Sent to post as the second choice in the field of five fillies and mares, Lacie Slew carried Joe Rocco, Jr. to a one length victory in 1:50.98 for the nine furlong distance contested over the fast main track. Baltimore Belle, third choice in the wagering, finished a game second and front runner Pilot Point Lady held on to finish third. Odds on favorite Acting Happy, from the powerful Rick Dutrow barn, pressed the action but gave way through the lane and finished fourth.
“I had so much horse when I wheeled her out she exploded for me,” Rocco said. “There wasn’t enough room so we had to swing her out. I wanted to stay behind Dutrow’s horse. I thought she was the one to beat but she kind of fizzled out in front of me. My horse ran really well. It didn’t matter that we had to swing out wide.”
Rocco, the son of former Maryland mainstay Joe Rocco, Sr., was a regular jockey in Maryland during much of his 13-year career but is riding at Gulfstream Park this winter. The 29-year-old ranks eighth in the current standings at Gulfstream.
“I am really happy how my career has progressed,” added Rocco, who won a career-best 138 races a year ago. “I am trying to get to the next level and it looks like it is moving in the right direction. I am excited about the opportunity to break into higher profile clientele which will help me in the future.”
Lacie Slew, who paid $5.20, has been wintering in Florida, racing one time and finishing third in December. Previously, The daughter of Mineshaft had finished third in the Lady Secret Stakes at Monmouth Park and second in the Sightseek Stakes at Saratoga last summer. The 6-year-old is now seven of 25 lifetime, with 15 on the board finishes, with earnings of $252,142.
Prior to the race, the Maryland Racing Media Association honored Eighttofasttocatch as the 2011 Maryland-based Horse of the Year. Trained by Tim Keefe at Laurel Park, the son of Not For Love won five of 10 starts as a 5-year-old, including four stakes on his home track. He is expected to make his 2012 debut in the $200,000 General George Handicap (G2) here Monday, February 20.