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Maturing Little Bit of That Ready for Stakes Debut Saturday
3YO Filly Facing Six Maryland-Bred Rivals in $75,000 Miss Disco
Five Stakes, Crab Feast, Gift Card Giveaways, Dunk Tank on Tap
BALTIMORE – For better or worse, Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds homebred Little Bit of That will always hold a unique place on the roster of horses rising star Brittany Russell has trained since launching her solo career four years ago.
What started out as worse has gotten progressively better for Little Bit of That, a daughter of Great Notion that is entered to make her stakes debut Saturday in the $75,000 Miss Disco for 3-year-old Maryland-bred/sired fillies sprinting seven furlongs at Laurel Park.
In all, five stakes worth $400,000 in purses help comprise Saturday’s 10-race program, anchored by the $100,000 Deputed Testamony for 3-year-olds and up. Also among the day’s festivities are an all-you-can-eat crab feast, five $100 VISA gift card giveaways and a jockey dunk tank to raise money for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.
Little Bit of That got an inauspicious start to her career when she reared going out on the track for what was supposed to be her debut last Sept. 9 at Laurel. Russell’s husband, champion jockey Sheldon Russell, was unseated and injured in the incident and wound up going 296 days between races before returning July 1.
“I do like her. We always thought there was a little something there. She’s a bit of a little troublemaker. Obviously we know what her past looks like, but she always worked well,” Brittany Russell said. “There was a reason Sheldon wanted to ride her first time out. We thought the filly had some ability.”
Forest Boyce has been Little Bit of That’s regular rider, aboard for her delayed debut last Sept. 16 when she ran seventh on the turf. Moved to the dirt, Little Bit of That broke her maiden by nearly six lengths second time out going six furlongs in what would be her 2-year-old finale.
Little Bit of That made her 2022 debut in a 5 ½-furlong restricted allowance May 8, going all the way on the lead to win by 3 ½ lengths. The victory came over older horses on Mother’s Day and helped Russell, a mom of two, clinch Laurel’s spring meet training title and become just the fourth female to lead the standings in Maryland.
“It’s so unfortunate. I wouldn’t call her a sweet filly to work around; she’s a tough chick, but she’s also not a bad filly. She doesn’t do bad things in the morning,” Russell said. “She likes to train and she goes out and does her job. We’ll always handle her with care just because we know she’s capable, but to be fair she’s not a bad filly to have around.”
Little Bit of That and Boyce drew Post 2 and are 8-1 on the morning line for the Miss Disco, which drew a field of seven including her Russell-trained stablemate Royal Whisper and Grade 1-placed Divine Huntress, the 7-5 program favorite.
In her most recent start, Little Bit of That came up a nose short of extending her win streak to three races when she got caught at the wire after setting the pace in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance May 27 over a sloppy track at historic Pimlico Race Course May 27. Sweet Gracie, who beat her that day but has lost twice since, will break from Post 1 in the Miss Disco.
“It was a tough beat. It was a wet racetrack that day and I didn’t think she’d mind, but looking back maybe it’s not her favorite surface going forward,” Russell said. “She certainly didn’t run poorly on it, by any means.
“But, I also ran her back really quick off some time off. The race came up and I was kind of back and forth about it, and she looked really tough [in there] so it looked like a good thing,” she added. “I think now that we’ve given her a chance to breathe since, she got to regroup and she’s put in a couple of good works and I feel pretty good about where she is now.”
Russell said Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ 5-year-old Grade 3 winner Wondrwherecraigis exited his runner-up finish to Beren in the July 16 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash in good order and the connections have yet to decide on a next spot. The De Francis was the first race for Wondrwherecraigis following his trip to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen (G1) March 26.
“Craig’s awesome,” Russell said. “Sheldon’s been on him and his exercise rider Amanda’s been on him and they both made the comment that he seems like he came out better than he went in probably. He’s moving great and he’s really happy, so maybe just getting him back to the races was just what he needed. We’re proud of him. There’s nothing to be unhappy about there. He has plenty of good races left in him.”
Madaket Stables, Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber and BTR Racing, Inc.’s Whereshetoldmetogo returned to the work tab July 27 with a bullet half-mile move in 49 seconds at Laurel. It was the first breeze for the 7-year-old gelding since extending his win streak to three races in the Alapocas Run July 2 at Delaware Park – his 16th career victory and 12th in a stakes.
Whereshetoldmetogo is being pointed to a title defense in the $100,000 New Castle Sept. 28 at Delaware, but Russell was unsure if he would get a prep or train into the race.
“He’s just sort of hanging out right now,” Russell said. “It’s tough because he’s an open allowance [horse], but I don’t know if those races will go. There’s a chance we might see him before that, it just depends on what goes.”
Notes: Jockey Horacio Karamanos doubled Friday aboard Dr Rags ($19) in Race 3 and Polish Cookie ($9) in Race 5 … Ten-pound apprentice Walter Rodriguez also won twice, with Fast Loaded ($7.80) in Race 4 and Maid the Journey ($78.20) in Race 7, as did five-pound apprentice Yan Aviles on Claire’s Darling ($3.40) in Race 6 and Utterly Courageous ($14.60) in Race 9 … Matt Spencer, Kelly Jo Cox and Bonnuccelli Racing’s Ain’t Da Beer Cold ($15.20) swept past 6-5 favorite Big Lake in mid-stretch and turned back Crouchelli’s late run to capture Friday’s featured Race 8, a second-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up, in 1:44.95 for 1 1/16 miles … There will be a carryover of $14,528.14 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 5-10) for Saturday’s program that begins at 12:40 p.m. Tickets with five of six winners Friday were each worth $124.02.