Sent to post at odds of 9-2, Crafty Bear carried jockey Mario Pino to a 3-3/4 length victory in 1:38.55 over a fast track for the one mile distance. The son of Yonaguska paid $11.40 and $4.40.
Saratoga Lulaby ($4.60), who finished second under Dyn Panell, raced out to a 3 1/2-length lead to begin the run down the backstretch. Crafty Bear raced along in fourth, staying close to the rail. When asked, he came through a narrow opening and took command.
Crafty Bear is a recent transfer to the Mike Trombetta barn. Owned by Harry and Tom Meyerhoff, the gelding had been trained by Hall of Famer Bud Delp, who died on Dec. 29.
“We’ve only had him for a few weeks but we worked him a couple of times and he worked good and we were looking forward to running," Trombetta said. "He didn’t let us down. He came to me feeling good and he was doing well and he came over and ran really nice for us.”
Panell and trainer John Rigattieri teamed up to win three races on the Laurel Park card. The Suffolk Downs-based Rigattieri, who is spending his fourth winter in Maryland, leads the trainer standings with 18 winners from 54 starters, while Panell ranks third among riders with 23 first place finishes.
Trombetta, who also saddled three winners on the Saturday card, won the Miracle Wood last year with Sweetnorthernsaint.
Place Your Bets finished third with 17-10 favorite Roaring Lion far back in fourth. Dancin Buddha scratched.
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