12/10/2016 4:55PM

Lovable Lady regains form in Willa On the Move

Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Lovable Lady, with Horatio Karamanos aboard, upsets the Willa On the Move by 4 1/2 lengths.

Lovable Lady couldn’t hold a 1 1/2-length lead in the final furlong as the 4-5 favorite in the Maryland Million Distaff Handicap two starts ago. She did far worse when asked to run a mile for the first time in the Geisha, beaten 19 1/2 lengths while 11th of 12 as the lukewarm 3-1 public choice.

But back at her best distance of six furlongs for Saturday’s $100,000 Willa On the Move Stakes at Laurel Park, the 6-year-old Lovable Lady regained her good form.

Lovable Lady and regular rider Horatio Karamanos blew past 2-5 favorite Hot City Girl in the stretch and won for fun in one of four stakes on the program.

"She didn’t decide to run last time, but today she was running,”  Karamanos said. “She broke out of the gate and I tried to stay behind the speed a little but I couldn’t hold her. At the three-eighths pole she decided to go and I let her pick it up. I never asked her."

New York-based Hot City Girl, a Grade 3 winner making her first start since winning a $100,000 stakes for New York-breds in mid-August at Saratoga, outsprinted Lovable Lady for the early lead and was in front by two lengths after an opening quarter-mile in 22.28 seconds. Lovable Ladymoved up to challenge and put her head in front of Hot City Girl after a half in 45.46, took command at the top of the stretch, and scored by 4 1/2 lengths. The winning time was 1:09.56.

Churchill Downs shipper Athena finished second at 5-1. Hot City Girl faded badly to third, 2 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

Lovable Lady, a daughter of Not For Love trained by Mary Eppler for the Samuel H. Rogers Jr. Trust, won the restricted Politely over a sloppy track the last time she raced six furlongs. Overall, she is 7 for 17 with earnings of $334,145.

"She just didn’t want the mile [last time] and she just got so rank in the middle of the race, he fought her and she gave up,” Eppler said.

Crabcakes scores on short rest in Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship

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Crabcakes, wheeling back a week after easily winning her career debut against open company at Penn National, captured the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.

Favored against seven other Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired 2-year-old fillies, Crabcakes ($6.60) sat fourth behind a three-way battle for the lead through an opening quarter-mile in 23.18 seconds. She moved up to second, a half-length behind New York shipper Fear No Evil, after a half-mile in 46.50. Under Angel Rodriguez, Crabcakes led by a length after six furlongs in 1:11.23, and completed seven furlongs in 1:23.95 while finishing 1 1/4 lengths ahead of 7-2 third choice Lucky in Malibu. It was another length back to Fear No Evil.

A daughter of Great Notion trained by Bernie Houghton, Crabcakes is owned by Buckingham Farm.

Just Jack pulls surprise in Howard Bender Memorial

The 3-year-old gelding Just Jack, sprinting on dirt for the first time in nine starts since May, upset the $75,000 Howard M. Bender Memorial for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired sprinters.

Just Jack ($18), ridden for the first time by Alex Cintron, ran past pacesetter Struth, who was drifting out as he tired in midstretch, and drew clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths, completing six furlongs in 1:09.53.

Final Prospect, coming off a distant fourth in the Grade 3 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash, finished second at 14-1. It was another 1 3/4 lengths to Rockinn On Bye, the 2-1 favorite.

A son of Great Notion trained by Hamilton Smith for Michael Harrison, Just Jack had raced on turf in five of his previous seven starts, including three straight races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. His only previous sprint win on dirt came when he cleared his maiden condition at Laurel in April. He is now 5 for 11 lifetime with earnings of $204,853.

Greatbullsoffire dominates Maryland Juvenile Futurity

Cintron and Smith collected their second stakes win of the day when Greatbullsoffire romped in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity for Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired 2-year-olds.

Cintron, riding Greatbullsoffire ($8.40) for the first time, sat slightly off a duel between Hatteras Bound and In Arrears through a half-mile in 46.93 seconds. As Hatteras Bound faded from contention, Greatbullsoffire mounted a challenge to In Arrears. He rolled home six lengths in front, completing seven furlongs in 1:22.85 for his fourth win in six lifetime starts.

Bonus Points, in from New York for trainer Todd Pletcher, finished second as the 5-2 second choice. In Arrears settled for third, 1 3/4 lengths behind the runner-up.

A son of Bullsbay trained by Smith for Kathleen Willier, Greatbullsoffire had won the Maryland Million Nursery two starts ago before finishing third as the even-money favorite in the Chris Elser Memorial at Parx Racing.