Marley’s Freedom won the $200,351 Great Lady M Stakes (G2) on July 6 at Los Alamitos Race Course. This win makes it back-to-back wins in two years.
She was heavily favored at 3/5 in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint on the fast main track. She was guided by jockey Drayden Van Dyke, who spoke on the horse’s performance after the race.
“She broke well, and it worked out perfectly. She was fine-tuned to put in a big race. It was nice to win this two years in a row.”
Drayden Van Dyke has been with Marley’s Freedom for five of her career victories.
At the start of the race, she broke from post 2. In the opening, Danuska’s My Girl took a big lead as Marley’s Freedom continued her pattern of late-run tendencies and fell into fifth place.
Through the turn, Marley’s Freedom went for the lead as she ran in between to move up front. She continued to advance and extended the lead until finishing 1 3/4 lengths ahead of the 5/2 second-favorite Anonymity. It was his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint.
Exuberance finished in third at 1 1/4 lengths behind Anonymity, and Danuska’s My Girl fell back to finish fourth. Danuska’s My Girl, the five-year-old daughter of Shackleford and the Dayjur mare Amaday, was coming off of a four-race win streak.
Show It N More came in fifth followed by Just a Smidge in sixth to finish the order.
The Road Ahead
Marley’s Freedom is trained by the renowned hall of famer Bob Baffert for Ron and Barbara Perry’s Cicero Farms. She was purchased as a yearling with a price tag of $35,000 as the daughter of Blame and the Formal Gold mare Relaxing Green.
This was the ninth win in the last 18 starts for the horse as she improved her record to 18-9-4-0. After the $120,000 win from this race, her earnings are now at $1,233,935.
This year, Marley’s Freedom won one race prior to this one at Santa Monica Stakes (G2), and she was coming off of a two-race losing streak. She placed second in the Beholder Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park on March 30 and again as the favorite in the Human Distaff Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4.
Next up for Marley’s Freedom will be the Ketel One Ballerina Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 24. Last year, she won by 3 1/4 lengths as the favorite, and if she wins again this year, she will make it into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. She is one of the leading female sprinters in North America, and if she keeps winning and performing strongly, she will be among the favorites of that race.
Trainer Bob Baffert spoke about Marley’s Freedom after the race. He now has three winnings of the Great Lady M.
“We were hoping she would run like that. When (Van Dyke) asked her to go, he had a lot of horse. I really thought she would run better last time at Churchill Downs, but (jockey) Mike Smith said she struggles on that surface. A lot of horses are weird on that surface. I like coming here. Los Alamitos has a great surface, and it is fair. Horses can win on the lead or from off the pace.”
There was no show wagering in the race, but the win paid $3.20 while the place paid $2.10.
Marley’s Freedom impressed with her win in the Great Lady M Stakes, and she hopes to continue on this path as the Ketel One Ballerina Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course approaches.