The fall stakes schedule for Laurel Park was approved Aug. 19 at the monthly Maryland Racing Commission meeting.
Barbaro (Laurel Futurity), J'ray (Selima Stakes) and Trickle of Gold (Anne Arundel Stakes) proved popular winners on the De Francis Dash undercard at Laurel Park Saturday.
The $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (Grade I) is the headline event of Saturday's "Fall Festival of Racing" at Laurel Park, but the day also features seven additional stakes races. A total of 132 horses are entered in the 10-race card, including 107 in the added money races.
Front-running Essence, ridden by a cool John Velazquez, dug in tenaciously to hold off Rare Gift by a neck in the $100,000 Anne Arundel (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico Saturday. In other $100,000 races on the DeFrancis undercard, the 2-year-old filly Hear Us Roar stayed unbeaten in the Selima Stakes and Irish Colony prevailed in the Charles H. Hadry.
Nick Sanna Stable's Smooth Maneuvers stole the $100,000 Anne Arundel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Laurel Park Saturday, seizing the lead into the first turn and holding it the rest of the way to win by 2 1/2 lengths under jockey Mario Pino.
Toccet ran to an easy 6 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Laurel Futurity (gr. III) Saturday, while Makin Heat captured the $100,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies.
The 79th running of the $100,000 Laurel Futurity (gr. III), featuring Champagne Stakes (gr. I) winner Toccet, heads the De Francis Dash undercard Saturday at Laurel Park.
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