The drop from maiden special weight company and a stretch out to two turns agreed with Grace Isabella, who took early command and extended her advantage to 21 3/4 lengths after 1 1/16 miles under Edgar Prado to break her maiden May 18 at Pimlico Race Course.
Owned by Mrs. Frank P. Wright and trained by Robin Graham, Grace Isabella, a 3-year-old filly by Jump Start, was the heavy 3-5 favorite in a field of six. David Heim, one of three Fantasy Ownership Challenge participants who "own" Grace Isabella through the end of this year, was on hand for the blowout win.
"It's pretty exciting," Heim said. "My son, Daniel, owns two horses (that race in Maryland), and I've been following the contest, too. I learned a lot at the (new owners' seminar in March) and I've been getting letters from different breeders, including Country Life Farm, which sent me its newsletter. It's a really good idea."
Heim noted one of his son's horses, Majestic Trick, is entered in the fourth race at Pimlico May 19. The 4-year-old filly broke her maiden on the turf last time out at Laurel Park and was claimed by trainer Ollie Figgins III on behalf of Daniel Heim for $25,000.
For David Heim and the other fantasy owners, Grace Isabella's victory was lucrative. Though the base purse was $33,000, her winnings for the race totaled $24,453 because she is a Maryland-bred and eligible for bonus money. She now has $27,153 in contest earnings and jumped from 24th to sixth in the standings.
Fantasy owners of the top five horses by earnings as of Dec. 31 of this year will share in $50,000 contributed by the Maryland Jockey Club, Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The horses were assigned randomly from six races March 18 at Laurel.
(Photo by Tom LaMarra)