|(Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)|
Traversing the firm turf in 1:49.40 for the nine furlong distance, Virginia-bred Pagan Priestess threaded her way through traffic and slipped inside frontrunner Weeper in mid-stretch to win by a length, with Dance With Gio finishing a fast closing third.
Robbie Bailes trains the daughter of Oratory who is out of Friend’s Gold by Compadre.
“My instructions were simply just save as much ground as you can early and try to be within striking distance at the top of the lane because this filly will be running late,” Bailes said. “She’s really gotten good lately. It took a long time to get a distance race to fill so she was a little late coming around but she’s a totally different horse from a month and a half ago when she was running in a $5,000 lifetime claiming condition. She’s really come into her own.”
This was the second Maryland Million score for Bailes, who won the Sprint Starter Handicap with Snooky’s Taylor in 1994.
Pagan Priestess paid $15.20 and led a $216 exacta and a $1,385.20 triple.