As Laurel Park digs out from a pair of crippling snow storms in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas, the Maryland Jockey Club will run four stakes races Presidents Day, Feb. 15, including the winter’s top races in the area, the General George (gr. II) and Barbara Fritchie (gr. II) Handicaps.
Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport has recorded 79.9 inches of snow this season, breaking a record set 14 years ago.
Laurel-loving Greenspring, Digger, and Ah Day headline a field of nine for the General George. The three have combined to win 17-of-30 races at the central Maryland track, including 11 stakes victories. The $150,000 seven-furlong test also drew horses from New York and Pennsylvania.
Greenspring, owned by Our Chelsea Stable and trained by Chris Groves, crushed his foes Jan. 2 by six lengths in the one-mile Native Dancer Stakes. Prior to that he was a fast-closing second Nov. 26 in the Fall Highweight Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct. The Kentucky-bred son of Orientate has yet to start at seven furlongs in his seven-race career, but appears to have the right running style for the trip.
Ah Day, third in the Native Dancer, was second in the General George back in 2007. The 7-year-old Malibu Moon gelding is a Maryland mainstay in the sprinting division and overall has won 14 of 36 starts in six seasons on the track. He is owned and trained by the legendary King Leatherbury.
Repole Stable’s Digger enters the General George on a roll for trainer Bruce Brown. The 6-year-old gelding by Yonaguska closed out 2009 with a nose victory in the Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct going six furlongs, then kicked off this season with a 3 3/4-length romp in the Jan. 16 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel.
In the Barbara Fritchie, which was originally slated for Feb. 13, last year’s winner—Royale Michele—is a standout in the weights. Being asked to tote highweight of 121 pounds, she’ll spot from three to 11 pounds to her 13 rivals.
Sam Pollock’s homebred 5-year-old mare by Elusive Quality won last year’s running as a 10-1 shot, then took her show on the road, running third in the Distaff Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct and fifth in Churchill Downs’ Humana Distaff (gr. I). Given a five-month rest, she made three more starts to close out the year. In her 2010 debut she ran second, beaten a length by Sweet Goodbye, Jan. 9 in the What a Summer Stakes.
Sweet Goodbye, William Harris’ 5-year-old homebred, won the Maryland Million Oaks at 3 and last year won a pair of minor stakes (both at seven furlongs) and finished seventh in the Maryland Million Classic. The daughter of Preakness winner Louis Quatorze carries 117 in the Barbara Fritchie.
Weathered, who will carry 118, is a seven-time stakes winner accounting for last year’s Next Move Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. She just missed last time, getting beat a neck Jan. 23 in the one-mile Nellie Morse Stakes at Laurel.
The General George has a post time of 3:53 p.m. EST and the Barbara Fritchie is slated to go off at 4:21 p.m. Also on the Laurel holiday card is the $70,000 John B. Campbell Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at nine furlongs (3:25 p.m.) and the $70,000 Marshua Stakes for fillies and mares at six furlongs (2:56 p.m.). The Campbell had also been scheduled to run Feb. 13 and the Marshua has been held over since the Feb. 6 program.
Nine older males who have combined to win nearly 50 races and over $2 million are entered in the $70,000 John B. Campbell Handicap. The 1-2 finishers from the 2009 Campbell, Richard's Kid and Bullsbay , advanced to become grade I winners.
General George Handicap (gr. II), $150,000, Laurel Park, seven furlongs, 3-year-olds and up, post time 3:53 p.m.
PP – Horse – Wgt. – Jockey
1 – Digger - 116 - Mike Luzzi
2 – Nay’s Tap – 114 – M. McGowan
3 – Malibu Kid – 115 – Travis Dunkelberger
4 – Uncle Gidge – 112 – A. Arroyo
5 – The Roundhouse – 114 – D. Cohen
6 – Greenspring – 117 – Jeremy Rose
7 – Ah Day – 116 – S. Russell
8 – Mt. Glittermore – 114 – Rose Napravnik
9 – No Advantage – 116 – J.D. Acosta
Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II), $150,000, Laurel Park, seven furongs, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, post time 4:21 p.m.
PP – Horse – Wgt. – Jockey
1 – Missunitednations – 114 – No rider
2 – Weathered – 118 – Mike Luzzi
3 – Sky Haven – 115 – E. Rodriguez
4 – Huge – 113 – Harry Vega
5 – Pamona Ball - 113 – Rose Naapravnik
6 – Hour Glass – 112 – D. Cohen
7 – Cuvee Uncorked – 116 – Ricky Frazier
8 – Sweet Goodbye – 117 – J.D. Acosta
9 – Super Slash – 112 – Jeremy Rose
10 – Royale Michele – 121 – S. Spieth
11 – Me Love – 110 – No rider
12 – Northern Station – 116 – C.L. Potts
13 – East Breaks – 114 – J. Shephert
14 – Fascinatin’ Rhythm – 114 – L. Garcia