Lewisfield, Struth Set to Open Season in Not For Love

Lewisfield, Struth Set to Open Season in Not For Love

Anna’s Bandit, Limited View Top Full Field in $75,000 Conniver
Among Five Stakes Worth $450,000 in Purses Saturday, March 16

LAUREL, MD – Multiple stakes winners Lewisfield and Struth, who took turns beating each other in Maryland stakes last year, will meet up again as they open their respective seasons in Saturday’s $75,000 Not For Love at Laurel Park.

The six-furlong Not For Love and the 51st running of the $75,000 Conniver at seven furlongs, both for older Maryland-bred/sired sprinters, are among five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on an 11-race program highlighted by the $100,000 Private Terms for 3-year-olds. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.

Linda Zang’s Lewisfield, a 5-year-old Great Notion gelding, was last seen running third as the favorite in the six-furlong Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Dec. 8 at Laurel, leading to the stretch before tiring to finish behind Laki and Rockinn On Bye, both of whom also return in the Not For Love.
Charles Town-based Lewisfield owns a record of 5-2-1 from nine lifetime starts at Laurel, including his first career stakes victory in last year’s Not For Love, a one-length triumph in a race where Struth finished third.

“He’s doing fine. He got a little break over the winter and he’s back now. His last few workouts have been good, he looks good and has put on a little bit of weight,” trainer Jeff Runco said. “He got a few weeks at the farm and he’s come back fine so we’ll see how he does on Saturday. He likes the track there so I think she should run well.

“He had a pretty good campaign last year and needed a little break, and we gave him one. I think he’ll be a little fresher,” he added. “I’m expecting him to run well. It looks like it’s going to be a pretty competitive race so we’ll see how he stacks up.”

Owned and trained by Kieron Magee, who claimed him for $20,000 out of a win at legendary Pimlico Race Course in May 2017, Struth has not raced since finishing sixth in the Russell Road Stakes last April at Charles Town. He has been working steadily for Magee at Pimlico for his comeback, the most recent under former jockey Alberto Delgado, who won more than 2,900 races from 1982-2016.

“He always had a bit of an ankle thing going on; it was always there. It was a mistake running him at Charles Town with those tight turns there,” Magee said. “So after that race we operated on his ankles. They took some chips out of both ankles and then we gave him some time off. Then we had another little issue so we ended up giving him the time.

“We were looking at this race for like six weeks, hoping we could get him there, then we worked him the other day. Alberto Delgado worked him for me and said he galloped out better than he breezed. The gallop out was the best part of it, so he’s ready,” he added. “I think coming off the layoff will be good for him. He’s coming back strong. He looks good and he’s doing well and I expect a big effort from him.”

Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ Laki opened his 6-year-old campaign running third in the seven-furlong General George (G3) Feb. 16, his second career graded-stakes placing, having finished second in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) last fall. He ran second by a nose to Lewisfield in last year’s Polynesian Stakes at Laurel but was promoted to first when Lewisfield was disqualified for interference.

Super C Racing’s Rockinn On Bye rallied to be fifth in the General George following three straight runner-up finishes, including behind Laki in the Bender and Cordmaker in the Jennings Stakes Dec. 29. Overall, the 8-year-old gelding has placed 20 times in stakes without a win, running second in the De Francis and third in the Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) in 2016.

Rounding out the field are Clubman and Eastern Bay.

Anna’s Bandit, Limited View Top Full Field in $75,000 Conniver

Multiple stakes winners Limited View and defending champion Anna’s Bandit top a competitive field of 11 entered in the $75,000 Conniver Stakes, including fellow stakes winners Enchanted Ghost and Hailey’s Flip and the red-hot Velocita Brillante, riding a three-race win streak.

Owned by Fred Wasserloos, George Greenwalt and trainer John Salzman Jr., Limited View has not raced since fading from first to last in the six-furlong Politely Stakes Dec. 29 in her sophomore finale. A two-time stakes winner at 2, the daughter of Freedom Child also won the Marshua last winter in her 3-year-old debut.

Limited View was entered three times this year but scratched due to either poor weather or post position, first in the Jan. 12 What A Summer Stakes and most recently in an optional claiming allowance Feb. 24. Jorge Ruiz will ride for the first time Saturday from Post 9.

“I’m not big on running her in the mud, and every time I’ve had her in there’s been no reason to scratch her other than she’s had the one-hole or the mud,” Salzman said. “Best case scenario, the track’s fast and I get an outside post and I think we might see a different racehorse back to her old form. She’s training as good as she can train, so we’ll see. She’s really matured and grown up and I look for her to get better. She’s just put in a couple clunkers and I think it’s just circumstances.”

No Guts No Glory Farm’s 5-year-old mare Anna’s Bandit trailed all but one horse after a half-mile in last year’s Conniver and was still third heading into the stretch before blowing past the leaders to win by 3 ¾ lengths, adding stakes wins at Charles Town in the spring and fall.

After six straight stakes races, Anna’s Bandit dropped into optional claiming allowance company for her most recent start and responded with a career-best effort, breaking from the rail and going all the way on the lead to win by five lengths in the 5 ½-furlong sprint Jan. 10.

“It was a great race. It was a little change in tactics but it seemed to work out fine. The race came up where there wasn’t that much speed in it and I didn’t want to get boxed down on the inside so I thought it would be better to send her to the lead,” trainer John ‘Jerry’ Robb said. “It definitely was a very big moment for us. She seems to be on the improve so we’re looking forward to see how she runs Saturday and see if that was a fluke or not.”

Mens Grille Racing’s Enchanted Ghost won the 2018 Wide Country Stakes as a 3-year-old and went winless in five subsequent starts before her gutsy triumph in the Maryland Racing Media Stakes Feb. 18, a race where she lost the lead at the top of the stretch but dug back in to prevail by a half-length.

Daniel Crowley’s Hailey’s Flip opened her 5-year-old season with a third-level optional claiming allowance win Feb. 1 and came back to be third following a troubled trip three weeks later. She owns six career wins and has been in the money in 16 of 23 career starts, taking the 2017 Tax Free Shopping Distaff at Delaware Park.

“She’s very consistent. She’s a check-getter. She’s very honest. It’s not going to be an easy race, but it’s Maryland-breds,” trainer Gary Capuano said. “I think seven-eighths will be good for her, especially if the track comes up a little soft. She likes the softer racetrack. She’s not real keen on the real, real fast tracks. She’s run up against Crabcakes a couple times and run second to her running real fast. She shows up every time.”
Joseph Besecker’s Velocita Brillante has fashioned a three-race win streak, the last two since being claimed by meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez in her 2018 finale, capped by an open entry-level allowance going seven furlongs Feb. 16.

Conjecture, Le Weekend, No Picnic, Phantom Shot, S W Briar Rose and Truly Hot are also entered.