Her career didn’t get under way until the first week of January, but so far Jenda’s Agenda has done nothing wrong. The undefeated filly will look to stretch her speed and talent even further in Saturday’s $125,000 Weber City Miss at Laurel Park.
The Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies at about 1 1/16 miles is one of five stakes worth $475,000 in purses on the xx-race program. For the second straight year, it is a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 19 at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Highlighting Saturday’s card is the $125,000 Federico Tesio for 3-year-olds, a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the $1.5 million Preakness (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 20 at Pimlico. Also on tap are the $75,000 Primonetta for female sprinters 3 and up on the main track and the $75,000 Henry S. Clark and $75,000 Dahlia at one mile on Laurel’s world-class turf course.
Bred by trainer Larry Jones and his wife, Cindy, who sold an ownership share to Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms following her Jan. 7 unveiling, Jenda’s Agenda is three-for-three in her young career. She opened with a pair of wins at the Fair Grounds over the winter and followed up with a two-length triumph in the one-mile Caesar’s Wish March 18 at Laurel, her stakes debut.
Making her win even more impressive was the fact that Jenda’s Agenda was unable to train much for the race, having been mostly confined to the barn due to cold temperatures that greeted Jones’ stable on its return to Delaware Park from New Orleans.
“She ran very, very well. The thing about that race, I was just awful proud of surviving it. We had shipped her out of New Orleans and that filly had only been able to go to the track one day out of 12,” Jones said. “She had been hung in the barn just having to shed row for that, so I was just awful proud to get out of that race in one piece and with a victory.
“She’s done well. We’ve had five weeks now to kind of get prepared for this so we think we got her back up and ready to go,” he added. “Any time you trade tracks you do all kinds of things and you just can’t really get into full mode of training for a little while. We’re happy right now. She had a really good breeze the other day and all is good.”
Current winter-spring meet-leading rider Trevor McCarthy replaces regular rider Gabriel Saez aboard Jenda’s Agenda, who has led at nearly every call through her first three races, though Jones said it has been more a matter of circumstance than necessity.
“She’s just fast. Actually in [the last race] we were third there for a little while until Gabriel kind of tucked over behind them and came on up in there,” Jones said. “He had an opportunity to get up between horses and kind of split, when he saw it was going to get tight when the outside horse started easing down to crowd her and race-ride her a little bit. He just let her out a notch to get out of any trouble. She’ll do whatever you tell her to. This filly is pretty push-button. So far she’s answered all the questions that we’ve asked of her.”
Two of the three horses that faced Jenda’s Agenda in the Caesar’s Wish, Forever Liesl and Star Super, return in the Weber City Miss. Kallenberg Farms’ Forever Liesl is making her fourth straight start at Laurel, having broken her maiden Dec. 31 and running third in the seven-furlong Wide Country Feb. 18 prior to her runner-up finish in the Caesar’s Wish.
Equine Prep’s Star Super is the most experienced filly in the Weber City Miss with eight previous starts, the last six of them in stakes, winning the Marshua Jan. 21 and finishing second in the Gin Talking and Smart Halo, all at Laurel, and third in the Sorority last fall at Monmouth Park.
“When you have a 3-year-old filly like that that’s got some experience it’s definitely an advantage. She’s plenty fit and she’s been to battle a few times and I think that always helps,” trainer Cal Lynch said. “She’s been training great and she just had a beautiful work here [Tuesday] morning and did everything well within herself. We’re cautiously optimistic she’ll run well.”
Unlike the Caesar’s Wish, where he directed McCarthy to keep Star Super off the pace, Lynch said he will give jockey Sheldon Russell the green light to ride the Weber City Miss as it comes up.
“It was her first time going a mile, for me anyway, and she’s a free-running filly. We probably would have been better off leaving her alone and letting her go along instead of trying to make her rate,” Lynch said. “We’ll probably let her be a little happier and do what she wants to do. She’s not one that wants to be told what to do all the time.
“She just wants to be left alone and do her own thing and we tried to make her sit in behind and the pace scenario with a small field like that. It ended up where everybody wanted to do the same thing,” he added. “We’ll kind of let her go along a little happier this time and let her dictate whatever she wants to do and hope for a better outcome.”
