`Talking' seeks family's 3rd win

Mother, sister won Md. Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes

Horse racing


Winning the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes has become a family tradition that trainer Robin L. Graham would like to see continue.

"It would be nice to see Keep On Talking win," said Graham. "Her mother, Gin Talking, won it [1999], and her sister, Dixie Talking, won it last year. Keep On Talking got a late start, because she's a big horse that's been developing, but I know she can go a mile. She's already done that."

Keep On Talking broke her maiden at Pimlico Race Course last summer and then won a mile-long allowance race at Laurel Park three weeks ago.

"I think she'll be the strongest competition," said trainer Dale Capuano, whose entry Celestial Legend comes into the race with a victory in the Nov. 26 Toddler Stakes on her record. "This will be my horse's first race at a mile. I think she can do the longer distance, but it remains to be seen if she can run a mile effectively."

Capuano knows Celestial Legend can sprint well, and Graham said this race for 2-year-olds at Laurel sets up for sprinters.

"I wish it was longer," she said of the today's $75,000 stakes at Laurel that had been contested over 1 1/8 miles the previous 19 years. "A two-turn heat is more interesting; it's more tactical than a one-mile, one-turn race that is like a long sprint."

The race, something of a final exam, is for Maryland-bred 2-year-old fillies and counts toward the state's juvenile filly championship, though it doesn't determine it. Graham said Gin Talking won the filly title in 1999, but Dixie Talking didn't because she had run just one other race before this season-ender.

The trainer said she doesn't know how Keep On Talking will fare in the final assessment. Other horses, she believes, have been more active. But that doesn't bother Graham, and neither does the outcome of the race.

"It's nice to have a stakes win on your filly's record as a 2-, 3- and 4-year-old," she said. "It makes them more valuable as broodmares. But whether she wins this race or not isn't that important in the long run.

"I'd rather have a good 3- and 4-year-old than a good 2-year-old for two minutes," she said.

Graham said Keep On Talking probably will follow the hoofprints of her sister after this race and compete in bigger races in New York early next year.

Dixie Talking, who is now in foal to Fusaichi Pegasus, did that, winning three of four, including a stakes, as a 3-year-old before being injured and retired from racing.


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