G3-Placed Discreet Ops May Try Turf in $100K Stormy Blues

De Francis Dash Possible for 10YO G3 Winner Greeley and Ben
Seven-Pound Apprentice Ederik Robles Registers Sunday Hat Trick

LAUREL, MD – Charles J. Reed’s 3-year-old filly Discreet Ops, most recently third in the Miss Preakness (G3) on the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) undercard May 17 at historic Pimlico Race Course, breezed Sunday on the Laurel Park turf for what could be her grass debut in the $100,000 Stormy Blues June 16.

The Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the grass is the first stakes of Laurel’s 33-day summer meet which began May 31, headlining a Father’s Day program featuring Bourbon and BBQ and a vintage car show (weather permitting).

Under regular rider Jean Alvelo, and in company with 3-year-old Maryland-bred filly Bunny Hop, Discreet Ops was timed in 51.60 seconds over the firm course, tying her workmate for the fastest of eight horses at the distance.

“I thought she went good,” trainer Ben Feliciano Jr. said. “After she worked I asked Jean if I should just stay main track only with her, and he said no, he thought she should try it out. I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going to do it but it’s our home turf here at Laurel so I might just give it a shot.”

Discreet Ops, a daughter of 2018 Carter Handicap (G1) winner Army Mule, has raced exclusively on dirt in three starts. She is unbeaten at Laurel, with a six-furlong maiden special weight victory in mid-November and an optional claiming allowance triumph going 5 ½ furlongs April 13.

The six-furlong Miss Preakness for 3-year-old fillies was the first time facing stakes company for Discreet Ops, who trailed by as many as nine lengths in the early going before making a late run up the rail to be third, a nose ahead of Cap Classique and 5 ¾ lengths behind winner Mystic Lake.

“I kind of lost her a bit when she was running and I was like, ‘Where is she?’ I kind of told him to lay a little close to the pace. I didn’t think she’d make the lead with all that speed but I thought she’d be right behind. She kind of dropped back and then I saw her start coming up the rail and making a good run at the end there,” Feliciano said. “I was thrilled.”

Nominations for the Stormy Blues were due Sunday. Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Monday, June 10.

“I looked around and I didn’t see much on the dirt for her, so I was just kind of looking at that,” Felicano said. “We’re real happy with her. I’m going to at least enter her and then we’ll make a decision from there.”

Feliciano and Alvelo teamed up to win Laurel’s Race 9 finale Sunday, a maiden special weight for horses ages 3, 4 or 5, with Strongline Thoroughbreds’ 3-year-old Blue Kingdom ($4). The winning time was 1:11.05 for six furlongs over a fast main track.

De Francis Dash Possible for 10YO G3 Winner Greeley and Ben

DEA Thoroughbred Racing’s Grade 3-winning 10-year-old Greeley and Ben, a 25-time career winner approaching millionaire status, continues to work his way back into race shape at Laurel Park.

Greeley and Ben has had two timed works following a winter break, the latest coming June 1 with a half-mile in 49.60 seconds over the main track. He has not raced since finishing sixth in the Feb. 17 General George (G3) at Laurel.

“He’s doing good,” trainer Horacio DePaz said before winning Laurel’s Race 8 optional claiming allowance turf sprint feature Sunday with 4-year-old Sterbenz Racing filly Caroline Krystyna ($3.20). “We’re just getting the fitness back into him. He got a quarter crack in the winter so that kind of set us back, but other than that he seems to be doing fine.”

In his eighth season of racing, Greeley and Ben has a 25-7-2 record with $992,288 in purse earnings from 45 starts. Five of his wins have been in stakes including the 2022 Fall Highweight (G3) at Aqueduct and Laurel’s Dave’s Friend last December, his most recent victory.

Greeley and Ben has raced twice this year, finishing fourth in a Laurel allowance Feb. 3 before coming back two weeks later in the seven-furlong General George.

“He was training after the General George and he popped a quarter crack galloping one day, so he just needed time for that to grow down fully. It’s hard in the wintertime,” DePaz said. “He’s a happy horse. He likes his job. He doesn’t act like he’s 10, that’s for sure. He enjoys it.”

Though a game plan is still being mapped out, the listed $150,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash July 28 at Laurel is on the radar for Greeley and Ben.

“That would be a target, obviously. If we could get a race into him before that, that would be great,” DePaz said. “If we can get one of those open allowance races to go that would be ideal; if not, some sort of stake that’s around locally. We’re still looking into that. Right now we’re just building his fitness and kind of getting him where he’s comfortable.”

Notes: Seven-pound apprentice Ederik Robles registered a hat trick Sunday aboard Rainy Skies ($9.40) in Race 2, Whatahardmanfidead ($11.80) in Race 4 and Jumpingjaggerflash ($66.40) in Race 5. The 16-year-old Puerto Rico native won his first two races in Maryland May 26 at historic Pimlico Race Course and leads the Delaware Park standings with 10 wins … There will be a carryover of $4,023.90 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 when the summer meet resumes Friday, spanning races 4-9. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.

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