Three Triple Crown-nominated hopefuls and a quartet of Maryland-based runners will face off in Laurel Park’s $75,000 Miracle Wood Stakes Feb. 26.
The Miracle Wood goes at seven furlongs and will help shape springtime plans for many of these promising 3-year-olds.
J J's Lucky Train is the 7-5 morning line favorite. The son of Silver Train won three of four starts last year and started 2011 with runner-up finishes in the Count Fleet and Whirlaway Stakes, both contested at Aqueduct. Trainer William Anderson will ship J J’s Lucky Train from his base at Parx Racing in Philadelphia and regular rider Jose Ferrer is his pilot.
“He’s run against some tough company and he’s shown speed in his last couple against some nice horses,” Anderson said. “We had wanted to try him long, so that’s why we went to New York. But he won easily at six furlongs at Monmouth, so we now want to shorten him back to seven furlongs. I expect a good effort.”
Rodney Jenkins will saddle Bandbox (3-1), a three-time winner from four starts who makes his seasonal debut. The Tapit offspring broke his maiden at Laurel, captured the Charles Town Juvenile, and then won the Sleepy Hollow Stakes, a race restricted to New York-breds, at Belmont Park. He ended his 2-year-old campaign with a troubled fourth in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct, where he had to steady after clipping heels. Travis Dunkelberger, who rode Bandbox to his maiden win, regains the mount.
Both J J’s Lucky Train and Bandbox are Triple Crown nominees.
The first four finishers from Laurel’s Dancing Count Stakes will meet again in the Miracle Wood. Wicked Thunder (9-2) was up in time to beat Diski Dance by a nose in the Dancing Count, with Afternoon Action a game third. Concealed Identity, the third Triple Crown nominee in the field, tired to fourth.
Gary Capuano trains Wicked Thunder, a speedy Thunder Gulch gelding who has finished first or second in all nine career starts. Josean Ramirez has been aboard for all of his starts.
Indy Krizz, a son of Congrats coming off an allowance win at Charles Town Feb. 12 for trainer Charles Frock, completes the field.
$75,000 Miracle Wood Stakes (Race 8, 3:53 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Concealed Identity (MD), J D Acosta, 122, E D Gaudet, 10/1
2. Indy Krizz (KY), no rider, 116, C L Frock, 15/1
3. Wicked Thunder (KY), J G Ramirez, 122, G Capuano, 9/2
4. Diski Dance (KY), A S Arroyo, 116, C A Lynch, 5/1
5. Afternoon Action (KY), D Panell, 116, J Rigattieri, 10/1
6. Bandbox (NY), T L Dunkelberger, 122, R Jenkins, 3/1
7. J J's Lucky Train (KY), J C Ferrer, 118, W D Anderson, 7/5