Toledo doubles up in Nellie Morse, John B. Campbell Stakes

LAUREL, Md. – Since being purchased by Stuart Grant’s The Elkstone Group for $107,000 at public auction last summer, Hybrid Eclipse has certainly paid dividends.

The 5-year-old Paynter mare won her third stakes for Grant on Saturday when she grabbed the $100,000 Nellie Morse for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.

Ridden by Jevian Toledo for trainer Brittany Russell, Hybrid Eclipse tracked a slow pace from between horses in the 1 1/16-mile race as longshot Runaway Monet and Pistol Liz Ablazen cruised through splits of 23.92 and 48.23 seconds.

Rail-skimming Mona Tiger and a wide Award Wanted made it a four-pack on the lead entering the far turn. Meanwhile, Hybrid Eclipse advanced under heavy urging and swung to the far outside for the stretch drive.

Toledo stayed busy on Hybrid Eclipse and she kept to her task, besting Award Wanted by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:44.96. Pistol Liz Ablazen was another three-quarters behind in third. Next up were Moma Tiger, Ninetypercentybrynn, Runaway Monet, and Buy the Best.

Hybrid Eclipse returned $4.60 as the betting favorite.

Russell admitted she was concerned about the race shape.

“They were all on top of each other on the backside,” Russell said. “She didn’t have room to breathe and get comfortable. I kind of thought she was off the bridle. She just never looked really happy. Plenty of them looked like they were traveling better than she was, but when he got her clear, she responded.”

Hybrid Eclipse was bred in Kentucky by Alex Venneri Racing. She won four races for trainer Linda Rice before being purchased by Grant. Overall, she has 7 wins from 19 starts for career earnings of $431,824, and has nabbed five races from seven starts at Laurel.