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 Looking Back

This month in mid-atlantic thoroughbred history! For Looking Back archives click here.

Two fillies foaled in the region in the same crop were elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

Safely Kept and Open Mind were born in 1986, in Maryland and New Jersey respectively, combined to win more than $4 million and a total of 33 stakes, captured Breeders’ Cup races and were Eclipse Award winners.

Safely Kept, bred by David and JoAnn Hayden of Dark Hollow Farm, was the 1989 champion sprinter (a category that included male runners) after winning eight of nine starts, all stakes. The next year the daughter of Maryland sire Horatius scored in a dramatic running of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1 and won six more stakes. When she retired after four years of competition, she had 24 wins (22 stakes) in 31 starts and earned $2,194,206.

Open Mind, bred by Due Process Stables and sired by former Windfields Farm stallion Deputy Minister, was the nation’s champion filly at 2 and 3, won 12 of 19 starts (including 10 in a row), took the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1, and earned $1,844,372.

Remarkably, the two fillies met once in their careers, in the 1988 Maryland Million Lassie Stakes, and neither won. Open Mind finished second behind Ms. Gold Pole; Safely Kept was third.

  • Graham Motion-trained Animal Kingdom had never won on the dirt, picked up a new rider when his regular rider was injured, went off at 20-1, and won the Kentucky Derby-G1 for Team Valor. With John Velazquez aboard – available when his Derby mount, race favorite Uncle Mo, was scratched the day before– Animal Kingdom thundered home on top by 2 3⁄4 lengths.

    While the Derby winner prepared for the Preakness at Motion’s base at Fair Hill, 13 rivals geared up for the trip to Pimlico. The Derby winner rallied gamely from nearly 20 lengths back but couldn’t catch the Dale Romans-trained forwardly-placed Shackleford, who gained the lead at the top of the stretch and held on.

  • Bred in Pennsylvania, raised in South Carolina and owned by South Carolinian John Fort, Plum Pretty carried the Mid-Atlantic banner into Churchill Downs and held on to win the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks by a neck. Trained by Bob Baffert, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro bred by Walnut Green clients Silent Indy Stables, LLC and DDS Stables recorded her first stakes win in her previous start by taking the Sunland Park Oaks by 25 lengths.

  • Pimlico’s Black-Eyed Susan Stakes-G2 was won by “a filly with all the makings of a rising star.” Royal Delta, the slight favorite in the field of five, recorded her third win, and first in a stakes, in her fourth career start for owner/breeder Palides Investments N.V. Inc. and trainer Bill Mott.

    Royal Delta’s career accomplishments would surpass any runner who appeared that Preakness weekend. The three-time Eclipse Award winner and two-time Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic-G1 champion by Empire Maker earned $4,811,126 in 22 starts, sold for $8.5 million at the end of her 3-year-old season, and was inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2019.

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