Graded-Stakes Winners Top Overflow Field of 15 in Filly Sprint
BALTIMORE – Graded-stakes winners Lady Scarlet, already having proven successful at the course and distance, and Elm Drive, looking to rebound from a rare poor performance, will square off in an overflow field of 15 entered for Saturday’s $100,000 Weather Vane at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The third running of the six-furlong Weather Vane for 3-year-old fillies is among four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on an 11-race program that marks the final Saturday of Pimlico’s nine-day fall meet.
First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Lady Scarlet has finished off the board in each of her past two starts, the 5 ½-furlong Coronation Cup on turf and six-furlong Prioress (G2), both coming over the summer at Saratoga. The daughter of Union Rags got bumped at the start of the Prioress then found herself racing wide before finishing last of eight behind Wicked Halo.
“It wasn’t the best of trips, but the last race was a stretch,” trainer Mike Maker said. “She deserved the chance, and it just didn’t work out.”
Maker claimed Lady Scarlet for $150,000 out of her maiden victory last fall in Kentucky and she has won three of seven starts since, becoming a stakes winner in the six-furlong Cicada in March at Aqueduct. Following a fourth in the seven-furlong Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland, her graded debut, she sat off a speed duel in the May 20 Miss Preakness (G3) before taking over at the top of the stretch and drawing away to win by 3 ¾ lengths.
“She was very impressive that day. She ran a big race, and hopefully she can duplicate it,” Maker said. “She’s doing well. She showed she liked the course back in the spring and it looks like this race would be a better fit for her than in New York.”
Horacio Karamanos has been named to ride Lady Scarlet from Post 5.
Little Red Feather Racing’s Elm Drive began her career on the West Coast last summer with trainer Phil D’Amato, winning each of her first two starts including the six-furlong Sorrento (G2) second time out at Del Mar, but was given a break after finishing off the board in both the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier (G2).
The Mohaymen filly opened 2022 with a victory in Angels Flight May 8 at Santa Anita and was third in the Great Lady M (G2) at Los Alamitos before being sent to trainer Michelle Nevin in New York, where she also has horses for the partnership.
“She’s a very sweet filly, very quiet. Doesn’t have a lot to say,” Nevin said. “But, I would say from her last race to now she’s been showing a lot more life. She’s doing well.”
Elm Drive exits a seventh-place finish in the seven-furlong Test (G1) Aug. 6 at Saratoga, contested over a sealed main track rated good. She worked twice there before the meet ended, including a bullet half-mile move in 47.04 seconds Sept. 3, and has had two subsequent breezes at Belmont Park.
“She’s doing well. She’s been training forwardly and breezing very well,” Nevin said. “We’re not really sure why she didn’t show up in Saratoga. Hopefully it was just that an off track didn’t suit her. Other than that, she’s been good.”
Elm Drive will break alongside Lady Scarlet from Post 4, with Angel Cruz aboard.
“I think she fits in this spot very well,” Nevin said. “It all depends on how they break but she has shown an affinity to show some early speed, so I think that’s a good thing.”
Other stakes winners in the Weather Vane are Buy the Best, Disco Ebo, Red Hot Mess and Swayin to and Fro. Hope Jones’ Buy the Best won the Smart Halo and Gin Talking last fall and winter at Laurel Park to cap her juvenile season but is winless in two starts this year, finishing sixth in the 5 ½-furlong Stormy Blues June 19 on turf and fourth in the 6 ½-furlong Alma North July 16 on dirt, also at Laurel.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Parx-based Disco Ebo also has yet to visit the winner’s circle since capturing her stakes debut, the Shamrock Rose, last fall at Penn National. Lewis Mathews Jr.’s Red Hot Mess won last November’s White Clay Creek on her home track of Delaware Park, where she won a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Aug. 24 in her lone start this year.
Laurel-based trainer Mario Serey Jr. wheels back Baxter Racing Stable’s Swayin to and Fro two weeks following her neck triumph over older horses in the six-furlong Shine Again Sept. 10 at Pimlico for non-winners of an open sweepstakes. It was the fifth win from six starts since being claimed for $16,000 out of an 8 ¼-length maiden score May 26, also at Pimlico.
“She’s doing very good. This filly has a lot of class. She knows what’s going on every time I take her to the track. She’s smart,” Serey said. “She’s a good filly. Nice body. Her temperament is really quiet. That’s the kind of horse that when you claim them you say, ‘This horse is class.’”
Swayin to and Fro was fourth in her stakes debut, the seven-furlong Seeking the Pearl Aug. 16 at Colonial Downs, which came just 10 days after an optional claiming allowance win at Laurel. She will be facing her own age group for the first time this year, having overcome being bumped at the start of the Shine Again and dueling on the inside to prevail.
“To me, she’s coming in really well for the race I think she’s got a lot of potential,” Serey said. “She hasn’t given me everything yet. She’s a 3-year-old, and I never push them. She came back like nothing. For her it was like a gallop. She’s been good out of that race.”
Regular rider Grant Whitacre has the call from Post 7.
Moody Woman, Smash Ticket, Sweet Gracie, Glowsity, Famed and Sweet Solare are also entered, along with also-eligibles Lady Baffled, Gunfyre Gal and Nymph.
The Weather Vane pays homage to the Maryland-bred mare trained by Richard W. Delp that won 17 races and $724,532 in purses from 1996 to 1998. A former claimer bred by William B. Delp, Weather Vane went on to register 14 stakes victories including the Safely Kept (G3) and Miss Preakness in 1997, the latter before it was graded, and capped her career by being named Maryland-bred champion older female of 1998.