Isabelle Haskell de Tomaso's homebred Irish Mias earned his first career win in style, scooting through an opening along the rail in mid-stretch and edging stablemate Torres Del Paine by a nose in Saturday's $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Laurel Futurity at Laurel Park.
The 93rd running of the Futurity for 2-year-olds, and the 90th renewal of the Selima for 2-year-old fillies, both at 1 1/16 miles over Laurel's world-class turf course, led off Round 1 of the September to Remember Stakes Festival featuring eight stakes worth $1.3 million in purses and headlined by the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) and the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).
Irish Mias' victory completed a juvenile stakes sweep for trainer Graham Motion, who saddled Sharing to a popular triumph in the Selima two races earlier. It was first win for Motion in both the Futurity and Selima, which saw their purses doubled for 2019.
“As long as I've been around here, it's great to see them come back. I've always pointed for the races here,” Motion said. “It's very gratifying. I've been running here 25 years now, so it's fun to be running in these races.”
Irish Mias ($8) ran second in each of his two previous starts this summer at Saratoga, the first in a 5 ½-furlong sprint taken off the turf July 24 and the most recent in a 6 ½-furlong race scheduled for the main track Aug. 17. The Futurity was both his turf and two-turn debut.
“He's always shown a lot of ability. Him and Sharing have been working together, so I thought a lot of him all along,” Motion said. “Everybody asks you at Saratoga, 'Do you like your 2-year-olds?' You don't take your 2-year-olds to Saratoga if you don't like them.”
Flaxman Holdings, Ltd.'s Torres Del Paine, third in the Rosie's Stakes Aug. 31 at Colonial Downs, was eager up front and ran the opening quarter-mile in 24.84 seconds before passed to his outside by 70-1 long shot Benny Havens, who ran the half in 50.17, while Irish Mias settled in fourth along the rail.
Jockey Manuel Franco, who also rode Sharing to her dominating win, stayed on the inside path and had room to run once straightened for home, passing his stablemate inside the eighth pole. Irish Mias drifted out slightly once clear, as did Torres Del Paine, and both survived a claim of foul.
Torres Del Paine stayed up for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Doc Boy, who edged 6-5 favorite Field Pass by a nose for fourth. The winning time was 1:44.03 over a firm Dahlia turf course.
“Honestly I kind of got talked out of running back on the grass with this horse at Saratoga because he ran so well on the dirt, which is a little confusing I think, because really I've always thought he was better on the synthetic,” Motion said. “I knew [Irish Mias] was going to be a little sharp, because that's how he trains in the mornings. I just didn't want them to get caught up together.”
The Futurity has a rich history dating back to 1921 inaugural winner Morvich, who would go on to win the 1922 Kentucky Derby. The Futurity has also been won by Triple Crown champions Affirmed, Citation and Secretariat along with Barbaro, Spectacular Bid, Tapit, In Reality, Honest Pleasure and Quadrangle.
Sharing Takes Step Toward Breeders' Cup in $200,000 Selima
Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stables' Sharing grabbed all the attention in Saturday's $200,000 Selima Stakes at Laurel Park with a dominating performance that may very well have earned the daughter of Speightstown a start on this year's Breeders' Cup program Nov. 1.
Trained by Graham Motion, Sharing established herself as a strong candidate for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita with a 2 ½-length decision in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for 2-year-old fillies run over the All Along Turf Course.
“We're hoping to get to the Breeders' Cup. That's why we came here. Hopefully, this race is a good steppingstone because it's a $200,000 race. Hopefully, this will get us into the Breeders' Cup,” Motion said.
Sharing is a daughter of Shared Account, whom Motion saddled for a victory in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1)
“She was one of my favorite mares. Any time you win big races like that, it's pretty special to you,” Motion said. “She had a very kind personality, and this filly is very similar.”
Jockey Manuel Franco placed Sharing in a prime stalking position behind pacesetter Sunset Promise, who showed the way to her six rivals while setting fractions of 23.51 and 48.56 seconds for the first half-mile. Sharing was sent three-wide on the turn entering the stretch and the Maryland-bred filly continued on to register a comfortable decision.
“[Franco] said she got to looking around a little when she got the lead, but she did it the way I hoped she'd do it,” Motion said. “I would have been disappointed if she hadn't probably because she seems like she's that caliber.”
Sharing ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.61. Sunset Promise held second under Alex Cintron, 2 ½ lengths ahead of Love Beach and jockey Trevor McCarthy.
First run in 1926, the Selima is named for the great English race mare who was imported to the U.S. in the 1750s by Benjamin Tasker Jr., manager of the famed Belair Farm in Prince George's County. The daughter of the Godolphin Arabian, considered 'Queen of the Turf,' also gained fame as a broodmare.
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