Ickymasho Takes Top Form into Searching Stakes

Ickymasho Takes Top Form into Searching Stakes

Real News to Discover Truth About Stretching Out in James Murphy
Jo Jo Air Takes on Her Elders in $100,000 The Very One

BALTIMORE – The 7-year-old Ickymasho is in the best form of her 19-race career as she seeks to pad her record in the inaugural $100,000 Ole Smokey Moonshine Searching Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/2 miles on turf on Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard at Pimlico Race Course.

Trained by Roger Attfield, the European import went winless in five starts last year in her inaugural American season, with a pair of seconds and thirds, while racing primarily over Woodbine’s synthetic surface.

Put back on the grass, Ickymasho lost a pair of Grade 3 stakes by a head at Gulfstream Park before winning Keeneland’s Grade Bewitch Stakes (G3), a race in which she ran third in 2018 in her North American debut.

“She definitely likes the grass, no question,” Attfield said. “But she’s pretty effective I think on the all-weather, also. I just think the mare is doing better this year than she’s ever done, which gives me hope that you get better as you get older.

“This seemed like an obvious spot. I hadn’t originally looked at it too much, because I thought it was a little close to the Bewitch and shipping back up here to Toronto,” he added. “But, she’s just been doing so very, very well. I’ve always believed when they’re doing well, you should let them run.”

So just what is an Ickymasho?

“Actually, I wondered the same thing,” Attfield said. “A couple of Japanese riders here at Woodbine told me it means, ‘Let’s go.’”

The Searching will be the first start for the Jonathan Thomas-trained Osare since she won Kentucky Downs’ Dueling Grounds Oaks eight months ago. Also entered are multiple stakes-winner Homeland Security, Bewitch third-place finisher Coachwhip, Keeneland allowance winner Vevina, Pimlico-based So Innocent, Violet Blue, Peach of a Gal and Layla Noor.

Real News to Discover Truth About Stretching Out in James Murphy

Real News stretches out to a mile as he seeks his first career stakes victory in the $100,000 James W. Murphy for 3-year-olds on grass. The Al Stall Jr. trainee won his first two starts in sprints before finishing second to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint winner Bulletin in Keeneland’s Palisades Turf Sprint April 4.

“It’s time to see how he handles the second turn and that type of company,” Stall said. “He competed well with them sprinting. He’s a big, long-striding colt. And he’ll run off turf if it happens to rain, also.

“I like the way he fights. He was closing in on Bulletin,” he added. “Now, Bulletin might have been easing up a little bit, but he was certainly getting away from a bunch of nice horses over at Keeneland. He’s shown quite a bit of finish in everything he’s ever done, so it’s time to take it to the next distance.”

Unraced at 2, Town and Country Racing and Gary Broad’s Real News has never raced beyond 5 ½ furlongs. Based with Stall at Fair Grounds in Louisiana over the winter, he comes to Baltimore from the trainer’s string in Kentucky.

“He’s got to ship to conduct an experiment, but that’s just the nature of the game,” Stall said. “He might run to the head of the lane and not finish up and we’ll say, ‘Well, we’re going to have a come-from-behind sprinter.’ But we need to find out sooner than later.”

Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out last fall’s Bourbon (G3) winner Current and Aqueduct’s Awad winner Empire of War. Completing the field are War Film, a late-running and close fifth in the American Turf (G2); Gulfstream allowance winner English Bee and Graham Motion-trained stablemate Shootin the Breeze, Gearhead, Eons, Thomas Shelby and multiple stakes-placed Tybalt, making his turf debut.

Jo Jo Air Takes on Her Elders in $100,000 The Very One

Andrew Farm and Mrs. Charlie O’Connor’s Jo Jo Air, who beat the boys to take the William Walker Stakes last out, tackles older fillies and mares in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes at five furlongs on turf.

Jo Jo Air, a sophomore daughter of Scat Daddy, has won two of five career starts for trainer Wesley Ward, breaking her maiden by 5 ¼ lengths in her juvenile finale last November at Fair Grounds. She drew Post 6 in a field of nine with Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

Also entered are Souper Echo, two-for-three on turf, including a Laurel Park allowance victory in her last start; second-level allowance winner Misericordia; Bath and Tennis, Angel at War, Dare to Be, Not in Jeopardy, Wild About Star and Eye On Berlin.