7YO Gelding Defending Champion in $100,000 Richard Small Nov. 26
Apprentice Jeiron Barbosa Returns with Victory in First Mount Back
Rainbow 6 Jackpot Carryover Grows to $42,222 for Saturday Program
LAUREL, MD – Multiple stakes winners Cordmaker, Fille d’Esprit and Tappin Cat each tuned up for potential starts in Thanksgiving weekend stakes with five-furlong works Friday at Laurel Park.
Hillwood Stable’s Cordmaker, a 10-time stakes winner including the Feb. 19 General George (G3), had the fastest of six works at the distance over the main track in 1:00. Less than $10,000 away from $1 million mark in lifetime earnings, the 7-year-old gelding has raced once since his first graded triumph, finishing sixth after pressing the early pace in a one-mile optional claiming allowance Nov. 4 at Laurel.
Cordmaker is nominated to both Laurel’s $75,000 Howard & Sondra Bender Memorial for Maryland-bred/sired 3-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs Nov. 25 and $100,000 Richard W. Small for open 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles Nov. 26. The son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin won the Small in 2021 and was second in 2022.
Second to Cordmaker with a breeze of 1:00.80 was C J I Phoenix Group and No Guts No Glory Farm’s 6-year-old mare Fille d’Esprit, who exits a 1 ¼-length triumph in the seven-furlong Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 22. An 11-time career winner, including four stakes, she is nominated to the $75,000 Politely for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs Nov. 25.
Non Stop Stable’s Tappin Cat, winner of the 2022 Sussex and 2021 DTHA Governors Day Handicap, worked five furlongs in 1:01.60. The 6-year-old gelding was sixth in last year’s Small and most recently ran ninth in the 1 1/8-mile Maryland Million Classic, a race where he was second in 2021. Like Cordmaker, Tappin Cat is nominated to both the Small and Bender.
A total of five stakes worth $450,000 in purses will be offered over Thanksgiving weekend, including the $100,000 City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, each sprinting seven furlongs Nov. 26.
Entries will be taken and post positions drawn Saturday for the Nov. 25 stakes and Sunday for the Nov. 26 stakes. Laurel will also host its traditional Thanksgiving Day holiday program Thursday, Nov. 24 starting at 11:25 a.m.
Notes: Five-pound apprentice Jeiron Barbosa, Laurel’s current fall meet-leading rider, returned Friday after missing last weekend by winning with his first mount on the card, 4-year-old filly Sick Pack Sara ($3.60) in Race 2 … The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved for the 21st consecutive racing day Friday, growing the carryover jackpot to $42,221.99 for Saturday’s nine-race card that begins at 12:15 p.m. Multiple tickets with all six winners were each worth $1,740.28 … Three Diamonds Farm’s sophomore Uncle Mo gelding Afjan ($5) held off a late run from Rapper Zapper to capture Race 7, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight for horses age 3, 4 and 5, by a half-length. The winning time was 1:48.49 over a fast main track.