Trainer Michael Trombetta entered My Sistersledge in the $125,000 Maryland Million Ladies Wednesday with supreme confidence that the 4-year-old daughter of Etched will be ready to defend her title in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.
“Her form kind of speaks for itself,” Trombetta said. “She's a fighter. She tries hard every time.”
John and Cheryl Banner's homebred is scheduled to face eight offspring of Maryland Million certified sires at Laurel, where she has never been worse than third at varying distances in nine turf starts that include four victories.
In last year's Ladies, My Sistersledge received a round-saving trip under Julian Pimentel to register the narrowest of victories. After three subsequent starts at Gulfstream Park that only yielded only a third-place finish, the late-closing filly scored at a mile in her April 22 Laurel return. She closed from 10th to fall just a neck short in a 5 ½-furlong sprint two months later before winning two of her three most recent starts, scoring at 1 1/16 miles and a mile.
My Sistersledge's versatility includes surfaces as well as distances. In her most recent start, she registered a front-running triumph by 5 ¾ lengths in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance that was transferred from turf to a fast main track.
“I did run My Sistersledge on the dirt last time, and she paid us back. She ran real good on it,” Trombetta said. “It was exciting because we didn't have any real expectations for the day. She ran so good.”
Trombetta also entered R. Larry Johnson's Magician's Vanity, a 6-year-old mare who finished seventh behind My Sistersledge in last year's Ladies and is winless in three starts this year.
“They're both training well and hopefully we catch the right kind of turf course for those guys and they can get a chance. My Sistersledge is in good form, and actually Magician's Vanity is in good form, as well,” Trombetta said.
Pimentel has the return mount aboard My Sistersledge, while Trevor McCarthy was named on Magician's Vanity.
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered a pair of 4-year-old fillies in the Ladies, Forgiving and Penitence. Sherry Fenwick's Forgiving is winless in five starts since finishing fifth behind My Sistersledge in last year's Ladies. Sheppard's homebred Penitence is coming off an optional claiming allowance victory over Presque Isle's synthetic surface and hasn't run on turf since finishing third while debuting in a $30,000 maiden claiming race at Parx. Andrew Wolfsont has the mount aboard Forgiving, while Sheldon Russell has been named to ride Penitence.
Harland Crossman's Complete St., who was nosed out by Devilish Lady in the 2016 Ladies, will seek her first victory since winning a 1 ¼-mile race for Virginia-breds at Great Meadow in 2015. Trainer Lilith Boucher named Forest Boyce to ride the 8-year-old multiple stakes-winning daughter of St. Averill.
Gerard Knauer and trainer Edward Maher's Love's Legend, who has finished in the money in seven straight races in starter optional claiming races on both dirt and turf, is set for a jump in class in the Ladies. Horacio Karamanos has the mount aboard the 4-year-old daughter of Not for Love
Rounding out the field of Maryland Million Certified entrants are Richard Blue Jr.'s Hot Friesa, an optional claiming allowance winner over Laurel's Main track last time out; and David McConnell's Saint Main Event, third in the recent off-the-turf All Brandy Stakes last time out. Both are winless on turf.
Four Maryland-bred horses – Ghoul's Night Out, Irish Access, Adult in the Room and Peach of a Gal – are on the also-eligible list and will only be eligible to draw into the race should the field of Maryland Million Certified horses drop below six entrants.
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