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Silmaril poised to join millionaires' club

The Baltimore Sun

Many people know a workaholic, but today at Laurel Park there will be at least one overzealous worker who is a horse.

Silmaril, the 2-1 favorite in the $80,000 What A Summer Stakes, is that horse.

She is the star of trainer Chris Grove's stable at the Bowie Training Center and will be running with a chance to become only the fifth female Maryland-bred to win $1 million in purses.

She would also be 17th among all Maryland-breds to reach the $1 million plateau.

Cigar tops all Maryland-breds with $9,999,815 in winnings.

Sue Quick, who owns the mare with her husband, Stephen, and Christopher Feifarek, said the 7-year-old hates taking time off at the farm.

"She is quite clear in telling us: 'I want my stall. I want to be where the action is,'" Sue Quick said. "She's a racehorse, and she loves her job."

When you go to her stable, there is little doubt Silmaril will see you.

Her finely featured dark brown head, with intelligent and gentle chocolate eyes, is nearly always visible, as she looks over her stall door to watch the comings and goings around her.

And the same is true on the racetrack, where, over the past six years, the daughter of Diamond has compiled a 15-7-3 record in 35 career starts while expanding her bankroll to $984,973.

She has won 11 stakes races at five distances and two graded stakes races, including the 2005 Grade III Allaire Dupont Breeders' Cup Distaff at Pimlico Race Course, where she beat two-time Eclipse champion Ashado.

The competition in that race is part of the reason the Distaff was upgraded last year to a Grade II.

Today will be Silmaril's third chance to cross the million-dollar mark, and she can do it with a first- or second-place finish.

The 2-1 morning line favorite will be ridden by Jeremy Rose and likely challenged by Your Flame In Me, trained by Michael Trombetta.

"I know they want her to go over that million mark," Trombetta said. "But she can still do it by finishing second, and that would be all right with me."

Trombetta said Your Flame In Me is "as game as she gets" and expects a good race.

Grove is also eager to see how Silmaril, the horse he unabashedly refers to as his "favorite," does after difficult second-place finishes in her past two races.

She ran well in Maryland Million Distaff Handicap on Oct. 13 but gave away a 9-pound weight advantage to the winner.

And in a $47,000 allowance race Nov. 7, she bled after the race for the first time.

"She bled badly that day," Grove said. "Blood went into her lungs. Since then, I haven't found anything wrong with her. We cleared it up, and we've worked her several times and she seems fine and ready to go. ... If she's on her best form, she'll be tough to beat."

Sue Quick said that although a decision has not yet been made on Silmaril's future, it is likely she will be retired to breeding after today's race.

"It's about time," she said. "She's sound, and everything is good.

"It will be exciting to see if she can get to the million mark. But no matter what happens, she could be headed to the farm. It's been a fun four-year ride, and she's been sound all the way - except for some little issues at 3 [years old]."

It was then that she spent a little time at the Quicks' St. Omer's Farm in Harford County and the discovery about her disposition was made.

"She hasn't been here in a long time because she hates the farm," Quick said. "She doesn't like all the quiet, and it seemed to worry her. But now that she's older, she might be ready."


Maryland-bred top female money winners:

Horse Earnings

Safely Kept $2,194,206

Shine Again $1,271,840

Jameela $1,038,704

Urbane k $1,018,568

Silmaril $984,973

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