Sumaya U.S. Stable’s Lights of Medina, an impressive maiden winner at Laurel March 25, is entered to make her stakes debut in the Weber City Miss. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she was heavily favored last time out in a one-mile maiden special weight, her fourth start and first at Laurel.
“We were pleased with it. She’s a filly that we’ve always felt like had some real potential, and it was just a matter of kind of getting her stretched out a little bit. I think eventually down the road she’s a filly that will appreciate plenty of distance,” Pletcher said. “It’s a little bit of a step up going from a maiden to a stake but she’s got a pretty good foundation of races underneath her for that.
“It seems like plenty of horses go there and run well over it the first time,” he added. “I think in her case having the race over the track there does help and put her into a position to move up into a stakes race.”
George H. Hall’s maiden winner Frank’s Folly, fourth in the one-mile, 70-yard Busanda Jan. 15 at Aqueduct in her only previous stakes try, completes the field.
Multiple Stakes Winner Lovable Lady Makes Return in $75,000 Primonetta
Lovable Lady, a multiple stakes winner that has finished worse than third just twice in 18 career starts, returns from a brief freshening in the $75,000 Primonetta at six furlongs.
Last summer Lovable Lady reeled off three consecutive wins for trainer Mary Eppler, including victories in the Jameela on turf and the Politely on a sloppy, sealed main track, both at the Primonetta distance.
Third by a half-length as the favorite in the Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 22, she bounced back from a troubled trip in the one-mile Geisha to roll by 4 ½ lengths in the six-furlong Willa On the Move to cap her 5-year-old season.
In her lone start this year, Lovable Lady was third, beaten 1 ½ lengths by Primonetta rival Sweet On Smokey, in the What A Summer Stakes Jan. 17 at Laurel, also at six furlongs.
“She’s real good. She only had three or four weeks off. The only races at the time for her were both going seven-eighths, and she doesn’t like that so there was no point to it,” Eppler said. “She had a little bit of time off but she did train during the time off, it was just on the farm and in the water.”
Lovable Lady has worked twice at Pimlico for her return, going five furlongs in 1:03.40 April 6 and a half-mile in 49.20 seconds April 15.
“You have to see her,” Eppler said. “She’s not the easiest one to train, not the prettiest one to work, but she did it good. If you saw her in the morning and then in the afternoon, she’s two different horses.”
Regular rider Horacio Karamanos will be aboard from Post 7 of nine at 118 pounds.
Panic Stable’s Bodacious Babe, winner of the Margate Stakes Dec. 26 at Gulfstream Park, will make her Laurel debut in the Priomonetta for trainer Jane Cibelli. A dark bay or brown daughter of Mineshaft, she was most recently seen finishing by a length in the White Pearl Stakes Feb. 18, also at Gulfstream.
In between, Bodacious Babe was fourth behind a trio of graded stakes winners – Curlin’s Approval, Genre and Distinta – in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) to open her 4-year-old season, beaten four lengths. Her stablemate, Rose Brier, is set to defend his title in the Henry S. Clark.
“She won the restricted race and it’s a major step up from that to her next race because she went up against older horses in graded company. Being at Gulfstream you’re going against the best horses in the country and it was just hard for her to beat those horses,” Cibelli said. “We decided instead of just beating her up to just give her some time. We did not turn her out, we kept her in training but we didn’t beat up on her.
“We always had this race on our radar, really,” she added. “It’s the same owner [as Rose Brier] so we said, ‘Let’s just put her on the same van and take a shot,’ and that’s what we did. We’ll see. She still has to prove herself against older horses, older seasoned sprint mares, but she is a very nice horse no doubt about that. I think if we pick our spots she should be pretty effective.”
Winter-spring meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez has a pair of starters with Sweet On Smokey and Next Best Thing. BB Horses’ Sweet On Smokey was most recently sixth at 59-1 in the Barbara Fritchie (G2) Feb. 18 following her What a Summer victory, while MCA Racing Stable’s Next Best Thing takes a two-race win streak into the Primonetta, including the Conniver Stakes March 18.
Completing the field are stakes winners Absatootly and Appealing Maggie; Grade 3-placed Stormy Sky, racing for the first time since August; and Decoratedwithstyle and Maziette.
Source: Maryland Jockey Club