The rare summer stakes race on the grass in Maryland has attracted eleven entries for Saturday's $150,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup at Laurel Park, the only six figure race in the 22-day summer meet.
The Schapiro is named in honor of the former owner of Laurel Park, the force behind the revolutionary Washington D.C. International (gr. IT) turf race.
The race is deep with quality. The horses have combined to win 56 races on the turf and earn more than $3.3 million.
The Sondra Bender owned entry of Tam's Terms and Certantee is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Larry Murray trains both geldings and Horacio Karamanos is named to ride both. Tam's Terms has won five straight turf races including the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs in June and Henry Clark Stakes at Pimlico a month earlier.
His entrymate Certantee has won five races on the grass as well, including the inaugural running of the Schapiro in 2002 when the race was taken off the turf. The son of Known Fact comes into this contest off a loss by a nose on the Belmont Park turf course.
"I think Rock Slide is the horse to beat," said Murray, who has won three added money races in the state this year. "With rain in the forecast for the next few days I'm really hoping that we will get to run. Certantee will probably run on the dirt. He can run a little bit but last year it scratched down to a small field. If Neil Howard's horse (Rock Slide) stays in on the dirt, he'll be tough. I'll nominate both of the horses to a stakes race at Monmouth on Sunday just in case this race comes off the grass."
Rock Slide, (6-1) with Robby Albarado, will no doubt attract interest in the 1 1/8-mile test. The Howard trainee won an added money event at Arlington Park earlier this summer. The 5-year old is the full brother of Pimlico Special (gr. I) winner Mineshaft.
Dr. Kashnikow (3-1) has earned nearly $600,000 with seven victories on the grass, including repeat wins in the River City (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs the last two years. Leading rider Rick Wilson will be aboard the 6-year old.
"It's a tough race, a real tough race. There are a bunch of horses that can win," said Wilson. "I have never ridden my horse but I know he's got a ton of ability and hopefully we'll get a chance to prove how tough he is."
From the powerful barn of Michael Dickinson comes Deeliteful Irving (5-1), who won the Pan American Handicap (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park in his last race 16 months ago. Mario Pino will ride.
If the race comes off the turf Changeintheweather (8-1) might be a horse to watch. The Graham Motion-trained 4-year old has finished second in three graded races on the dirt this year, including the William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard. Mark Johnston has the reins.
The Michael Gill owned, Mark Shuman trained entry of Sardaukar and Glick is 10-1. Both horses have earned more than $400,000.
Roxinbo (12-1), Run To Victory (12-1) and French Charmer (15-1) round out the field.$150,000 John D. Schapiro Memorial Breeders' Cup Handicap, 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt., ML Odds
1. Dr. Kashnikow (ON), Rick Wilson, 118, 3/1
2. Glick (KY), Abel Castellano, Jr., 113, 10/1
3. Tam's Terms (MD), Horatio Karamanos, 119, 2/1
4. Deeliteful Irving (KY), Mario G. Pino, 116, 5/1
5. Changeintheweather (KY), Mark T. Johnston, 115, 8/1
6. Rock Slide (KY), Robby Albarado, 116, 6/1
7. Certantee (MD), Horatio Karamanos, 115, 2/1
8. French Charmer (KY), Christopher P. DeCarlo, 114, 15/1
9. Run to Victory (KY), no rider, 113, 12/1
10. Sardaukar (GB), Abel Castellano, Jr., 114, 10/1
11. Roxinho (BRZ), Ryan Fogelsonger, 114, 12/1