Joy, Latique Take Different Routes to $100,000 Dahlia

Joy, Latique Take Different Routes to $100,000 Dahlia

Graham Motion-Trained Stablemates Square Off in Turf Stakes

Florida Invader Lady Shipman Tops Field in $100,000 Stormy Blues

BALTIMORE, MD., 04/16/15 --- Reunited at the Fair Hill Training Center after spending the winter in much different climates, stablemates Joy and Latique will return from a freshening as opponents in Saturday’s $100,000 Dahlia at Pimlico Race Course.

The 14th running of the Dahlia for fillies and mares going one mile on the turf is one of six stakes worth $575,000 on Pimlico’s 10-race program that also includes the eighth renewal of the $100,000 Stormy Blues, a five-furlong turf sprint for sophomore fillies.

Dark Hollow Farm’s Joy and Mineola Farm II and David Houchin’s Latique are trained by Graham Motion, a two-time winner of the Dahlia with Sweet Talker in 2006 and Lady Digby in 2008.

A 5-year-old Pure Prize mare, Joy is making her first start since finishing fourth, beaten 1 ½ lengths, in the River Memories Stakes Oct. 25 at Woodbine. The multiple stakes winner also opened 2014 in the Dahlia, running fourth by 1 1 /2 lengths to repeat winner Embarr.

“Joy spent the winter at Fair Hill, and this has kind of been our goal since we gave her a little break over the winter,” Motion said. “She’s a filly that runs well fresh and this is a race that we’ve had in mind, being that she’s also a Maryland-bred. I like to give her a break over the winter. All horses need a break at some point. I think she just needs to get lucky and have a good trip and have things work out to be able to win one of these. I think she’s very capable of it.”

Latique, a 4-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality, has made one previous stakes attempt, finishing fifth in the Riskaverse last summer at Saratoga off maiden and allowance victories in her previous two starts. Most recently she was fifth in an optional claiming allowance Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park.

“She kind of tailed off a little bit in Florida so we decided to freshen her up. I didn’t want to run her down there too many times,” Motion said. “We gave her a little break in February, again with this race in mind. She’s had several breezes at Palm Meadows we shipped her up here [on Tuesday]. She’s been right there and, obviously, it would be huge for her to get the black type. On her best day, I think she’s very capable.”

A Group 3 winner in her native France at 2, Christophe Clement-trained Stellar Path will be making her North American debut in the Dahlia, as will English-bred filly Lily Carstairs for trainer Niall Saville.

Grade 3-placed Fasnacloich is 2-for-3 lifetime at Pimlico, capturing a 1 1/16-mile allowance last June on the turf, while South Andros has won two of five career starts on Old Hilltop but has not run on the grass since finishing third in a Laurel Park allowance in November 2013.

Also entered are 2014 Arlington Classic (G3) winner Istanford; 2014 Edgewood Stakes winner A Little Bit Sassy; multiple graded stakes-placed Nellie Cashman; Principessa Ava, Vicky Ticky Tavie, Giant Shadow and Run of the River.


A winner of her last three starts by a combined 23 ½ lengths, Ranlo Investments’ Lady Shipman will try her luck outside of Florida for the first time in the Stormy Blues, brought to Pimlico’s stakes schedule in 2013 after a 12-year absence.

Lady Shipman didn’t kick off her career until October at Gulfstream Park West, taking the lead into the stretch before tiring to third. Moved to the turf by trainer Kathleen O’Connell, the chestnut daughter of Midshipman responded with an 11 ¼-length triumph at the Stormy Blues distance.

This year, Lady Shipman has continued her winning ways. She opened with an entry-level allowance victory on New Year’s Day at Gulfstream Park before romping by eighth lengths in the OBS Sprint Stakes Jan. 27 in Ocala.

“Some of them aren’t meant to be early bloomers. I’ve been around enough babies to know sometimes it doesn’t matter whether they were born in January or February or in May or June. Some of them just have bumps along the road,” O’Connell said. “She’s a very forward filly and she’s a very smart filly. She seems to be the complete package. She’s got brains and she’s got talent. She’s been a really nice filly to have.”

Among the rivals for Lady Shipman are a pair of fillies from trainer Derek Ryan, Metro Thoroughbreds’ Irish Jasper and Judy Sessa’s Wildy Good Lookin. Irish Jasper won three of four starts at two, capping her season with a half-length victory in the Gasparilla Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

Stretched out to a mile and 40 yards for her 3-year-old debut, Irish Jasper lost all chance when bothered at the start of Tampa’s Suncoast Stakes Jan. 31 and wound up eighth of nine. The Stormy Blues will be her first try on turf.

“She got wiped out coming out of the gate. There was really nothing else for her after that. There was only a turf race going long, and I don’t know that she wants to go long,” Ryan said. “She got bashed up a little bit in that route race. Coming out of the gate, a horse on her outside bashed into her and she came away with a few scrapes and cuts but she’s doing good. She needs to run and if we’re going to try turf, now’s as good a time as any.”

Wildly Good Lookin has never been worse than third in five lifetime starts, all last year, capping her season with a maiden victory Oct. 10 at the Meadowlands in her first try on grass. She has been training forwardly in Florida for her sophomore debut.

“I wouldn’t throw her out of it. She’s been working awfully good down there,” Ryan said. “She’s a nice filly. Even though she’s run mostly on the dirt, she’s by a nice sire (Wildcat Heir) and she’s out of a really good mare (Realgoodlookin). We just wanted to give her some time and get her ready for the summer and she’s been working lights out. I expect her to run pretty good.”

Rounding out the field are Colleen Stakes winner Harlan’s Honor; Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes winner Spotted Heart; multiple stakes-placed Comforter; and Justlookatmenow, Streamsong, Stormalina and Regina Christina.