Lip Sing is not only getting older, she's getting better.
Like Little Casino, the gelding who didn't win a stakes race until age 7, Lip Sing scored the first added-money victory of her career yesterday at Pimlico Race Course at the ripe old age of 6.
Rider Larry Saumell opted to go immediately for the lead in the $54,375 My Juliet Stakes. The speed mare out-sprinted Mixed Appeal and Northern Belief, then held on for a length victory over Wood So, who carried high weight of 121 pounds, five more pounds than the winner, and is being prepped for another attempt at winning the Maryland Million Distaff on Oct. 9.
Mixed Appeal finished third, followed by favored Ritchie Trail, who runs her best races at Laurel and at considerably longer distances than the 6-furlong My Juliet.
Lip Sing comprises the one-horse stable of her owner and trainer, John Pucek, a former Woody Stephens-Sherrill Ward assistant who is a regular on the New Orleans circuit.
Pucek said one of his former owners bought the mare for $60,000 as a yearling and then sent her to England to race as a 2-year-old. "But she didn't run there, and then when she came back she didn't race for another 18 months because of a number of [physical] problems," Pucek said.
Pucek eventually ended up with the horse, who from time to time has run in claimers at the $20,000 level.
"But she's sound now. She's got some pedigree. And she likes Pimlico," Pucek said.
He added that he wants to breed Lip Sing next spring and continue to race her for awhile next year at age 7.
Montbrook at Pimlico?
Israel Cohen's Montbrook, considered one of the top contenders for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 6, could make his first start at Pimlico tomorrow since winning the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel about six weeks ago.
The 3-year-old colt is entered in the $50,000 Maryland City
Stakes at Pimlico as well as the $150,000 Philadelphia Park Budweiser Breeders' Cup at Philadelphia Park.
Gene Leach, assistant to trainer Dean Gaudet, said Gaudet is undecided where Montbrook will run.
Although the Philadelphia stakes carries a larger purse, Montbrook will face older horses there. The Pimlico race is considered an easier spot and is written solely for 3-year-olds.
On the first day of thoroughbred simulcasting, an estimated ** $18,000 to $20,000 was bet on flat runners at the Shoals Restaurant in Cambridge. Through the last race at Pimlico and accompanying simulcasts at Belmont and Arlington Parks, the total handle approached $15,500, according to Jim Mango, senior vice president of pari-mutuels and development at Pimlico/Laurel. The simulcast card at Del Mar did not end until later in the evening.