BALTIMORE, 03-31-12---Sneaky Lil was a $7,500 claimer two weeks ago but a stakes winner today after whipping seven filly and mare rivals in the $50,000 Shine Again Stakes, the feature on opening Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

Sneaky Lil, who paid $14.20, carried Abel Castellano to victory in 1:47 for the 1-1/16th mile distance. Trainer Jamie Ness claimed the daughter of 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze out of her most recent start at Laurel Park.

Sneaky Lil was next to last after the break and wide most of the trip before going on the attack entering the far turn. The six year old mare wrested command at the top of the lane and was able to withstand a late assault from All About Her when she re-rallied and drew away to win by four lengths. Touch the Birds, the betting favorite, finished third.

“I started letting her go at the half-mile pole and we were clear on the outside,” Castellano said. “I was worried about Over the Moon (the morning line favorite) who was behind us but didn’t keep up with us. Then I set my sights on the Grove horse (Touch the Birds), who was inside of us and getting a terrific trip. But my horse responded and kept going.”

The six-year-old mare improves her career record to six wins and 22 on the board finishes in 31 starts with earnings of $160,450.

Castellano and Ness have teamed up for three victories in the first two days of the spring stand, also winning Friday’s ninth race with Frontier Warrior and this afternoon’s seventh with Regal Nurse.

The 28-year-old jockey had a riding triple this afternoon and has five winners from 11 mounts to start the meet.


Trainer Hugh McMahon saddled back-to-back winners on the Saturday card, his second multiple win day at Pimlico Race Course. McMahon visited the winners’ circle with Candy Games ($3.60-third) and Thatsallshewrote ($10.60-fourth). He is 4-for-7 after the first two days of the spring meeting. McMahon, who won a career-best 98 races in 2011, is 31-of-120 this year.

Trainer Howard Wolfendale and owner Robert Cole also took a pair of races this afternoon, scoring with Crack Thepat ($4.60-second) and Pennies Appeal ($5.20-sixth). The duo just missed out on a third victory when hard-charging Carrietta finished just a nose behind 1-2 shot Regal Nurse in the eighth race. It was the seventh straight score for Regal Nurse.