Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Thank You Marylou swept past Whomping Willow and 2-5 favorite Sweet Whiskey to return a convincing winner in Sunday's $75,000 Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Unraced since placing in a roughly-run Adirondack at Saratoga last August, the Mike Maker filly showed no rust as she drew off by 2 1/2 lengths.
Thank You Marylou was named in gratitude for Marylou Whitney's kind help following Sarah Ramsey's stroke. A daughter of Whitney's homebred star Birdstone, the well-regarded filly has competed exclusively in stakes.
The Virginia-bred debuted, appropriately enough, in the July 13 Tippett Stakes (honoring Liz Whitney Tippett) at Colonial Downs. Although bred to prefer a longer trip than that 5 1/2-furlong dash on turf, Thank You Marylou rallied powerfully to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths. She next appeared in the August 11 Adirondack, where she was compromised by a troubled start and a wide trip, but still closed for third. Thank You Marylou was subsequently elevated to second via disqualification.
Dispatched at 6-1 here, Thank You Marylou was well placed in third early by Julien Leparoux, in the proverbial catbird's seat, as Sweet Whiskey and Whomping Willow vied on the front end. Sweet Whiskey, heavily favored off her dominant score in the January 4 Old Hat, didn't break alertly, but the 122-pound highweight regrouped to take a narrow lead. With pace nemesis Whomping Willow forcing the issue, Sweet Whiskey zipped through fractions of :22 3/5 and :45 1/5 on the fast track.
Thank You Marylou inched closer to the leaders rounding the far turn. By the time they swung into the stretch, Sweet Whiskey was clearly spent, and Whomping Willow took over. But Thank You Marylou was bearing down on the new leader at the six-furlong mark in 1:08 4/5, and quickly dispatched her. Rolling in deep stretch, the chestnut completed seven furlongs in 1:21 2/5 and paid $15.20 to win.
Whomping Willow crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths clear of Sweet Whiskey. There was another 5 3/4-length gap back to Boheme de Lavi in fourth, followed by Naive Enough and Fierce Boots.
Nearly all of the Any Limit contestants (with the lone exception of Boheme da Lavi) are nominated to the Kentucky Oaks. That does not include the two withdrawals, Golden Friendships and Luna Santa.
Thank You Marylou sports a mark of 3-2-1-0, $128,200. Out of the stakes-winning Menifee mare Menifeeque, she hails from the family of multiple Grade 3 queen Indyanne, Grade 3 victor Double Ready and Grade 2-placed multiple stakes scorer Never Wavering.
Bred by Mr. and Mrs. C.W. McNeely III in Virginia, Thank You Marylou was purchased by the Ramseys for $47,000 as a Keeneland November weanling.