March 25, 2019

Marley’s Freedom regains winning edge in Go for Wand

Marley's Freedom and jockey Mike Smith just hold Come Dancing under John Velazquez to take the Go for Wand Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct on December 1, 2018 (c) NYRA/Viola Jasko/Adam Coglianese Photography

It wasn’t easy, but Marley’s Freedom ended her 2018 campaign on a winning note in Saturday’s $252,500 Go for Wand H. (G3) at Aqueduct.

The 1-2 favorite against five rivals, Marley’s Freedom was sent to to the lead by Mike Smith around the far turn and then had to bravely fend off a determined, stretch-long bid by Come Dancing to win the one-turn mile by a neck. Pacific Wind was a distant third. Marley’s Freedom paid $3.10 and was clocked in 1:38.35 over a fast track.

“Today was the first time going a mile, but she took a breath of air and once she got that second wind, she locked in and she wasn’t going to let them by no matter what,” Smith said. “We could have went around there again and they weren’t getting by her.”

Though technically not a sprint, Marley’s Freedom’s win in the Go for Wand perhaps helped her re-claim some support in the Eclipse Award race for champion female sprinter. Fourth by a half-length to longshot Shamrock Rose as an odds-on choice in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) last month, Marley’s Freedom had previously won the Desert Stormer (G3), Great Lady M. (G2), and Ballerina (G1) earlier in the season.

The Breeders’ Cup was the only loss in five starts for Marley’s Freedom since joining the Bob Baffert stable last spring. The Cicero Farms-owned filly kicked off her 2018 campaign under the tutelage of Ron Hess, for whom she ran sixth in the Hurricane Bertie (G3) and second in the Santa Monica (G2) before winning a second-level allowance.

A $35,000 Keeneland September purchase, the daughter of Blame is out of Relaxing Green, by Formal Gold, and is a half-sister to stakes winner Noble Charlotte.

Marley’s Freedom has now earned $815,935 from a line of 14-7-2-0.