Jockey Russell Misses Sunday Mounts, Listed as ‘Day to Day’
Sprint Feature Highlights Laurel’s Final Live Monday Program
LAUREL, MD – Impressive Maryland Million Nursery winner Johnyz From Albany and Post Time, undefeated through two starts, top 17 horses nominated to the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Saturday, Dec. 3 at Laurel Park.
The Juvenile will co-headline December’s opening weekend along with the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies, both for Maryland-bred/sired 2-year-olds sprinting seven furlongs.
Bred and owned by Charles J. Reed, Johnyz From Albany broke his maiden at first asking going five furlongs Aug. 21 at Laurel for trainer Dale Capuano before placing in back-to-back optional claiming allowance starts. The Blofeld gelding was a front-running five-length winner of the six-furlong Nursery Oct. 22 in his most recent start.
Three other horses exit the Nursery including the runner-up, ItsTheJHo’s Heldish, who has one win, three seconds and a third in five starts and has also placed in the five-furlong Hickory Tree at Colonial Downs and Laurel’s six-furlong James F. Lewis III Nov. 12.
Heldish’s stablemate is Hillwood Stable’s Post Time, trained by Laurel fall meet leader Brittany Russell. The son of Frosted debuted with a two-length triumph Oct. 7 in an off-the-turf maiden special weight at Laurel and followed up with a 6 ¾-length optioal claiming allowance romp 20 days later, both at Laurel.
Also prominent among Juvenile nominees are Coronova, a 5 ½-length maiden claiming winner in his lone start Nov. 3 at Delaware Park; Riccio, second in the 5 ½-furlon gDover and third in the one-mile Rocky Run at Delaware, most recently sixth in the Lewis; and Southern Lad, a winner of two straight for trainer Robert Leaf including a seven-furlong maiden claiming triumph Oct. 15 at Laurel.
Morris Kernan and Jagger, Inc.’s Chickieness heads 18 horses nominated to the Juvenile Fillies. Bred and co-owned by trainer Jamie Ness, the daughter of Blofeld had run second to previously undefeated Bound by Destiny in successive stakes at Delaware before her 1 ½-length breakthrough victory in the six-furlong Maryland Million Lassie. Most recently she raced between horses before finishing third in a Nov. 14 optional claiming allowance at Laurel.
Louis Ulman’s Skylar’s Sister has placed twice in stakes, running second to Chickieness in the Lassie and third, 1 ¾ lengths behind runner-up Chickieness, in the 5 ½-furlong Blue Hen Aug. 31 at Delaware. She trailed Chickieness by length when fourth last out in the same Laurel allowance.
Bosserati and Cynergy’s Electra, respectively third and fourth in the Lassie; Angel Art, a 40-1 upset winner of a six-furlong maiden special weight in debut Nov. 19 at Laurel; and Fast Tracked, a determined neck winner of her lone start in a seven-furlong maiden claimer Nov. 7 at Laurel, are also among the nominees.
Jockey Russell Misses Sunday Mounts, Listed ‘Day to Day’
Journeyman Sheldon Russell took off his mounts Sunday at Laurel Park and is considered “day to day” according to agent Marty Leonard after being unseated at the start of Saturday’s sixth race.
A seven-time meet-leading jockey in Maryland who was the state’s overall champion in 2011, the 34-year-old Russell was shaken up when Raise Your Game, a 3-year-old filly trained by Mike Gorham, stumbled badly one jump out of the starting gate for the six-furlong claiming event and caused Russell to lose his balance.
Tended to on the track before being helped to his feet and into the track ambulance, Russell was replaced on his three remaining mounts, two of which – Full Count Felicia and Prince of Jericho, both trained by his wife, Brittany Russell – went on to win.
Of Russell’s Sunday mounts, The Elkstone Group’s 2-year-old Super Saver homebred It’s Viper ($9.80), trained by Brittany Russell, won a maiden claimer in Race 5 under Jevian Toledo.
Russell is named in one of eight races Monday, three of nine races Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, and four of nine races Friday, Nov. 25 at Laurel. A winner of 1,544 career races, Russell went 296 days between races following surgery and rehabilitation for a right foot injury before winning in his July 1 return at Laurel.
Sprint Feature Highlights Laurel’s Final Live Monday Program
Stakes winners Air Token, Karan’s Notion, Threes Over Deuces and Wendell Fong are among a field of seven entered the seventh-race feature on the final live Monday program at Laurel Park.
Favored on the morning line at 5-2 in the six-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up is Pocket 3s Racing’s Threes Over Deuces, who has finished third or better in 20 of 28 lifetime starts with five wins, the most recent coming in the 2021 Dave’s Friend last December at Laurel.
Karan’s Notion has won only twice since his 16-1 upset of the 2020 Maryland Million Sprint but has finished second or third in seven of his last nine starts including four in a row for breeder, owner and trainer Nancy Heil. Owned and trained by Jose Corrales, Air Token was a 7-1 winner of the Maryland Million Sprint in 2021 and most recently was a troubled fifth in the Oct. 1 Challedon at Laurel.
Wendell Fong gave Maryland native Natalia Lynch her first win as a trainer in the 2021 Fire Plug at Laurel. The 6-year-old raced once more for Lynch, running second in the Tom Fool (G3) at Aqueduct before going to the sidelines and returning with a new trainer. Lynch claimed him back for $40,000 this summer at Saratoga and since he has run fifth in Laurel’s Lite the Fuse Sept. 10 and fourth in a Parx allowance Oct. 24.
Also on Monday’s card is a seven-furlong allowance for 3-year-olds and up in Race 5 that attracted a field of 12 led by 3-1 program favorite Treasure Tradition, exiting a troubled run in the Maryland Million Sprint Oct. 22. Other contenders include Tauber, third in the Maryland Million Starter Handicap, and Magic Mule, 18-for-31 in the money lifetime.
Post time for the first of eight races Monday is 12:15 p.m.
Following Monday, live racing returns to Laurel with a special Thanksgiving Day holiday program starting at 11:25 a.m.
Notes: Jockey Angel Cruz doubled Sunday aboard Debit Card ($52.60) in Race 1 and Feeling Woozy ($9) in Race 7 … Steve and Debbie Jackson’s sophomore Will Take Charge gelding Debit Card went all the way on the lead to spring a 25-1 upset in the opener, a seven-furlong maiden special weight for horses age 3, 4 and 5. The winning time was 1:25.84 over a fast main track …Owned and trained by Hamilton Smith, 2-year-old Irish War Cry gelding Feeling Woozy was an easy maiden special weight winner, sprinting seven furlongs in 1:26.34 … The final grass race of the 2022 calendar year was won by Christine Berkley Applegate’s Our Strong Vows ($105.20), who lit up the toteboard at 50-1 in Race 6, an entry-level allowance sprinting 5 ½ furlongs over a Dahlia turf course rated good. It was the second straight win and third from 13 starts for the 4-year-old Wicked Strong filly, who ran in 1:05.39 … There will be carryovers of $21,008.57 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 (Races 5-9) and $1,189.19 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 4-9) for Monday’s program. Tickets with four of five winners in Sunday’s Late Pick 5 returned $152.20, while tickets with four of six winners in the Rainbow 6 were worth $18.96.