Hello Beautiful eyeing next Test

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Trainer Brittany Russell wants to give Hello Beautiful a crack at a Grade 1 prize in next month’s Test at Saratoga.

The seven-furlong dirt event for fillies would see Hello Beautiful striding out in graded company for the first time in her career, while it could also serve as a rare outing away from her home track of Laurel Park.

All but one of eight career starts have come at the Laurel Park track but Russell is content to hit the road and raise the stakes next time out.

“It looks like we’re going to take a look at the Test. It’s going to depend on who comes. There’s been some good fillies running the last few weeks, and it’s just going to kind of depend on where they go,” Russell said.

“She’s going to have the big test up there if we go. We’ll nominate and take a look, and if she’s doing well we might take a shot up there.”

Hello Beautiful has won four of her eight races to this point, finishing second or third in three more of those runs and earning just shy of $200,000 for her connections along the way.

The Maryland Million Lassie and Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship were amongst her successes late last season.

After an enforced break this spring due to the pandemic, she was beaten on Laurel’s turf course in early June on her comeback, though she has since rebounded to win on the dirt.

Russell knows she’s at her best on that surface and she admits this is as good a time as any to explore her potential for better things.

“She’s certainly answered each question on the dirt for us, and that’s what we have to stick with. She’s a good dirt filly, and if she’s going to be that kind she’s going to have to run against good horses,” Russell said.

“So there’s no time like the present, as long as she’s doing well.”

More work pieces are planned at Laurel Park according to the trainer before a firm decision is reached in terms of heading for Saratoga and the Test on August 8th.

“[The Test is] not for a couple weeks, and a lot can happen in a couple weeks,” she added. “We just have to focus on keeping her happy so at least we can take a fresh, happy filly up there and see what we can do.”

Amongst the possible for the Test are Bob Baffert‘s Gamine, Mark Casse‘s Perfect Alibi and the Ian Wilkes-trained Four Graces.

Brad Cox saddled Covfefe to score last year, with Joel Rosario‘s mount holding off Serengeti Empress to justify 5/2-favouritism on her way to winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

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