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Guarantee of grass sends Boniface and 'Rose' to Ky. No fear of move to dirt in stakes at Keeneland


Billy Boniface doesn't miss a beat.

Last Saturday, he had a first, a second and a third in three Maryland Million races, and kept his standing as the Million's winningest trainer.

Today Boniface is in Kentucky, running the Maryland-bred filly Rose Law Firm in the $250,000 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Keeneland Race Course.

The Grade I Queen Elizabeth II is by invitation only, but drew Boniface principally because the race is certain to be run on the grass.

"The racing secretary told me it will go on the turf unless there's two feet of snow," Boniface said.

That's the problem with owning a grass horse. If it rains, courses can get too soft and cut up and can be deemed unsafe, leading to many turf races being moved to the dirt, largely often to preserve the footing for future races.

That's what happened to Rose Law Firm in her past two scheduled appearances at Laurel Park. She missed both the Martha Washington Stakes and Maryland Million Turf because the races were transferred to the main track.

But Keeneland, which runs only short meets in the fall and spring, doesn't have that problem because of the brevity of its schedule.

Craig Perret will have the mount on Rose Law Firm. The horses to beat are the Angel Penna Jr.-trained Perfect Arc, winner of the Rare Perfume Stakes, and the Bill Mott runner Bail Out Becky.

At Laurel today, Calipha, who also scratched off the Maryland Million card, tries to get back in the win column in the $50,000 Nellie Morse Stakes. She faces marathon runner Night Fax.

Bud Delp was forced to scratch Calipha out of the Maryland Million Distaff because of the sloppy track.

"She goes today if the track is fast or wet fast," Delp said. "But she won't go if it's sloppy or loose, cuppy and deep. All of her best races are on firm footing."

Tomorrow, Mary's Buckaroo, runner-up to Brilliant Patriot in the Maryland Million Classic, comes right back in the Cedar Key Stakes.

The race was transferred from the turf and drew a six-horse field.

The trainer of the horse, Joanne Hughes, said Mary's Buckaroo was so sharp after last week's Million that, "He was charging the screen on the front of his stall.

"I was going to have to work him this weekend, so I decided I might as well run him."

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