By Laurel Press Staff — After Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful capped her juvenile season with back-to-back stakes wins, her connections planned to ease the promising 3-year-old filly into her sophomore season.
While those plans have changed somewhat with the temporary pause of live racing in Maryland, Laurel Park-based trainer Brittany Russell said the extra time could actually prove to be favorable in the long run.
“I think with a horse like her, time always is beneficial. Some of the races you kind of hope she’s hanging around for later in the year,” Russell said. “She’s just training along and happy right now and we’re not pushing her to be racing, which we never have anyway, to be fair.
“She’s always gotten what she needs. You’re hoping that she’s just getting better as the year goes on. With her, she was going to be ready but it’s not the end of the world, either.”
Hello Beautiful, a daughter of two-time Grade 3 winner Golden Lad bred in Maryland by Ellen Charles’ Hillwood Stable, captured the six-furlong Maryland Million Lassie by 3 ¾ lengths Oct. 19 and followed up with an 11 ¾-length romp in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Dec.7, contested at seven furlongs.
After getting 45 days off in Ocala, Fla. before resuming light training prior to her return to Maryland, Hello Beautiful began working regularly Feb. 21 at Laurel and has had six breezes, the most recent a half-mile move in 49.20 seconds April 5.
The connections thought highly enough of Hello Beautiful to make the Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3), currently scheduled for May 15 at Pimlico Race Course, an early target.
Originally purchased by Russell for just $6,500 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic mixed sale in December 2018 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Hello Beautiful was sold privately after breaking her maiden third time out but remained with Russell. She owns three wins, two seconds and a third with $166,558 in purse earnings from six starts.
“She’s probably going to work a bit more forwardly just because she wasn’t ready to run yet,” Russell said. “I’m going to keep Hello Beautiful on, like, a 10-day schedule. She’s more or less ready; it’s just kind of about maintaining now what we’ve accomplished.”
Russell also has a promising 3-year-old in Cash is King, D.J. Stable and LC Racing’s Mine Not Mine, third last out in the Private Terms March 14. Also by Golden Lad, he ran second in the Miracle Wood Feb. 15 to open 2020 and finished fourth in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity in December, after which he was purchased privately.
“Mine Not Mine is obviously fit because he just ran, so he won’t be on the work tab until we know what’s going to happen,” Russell said. “He ran in those two races and we kind of took our time after we bought him, anyway. He’s a big, immature horse and those guys are really patient, so the time with him is probably going to be the best thing long-term.
“They’re both doing well. They’re both happy,” she added. “It’s absolutely up in the air. The stakes schedule, we’re all just kind of sitting tight to see what happens. There could be a lot of changes through the summer.”
Overall, Russell and her colleagues on the backstretch have had to change they approach daily training.
“You back off the horses that are fit, naturally, and I think we’re all kind of at a point, too, with some young horses and some turf horses that just kind of came back into the barn the last few weeks so they’re going to kind of stay on a schedule and hopefully they’ll all be ready to go when we’re racing again,” Russell said.
“You just get it done. I think the big thing for me is, I have a really good staff. I love the guys that work for me. My goal is just to keep everybody employed,” she added.
“I know we’re not making extra money with purse money and things like that, but I’m lucky to have good clients that pay their bills so at least I can keep my payroll going through this and, of course, keeping the horses healthy and training and happy is important. Nothing gets done without my guys in the barn.”