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Baltimore Belle, Bold Affair Headline Conniver Stakes
LAUREL, MD. 03-08-12---With eleven named to start, the spotlight is on open stakes winners Baltimore Belle and Bold Affair in Saturday’s $75,000 Conniver Stakes at Laurel Park, which is restricted to Maryland-bred fillies and mares.
They will be joined at the start by state-bred stakes winners Access to Charlie, Art of the Hunt and seven other runners in the 7-furlong test on the main track.
Baltimore Belle (9-5) won the Dahlia, Lady Baltimore and Geisha Stakes last year for trainer Mike Trombetta. The daughter of Bowman’s Band started 2012 with seconds in the Sleigh Ride at Parx Racing and the Maryland Racing Media Handicap at Laurel. Julian Pimentel retains the mount.
“She always shows up,” said Trombetta. “There was a period where I thought she was better on the grass then she comes out and wins stakes on the dirt. The effort is always there.”
Trombetta will also saddle 15-1 shot Sound Out, a daughter of Oratory with two victories in three career starts.
“It is probably time to take a chance,” added Trombetta. “She is lightly raced and moving into her allowance conditions. I think everyone would be happy if we could get a stakes placing with her.”
Bold Affair (5-2) tries restricted company for the first time for trainer Howard Wolfendale. Last year, the Two Punch filly had a victory in the Jostle Stakes at Parx Racing and third places finishes in the Dearly Precious at Monmouth and Miss Preakness at Pimlico. She prepped for this with a good second in an optional claiming race at Laurel in January, behind multiple stakes winner Red’s Round Table, and had a bullet workout here at the end of February. Abel Castellano has the riding assignment.
“I wish I didn’t get the rail going seven-eighths,” Wolfendale said. “She prefers to be outside of horses so hopefully we can get outside. She is a great, big filly and has been training well. I expect a good effort.”
Access to Charlie (9-2) was 19-1 when she won the Twixt Stakes for trainer Larry Murray, one of three wins in her past four starts, all at Laurel. Forrest Boyce does the steering on the Indian Charlie 4-year-old.
Trainer Frannie Campitelli has earned a first and a second in restricted stakes from Art of the Hunt (10-1). The daughter of Lion Hearted won the Squan Song Stakes after placing behind Access to Charlie in the Twixt. Leading rider Sheldon Russell will be aboard.
Rounding out the field are the 10-1 Mary Eppler entry of Music Please and Heaven’s Voice, Sneaky Lil (12-1), Lily Quatorze (15-1), Terra Rolla (15-1) and Overnight Fling (30-1).
KOBISKIE, RUSSELL CONTINUE WINNING WAYS
With 10 days remaining in the Laurel Park winter meeting, the races for top rider and leading trainer appear to be over with Dane Kobiskie and Sheldon Russell poised to capture titles.
Russell rode two winners on Thursday’s card for his 12th multiple-win afternoon of the stand and is 13-of-30 in the last six live racing days. He leads his nearest rival, Malcolm Franklin, by 14 victories.
“We got off to a good start and continue to work hard in the mornings,” said Russell, who has 42victories from 174 mounts (24%) at Laurel this year. “As long as you keep winning the horses keep coming. We are lucky to ride for Graham Motion and Tim Keefe and have been getting some live mounts from out-of-town trainers.”
The 24-year-old captured the riding title at all three meets at Laurel and Pimlico Race Course last year and finished with a career-best in wins (195) and earnings ($4.25 million).
“Last year was my first injury-free season and things went really well,” added Russell, who rode Concealed Identity in last year’s Preakness® Stakes. “Winning races means you wake up in the mornings with a smile on your face and makes it easier to come to work each day.”
Kobiskie has won an impressive 28 of his 61 starts at Laurel this year, a 46% success rate. The former rider has six two-win days and leads Jamie Ness by 10 trips to the winners’ circle. The barn scored with Wild Louis in today’s eighth race.
The Laurel winter meet ends Saturday, March 24. Live racing begins at historic Pimlico on Friday, March 30.