Hello Beautiful Scores Big In Weather Vane At Laurel

With her regular rider on crutches and watching from the grandstand, Hello Beautiful provided Sheldon Russell with a spectacular get-well gift as she rolled to a popular and emotional 10 ¼-length triumph in Saturday’s $100,000 Weather Vane at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.

The second running of the six-furlong Weather Vane for fillies and mares 3 and older was the first of four stakes worth $500,000 in purses headlined by the $200,000 Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash for 3-year-olds and up.

Russell’s wife, trainer Brittany Russell, fought back tears as she tried to explain how much the victory meant to her team, particularly since her husband – Maryland’s top money-earning jockey this year at the time of his Sept. 9 foot injury – will be out indefinitely.

“It’s really bittersweet. I had a tear in my eye, watching it with Sheldon,” she said. “She’s just so special.”

Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables, and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful ($2.40), sent off at 1-5, had been ridden by Russell in 14 of her first 16 starts, eight of them wins, including six stakes led by the July 31 Alma North at historic Pimlico Race Course, his 1,500th career victory.

With Jevian Toledo up, Hello Beautiful broke alertly and was quickly in front as her main challenger, fellow multiple stakes winner Never Enough Time, stumbled from the gate. Hello Beautiful was in command throughout, coasting through a quarter-mile in :22.37 and a half in :45.32 and opening up through the stretch to win under wraps in 1:09.56 over a fast track.

“She’s a really special filly. When you have a nice horse like her, anyone can win on her like that,” Toledo said. “I have to give her all the credit. I just put her in the front and she grabbed the bit the whole way. In the stretch, I just showed her the stick and she took off, and when I looked back it was easy enough so I just took hold of her and she came back real easy to me.”

Toledo and Russell, both Maryland year-end champions and multiple meet leaders during their careers, are represented by Marty Leonard.

“We have the same agent and we are mates. You never want to see anyone get hurt. I feel bad because I know how special the filly is to him and for his wife,” Toledo said. “Thank God we were able to get the job done. Hopefully, he can come back and ride her the next time.”

Stakes-placed Coconut Cake, racing for the first time since March 13, finished second with Never Enough Time two lengths back in third. Praise and Honor and Fifteen Royals completed the order of finish.

The Weather Vane is named for the Maryland-bred champion older filly of 1998 that won 17 of 36 career starts and 14 stakes including the 1997 Grade 3 Safely Kept.

The post Hello Beautiful Scores Big In Weather Vane At Laurel appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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