Don’t Tell Deren kicked off the 38th Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel Park on Saturday, Oct. 14 with a half-length victory in the Maryland Million Turf Distaff Starter Handicap against older runners.

The 3-year-old Maryland-bred filly entered the race with a perfect 2-for-2 record on grass. She won her first start on the surface by one and a quarter lengths at Laurel on June 17, then won by a neck at Colonial Downs on Aug. 19 with a strong late rally. She was well-bet off an 8-1 morning line, going off as the slight 5-2 favorite in the 11-horse field. 

Don’t Tell Deren broke well from the two post, but was allowed to rate under Angel Cruz and sat off loose leader Please Marry Me towards the rail. The longshot frontrunner set honest fractions, going the opening quarter in :23.32 and the first half in :47.21 over a course rated firm. 

As they entered the stretch, Please Marry Me began to fade, and the rail was left wide-open for Don’t Tell Deren. She sprung to a clear lead in the last eighth, and held sway in the end, covering the distance for the mile and a sixteenth in 1:41.56. Chelichna (by Seville-GER) rallied to win a photo for second over Maryland-bred Nicolar.

The victory improved Don’t Tell Deren’s career record to 6-1-2 from 17 starts, with earnings of $190,205. On the year, she’s won four times from 11 starts and earned $137,270. 

Don’t Tell Deren is owned by Uptown Girl Racing and Michael Upton and trained by Jerry Robb. By Tourist out of the stakes-placed Graeme Hall mare Boheme de Lavi, she was purchased for $6,500 by her current connections at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling sale from the Becky Davis consignment. Her breeders, Tom Bowman and Milton Higgins (under their nom de course Bowman & Higgins Stable), purchased $313,130-earner Boheme de Lavi for $20,000, with Don’t Tell Deren in utero, at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic December Mixed sale. Don’t Tell Deren is Boheme de Lavi’s first foal; her only other reported foal is an unnamed yearling colt by First Mondays. A cover to Divining Rod for 2023 did not produce a foal; she was bred back to First Mondays for 2024.


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