Page McKenney wins the 2017 Native Dancer Stakes

Page McKenney wins the 2017 Native Dancer Stakes

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

Page McKenney Does it Again at Laurel Park

Son of Eavesdropper has now won six straight stakes at Laurel Park.

Adam Staple and Jalin Stable's Page McKenney shrugged off a nearly nine-month layoff and won his sixth straight stakes at Laurel Park Jan. 21 in the $75,000 Native Dancer

Video: Native Dancer S.

Off since a second-place run in the Charles Town Classic (G2) in April, the 7-year-old son of Eavesdropper stalked the early pace, took command late in the final turn of the 1 1/16-mile Native Dancer, and pulled clear to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Bodhisattva closed from last in the field of eight to finish second, a nose ahead of Cosmic Destiny. Page McKenney, with jockey Horacio Karamanos aboard, finished off the 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.01 on a track rated fast to clinch his second straight Native Dancer score.

"He's back," said winning trainer Mary Eppler. "It's great. I think this race really helped tighten him up a little bit. I thought he was coming in a little bit soft and a little bit heavy. They did try him."

Longshot Warrioroftheroses set the early pace, with fractions of :24.32, :48.88, and 1:13.73 through six furlongs, but was through entering the stretch and tired to finish last.

"I'm tired from holding my horse. It was a really, really nice race. He came back so good. He was off a long time but he was good today," Karamanos said. "He broke out of the gate and (Bodhisattva) was squishing me a little bit and bumped me a little bit, so my horse was a little bit rank. I tried to relax him and he didn't want to relax much today.

"He wanted to go and I didn't want to fight him. At the top of the stretch he had the lead and when horses came to him, he came back again."

Page McKenney, bred by Dr. James Bryant and Linda Davis in Pennsylvania, now has a 17-13-4 record from 45 starts, with $1,450,978 in earnings. His last victory came in the General George Stakes (G3) at Laurel in February, which was preceded by his first Native Dancer win.

Karamanos had four wins Saturday, with Chief Tarhe in the first race, Tiz He the One in the third, Page McKenney in the seventh, and Karaoke Queen in the eighth.

"I really loved Page McKenney today. He's my favorite horse," the rider said. "I thought I had a good chance to win today. I didn't have a lot of favored horses but they looked good. I thought today could be my day, and it was my day."