Grade II winner Lady Sabelia will be seeking to defend her title as she tops a field of seven fillies and mares entered in the Willa On the Move Stakes, one of three stakes each worth $100,000 at Laurel Park Dec. 5.
The co-highweight at 124 pounds, Mrs. Frank Wright's homebred Lady Sabelia brings a record of nine wins from 17 starts into the six-furlong Willa On the Move as the 5-year-old daughter of Majestic Warrior has been a model of consistency with only two unplaced efforts on her resume.
Last year's Willa On the Move marked the season finale for Lady Sabelia, who took the What a Summer Stakes and Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel in her first two outings of 2015. Sixth in the Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, the front-running mare was caught late to finish second in the Skipat Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
The $605,465 earner comes into Saturday's race off a 7 1/2-length off-the-pace victory in the Pumpkin Pie Stakes at Belmont Park for trainer Robin Graham.
"We just didn't want her to get too rapid," Graham said of the uncharacteristic running style in Lady Sabelia's last start. "When she gets in front and they're behind her she gets competitive and gets too rapid. But if you work around that, everything's good."
Also assigned 124 pounds in the Willa On the Move is Maria Romero's Galiana, an eight-time stakes winner who has won or placed in 22 of 30 starts and earned $638,861 for owner Maria Romero and trainer Jose Rodriguez. The 5-year-old Stonesider mare has won the Tax Free Shopping Distaff Stakes at Delaware Park the last three years.
The two other stakes on the card are for juveniles, with stakes winner Never Gone South seeking his third win in four starts in the Marylander, which drew a field of seven males. Trained by Cathal Lynch for M M G Racing Stable, the Munnings colt won the Strike Your Colors Stakes before finishing second in the James Lewis III Stakes last time out.
The Gin Talking Stakes drew a balanced field of 2-year-old fillies, with Sinatra Thoroughbred Racing and Breeding's Mecke's Madalyn seeking her third victory in as many starts. The New York-bred daughter of Desert Party trained by Corby Caiazzo won the Shesastonecoldfox at Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in her previous start.
Tim Woolley will saddle Russell Jones' Prognosis, a daughter of Tiznow who has won her last two starts after never being a factor in her career debut, which was on grass. Laurel Park, Saturday, December 05, 2015, Race 5 Laurel Park, Saturday, December 05, 2015, Race 7 Laurel Park, Saturday, December 05, 2015, Race 9
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Prognosis (KY) Jevian Toledo 119 Tim Woolley 8/1 2 2Look Who's Talking (MD) Forest Boyce 119 Robin L. Graham 5/1 3 3Thundering Sky (KY) Trevor McCarthy 114 George Weaver 12/1 4 4Mecke's Madalyn (NY) Kaylia Albright 119 Corby Caiazzo 30/1 5 5Wait Your Turn (KY) Julian Pimentel 119 Carol Fisher 10/1 6 6Cathryn Sophia (MD) Roberto J. Rosado 119 John C. Servis 1/2 7 7Dare to Be (KY) Victor R. Carrasco 119 Rodney Jenkins 8/1
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Midnight Lovin (KY) Julian Pimentel 120 Emanuel J. Geralis 15/1 2 2Vorticity (KY) Victor R. Carrasco 120 James L. Lawrence, II 8/5 3 3Professor Zoom (KY) Jevian Toledo 120 Damon R. Dilodovico 20/1 4 4Never Gone South (KY) Trevor McCarthy 120 Cathal A. Lynch 7/5 5 5Captain Alex (MD) Xavier Perez 120 Donnovan Haughton 20/1 6 6Tale of E Dubai (PA) UNKNOWN 120 John E. Salzman, Jr. 10/1 7 7Runningfromthefeds (IL) Alex Canchari 120 Leo Rodriguez 9/2
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Dulcify (KY) Victor R. Carrasco 118 Kieron Magee 10/1 2 2Dallas Cowgirl (KY) Oscar Flores 118 Flint W. Stites 20/1 3 3Medaglia d'Argento (KY) Jevian Toledo 118 George Weaver 20/1 4 4Raging Smoke (PA) Clinton L. Potts 122 Michael W. Salvaggio, Jr. 15/1 5 5Disco Chick (PA) Trevor McCarthy 118 Mario Serey, Jr. 15/1 6 6Galiana (NY) Abel Lezcano 124 Jose S. Rodriguez 6/1 7 7Lady Sabelia (KY) Horacio Karamanos 124 Robin L. Graham 2/5 8 8Lionhearted Lady (MD) Xavier Perez 120 Hamilton A. Smith 12/1
Laurel Park, Saturday, December 05, 2015, Race 5
Laurel Park, Saturday, December 05, 2015, Race 7
Laurel Park, Saturday, December 05, 2015, Race 9