Tabbed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the seven-furlong dirt contest, Driven by Success and Driven by Solar are both New York-breds owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher. The connections are undecided if they will run one or both in the General George, as they may also be cross-entered in a state-bred race at Aqueduct next week.
Driven by Success is the more accomplished of the two with 18 stakes performances during his career. The son of Precise End has three stakes wins against state-breds and has finished in the money 10 times, including third place finishes in three graded races. Mike Luzzi would have the mount.
Driven by Solar has won five of his past six starts since arriving in Pletcher’s barn 14 months ago, starting with three victories against restricted company and two wins against open company. This will be the first stakes start for the son of Freud. Fernando Jara would do the riding.
Rick Dutrow Jr. prepped Laysh Laysh Laysh (7-2) with a bullet drill at Aqueduct on Feb. 11, less than three weeks after capturing Laurel’s Native Dancer Stakes Jan. 17. The Whywhywhy ridgling raced twice in January prior to that, finishing second against optional allowance runners Jan. 9 and beating $60,000 claimers Jan. 13. Both races were at Aqueduct. Dutrow claimed Laysh Laysh Laysh for $25,000 in 2009 and has met him back at the winners’ circle six times since adding him to the stable. Erick Rodriguez retains the mount.
Wheeling right back is New York shipper Temecula Creek (5-1), who finished third in the Always Run Lucky Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 13 and won six times last year for trainer Rudy Rodriguez. The hard knocking Florida bred was claimed by Rodriguez for $7,500 last March before he sent him against grade I company in the Vanderbilt and Vosburgh, and versus grade III company in the Bold Ruler and Toboggan. In his 12 starts for the Rodriguez barn, the son of Gulch has averaged 93 Beyer Speed Figures. Victor Santiago has the mount.
“We have been very happy with him, he is an honest runner who tries every time,” Rodriguez said. “Fourteen horses makes it tough but we are going to take a shot. We just hope he keeps running as consistently as he has since we got him.”
Two-time stakes winner Taqarub (8-1) finished fifth in his 2011 debut, well behind leading sprinter Big Drama in Gulfstream Park’s Mr. Prospector (gr. III). The race was his first since last July. The Aldebaran horse only started four times last year, winning the Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III) in wire-to-wire fashion on Preakness Day. Kiaran McLaughlin trains the 5-year-old. Alan Garcia will ride.
“He is doing well,” said Art Magnuson, McLaughlin’s assistant. “He ran very well at Pimlico that day and came back to run a big race against Big Drama at Calder last summer. He has some problems with his feet and it takes some time between races so we decided to give him the winter at Palm Meadows. This is a larger field than we expected but there doesn’t appear to be any standouts.”
Streetsofbrooklyn (8-1) brings a three-race winning streak into the General George after beating maidens, allowanc,e and optional allowance runners. The Friends Lake colt, who is trained at the Bowie Training Center by Eddie Gaudet, drops back from a one-mile victory at Laurel Jan. 6. Since that start, Gaudet has worked Streetsofbrooklyn four times, all bullets. Sheldon Russell is his pilot.
“He is so athletic,” said Gaudet, who won the 1991 General George with Star Touch. “He is very fluid and does everything right. It is unbelievable how much he improves every day.”
$150,000 General George Handicap (gr. II, Race 8, 3:53 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Evening Concerto (FL), E Ramirez, 112, O L Figgins III
2. Temecula Creek (FL), V Santiago, 115, R R Rodriguez
3. Laysh Laysh Laysh (KY), E D Rodriguez, 115, R E Dutrow Jr.
4. Ben's Cat (MD), J Pimentel, 114, K T Leatherbury
5. Morumsco (MD), M G Pino, 112, C W Grove
6. Heritage Hall (KY), T L Dunkelberger, 111, M Shuman
7. Streetsofbrooklyn (KY), S Russell, 112, E D Gaudet
8. Driven by Solar (NY), F Jara, 112, T A Pletcher
9. Sin and the City (VA), G Whitacre, 111, M J Trombetta
10. Taqarub (KY), A Garcia, 117, K P McLaughlin
11. Escrow Kid (FL), O Castillo, 111, C Doran
12. Driven by Success (NY), M J Luzzi, 115, T A Pletcher
13. Delaunay (MD), F Boyce, 111, R W Small
14. No Advantage (KY), M Chaves, 115, S S Beattie