06/17/2017 6:17PM

Shimmering Aspen rebounds, dominates Alma North

Laurel photo
Shimmering Aspen took her first stakes victory with the Alma North.

Shimmering Aspen rebounded from her seventh-place finish in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan with a dominant 5 3/4-length victory in the $75,000 Alma North Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday.

Shimmering Aspen, a 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon who was purchased as a yearling for $200,000 by the Hillwood Stable of Ellen Charles, is now 4 for 6 in her career. She began this season with two runaway victories over optional-claiming rivals.

Charles and trainer Rodney Jenkins rolled the dice after those wins and stepped Shimmiring Aspen up in class and stretched her out around two turns in the 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan. Entering the stretch it looked like their gamble might pay off as Shimmering Aspen took the lead over the sloppy track. But she ran out of gas in the final furlong and was beaten 10 lengths.

Turned back in distance for the seven-furlong Alma North, Shimmering Aspen hooked up on the lead with longshot Crabcakes as they pulled away from the other five runners through a quarter-mile in 22.62 and a half-mile in 45.37. Shimmering Aspen put Crabcakes away on the far turn and then widened her advantage through the stretch run under jockey Steve Hamilton.

The Alma North is Hamilton's first victory since he resumed riding and returned to Maryland from Oklahoma in August, after having not ridden for almost 10 years.

"I didn’t rush her off her feet," Hamilton said. "She put us in the race early and basically I was kind of trying to slow her down and keep something to finish with.”

Shimmering Aspen paid $5.40 as the race favorite. The Alma North was her first stakes victory.

"My people did a great job after the Black-Eyed Susan," Jenkins said. "They got her confidence back."

After a brief rain shower, the race was run over a sealed track that was listed as "good." Shimmering Aspen was timed in 1:23.12 after covering six furlongs in 1:09.94.

Crabcakes held second by a half-length over Follow No One, who closed from far back. Yellow Agate, who won the Grade 1 Frizette last year and was making her first start since the Breeders' Cup, finished fourth, a neck behind Follow No One.

Yellow Agate broke sharply and settled back in third position early. She rallied three wide into the stretch but could not sustain her drive.

Astrollinthepark, who was 3-1, broke cleanly but dropped back after a quarter-mile and finished sixth.