G3 Winner Pickin’ Time Captures $100,000 City of Laurel

Belle of the North Goes Last to First in $100,000 Safely Kept
Cordmaker Proves Too Much in $100,000 Richard W. Small

– Roseland Farm Stable’s graded-stakes winner Pickin’ Time swept to the lead on the outside around the far turn and had plenty left to turn back a bid from He’smyhoneybadger nearing the wire for a 1 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 City of Laurel at Laurel Park.

The 11th running of the City of Laurel for 3-year-olds was the first of three $100,000 stakes on the program, followed by the Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, also sprinting seven furlongs, and 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Mychel Sanchez for trainer Kelly Breen, Pickin’ Time ($12.80) earned his fourth career stakes win and first in open company since the 2020 Nashua (G3) last November at Aqueduct. Most recently, he won the Monmouth Park’s New Jersey Breeders Handicap Aug. 29. The winning time was 1:23.74 over a fast main track.

Breaking outside all but one horse in the field of eight, Pickin’ Time was positioned third while in the clear behind multiple stakes-placed pacesetter Awesome Gerry, who led through a quarter-mile in 23.28 seconds pressed by 31-1 long shot Three Two Zone. Three Two Zone assumed the lead after a half in 46.60 with Pickin’ Time poised to pounce.

“He gave me a pretty good feeling from the beginning. I think the team did a great job getting him ready for the race,” Sanchez said. “He was pretty easy. He broke really well. I had a good position. I didn’t have to use him in the beginning, so I pretty much sav[ed ground] the whole way and when I asked him to go, he really took off.”

Pickin’ Time rolled past Three Two Zone once straightened for home and powered through the stretch while He’smyhoneybadger, who beat Pickin’ Time in the Oct. 23 Perryville at Churchill Downs, came with a belated run. It was three lengths back to Three Two Zone, who was three-quarters of a length better than Awesome Gerry in fourth.

Stakes winner Everett’s Song, the 3-2 favorite, ran fifth to snap his three-race win streak. Riden With Biden, Plamen and Depository completed the order of finish.

“I guess my horse was ready to go today,” Sanchez said. “It seems like he does better when he gets early position clear. The last couple times he was kind of in between horses [when] he broke a little poorly. I think the post position helped me today.”

Belle of the North Goes Last to First in $100,000 Safely Kept

Stronach Stables Inc. homebred Belle of the North, giving up seasoning to each of her rivals while making her stakes debut, came flying on the far outside to edge Fraudulent Charge by a half-length and complete a last-to-first rally in the $100,000 Safely Kept at Laurel Park.

The 31st running of the Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies was the second of three stakes on the program, preceded by the City of Laurel for 3-year-olds, also sprinting seven furlongs, and followed by the 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up.

Belle of the North ($20.60) won in 1:24.02 over fast main track to give jockey Horacio Karamanos his fourth career Safely Kept victory following Bending Strings (2004), Greed and Fear (2012) and Lady Sabelia (2013). It was the first for trainer Jose Corrales.

“If I don’t say yes I’d be lying to you, because that’s what I was expecting,” Corrales said. “[I thought] if the race set up today the way I expected, my filly will get them in the end.”

Belle of the North was making just her sixth career start, all this year, after going unraced at 2. She was second to undefeated Moquist in her most recent effort Oct. 16 at Laurel following a 5 ½-length maiden special weight win Sept. 24.

Karamanos was unhurried in the early going racing along the rail while trailing the field as stakes winners Malibu Beauty and Prodigy Doll battled up front through splits of 22.99 and 46.10 seconds with Fraudulent Charge in the clear three wide and eight-time stakes winner Street Lute, the 2-1 favorite, saving ground inside.

Fraudulent Charge took over the top spot midway around the turn and was in front through the stretch with Street Lute giving chase. Meanwhile, Karamanos tipped Belle of the North from the rail to the far outside to launch their bid and they came with a steady run to reel in Fraudulent Charge near the wire.

Runner-up in a stakes for the fourth time in seven career starts, Fraudulent Charge was 3 ½ lengths clear of Street Lute in third. It was 1 ¾ lengths back to Juror Number Four followed by Happy Constitution, Malibu Beauty, Prodigy Doll and Be Sneaky.

“When she was following [Street Lute] I said, ‘stay there, stay there,’ because she will find a path,” Corrales said. “The horse found a way to get there.”

Belle of the North is a bay daughter of Grade 1 winner Street Boss whose mare, Harley Rose, is a half-sister to Hall of Fame mare Zenyatta.

The Safely Kept honors the champion sprinter of 1989 and member of the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011. The daughter of longtime Maryland sire Horatius was the first sprinter to top $2 million in earnings, the first Maryland-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race in the 1990 Sprint (G1), a four-time Maryland-bred champion including Horse of the Year twice (1989,1990) and is one of only seven horses to win three Maryland Million races. She won 24 races, 22 in stakes, from 31 lifetime starts.

Cordmaker Proves Too Much in $100,000 Richard W. Small

Hillwood Stable’s Cordmaker, still going strong at the age of 6, overpowered several younger rivals including 3-year-old favorite Shackqueenking to register his seventh career stakes victory, a 1 ¾-length decision over Workin On a Dream in Saturday’s $100,000 Richard W. Small at Laurel Park.

The 21st running of the 1 1/8-mile Small for 3-year-olds and up, part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series, was the last of three $100,000 stakes on the program, preceded by the City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, each sprinting seven furlongs.

Cordmaker ($12.20) ran second in last year’s Small to Harpers First Ride, who went on to win the historic Pimlico Special (G3), a race where Cordmaker finished third for the second consecutive year. The winning time Saturday was 1:50.48 over a fast main track.

“It’s great for the horse and the barn and [owner] Mrs. [Ellen] Charles,” winning trainer Rodney Jenkins said. “It’s a nice thing all around.”

With regular rider Victor Carrasco aboard, Cordmaker settled in third as 17-1 long shot Workin On a Dream and Shackqueenking led the way, going the opening quarter-mile in 24.58 seconds and a half in 47.59. Racing in the clear, Cordmaker closed the gap after six furlongs went in 1:11.84 and swooped to the front at the top of the stretch, running a mile in 1:37.14.

“I wanted him to stay closer. We’ve been taking him, not way out of it, but pretty far and that’s a lot of ground to make up in a stakes race,” Jenkins said. “I told Victor, ‘Keep him up in there and make them run,’ and he did. Victor gave him a great ride.”

Shackqueenking finished third, with two lengths separating him from runner-up Workin On a Dream and Forewarned in fourth. They were followed by Informative, Tappin Cat, Mischief Afoot, Treasure Trove, Bustoff and McElmore Avenue.

Cordmaker, a gelded son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin, added to his lead in the MATCH Series’ 3-year-olds and up long dirt division with his 11th career victory from 33 starts, pushing his lifetime bankroll over $700,000 and bouncing back from being disqualified from second to sixth for interference in the Sept. 18 Polynesian at Laurel.

“His last race, when he had that [incident] down here, you never know how they’re going to react the next time, and that made me nervous,” Jenkins said. “But he came around great.”

Formerly run as the Broad Brush, the multi-millionaire and four-time Grade 1 winner he trained, the Richard W. Small was renamed following the beloved horseman’s death from cancer in 2014. Baltimore-born ‘Dickie’ Small served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War as a Green Beret before becoming a trainer, also campaigning Broad Brush’s son, 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Concern. He won at least one stakes race in Maryland every year but one between 1974 and 2014 and is also known for helping launch the riding careers of female jockeys such as Andrea Seefeldt, Jerilyn Brown, Rosie Napravnik and Forest Boyce.

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