Shimmering Aspen Opens Up to Win Alma North
June 17, 2017 01:47pm
Shimmering Aspen_Alma North 2017_615x400
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

Hillwood Stable’s Shimmering Aspen returned to her winning ways in impressive fashion Saturday, shaking free of an early speed duel and opening up down the stretch to a commanding 5 ¾-length victory in the $75,000 Alma North at Laurel Park.


The seven-furlong Alma North for 3-year-old fillies was the first of 21 stakes worth $1.67 million in purses to be run during Laurel’s 33-day summer stand that opened June 9 and continues through Aug. 20.


Sent off as a narrow 8-5 favorite in a seven-horse field that included the return of Grade 1 winner Yellow Agate from a 7 ½-month layoff, Shimmering Aspen ($5.40) completed the distance in 1:23.12 over a main track labeled good following a passing late afternoon shower.


It was the first start for Shimmering Aspen following her stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 19 at historic Pimlico Race Course, where she took a short lead into the stretch before fading to seventh over a tiring sloppy and sealed track. Prior to that, the gray or roan daughter of Malibu Moon had reeled off three consecutive victories by 16 ¼ combined lengths.


“My people did a great job after the Black-Eyed Susan. They got her confidence back,” trainer Rodney Jenkins said. “Sabrina, her exercise rider, took a lot of time with her … and the whole crew. I just watched.”


It was also the first stakes victory for jockey Steve ‘Cowboy’ Hamilton since his return last summer from a 10-year retirement. Breaking from Post 2, the 43-year-old journeyman had her outside stakes winner Crabcakes as they raced through fractions of 22.62 seconds for the quarter-mile, 45.37 for the half and 1:09.94 for six furlongs.


“Mr. Jenkins and I talked it over a little bit in the paddock and we kind of knew people were going to be gunning for us a little bit. We didn’t want to change her style or tactics,” Hamilton said. “I didn’t rush her off her feet. She put us in the race early and basically I was kind of trying to slow her down and keep something to finish with, and it all worked out.”


Shimmering Aspen began to edge away after straightening for home and cruised to the wire. Crabcakes stayed up for second by a half-length over Follow No One, who closed with a flourish to edge Yellow Agate by a neck for third. China Grove, Astrollinthepark and Sine Wave completed the order of finish.


“I knew I had a lot of horse but in the same aspect this is the first stake I’ve won since I’ve been back and I wasn’t waiting around for anybody,” Hamilton said. “Thanks a lot to Mrs. [Ellen] Charles and Mr. Jenkins. She’s a nice filly and we couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”


Cheese On, Limited View Impressive in Maiden Victories


Narrow Leaf Farm’s Maryland homebred Cheese On settled in behind the first flight of horses before sweeping outside and powering down the stretch to spring a 12-1 upset in his unveiling in Saturday’s fifth race, a $40,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-olds.


Ridden by Sheldon Russell for trainer Cal Lynch, Cheese On ($26) ran five furlongs in 58.44 seconds over a fast main track. Onemoregreattime, who moved with the winner on the far turn and gave chase to mid-stretch before tiring, was second by a length with Old Time Revival third.


Dirtyfoot, favored at 3-5 in a field of nine off a second to subsequent Tremont winner He Hate Me last time out, broke sharply from his far outside post and led through an opening quarter-mile in 22.50 seconds but was unable to sustain his run and tired to fifth.


“We figured the outside horse would show a lot of speed. [Cheese On] has schooled well in the mornings behind horses so we figured he’d handle coming off the pace today,” Lynch said. “You never know what these 2-year-olds will do in the afternoon, so we’re just really pleased with what we saw today. He showed a lot of fight in the stretch.”


Two races earlier even-money favorite Limited View, trained and co-owned by John Salzman Jr., was an easy gate-to-wire winner of a $40,000 maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies, running five furlongs in a sparkling 57.95 seconds.


Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado was up on the Maryland-bred daughter of Freedom Child, making her race debut off a string of strong works at Laurel. Theodosia, second in the wagering at 3-2, chased Limited View ($4.20) through fractions of 22.80 and 45.92 seconds but was unable to keep up as the winner pulled away to a 3 ¾-length victory.

Carryovers, Father’s Day Brunch for Sunday’s Live Program

Sunday’s special 10-race Father’s Day program will include carryovers in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and $1 Super Hi-5 after both went unsolved Saturday. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.


The Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover reached $9,083.97 for Sunday’s sequence that spans Races 5-10. Tickets with five of six winners Saturday were worth $181.12.


A carryover of $9,729.47 is available in Sunday’s opener, a maiden claiming event at 1 1/16 miles over Laurel’s world-class turf course.


Laurel’s Garden Terrace will host a Father’s Day brunch from 1-5 p.m. with various starters, sides and entrees as well as carving and dessert stations. The cost is $22 per person and a gift bag will be given to the first 100 dads with purchase. For reservations call 301.725.0770.


Notes: Jockeys Sheldon Russell and Steve Hamilton each rode back-to-back winners Saturday. Russell took the fifth race with Cheese On ($26) and the sixth on Carolina Shag ($31.80) in the sixth, and Hamilton was first with Bourbon Commander ($11.20) in the eighth and Shimmering Aspen ($5.40) in the $75,000 Alma North.


Also with riding doubles were Julian Pimentel aboard Magician’squestion ($10.60) in the second and Parade of Nations ($15.60) in the seventh, and Victor Carrasco in the first with Better Way ($7.80) and 10th on Zen’s Land ($7.60).

Source: Maryland Jockey Club 


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