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Beyond The Wire Stakes 2024 | Laurel Park Picks
Aoife's Magic (Ryan Denver / Equi-Photo)

Beyond The Wire Stakes 2024 | Laurel Park Picks

A & J Racing Stable’s Aoife’s Magic, a two-time Pennsylvania-bred stakes winner who lost for the first time in her 3-year-old season opener three weeks ago, is set to make her Maryland debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Beyond the Wire Stakes at Laurel Park Racing.

Following the one-mile Beyond the Wire in the Laurel series for 3-year-old fillies is the $100,000 Weber City Miss going 1 1/16 miles April 20, a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan (G2), celebrating its 100th anniversary May 17 at Pimlico.

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The Beyond the Wire was not in the initial plans for Aoife’s Magic following her fourth-place finish in the Busher Invitational March 2, contested through driving rain and a sloppy main track at Aqueduct.

The chestnut filly had won her first four starts by 22 ¼ combined lengths, three on off tracks, including stakes wins in the 6 ½-furlong Imply and one-mile, 70-yard Miss Behaviour at Parx.

“I really wasn’t looking at it before because I thought it was a little close off the other race, but she seemed to come out of it so good and she’s ready to do something,” trainer David Dotolo said. “So, I figured let’s give her a shot in this one. It’s a good distance, it’s not a big field, and we’ll see what she can do.”

Aoife (pronounced ee-fuh) is an Irish word meaning “beautiful, joyful, radiant.” Aoife’s Magic is a daughter of Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness (G1) winner Smarty Jones and granddaughter of Belmont (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Drosselmeyer.

“My wife is Irish and she thought Aoife was a beautiful name. Aoife was taken so we added the magic to it, and as it’s worked out she’s a very nice little mare,” Dotolo said. “The gentleman that broke her for me down in Florida at Best A Luck Farm said ‘You’re going to have a lot of fun with this filly. She can run.’ The first time I ever breezed her she went in 35 and 1 for a 2-year-old. She always showed a whole lot of promise.”

Dotolo was not discouraged by the performance of Aoife’s Magic in the one-mile Busher, where she was sent off at odds of 16-1 in her second try against open company and first outside of Pennsylvania. The winner, Jody’s Pride, won the Matron and was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last year.

“I thought she ran very well in New York last time. It was raining so hard that day,” he said. “Everybody thinks she loves the slop. She really doesn’t. The jockey came back and said she just couldn’t handle the track. She was spinning in the beginning. She just couldn’t get hold of it, but she was still trying pretty hard to get to where she was. That’s why I decided to try her here instead of going back to New York and running a mile and an eighth. That’s a little too much.”

Regular rider Wilfred Vasquez will be aboard Aoife’s Magic from Post 4 in a field of six at Laurel. She will carry topweight of 124 pounds, six more than each of their rivals, and also carried 125 pounds in the Miss Behaviour, a two-turn race.

“I think she’ll go all day long. She proved it that day when she carried a buck and a quarter. It’s a lot of weight for a little filly to carry, and a 2-year-old filly, no less,” Dotolo said. “She won in hand that day. She just seems to do whatever you ask her to do, and that’s not easy to find in a horse.”

Exiting the Wide Country are runner-up Determined Driver and Kissedbyanangel, respectively second and sixth.

D Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Determined Driver, also second in the Timonium Juvenile last summer, was beaten less than a length by multiple stakes winner Miss Harriett.

“She’s a very tactical filly and seems to be very content to do whatever you need or want her to do. I guess that’s an advantage with any racehorse. She’s not one way. She seems to have a ton of heart and that’s a huge part of the equation,” trainer Phil Schoenthal said. “I think there’s still some question in our minds if she’s better on the dirt or the turf, but turf opportunities are limited until April or May so here we are.”

Joanne Shankle-owned and trained Kissedbyanangel pressed Miss Harriett for a half-mile before fading in the Wide Country here at Laurel.

In prior dirt stakes attempts, she won the seven-furlong Maryland Juvenile Filly in front-running fashion and was third in the Maryland Million Lassie at Laurel, and third in the Jan. 7 Glitter Woman at Gulfstream Park.

Completing the field are:

  • Go Sherry Go, third or better in five of eight career starts
  • Kiss for Luck, most recently second in the one-mile, 70-yard Main Line March 5 at Parx
  • Patricia Ann, a last-out maiden special weight winner going one mile Feb. 24 at Aqueduct