Hennig’s filly seeks back-to-back wins

Merry Meadow is hustling up her schedule in the Bed o’ Roses today, but if she runs the way she did

Merry Meadow is hustling up her schedule in the Bed o’ Roses today, but if she runs the way she did last time, the field will have to hustle to keep up.

The 4-year-old daughter of Henny Hughes won the Grade III Vagrancy by 3 3⁄4 lengths and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line against a wide-open field in the Bed o’ Roses, the second of two graded stakes for fillies and mares at the Belmont Park spring meet.

“I wish she had two more weeks, because I think more time does her better, but she’s fresh and she came out of the Vagrancy exceptionally well,” trainer Mark Hennig told the New York Racing Association.

Merry Meadow is a consistent sort who spent 10 races knocking on the door before finally breaking her maiden at Belmont last year, followed by a win at Saratoga Race Course.

She missed the board just once in her next eight starts, a fourth in the Barbara Fritchie at Pimlico, and is looking for more consistency in the winner’s circle, not just in the money.

Merry Meadow has alternated a loss and a win in her last six starts.

“It took her a long time to break her maiden, but halfway through her 3-year-old year, she just blossomed,” Hennig said. “She seemed to gain confidence once she won a race, and then she won again. She took it to heart and improved off each win. She physically changed; she filled out and finished growing up. I think it was a physical issue and a mental issue, getting over the hump. The more she’s run, the more she has learned to settle.”

The 7-2 favorite is Street Girl, who made a mild late rally to finish second by 4 1⁄2 lengths in the Grade I Humana Distaff on May 3 at Churchill Downs.

Also on the Bed o’ Roses card is the $100,000 Wild Applause for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on the turf.

Mechanicville’s Chad Brown has the 2-1 favorite, Sweet Acclaim, who raced in England and is coming off a pair of runner-up finishes in the Grade III Appalachian at Keeneland and Wait a While at Belmont.


Edward R. Bradley and Edward P. Taylor have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame as Pillars of the Turf.

The Pillars of the Turf category is designated to honor individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to racing in a leadership or pioneering capacity at the highest national level. Bradley and Taylor will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with the racehorses Ashado, Clifford and Curlin; jockeys Lloyd Hughes and Alex Solis; and trainer Gary Jones on Friday, Aug. 8., at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs.

Bradley owned four winners of the Kentucky Derby (Behave Yourself, Bubbling Over, Burgoo King and Brokers Tip), three winners of the Preakness Stakes (Kalitan, Burgoo King and Bimelich) and two winners of the Belmont Stakes (Blue Larkspur and Bimelech). Blue Larkspur and Bimelech were elected to the Hall of Fame.

In 1926, Bradley purchased Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans and spent lavishly to improve the facilities. The Colonel E.R. Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds is named in his honor.

Taylor (1901-1989), a native of Ottawa, Ontario, was a prominent breeder, including Northern Dancer, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before launching a stallion career many regard as the greatest of the 20th century.


Owner Rick Porter has moved Normandy Invasion from the barn of Brown to Larry Jones, who is based at Delaware Park.

The lightly raced 4-year-old, who led the 2013 Kentucky Derby at the top of the stretch before finishing fourth, has had a history of foot problems.

After opening 2014 with an impressive allowance win and a second to Palace Malice in the Grade II New Orleans Handicap, he was 10th in the Met Mile. . . .

Two-year-old fillies take the spotlight at Churchill Downs, where John C. Oxley’s Unbridled Reward is the 2-1 favorite for the $100,000 Debutante off a 7 3⁄4-length debut win at Churchill.

“Temperament-wise, she’s a really cool individual,” assistant trainer Norm Casse told the Churchill press office. “For a 2-year-old filly, she has a lot of class to herself, and I think that’s going to be the difference [today]. She just seems so mentally mature already that we can throw pretty much anything at her.” . . .

Bessie’s Boy easily beat three rivals on Friday in the $100,000 Tremont Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont.

Bessie’s Boy and jockey John Velazquez set the pace and finished six lengths better than 4-5 favorite Chocolate Wildcat. The winner, trained by Wesley Ward, improved to 2-for-2.

The 2-1 second choice, Bessie’s Boy paid $6 and $2.60, while Chocolate Wildcat returned $2.30. There was no show wagering. King Rontos was third, with Shrewd Move the trailer.

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