Fogelsonger, P Day Strike in Native Dancer

(from track report)
Apprentice jockey Ryan Fogelsonger turned in one of the best rides of his young career, waiting to find somewhere to go and striking at the perfect time to win the $75,000 Native Dancer Stakes aboard local favorite P Day Saturday at Laurel Park.

Behind four horses at the top of the lane, Full Brush and Ramon Dominguez and P Day and Fogelsonger both went for an opening between frontrunners Paynes Bay and Hay Getoutofmyway. Both geldings found a way through and battled feverishly to the finish line. P Day emerged with the lead just yards from the wire and won by a head. Hay Getoutofmyway finished third.

The winner completed the 1 1/8 mile in 1:50.08 and paid $7.60.

The Native Dancer victory was P Day's second straight added-money win at Laurel Park. The Private Terms gelding won the seven-furlong Challedon Stakes on Dec. 28 for owner Adam Russo and trainer Charlie Hadry. Born on Preakness Day in 1995, the 8-year old has won 12 races at Laurel.

"Mr. Hadry told me if the pace was really slow to not get too far back," said Fogelsonger, an Eclipse Award finalist as top apprentice. "The pace was pretty honest and I was comfortable behind the leaders. I knew I had a ton of horse under me but everything started to bunch up pretty tight on the turn. At the top of the stretch the two leaders drifted apart and there was an opening. But Ramon was right next to me and he had plenty of run left, too. We both went in there and it got a little tight but both horses got clear and P Day just dug in and gave it his all. He's loves this racetrack. He did it all today."

"It set up perfectly for us and he ran a great race but we just got outrun," said Dominguez. "It got a little tight with three of us going for the rail at the same time but Mario (jockey Pino on Hay Getoutofmyway) came out and allowed everyone to have room. We were bumping a little, but that's what happens in a competitive race."

Daddy Cool, the 6-5 favorite, finished fifth.

Fogelsonger, who led all apprentice riders in wins (267), earnings ($4,489,311) and winning percentage (22%) in 2002, picked up right where he left off and leads the colony with 15 wins in the first nine days of the winter meet. After leading the nation in wins the second half of last year with 244, the 21-year old is third in the national standings, trailing northern California star Russell Baze and Gulfstream's Eibar Coa.

(Chart, Equibase)