One-Mile Headliner Among Six Stakes Worth $650,000 in Purses
Taste of the Track: Enjoy Trackside Seat with Bourbon and BBQ
2YO Colt Classic Joke Graduates in Front-Running Fashion Friday
Jockey Humphrey, Trainer McMahon Team Up for Friday Hat Trick
LAUREL, MD – Historic Pimlico Race Course will celebrate the penultimate weekend of its boutique nine-day fall stand Saturday with an 11-race schedule featuring six stakes worth $650,000 in purses, as well as Bourbon and BBQ on the track apron.
First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Headlining Saturday’s program is the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for one mile on the grass. Smokin’ T, from Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, won the Lure at Saratoga two starts back and just two weeks ago was third by less than a length in the Mint Million (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
Also among the field of nine are Highestdistinction, a winner of two straight including the Oceanport last out Aug. 13 at Monmouth Park; Wolfie’s Dynaghost, who has won stakes on both turf and all-weather surfaces; multiple New Jersey-bred stakes winner He’spuregold; Grade 2-winning turf sprinter Cazadero and 2022 Buckland winner King Vega.
Stakes action begins in Race 5 with the $75,000 Shine Again for fillies and mares 3 and up which have never won an open sweepstakes sprinting six furlongs. McGaughey again has the program favorite in First to Act, a 5-year-old Curlin mare that placed in the Beldame (G2) and Turnback the Alarm (G3) to cap 2022 and was seventh in her comeback, the July 22 Molly Pitcher (G3) at Monmouth.
Race 6 is the $75,000 Ben’s Cat for Maryland-bred/sired 3-year-olds and up scheduled for five furlongs on the turf. Witty, a younger half-brother to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Caravel, has won three dirt stakes but is seeking his first such triumph on the grass after having run second in three straight attempts, beaten a length and a head combined. Sky’s Not Falling, winner of the 2022 Maryland Million Turf Sprint, poses a strong challenge.
Veteran Grade 3 winners Wondrwherecraigis and Jaxon Traveler, who together own 14 victories and more than $1.1 million in purse earnings from 40 starts, and Stage Left, an 11-time winner from 38 starts including three stakes, will meet in Race 7, the $100,000 Lite the Fuse for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs. Little Roo Roo is 6-for-10 lifetime with three wins against fellow West Virginia-breds entered to run outside of Charles Town for the first time.
The $100,000 All Along scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the grass in Race 8 attracted a dozen fillies and mares 3 and older including Ellis Park Turf winner Mouffy; Full Count Felicia, who ended her 2022 season and opened 2023 with victories exactly nine months apart, the latter Aug. 19; Argentinian Group 1 winner Milagrosa Surena, making her second North American start; and Grade 2-placed Myriskyaffair.
Race 9 is the $100,000 Weather Vane for 3-year-old fillies sprinting six furlongs. The field of eight is led by Late Frost, third in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) Aug 25; fellow stakes winners Tappin Josie, Talk to the Judge and Blind Spot; and Apple Picker, cutting back to a sprint after running seventh, beaten 4 ½ lengths, in the 1 1/16-mile Searching Aug. 13 at Laurel for Maryland’s leading trainer, Brittany Russell.
Bourbon and BBQ begins at 1 p.m. in the apron tent. Admission ($65) includes all you can eat BBQ; a selection of bourbon, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages; $2 betting voucher; live race program and a trackside seat. For tickets or more information, click here.
Notes: Jockey William Humphrey and trainer Hugh McMahon teamed up for three wins Friday, Loving Cup ($6.40) in Race 2, Ampersand ($12.20) in Race 5 and Everett’s Song ($7) in featured Race 8, a third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up … LBR Racing Stable, Sterling Road Stables and Rashid’s Thoroughbred Racing’s Classic Joke ($8.40), a Practical Joke colt making his third career start and second straight on the dirt, was pressed by Regalo from the start before putting the favorite away in mid-stretch and drawing clear to a 2 ¼-length victory in Race 4, a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds sprinting six furlongs. The winning time was 1:12.79 over a fast main track … 4-year-old Street Sense colt Murray, a $300,000 yearling owned by many similar connections as the partnership in National Treasure, winner of the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 20, won for the first time since his 2021 debut in Race 7, an open entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up, completing six furlongs in 1:11.81 in his first start for trainer Brittany Russell … There will be carryovers of $3,128.81 in the $1 Jackpot Super High Five (Race 6) and $944.33 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 6-11) Saturday.