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BALTIMORE, MD – Her stop in Maryland already beyond the original plan, Joel Politi’s multiple stakes winner Littlestitious may wind up extending her stay a bit longer depending on how she runs in Saturday’s $125,000 Weber City Miss at Pimlico Race Course.
The 1 1/16-mile Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies serves as a co-headliner on an 11-race Spring Stakes Spectacular program featuring seven stakes worth $750,000 in purses including the $125,000 Federico Tesio, a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated 3-year-olds to the 146th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 15.
In its sixth year, the Weber City Miss is being contested for the first time at Pimlico after having its first five runnings at Laurel Park. It remains a ‘Win and In’ event for the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Preakness Eve, May 14.
Though born in Kentucky and trained by Midwest-based Tom Amoss, who winters in Louisisana, Littlestitious has called Laurel Park home since mid-March, when horses were restricted to the grounds amid an equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) quarantine that was lifted April 18.
She remained in the barn of trainer Brittany Russell.
“She was there longer than we anticipated,” Politi said. “She’s been great. Really, she just settled in there and hasn’t turned a hair. She’s been under Brittany’s care and she’s worked a bunch of times. She breezed the other day at Pimlico and did it well. All systems are go.”
Littlestitious arrived at Laurel for the March 13 Beyond the Wire, after having run fourth behind Clairiere and Travel Column in the February 13 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds. Those horses respectively rank second and sixth in points for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1), a race Politi – an orthopedic surgeon in Ohio – won in 2019 with Serengeti Empress.
“In this category I would say she fits. We ran her against the big girls over the winter and that was probably just a little too much for her,” Politi said. “She’s got a good opportunity here. It’s the right distance and I think it’s the right level for her. I think she’ll get better as she gets older, hopefully. She’s been a dream so far for us, so it’s been great.”
A 10 1/4-length winner of the My Trusty Cat at Delta Downs in December to cap her juvenile season, Littlestitious ran fifth after setting the pace in her 3-year-old opener, the one-mile, 70-yard Silverbulletday January 16 at Fair Grounds. A decided longshot in the Rachel Alexandra, she was third choice in the Beyond the Wire behind Street Lute – a winner of 5 straight stakes – and Fraudulent Charge, second to Street Lute in 2 of those races.
Fraudulent Charge put Street Lute away and appeared on the way to her first stakes victory before Littlestitious, always within striking distance just off the pace, swept past in mid-stretch to win by a 1/2-length. Street Lute was third.
“The second and third fillies in there were beating their heads together all winter there,” Politi said. “It’s hard to tell what anybody has. It’s kind of like the Derby trail or the Oaks trail when they come together. They’ve all been running in their little silos, and I think we were running in the silo of Clairiere and Travel Column, and you’d like to get out of that silo.”
In the Beyond the Wire, Littlestitious displayed a similar stalk-and-pounce tactic under jockey Sheldon Russell that she used to break her maiden going six furlongs at Keeneland last fall prior to her romp in the My Trusty Cat.
“She’s shown that in a couple of her races. The day she won at Keeneland was a very gritty, fast-closing performance,” Politi said. “The other thing I was really impressed with, which you guys get to see all the time, was the ride that Sheldon gave her. I thought that she broke really sharp and it would have been really easy just to send her because she was on the lead three steps into the race. He let her settle, let her relax and he fit her perfectly. He couldn’t have ridden her any better.”
Russell rides Littlestitious back from far outside Post 7 at 120 pounds, two fewer than stakes-winning topweight Miss Leslie.
“She’s going to run her race and I think she runs her best if she can just relax and make a run, so I don’t think we’ll change the strategy. We’ll see how it sets up,” Politi said. “She can show some speed, but I don’t think she’s one-dimensional. The day she won at Delta she was sitting right on the pace and then kind of ran away from them, but I think she’ll be happy to settle a little bit.”
Politi channeled Michael Scott of ‘The Office’ when asked what a strong showing in the Weber City Miss would mean for Littlestitious.
“I’m not superstitious. I’m a littlestitious, so I won’t talk about the next race yet,” Politi said. “I guess that will just depend on how she does.”
While Street Lute is sitting this weekend out to await the 6-furlong Miss Preakness (G3) May 14 at Pimlico, Team Gaudet and Five Hellions Farm’s Fraudulent Charge will be back for another try. A 6 1/4-length waiver maiden claiming winner on debut November 12 at Laurel, she has been beaten a total of 1 1/2 lengths in her 3 stakes seconds.
All 4 of her races at come at Laurel with jockey Johan Rosado in the irons. Rosado, engaged to trainer and co-owner Lacey Gaudet, was up for a bullet 5-furlong breeze in 1:01.20 April 19 at Pimlico.
“When you just get beat, you can’t take anything away from a horse like that. Street Lute was the only one that had beat her, and she’s an awesome filly, and then she got lucky and beat her last time,” Gaudet said. “I think everything would have to go really right for [Littlestitious] to beat her going two turns.
“[Rosado] likes to be very honest with me and he’s under the impression that this filly will absolutely relish two turns, and she’s shown every bit of that. This is what we were pointing for. It was a little tough getting to this point but I think we’re feeling a little better after her work,” she added. “She had an amazing breeze which lifted a little bit of weight off our shoulders. I worked her in company with a pretty handy horse that we have and she was impressive. Her last work before her last race was impressive, and this was maybe even a little more impressive.”
Fraudulent Charge will carry 118 pounds including Rosado from Post 2.
Magic Oaks’ Hybrid Eclipse will look to stretch her win streak to three races while making her stakes debut Saturday. New York-based trainer Linda Rice said the bay filly had been considered for the April 3 Gazelle (G2) at Aqueduct, won by Kentucky Oaks points leader Search Result.
Originally part of Laurel Park’s spring meet, the entire Spring Stakes Spectacular program was shifted to Pimlico due to ongoing evaluation and renovation of Laurel’s main track.
“Frankly we had looked at the Gazelle in New York and we opted to wait for the Weber City Miss,” Rice said. “I was excited about running her back there. She really seems to relish that track. But, we will move over to Pimlico and hopefully she will run well over that course, also.”
Winless in three starts at 2, Hybrid Eclipse broke her maiden in her sophomore debut Jan. 23 at Aqueduct. She stepped up and stretched out to about 1 1/16 miles in an entry-level optional claiming allowance Feb. 25 at Laurel, romping to a six-length victory under Horacio Karamanos, who rides back from Post 4.
“This is the next logical step for her,” Rice said. “We hope that she puts in a good showing and if things go well, maybe we’ll find ourselves in the Black-Eyed Susan.”
BB Horses’ Miss Leslie was a head winner of the about 1 1/16-mile Anne Arundel County December 26 at Laurel, her second straight win after being claimed for $25,000 by leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez. This year, the Paynter filly ran second to Street Lute in the 6-furlong Xtra Heat Jan. 16 and most recently sixth in the 7-furlong Wide Country March 13, both at Laurel.
Also entered are Exogen, beaten a head when second in the 6-furlong Cicada March 20 at Aqueduct; Moonsafe, a 15 1/4-length waiver maiden claiming winner February 27 at Laurel; and Oliviaofthedesert, the 2020 Trapeze Stakes winner trained by Ken McPeek racing at her eighth track in 10 career starts.
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