.
"She is the kind of horse that you have to wait," said Santana. "But the pace was so slow by that time all the other horses were already going."(Chart, Equibase)