Maybe a snake in the grass trainer Jeff Talley spotted at the Fair Hill Training Center the other day is an omen for 3-year-old filly Stakes On a Plane that he'll send out in Friday's Black-Eyed Susan.
“Had to be about seven feet long, and as thick around as your ankle,” said Talley. “I'm not sure if it means anything, but I yelled, 'We've got to kill that monster!'”
Maxis Stable's Stakes On a Plane will also have a lot to handle in the 1 ⅛-mile Black-Eyed Susan.
“She's doing unbelievably well,” said Talley by phone from Delaware Park. “The last time she ran, she was going to be second but we later found out she bled. Since then, she's been taken care of and looks great.”
That last race was the Weber City Miss April 21 at Laurel, where Goodonehoney won by seven lengths, with Indy Union second. Stakes On a Plane was challenging for the runner-up spot before she interfered with several horses and was disqualified from fourth to sixth.
It turns out, said Talley, she bled badly during the race. She was treated, and will be running Friday for the first time on Lasix. Talley was happy with the filly's two breezes with Lasix and is looking for a strong effort against the likes of 7-2 program favorite Coach Rocks and rematches with Goodonehoney and Indy Union in the field of 10. Stakes On a Plane is 20-1.
With rain in the forecast for Friday, Talley says his filly won't be bothered.
“There's a lot of good fillies in this race, but she loves the slop,” said the 57-year-old trainer from Louisville, Ky., who now lives in Delaware. “Looks like there'll be a good pace scenario. She'll likely be last going out and if the pace falls apart, she'll be coming on strong.”
Claimed after her second race for $25,000, Stakes On a Plane has two victories from six starts. The filly by Run Away and Hide, out of the mare Zeenut, is 1-for-3 this year, the win coming in optional claimer over a sloppy track at Laurel on Feb. 16.
Talley, a one-time landscaper, has been training for 15 years. He owned a few horses at the start, but he'd show up at the barn before his trainer so he decided he'd train them. His best horse has been Benny the Bull, who won allowances at Churchill Downs in 2006 and the Iowa Sprint Handicap in 2007 before Talley sold him for $1 million to trainer Rick Dutrow. Benny the Bull went on to win the 2008 Eclipse Award as the nation's top sprinter.
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