Gnarly Mo has Connections Excited Following Impressive Maiden Win

Gnarly Mo has Connections Excited Following Impressive Maiden Win

Multiple Stakes Winner Cordmaker Works Wednesday for Polynesian
Rainbow 6 Carryover for Return of Live Racing Friday, June 7
Special 12:30 P.M. Post Time for Belmont Day, June 8, at Laurel

LAUREL, MD – While his debut may have been overlooked, coming 41 minutes after War of Will’s victory in the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, there was no missing Gnarly Mo’s second start.

The gelded 3-year-old son of 2010 champion juvenile and multiple Grade 1 winner Uncle Mo sailed to a popular five-length triumph Sunday at Laurel Park, running one mile in 1:36.08 as the 2-5 favorite in a $40,000 maiden special weight for 3-year-olds and up.

It wasn’t a performance that surprised trainer Rodney Jenkins, who accompanied Hillwood Stable’s Ellen Charles when she purchased Gnarly Mo for $385,000 at Keeneland’s 2017 January Horses of All Ages sale – the top-priced yearling of 376 sold during the five-day auction.

“I expected him to run like that the first time. I had worked him with some of my better horses and he just dusted them like they weren’t much,” Jenkins said. “They had all that commotion and everything [Preakness Day]. He handled it well, he did, but this time we were expecting him to win. I’d have been pretty disappointed if he hadn’t. But life is what it is, and you win some and you lose a lot.”

Gnarly Mo ran second, a length behind favored Firecrow, in his unveiling going six furlongs. He broke poorly and was ahead of only two horses through a half-mile, trailing by nine lengths. Despite disliking the dirt in his face and racing greenly behind horses, he finished stoutly and galloped out strong once in the clear.

“The first time we ran him he was green leaving the gate, that’s how he got beat. When he crossed the wire, he started opening up on them,” Jenkins said. “He’s a horse that looks like he’s going to go long for us. We’re very happy with him. He’s a pretty nice horse, we think. I like him a lot.”

Gnarly Mo was bred in Maryland by another of Jenkins’ clients, Carolyn Nicewonder of Nicewonder Farm. Foaled at Green Willow Farm in Westminster, 45 minutes north of Laurel, he spent time in Aiken, S.C. with trainer Cary Frommer, winning the Iselin Hall of Fame Trophy in 53 seconds for 4 ½ furlongs during the 77th annual Aiken Trials in March.

A half-brother to 2015 Jamestown Stakes winner Away We Go, a mare Jenkins trained for Nicewonder, as well as stakes-placed Gallivanting, Quiet Hour and Powder Mountain, Gnarly Mo is out of the Salt Lake mare Gone to Utah.

“She had a Salt Lake mare and I told her to breed her to Uncle Mo, and sure enough she did and this is what she got,” Jenkins said. “We tried to buy the horse before he went to the sale but they never got together really. So we went to the sale and Mrs. Charles bought him, and then we sent him down to Aiken all winter.

“He was a real tough horse to break, but she did a nice job with him,” he added. “She ran him in the trials down there and I had a friend who was a judge at the trials. He called me up and he said, ‘Rodney, you’re getting a running horse.’ I laughed and said, ‘Is that right?’ And he said, “This horse won the trials by 15 lengths.’ I said, ‘The trial is a little different than the real deal,’ and he said, ‘It won’t be when this one runs.’”

Jenkins is leaving his options open when it comes to bringing Gnarly Mo back to the races.

“I might look for an a-other-than but if it doesn’t go there’s a 3-year-old stake coming up, a flat mile, and I’m not scared to run him in that,” Jenkins said. “I’ll either do one or the other. Knock on wood he came back real sound. I usually let them tell me what do to. They’re a lot smarter than me.”

Multiple Stakes Winner Cordmaker Works Wednesday for Polynesian

Hillwood Stable’s multiple stakes winner Cordmaker returned to the work tab Wednesday morning at Laurel Park for the first time since his third-place finish in the historic $300,000 Pimlico Special (G3) May 17 at Pimlico.

The 4-year-old Maryland-bred son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin was credited with the lone six-furlong work of the day, going in 1:12 over a fast main track. He is being pointed to the $100,000 Polynesian Stakes for 3-year-olds and up going seven furlongs June 16 at Laurel.

“He came out the last one good,” trainer Rodney Jenkins said. “I worked him this morning and he went in 58 and [two-fifths] for five-eighths. I was real pleased with him. He went good.”

