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Hello Beautiful ‘Awesome’ Following Historic Maryland Million Win

Originally published by Maryland Jockey Club - Oct. 24, 2021

Madaket Stables, Albert Frassetto, Mark Parkinson, K-Mac Stables and Magic City Stables’ Hello Beautiful was doing “awesome” on Sunday following her history-making victory in the $100,000 Maryland Million Distaff at Laurel Park.

The 4-year-old filly dispatched her six rivals by 3 ½ lengths to become just the seventh horse to win three Maryland Million races since its inception in 1986, joining Ben’s Cat, Countus In, Docent, Eighttofasttocatch, Mz. Zill Bear and Hall of Fame mare Safely Kept.

“She looks awesome this morning,” trainer Brittany Russell said. “[She’s] pleased with herself.

“She’s been good to us. She kind of has this cocky attitude about her,” she added. “When you walk into the barn, she doesn’t greet you. You walk in that first stall, her bum’s getting you at the door. She has an air about her. She’s very straightforward to train, knock on wood.”

Hello Beautiful won the 2019 Lassie as a 2-year-old and 2020 Distaff among her eight career stakes wins. She didn’t break sharply in Saturday’s race but quickly inherited the lead and was left alone up front despite the presence of speedy eight-time stakes winner Street Lute, who figured to pose an early challenge.

“It sort of the same thing it always is. I feel like there’s speed in the race and she’s the fastest horse. If they want to go with her, go with her,” Russell said. “It’s not like she jumped out of there and had the lead from the first jump. She ran a little faster probably that first part and they sat off of her.”

It was fellow stakes winner Malibu Beauty who stayed closest to Hello Beautiful, getting to within 1 ½ lengths after a half-mile, before the 1-5 favorite steadily gained separation on the field and pulled away through the lane as Street Lute mounted her bid, only to get nosed at the wire for second by Malibu Beauty.

Street Lute’s former Jerry Robb-trained stablemate, 11-time stakes winner Anna’s Bandit who was retired in August, was honored between races prior to the Distaff, which she won in 2019, adding to the significance of Hello Beautiful’s subsequent victory.

“This is special. There’s been a lot of good fillies. You saw Anna’s Bandit walk over here [yesterday]. Hello Beautiful, she’s won three Maryland Millions, she’s won open races. It’s that graded race that’s missing on her resume,” Russell said. “Unfortunately, she probably won’t be able to get it because of the Lasix situation, but that’s OK. She keeps doing her thing and we’re having fun with her.”

All graded-stakes in Maryland are contested without Lasix. Riding a three-race win streak, Hello Beautiful ran fifth in the Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 20 at Laurel in her most recent graded attempt.

“It’s disappointing, I think, more because she’s a filly that has the ability to do it. You see her numbers and you see how she runs,” Russell said. “Maybe her 3-year-old year wasn’t the year to try it. She didn’t have luck with shipping and all those things, but I think now, as a mature horse, you wish you had the chance.

“Maybe if she runs as a 5-year-old next year knowing that she’d be retired as a 6-year-old [we’d try again],” she added. “I’m not saying it’s completely out of the question but at this stage to keep her where she is and keep her healthy and do the right thing by her, it sort of all makes sense.”

A decision has yet to be made whether Hello Beautiful returns to race in 2022. There are two upcoming spots for her in Maryland this year, the $75,000 Politely for Maryland-bred/sired horses Nov. 26 and $100,000 Willa On the Move Dec. 26, both for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs.

“I don’t know when we’re going to come to that decision. We have time. There’s still two potential spots this year,” Russell said. “It just depends on how things shake out. If she keeps winning, I think they’d probably rather keep her racing, but that’s just me. You have a horse who’s winning, and winning stakes, she can be a broodmare next year. If she stubs her toe by the end of the year, maybe we make a different decision but if she stays healthy …”