Marley’s Freedom was sent off as the heavy favorite in the Great Lady M Stakes (G2) at Los Alamitos, and she showed why with her 1 ½ length victory. It was the 4-year-old Blame filly’s third win in a row and her second consecutive graded stakes score.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Marley’s Freedom was never far off the pace before taking the lead mid-stretch and completing the 6 ½ furlong contest in 1:15. Last year’s winner Skye Diamonds was second.
“I ride her with a lot of confidence,’’ said winning jockey Drayden Van Dyke. “The plan was to take her back and make a run, and she gave me a real nice turn of foot. (Skye Diamonds) fought gamely, but I knew we had her measured.’’
Marley’s Freedom races for Cicero Farms, which bought her for $35,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. The bay filly, who is out of the winning Formal Gold mare Relaxing Green, has now earned $353,435.
“(Van Dyke) knows her,’’ said Baffert assistant Mike Marlow. “We just wanted her to break and then let her relax. He kept her in the clear and rode her like he was on the best horse. She could be a lot of fun the rest of the year. We’re off to a good start.’’
The Great Lady M was Marley’s Freedom’s second start after being transferred to Baffert. She also won the Desert Stormer Stake (G3) by 7 ¼ lengths at the end of May for her new trainer.
Blame has sired 19 stakes horses this year. Among his 10 stakes winners are Grade 1 winner Fault, fellow multiple graded stakes winner Maraud, and graded stakes winners Beyond Blame and Miss Kentucky. Represented by 17 stakes horses in 2017, including French Classic winner Senga, Blame stands at Claiborne.