12/26/2008 1:00AM

Queen of Song gets perfect ride in stakes win


Trainer Mark Shuman's "Plan A" for Queen of Song since her debut in September was to start her in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, with the hope that the beautifully bred daughter of Unbridled's Song would add black type to her record.

Those plans succeeded, and then some.

Queen of Song is owned by Louise Courtelis and her daughter Kiki Courtelis under the nom du course of Town and Country Farms Corp. She got her first stakes win in dramatic fashion, drawing off to a five-length score in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes at Laurel Park on Dec. 20. The victory placed Queen of Song squarely in contention for statebred divisional honors.

It took a bit of planning to come away with the stakes win, as well as a bit of luck. Undefeated Miss Charm City, the divisional leader, was withdrawn earlier in the week after suffering a suspensory injury in her left fore leg. The field trimmed down to four after the defections of two others, and Queen of Song went off as the 2-1 third choice.

Fourth to Miss Charm City in Laurel Park's Gin Talking Stakes her first time out, Queen of Song had 1 win in 4 previous starts. But Shuman had discovered a key to her running style, which he passed along to Jeremy Rose, who was riding her for the first time.

"She's kind of finicky," Shuman said. "She needs to run into the bit, and you don't want to ask her."

Queen of Song's maiden victory at Delaware Park in November came after she had been blocked during the early running. When she found room, she rallied to win by two lengths.

Rose was told to "ride as if you wanted to get third," Shuman said.

Rose rode her to perfection. Trailing in last place off soft early fractions, Rose allowed Queen of Song to pick up the pace and go after the early leaders with a four-wide move on the turn. The tall gray filly opened up through the stretch over the muddy track.

A product of Fitzhugh LLC, the immensely successful operation of longtime leading Maryland breeder Robert E. Meyerhoff, Queen of Song is the fourth Meyerhoff-bred to win in the race's 23-year history, joining Star Minister (1991), Broad Gains (1992), and Magic Broad (1998). Queen of Song is out of the Storm Cat mare Rose Queen, a half-sister to graded stakes winner Brushing Gloom, an earner of $476,600; Clash by Night, an earner of $624,194; and two stakes-placed runners.

Queen of Song was offered by Fitzhugh through the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment at the Keeneland September yearling sale but was a buy-back at $140,000. Sonny Werneth, president and CEO of Florida and Kentucky-based Town and Country Farms Corp., purchased the filly privately after the sale.

Werneth, who had seen Shuman during the days when Town and Country Farms Corp. campaigned Arabians at Delaware Park, met with the trainer through a mutual acquaintance, Ocala horseman Raul Reyes, who was breaking Queen of Song. Town and Country Farms Corp. has a small number of horses in training, and Queen of Song is the only one from the stable with Shuman.

Queen of Song's 8-year-old dam, Rose Queen, is consigned with Taylor Made Sales Agency and set to sell on the first day of Keeneland's January horses of all ages sale on Jan. 12. She is currently in foal to Include, one of Meyerhoff's most accomplished runners.

Rock Slide's first stakes winner

The 2-year-old Maryland-bred filly You Rock swept to a seven-length victory in the Eleanor M. Casey Memorial Stakes at Charles Town on Dec. 20, recording her first stakes score and becoming the first stakes winner for Rock Slide, who stands at Maryland Stallion Station in Glyndon.

You Rock was sold for the rock-bottom price of $800 as a weanling at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December mixed sale to trainer Daniel Dillow. Racing for Suzanne Dillow, You Rock was stakes-placed earlier in the year when third in the Rachel's Turn Stakes at Charles Town. She has earned $76,182 in five starts.

Regardless of her purchase price, You Rock sports a fashionable pedigree. Rock Slide, by A.P. Indy, is one of five stakes winners from five foals for broodmare of the year Prospectors Delite and is a full brother to Horse of the Year Mineshaft.

You Rock's dam is the stakes-placed Danzig mare Hamseh, a granddaughter of major producer Moss (from the family of Delta) bred by Shadwell Farm. Hamseh has had a checkered past as a producer - in 10 years, she has just four named foals. However, all have been winners, with You Rock her first stakes horse.