Supplemental entry Silver Wagon was installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite in the President’s Day headliner at Laurel Park Monday, the $300,000 General George Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. II).
The seven-furlong test for has attracted a field of nine, with multiple stakes winner Ah Day representing the best of the local interests. Silver Wagon carries top weight of 120 pounds.
Richard Dutrow Jr., serving a 14-day suspension, trains the 6-year-old Silver Wagon, who will be saddled by brother Tony Dutrow. The son of Wagon Limit has won five starts, including two graded stakes. As a 2-year-old Silver Wagon captured the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga. He was competitive in major stakes throughout much of last year and ended the season with a victory in the Sport Page Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct.
Last month Silver Wagon finished third in the Sunshine Millions Classic under jockey Edgar Prado, who will be back aboard on Monday. Prado won the 2004 General George with Well Fancied for Richard Dutrow.
Ah Day, the pride of King Leatherbury’s Laurel Park stable, is the 3-1 second choice for the Monday feature. Leatherbury has directed the gelded son of Malibu Moon through 18 starts with nine victories, including seven stakes. As impressive as he was last year, Ah Day stepped it up a notch in January with a smashing victory in the Fire Plug Stakes to start his 4-year-old campaign.
“That was probably his most impressive race,” said Leatherbury, who ranks third on the all-time win list for trainers with 6,180 career victories. “This is a perfect spot coming off that race. It looks ideal-right here on our home grounds. Everything looks in our favor.”
With regular rider Mario Pino riding the undefeated 3-year-old Hard Spun in the $250,000 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park Monday afternoon, Ryan Fogelsonger regains the mount.
“He’ll have to pick it up to beat tougher horses but if Ah Day runs the same race that he did in the Fire Plug he will be tough,” said Pino, who has never been aboard a Kentucky Derby (gr. I) starter. “I feel bad I can’t ride him but Hard Spun is the best young horse I have ever been on.”
Will He Shine (9-2) has won half of his eight starts and finished third in both the Gravesend Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct and Forego Stakes at Turfway Park. Dale Romans trains the 5-year-old son of Silver Deputy at Churchill Downs. Kent Desormeaux, who earned a victory in the General George in 1988 aboard Private Terms, will ride.
Another runner with strong local flavor is Your Bluffing (8-1), who has won fourteen races over the Laurel Park main track. Although he is cross entered in Saturday’s John B. Campbell Handicap, the connections of Your Bluffing expect to start him in the General George after the gelding drew the far outside post for the Campbell. Jose Caraballo is named to ride Your Bluffing for trainer Mike Trombetta.
“There are two or three horses that on numbers are stronger than us,” said Trombetta. “But after that it is wide-open. The horse is doing really well and we’ll take a chance.”
Judiths Wild Rush (8-1) was bothered in deep stretch by Your Bluffing in the Native Dancer Stakes in January and was elevated to first. The son of Wild Rush who is based at Woodbine the majority of the year, has won three Sovereign Awards as one of Canada’s best horses in three of the last four years. The Julian Canet trainee has seven added money victories on his resume, including three grade III’s. Julian Pimentel has the mount.
$300,000 General George Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II, Race 9, 4:26 p.m.), 3 & Up, 7 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Ryan's for Real (FL), 112, Dyn Panell
2. Gold Cluster (KY), 112, Luis Garcia
3. Your Bluffing (KY), 115, Jose C. Caraballo
4. Silver Wagon (FL), 120, Edgar S. Prado
5. City Weekend (KY), 114, Jeremy Rose
6. Ah Day (MD), 117, Ryan Fogelsonger
7. Will He Shine (KY), 115, Kent J. Desormeaux
8. Mach Speed (KY), 113, No Rider
9. Judiths Wild Rush (KY), 116, Julian Pimentel