Blacktype wins the 2016 Commonwealth Turf Cup, now the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup

Blacktype wins the 2016 Commonwealth Turf Cup, now the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

Blacktype Returns for Laurel's Class on the Grass Day

Day also includes pair of grade 3 turf races for 3-year-olds.

Jump Sucker Stable's Blacktype could be the bridge from the Commonwealth Turf Cup and the renamed Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (G2T) to be run Sept. 30 at Laurel Park.

Blacktype, a French-bred son of Dunkerque trained by Christophe Clement, prevailed by a half length in last year's Commonwealth Turf. He returns to Laurel to try to become the first repeat winner of the grade 2 one-mile turf race.

The $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International is the headliner for Laurel Park's "Class on the Grass" event. The 12-race program includes eight turf stakes, three of them graded, with $850,000 in purse money. There are two graded stakes for 3-year-olds, the $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G3T) and $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3T).

The three graded stakes formerly were conducted at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., which has not offered racing since 2013. The Virginia Equine Alliance and Virginia HBPA are presenting the two grade 3 races.

The Baltimore/Washington International drew a field of eight that includes grade 1 winner Ring Weekend, multiple grade 2 winner Tower of Texas, and a pair handled by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown: Projectedand Catapult.

Blacktype, who drew post seven, won his most recent start, a 1 1/16 miles optional claimer on Sept 9. at Belmont Park. It was his first victory of the season highlighted by a third-place finish in the Longines Dixie Stakes (G2T). Prior to his Commonwealth Turf Cup victory in 2016, Blacktype won the Oceanport Stakes (G3T) at Monmouth Park. Horacio Karamanos, who won the 2013 Commonwealth Turf on London Lane, will ride Blacktype.

Ring Weekend, co-owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, is a well-traveled, accomplished veteran who leads the Baltimore/Washington International field with more than $1.5 million in earnings. He picked up his grade 1 victory in the 2015 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita Park. Trainer Graham Motion saw some positives in his most recent race, a fourth in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2T) on a yielding turf course at Saratoga Race Course on Sept. 4.

"I think he's probably not quite the horse he was, though his numbers are still very solid with this group of horses," Motion said. "He's a little bit more laid back perhaps than he was, which shows in his races. He tends not to get so involved early in the races. I actually thought his last race at Saratoga was strong enough against what's the stronger group of horses that we have on the East Coast."

In the Commonwealth Oaks, Stuart Janney III will try to win with a homebred for a third straight year. He won the 1 1/8-mile turf race in 2015 with Onus and last year with My Impression. Janney will go for the hat trick Saturday with In the Lee, a daughter of Tapit  out of Janney's graded stakes-winning mare Quiet Harbor.

"I worry that if I think about it too much it won't come to pass," said Janney of the possibility of winning the 1 1/8th mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies. "But it would be great. I care a lot about Maryland racing and everyone has been doing a great job there. I was toured all around the facility recently and it's great what they're doing. (Commonwealth) is a great day and it's a fun race to win."
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who will try to saddle his third consecutive Oaks winner for Janney, In the Lee is from a very special family that can be traced back to 2001, when Seth Hancock purchased the A.P. Indy mare Meghan's Joy for Janney in foal to Deputy Minister at the Keeneland November sale. Meghan's Joy has produced five graded stakes winners for Janney: Ironicus , Hunting, Norumbega, On Leave, and Quiet Harbor; as well as the multiple stakes winner Seal Cove.
"It's been a good family," Janney said. "Meghan's been a terrific broodmare and she's been bred to some very good stallions."

In the Commonwealth Derby, Motion will send out Just Howard off a three-race win streak. The son of English Channel  will make his graded stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile turf test.
Just Howard is a Maryland-bred with deep roots in the state. He is named after his breeder, the late Howard Bender, is owned by Skeedattle Associates, the long-standing partnership of three friends from Clarksville, Md. and is trained by Motion, who is based at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md.

Motion said that adding blinkers in May isn't the only reason why Just Howard broke his maiden in his sixth try and then won two Laurel stakes on turf.

"That's probably a part of it," Motion said. "I do think he's a horse that just kind of matured. He hasn't done much wrong, this horse. He's a pretty cool horse."

Entries: Commonwealth Oaks presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia HBPA (G3T)

Laurel Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 7

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $150,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 3:30 PM (local)
11Proud Reunion (KY)Ashley Castrenze120Thomas F. Proctor10/1
22Fly By (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJevian Toledo116Leah Gyarmati15/1
33Rymska (FR)Feargal Lynch116Chad C. Brown2/1
44Canny (KY)Sheldon Russell116Michael Stidham20/1
55I'm Betty G (MD)Julian Pimentel116Michael J. Maker12/1
66Charged (KY)Daniel Centeno116Michael Stidham15/1
77Taperge (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateNik Juarez116Chad C. Brown5/2
88Chubby Star (MD)Jose Lezcano116Horacio DePaz6/1
99Flower Fashion (FR)Horacio Karamanos116Christophe Clement8/1
1010In the Lee (KY)Forest Boyce116Claude R. McGaughey III12/1

Entries: Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup S. (G2T)

Laurel Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade IIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 4:00 PM (local)
11Glorious Empire (IRE)Sheldon Russell118Carlos F. Martin12/1
22Projected (GB)Nik Juarez118Chad C. Brown9/5
33Tower of Texas (ON)Keeneland Sales GraduateJesse M. Campbell118Roger L. Attfield6/1
44Catapult (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFeargal Lynch118Chad C. Brown7/2
55Ring Weekend (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEdgar S. Prado118H. Graham Motion9/2
66Xmas Sky (KY)Jevian Toledo118Elizabeth M. Merryman30/1
77Blacktype (FR)Horacio Karamanos118Christophe Clement9/2
88Special Ops (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDaniel Centeno118Michael J. Maker15/1

Entries: Commonwealth Derby presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance and the Virginia HBPA (G3T)

Laurel Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 11

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo
  • 5:30 PM (local)
11Final Copy (ON)Jesse M. Campbell116Roger L. Attfield6/1
22Master Plan (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSheldon Russell116Todd A. Pletcher15/1
33Just Howard (MD)Keeneland Sales GraduateFeargal Lynch116H. Graham Motion10/1
44Voodoo Song (NY)Jose Lezcano120Linda Rice8/5
55Profiteer (KY)Edgar S. Prado116Claude R. McGaughey III5/2
66Dover Cliffs (KY)Horacio Karamanos116Christophe Clement6/1
77Bronson (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateDaniel Centeno116Michael J. Maker8/1
88Threeohtwocassie (PA)Keeneland Sales GraduateVictor Lebron116Anthony Pecoraro20/1