Ravenheart Tough in MD Juvenile Futurity Win
Photo: Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Ravenheart, inside, wins the Maryland Juvenile Futurity.
Back against state-breds after finishing unplaced in graded company in New York, Ravenheart proved best in knuckling down late for a narrow win in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 26 at Laurel ParkWatch Replay
Owned by Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller, Ravenheart overhauled pacesetter Corvus and surged to a clear lead in midstretch. He had to call on all his reserves late, however, to hold back the strong closing bid of Flash McCaul through the final 70 yards but kept his head in front, earning his first stakes victory. It's the Journey was third. 
Ridden by Forest Boyce for trainer Francis Abbott III, Ravenheart was timed in 1:25.64 for seven furlongs as the 4-1 fourth wagering choice on a track rated good. The victory followed a disappointing sixth-place finish behind Mohaymen in the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) Nov. 28 at Aqueduct Racetrack. In that race he saved ground early when asked to stretch out for 1 1/8 miles in his third start, but had no rally when called upon.
"We thought he deserved a shot to run in the Remsen," Abbott said. "It was tough to get him to cut back after trying to get him to relax that extra quarter mile, so to come back, we had to sharpen him up a little bit and put a little bit of speed in him. He's game and he dug deep today."
Abbott trains seven juveniles for Miller, who was not in attendance Saturday.      
A son of Northview Stallion Station resident Dance With Ravens, Ravenheart ($10.80) posted his second win from four career starts. He landed his debut Oct. 3 at Delaware Park, and then was second to Corvus and Flash McCaul in the Maryland Million Nursery Oct 17 before venturing to New York. Flash McCaul posted a fourth runner-up finish in five career starts after taking his debut in September at Laurel.
Showalter, from the Marathon Farms of Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos, stumbled at the start but recovered to press to the outside of Corvus. Strongly urged past the five-sixteenths pole, he bobbled after drifting out and bumped with the winner in upper stretch. Weakening thereafter he checked in last in the nine-horse field.
Ravenheart was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel H. Rogers Jr. from the Fly So Free mare Flying Lady. Miller paid $27,000 to secure him from Marshall W. Silverman's agency at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall yearling sale. He has bankrolled $56,900 thus far in his career.
The Maryland Juvenile Futurity was one of five stakes on Saturday's program, which also included the $100,000 Dave's Friend for 3-year-olds and older. 
In the Dave's Friend, Gilbert G. Campbell's homebred Always Sunshine ($8.80) drove between horses with a furlong to run and landed the first stakes win of his career. The 3-year-old son of West Acre, the 3-1 second choice, finished six furlongs in 1:10.02 while besting 12-1 Majestic Hussar by 1 3/4 lengths. Heaven's Runway, the 2-1 favorite, stalked early but lacked a sufficient rally in finishing fourth.
Mary Grum's Athena ($13.20) drove clear late and won the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes for fillies and mares by one length. In posting a third straight win, the 3-year-old daughter of Street Sense   tallied her first stakes win while covering one mile in 1:37.85. 
Skeedattle Associates' homebred Look Who's Talking ($13.40) became the first stakes for 2011 champion turf male Cape Blanco, champion turf male of 2011 and a former central Kentucky stallion, in capturing the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Stakes. Winning by 1 1/2 lengths from 1-5 favorite Lexington Street, she covered six furlongs in 1:25.50 for trainer Robin Graham. A former Ashford Stud resident, Cape Blanco stands in Japan at JBBA Shizunai Stallion Station.
The $50,000 Jennings Handicap at one mile featured Maryland Millions Classic winner Admirals War Chest, who won the race for second as Non Stop Stable's Noteworthy Peach romped home by six lengths. A 3-year-old Read the Footnotes gelding and runner-up in the Federico Tesio earlier this year, Gary Capuano-trained Noteworthy Peach ($8.20) was timed in 1:37.41.

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