02/23/2013 4:25PM

Laurel: Moon Philly much the best in Maryland Racing Media

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Moon Philly, ridden by Jeremy Rose, collects her second straight stakes victory in the Maryland Racing Media.

What looked like two favorites who were hard to separate became a clear-cut choice when trainer Tony Dutrow scratched his New York-based mare Twice the Lady from Saturday’s $75,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes at Laurel Park.

As a result, Moon Philly obviously was the best horse on paper. Bet down to 1-5 odds, she proceeded to turn the 1 1/8-mile stakes for fillies and mares into a paid workout. The 4-year-old Moon Philly, prompting a slow pace set by Touch the Birds, took command approaching the top of the stretch and cruised to her second straight stakes victory in Maryland.

Ridden by Jeremy Rose for trainer Mike Trombetta, Moon Philly ($2.40) completed the distance in 1:54.57 while crossing the wire 9 1/4 lengths in front of Access to Charlie.  It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Touch the Birds in third among a field reduced to six runners by the scratches of 9-5 morning-line second choice Twice the Lady and 9-2 third choice Withgreatpleasure.

A 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon owned by Country Life Farm, Moon Philly stayed in close pursuit as Touch the Birds, under Forrest Boyce, set leisurely fractions of 25.60 and 50.16 seconds on a track rated good. Rose sent Moon Philly up to challenge and his filly took the lead with about five-sixteenths remaining. Moon Philly was clear coming into the stretch and never threatened as she rolled to her sixth win in 14 lifetime starts. She previously won the Nellie Morse going 1 1/16 miles by 3 1/4 lengths on Jan. 26.

“The last two races kind of came exactly the way we wanted to,” Rose said. “The last two starts, all I did was stay out of her way. She does her thing. She’s very easy to ride. As you can see, she’s tactical. I wanted to stay close to the 6 [Touch the Birds] and I really didn’t care how slow she went just as long as we were close.”

Mike Trombetta said Moon Philly, who has now won four of her last six races, will probably not run again until Pimlico's spring meet begins in early April.

“She’s kind of hit another gear since we started running her a mile or further,” said Trombetta. “She’s been ultra consistent. For a young horse that has a lot of time in front of her, we couldn’t be any happier."