Cordmaker had one win from four starts at 2, and began and ended his sophomore season with victories capped by the Jennings Stakes in December 2018. Eighth in the seven-furlong General George (G3) to open 2019, he won the 1 1/8-mile Harrison E. Johnson Memorial March 16 and a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance April 25 heading into the Pimlico Special, lengthened from 1 3/16 miles to 1 ¼ miles this year.

In the Pimlico Special, Cordmaker endured some early trouble and dropped back by as many as 8 ½ lengths after six furlongs before uncorking a wide rally and emerging from a three-way photo finish a neck behind favored runner-up You’re to Blame in second. Tenfold, third in the 2018 Preakness (G1) behind eventual Triple Crown champion Justify, beat You’re to Blame by a neck.

“Heck, the horse got beat two necks and he was 10 wide in the stretch, and he clipped heels when they left the gate,” Jenkins said. “I mean, he had nothing his way and he gets beat two necks by a horse they were touting. I thought he could win it. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have put him in there. That’s a good horse, and no matter what anybody says he’s bred for that far. He’s come around from his 3 to his 4-year-old year. He’s matured a lot.”

Jenkins said two other Hillwood horses, multiple stakes winners Phlash Phelps and Shimmering Aspen, are also possible for stakes on June 16, the first of 13 stakes worth $1.1 million in purses during Laurel’s 43-day summer meet.

Phlash Phelps, a four-time grass stakes winner including two editions of the Maryland Million Turf, is being pointed to the $100,000 Prince George’s County for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. He was seventh behind multiple Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy, beaten 5 ¼ lengths, in the Dixie (G2) May 18 at Pimlico.

“He came out of it all right. It was over his head, but [Mrs. Charles] wanted to see him run there. She loves that old horse,” Jenkins said. “I knew it wasn’t going to hurt him. He takes care of himself. He’s smart. He’s a smart old guy.”

Jenkins is considering trying Shimmering Aspen on the grass in the $100,000 Big Dreyfus Stakes, also at 1 1/16 miles. She has won eight of 16 career starts, including four stakes victories, and most recently won a six-furlong optional claiming allowance May 8 at Delaware Park.

“It’s not for sure yet [but] I think I’m going to stretch her out and run her on the grass because I can’t get any races for her,” Jenkins said. “She never has run on the grass, but I’m going to try it. She’s a Malibu Moon and they’ll run on the grass. She’s nice. I’d like to see her do something like that. I love that filly. That’s my favorite of all of them.”

Rainbow 6 Carryover for Return of Live Racing Friday, June 7

Live racing returns to Laurel Park with a 10-race program Friday, June 7 featuring a carryover jackpot of $3,466.48 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.

A total of 104 horses were entered Friday, an average of 10.4 starters per race. Five races are scheduled over Laurel’s world-class turf course, attracting 62 entries, an average of 12.4 starters per race.

The Rainbow 6 spans Races 5-10. Race 6 is a $47,000 third-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the grass which drew a field of nine led by Misericordia, Souper Echo and Dare to Be, all exiting the $100,000 The Very One Stakes May 18 at Pimlico; and Limited View, a stakes winner on dirt at 2 and 3 making just her second career try on turf.

Race 9 is a $42,000 entry-level allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up going a mile on the grass that saw an overflow field of 16 entered, including recent Laurel maiden winner Ode to Joy; Alexa Rose, making her North American debut after four starts in England; and 2018 Selima Stakes runner-up Shoobiedoobydoo, unraced since March 9.

Also on Friday’s card are a pair of five-furlong sprints for 2-year-olds in Race 1, for fillies, and Race 4, each drawing a field of 10.

Special Live 12:30 P.M. Post Time for Belmont Day, June 8, at Laurel

Laurel Park will open its doors at 11 a.m. and have a special 12:30 p.m. post for the first of 12 live races on Saturday, June 8.

June 8 is also the last of Laurel’s Triple Crown Days, allowing fans the opportunity to watch and wager on the 151st Belmont Stakes (G1) from Belmont Park. First post at Belmont Park is 11:35 a.m.

War of Will, winner of the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 18 at Pimlico, is among the field of 10 entered in the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, which has a scheduled post time of 6:46 p.m.

Fans can reserve their spot on Saturday at Laurel for $15, which includes a souvenir live racing program and an assigned seat at a private betting carrel in the Silks Room, featuring more than 50 HD televisions and state of the art Jumboscreen.

To purchase tickets, call 877-206-8042 or click here: Click here to purchase tickets

Day of race tickets, if available, can also be purchased at the Guest Services Counter.

Advance wagering on the entire Belmont Stakes Day program at Belmont, as well as two two-day double wagers and the two-day Pick 6, will be available at Laurel on Friday, June 7.