06/21/2017 11:56AM

Shimmering Aspen runs herself into Victory Ride

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Shimmering Aspen wins the Alma North Stakes at Laurel on Saturday.

Shimmering Aspen’s romping win in the $75,000 Alma North Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday has earned her a trip to Belmont Park, according to trainer Rodney Jenkins, who said the daughter of Malibu Moon will now be pointed to the Grade 3 Victory Ride Stakes on July 9.

The $150,000 Victory Ride is a 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies.

The seven-furlong Alma North was Shimmering Aspen’s third impressive victory of the year. The race was especially important since it was her first start since the Grade 2, 1 1/8-mile Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico, her only career off-the-board finish.

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Shimmering Aspen readily took the lead on the far turn of the Black-Eyed Susan, showed the way to the final furlong, but tired to finish seventh, beaten 10 3/4 lengths. Shimmering Aspen was making a large class jump in the race, which was held over a sloppy track after a storm moved through Baltimore an hour before post time.

The win in the Alma North was her second at seven furlongs. Shimmering Aspen is fast and hinted again Saturday that longer distances will be within her reach, but for now, Jenkins thinks it best to keep her sprinting.

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“We still have high expectations for her,” Jenkins said. “We may have rushed her a bit in the Black-Eyed Susan. We’re just going to take it one step at a time with her now and let her dictate her own future.”

Shimmering Aspen was purchased for $200,000 by the Hillwood Stable of Ellen Charles at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale at Timonium. She is out of the mare Aspenglow, a winner of 14 of 23 starts, including four stakes. Aspenglow finished second in the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie in 2011.

“We want to get more black type for her, and a graded win is important,” Jenkins said of Shimmering Aspen. “Her energy level is back since the Black-Eyed Susan, and she came out of last week’s race very well.”

Shimmering Aspen, who is now 4 for 6 in her career, prompted the early pace of the Alma North outside Crabcakes before taking control on the far turn. She widened her lead through the stretch under rider Steve Hamilton.

A rainstorm just prior to the race resulted in the track being downgraded to “good” and the race being run over a sealed surface.

Jenkins also trains the popular Maryland-bred turf runner Phlash Phelps for Hillwood. Now 6, Phlash Phelps will make his first start since last November in the $75,000 Mister Diz Stakes at Laurel Park on Saturday.

The six-furlong Mister Diz, a turf sprint for statebreds, is short for Phlash Phelps, but Jenkins has had trouble getting him into a race.

“I must have entered him seven times,” Jenkins said. “He’s not a sprinter, but I need to get him going.”

Phlash Phelps has sprinted on turf only once. He won a Pimlico maiden race going five furlong on the grass in April 2015.

Jenkins is pointing Phlash Phelps to the $75,000 Find Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf Aug. 19. Phlash Phelps won the Find in 2015 and finished third, beaten a half-length, in it a year ago.

In all, Phlash Phelps is 6 for 16 with earnings of $337,000.

◗ Trainer Noah Abramson won with his first career starter when he sent out the 3-year-old filly Temple Sky for a debut win over $25,000 maiden-claiming company at Laurel Park on Sunday. Temple Sky paid $31.80. Abramson, a show horse rider and trainer in Howard County, Md., was scheduled to have had his first starter on Friday, but Hunca Rock acted up at the gate, unseated his rider, and was scratched.

◗ The Rainbow 6 carryover for Friday at Laurel is $10,197.