03/05/2011 5:34PM

Laurel: Red's Round Table takes fourth straight stakes in Wide Country

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Sheldon Russell guides Red's Round Table to her fourth straight stakes victory in the Wide Country.

Red’s Round Table had to work a lot harder than she did in last month’s Marshua Stakes, but the 3-year-old filly still got the job done to record her fourth consecutive stakes victory in Saturday’s $52,250 Wide Country Stakes at Laurel Park.

Racing beyond six furlongs for the first time, Red’s Round Table ($3.20) went straight to the front under Sheldon Russell and opened up by as many as 4 1/2 lengths while completing a half-mile in 46.86 seconds.

Sweet Susan, beaten six lengths by Red’s Round Table as the third-place finisher in the Feb. 5 Marshua, cut into the deficit during the stretch run and mounted a stiff challenge under Malcolm Franklin, but got no closer than the final margin of a three-quarters of a length at the wire. Heather, who finished second behind Red’s Round Table in the Marshua, rallied from fifth to get third, 5 ¼ lengths behind Sweet Susan, as the 4-1 second choice in a field reduced to seven runners and six betting interests by two scratches.

In winning for the sixth time in seven starts, Red’s Round Table covered the seven furlongs in 1:25.99.

“I couldn’t have asked her to work any harder,” said Resell, 23, who has been aboard for the two most recent wins by Red’s Round Table. “We were a bit worried about the distance but she showed she could do it.”

“She tries as hard as she can every time,” said Tim Keefe, who trains Red’s Round Table for owner Arnold Heft, a former NBA referee and one-time co-owner of the Baltimore Bullets. “She didn’t win as easily as last time, but she still won.”

Keefe's best horse in recent years was the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Celtic Innis, who earned $648,638.

best known for conditioning the recently retired Celtic Innis ($648,638 in earnings), a multiple stakes winning sprinter. In some ways, Keefe says Red's Round Table resembles Celtic Innis.

 

"The filly looks like a sprinter and runs like a sprinter," Keefe said. "I had Celtic Innis for six years and was always asked why I wasn’t stretching him out but it was working going short. She is gutsy and wants to win. The only other horse I had like that was Celtic.”

Keefe indicated the ultimate goal for Red’s Round Table is the $75,000 Miss Preakness Stakes, a six-furlong race at Pimlico on Black-Eyed Susan Day (May 20).