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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Laurel Park Press Staff – While the traffic was typical on the roughly 11-hour van ride from Maryland to Kentucky, the trip Hello Beautiful got in the first start outside her home state was not. Having emerged none the worse for wear, trainer Brittany Russell won’t hesitate to bring the multiple stakes-winning filly on the road again.

            Russell said Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stable and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful was doing well following the Aug. 9 Audubon Oaks at Ellis Park. Sent off as the 2-1 favorite, she got sideswiped out of the starting gate when Misty Blue broke inward, rushed up to mid-pack along the rail and tired to be last in the field of 11 under first-time rider Julien Leparoux.

            “It was a long trip to see that happen, but luckily she’s all right. That’s the main thing,” Russell said. “It was absolutely brutal. You hate it because then she kind of runs up in there and she’s kind of on heels the whole way. It was just not a good experience. I felt pretty bad for her.

            “After all that happened, she kind of ran up in there and then it was like [Leparoux] sort of just galloped her around. It wasn’t like she even ran,” she added. “It was probably best that that happened anyway, he didn’t beat her up and hopefully we can kind of run her back a little sooner than we were expecting.”

            Russell mentioned the seven-furlong Charles Town Oaks (G3) Aug. 28 at Charles Town and the six-furlong Prioress (G2) Sept. 5 at Saratoga, both restricted to 3-year-old fillies, as possible landing spots for Hello Beautiful. Winner of the Maryland Million Lassie and Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship last fall, she has yet to make her graded-stakes debut.

            “We’re just kind of trying to see who goes to those places. We thought we’d give Charles Town a try, but you don’t really know. Yes, she has speed but if that happens at Charles Town, we’re going to be in the same boat if she doesn’t come away from there good,” she said. “The Prioress kind of looks appealing. It’s three-quarters and hopefully it’s a shorter field with timing and things, so we’ll sort of just see how it plays out.”

            With Hello Beautiful shuffled near the back of the pack, Mundaye Call was left alone on the lead in the Audubon Oaks and hit the wire in 1:21.17. She is trained by Brad Cox, for whom Russell once worked before going out on her own.

            “[Cox] said he wasn’t expecting that setup at all. But, that’s why you’ve got to take shots because anything can happen. His filly got the trip that day, she looked like a star and she ran huge. She deserved it,” Russell said.

“It’s just bad racing luck. Who knows. Everything happens for a reason. It’s kind of a weird thing to think, because you never want to see that happen, but maybe something better happens next time. We’ll just be optimistic.”

            Prior to making the trip to Kentucky, Russell did send out her first career winner at Saratoga, King’s Honor, in an Aug. 6 claimer, and saw Adelaide Miss capture an Aug. 10 maiden special weight at Colonial Downs upon her return.

            “We got the win at Saratoga, thank goodness,” she said. “We had a winner at Colonial on the Monday night after we got back, and we needed that after the weekend.”

            Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, has been sidelined since breaking his right wrist in a July 15 gate mishap at Delaware Park and is scheduled to visit the doctor for a follow-up appointment Aug. 27. He was leading Laurel Park’s summer meet standings at the time of his injury.

            “He’s doing well,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll have some good news. We’re pretty anxious to hear maybe that he can start doing a little bit more. I’ll be happy to put him on some gallopers as soon as he gets clearance.”

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