Laurel Park: Amid Uncertainty, Breeders’ Cup Winner Sharing Gears Up To Return; Majestic Reason Retired

by | 04.04.2020 | 4:00pm
Sharing, shown working at Palm Meadows on February 3, is now at Fair Hill Training Center

Having bid goodbye to one of the barn favorites as she embarks on her second career as a broodmare, trainer Graham Motion is continuing on with his current stable star, Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner Sharing.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stable's Sharing, the 2019 Maryland Horse of the Year whose victory in the Selima Stakes last September at Laurel Park paved the way for her Breeders' Cup upset, breezed four furlongs in 50.80 seconds Saturday at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.

It was the third half-mile work for Sharing and first over the main track at Fair Hill since arriving back in Maryland after starting 2020 with Motion's string in South Florida. Each of Sharing's first two local works came on Fair Hill's all-weather surface.

Unraced since the Breeders' Cup, Sharing returned to the work tab for the first time Feb. 3 at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park's satellite training facility, with a half-mile in 48.70 seconds on the grass.

“She worked well this morning,” Motion said. “I just felt she was pretty jarred up after I worked her the first time in Florida. Maybe she overdid it, so I brought her up to Fair Hill. I'm going a little steady with her because I don't really know what we're pointing for.”

Like many jurisdictions around the country, Maryland racing has been temporarily paused out of health concerns. Laurel Park hosted its last live program March 15.

“Everybody's in a bit of a peculiar situation with all horses right now depending on their fitness level, the point they're at in their campaign, and so forth. She obviously hasn't run since the Breeders' Cup, so it's a little different situation for her,” Eclipse managing partner Aron Wellman said. “We're on a mission to get her race fit; it's just that you have to balance and walk that fine line between getting the horse race ready and sharp and fit, but not going over the top before you have somewhere to run.

“I don't envy trainers' situations right now, and every single horse is being treated differently depending on their individual circumstance,” he added. “She's obviously a high-profile horse that we are very much eager to get her campaign going, but Graham's walking that fine line and all we can do is try to find that happy medium and keep her sound and happy and get her fit and, hopefully, when the time comes the right opportunities will be available.”

Motion passed on running Sharing in the Florida Oaks (G3) March 7 at Tampa Bay Downs and instead set his sights on the $100,000 Hilltop, scheduled for May 15 at Pimlico Race Course, as a prep for Royal Ascot in June. In 2015, future multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Miss Temple City won the Hilltop prior to a fourth in the Coronation (G1) at the prestigious English meet.

“That was kind of my thought process,” Motion said. “I had every intention of possibly running her in the Hilltop and then a trip to Ascot, but that's totally up in the air. She'll be ready to run by what would normally be Preakness [G1] weekend, if everything continues to go well.

“I haven't been breezing her on Lasix, and she doesn't seem to need it, so I felt like there were a lot of positives for her. In the big scale of things, it's small right now. But I'm very pleased with her anyway. She looks great,” he added. “We're managing; it's just the terrible uncertainty of everything. I think it's just such a worry for everybody and I think as days go by you're more and more aware of how uncertain everything is.”

It was exactly that uncertainty that led the connections of Majestic Reason, winner of the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 15 at Laurel in her most recent start, to retire the 5-year-old mare and breed her to Irish War Cry, a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire that was also trained by Motion.

Had racing continued, Motion said he would have likely brought Hillwood Stable and Richard Golden's Majestic Reason back in Saturday's seven-furlong Conniver, scheduled for what would have been opening weekend of Laurel's spring meet.

“We certainly had toyed with the idea of breeding her this year, but I kept feeling like she was doing so well and we really wanted to run her in the Fritchie. I didn't want to give her a break before the Fritchie, so we just kind of spaced her races out,” Motion said. “We had every intention of doing a campaign this year starting with the race at Laurel.

“Then David Wade, Mr. Golden's farm manager, and Michael Golden, Mr. Golden's son, kind of got their heads together and it seemed logical to breed her. She's such a nice mare,” he added. “We could have been sitting on her for a couple of months and it was just risky not to breed her. They bred her to Irish War Cry, which I think is exciting. She's a good mare for him to have. I think it just shows what kind of confidence Mr. Golden has in Irish War Cry.”

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