Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition

Can the Queen goes for repeat

- By Marcus Hersh

BALTIMORE – Can the Queen has changed trainers but not barns since she won the The Very One a year ago at Pimlico.

A 6-1 wire-to-wire winner of the The Very One in 2022, Can the Queen was trained at the time by Rodolpho SanchezSal­omon. Late last summer, she began racing for trainer Joanne Shankle. Shankle is SanchezSal­omon’s assistant.

“His wife, too,” Shankle said, reached Tuesday by telephone.

Shankle has owned Can the Queen since her career began in a $16,000 maiden-claiming race in September 2022. Late last summer, horses in the Sanchez-Salomon stable owned by Shankle began racing under her banner. Horses for other clients continue to start for Sanchez-Salomon.

This is all parlor chatter as far as bettors are concerned. The more pressing question: Will Can the Queen come back from a 6 1/2-month layoff in the form that won her this fivefurlon­g, filly-and-mare turf dash a year ago?

“Oh yeah. She’s ready to go,” Shankle confidentl­y asserted. “And she loves Pimlico.”

True enough. With earnings of more than $320,000, Can the Queen has risen far above her initial modest maiden-claiming status, and the heart of that success has come on Pimlico grass. She’s won her last three starts over the local course, two renewals of the $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash to go with the The Very One score last May. Following her Sensible Lady win last September, Can the Queen checked in a tame sixth Oct. 23 in an open turfsprint allowance, but that came at Laurel Park. Bumped at the break, Can the Queen never found her best stride in her 2023 finale, and she comes into the The Very One without the prep race she had a year ago. Victor Carrasco, 2 for 2 riding the mare at Pimlico, is back aboard.

Can the Queen, 7, has speed of the rateable type, a plus in a pace-packed field.

The field of 11 includes Wesley Ward trainees Her World, who is fast, and Spicy Marg, who is faster. Neither holds great appeal. Her World showed vast talent in her lone start during her 2-year-old season of 2021, but even getting back in the win column with a life-and-death victory last month in a Keeneland second-level allowance, the filly did not look like she’d progressed much from her juvenile level. Spicy Marg set the pace and faded to fourth last September in Can the Queen’s Sensible Lady win.

Train to Artemus ran far below her best form last month at Keeneland. While she has a chance to bounce back, Thundering Creed rates a longer look.

Five-year-old Thundering Creed didn’t race on turf until last September in her 14th start. First time on grass, she won a Kentucky Downs allowance race, and the next month she rallied strongly for second behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel in the $300,000 Franklin Stakes at Keeneland. Just behind her that afternoon came Star Devine and Twilight Gleaming, better horses than she faces Friday.

Can the Queen’s Pimlico fondness aside, Thundering Creed might be the right one for the The Very One.

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