Weather Causes Early End to Laurel’s Live Friday Program

Connections Hoping to ‘Strike’ in Saturday’s $100,000 Searching
Maryland’s Oscar White Inducted into Racing Hall of Fame Friday

LAUREL, MD – A severe lightning and thunderstorm passing through the Mid-Atlantic region forced the Maryland Jockey Club to cancel Laurel Park’s live Friday program following the seventh race.

Laurel had two races remaining on Friday’s card, which had its usual 12:40 p.m. post time pushed back to 1:50 p.m. due to a high temperatures topping 90 degrees, heavy humidity and a heat index of 100.

Live action will return to Laurel Saturday with 10 races including the $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby for 3-year-olds going 1 3/16 miles and $100,000 Searching for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, both scheduled for the grass.

Saturday’s forecast calls for a high of 89 degrees and a 50 % chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m.

Connections Hoping to ‘Strike’ in Saturday’s $100,000 Searching

Eventually Super C Racing, Inc.’s Cupid’s Strike may find herself back on the dirt, but for now the connections are looking to continue her progression on the turf in Saturday’s $100,000 Searching at Laurel Park.

The 1 1/16-mile Searching for 3-year-old fillies shares top billing on a 10-race program with the $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby for 3-year-olds going 1 3/16 miles, also scheduled for the grass. First race post time is 12:40 p.m.

Laurel-based trainer Anthony Farrior had no intention of turning Cupid’s Strike into a turf horse when he claimed her for $50,000 out of a sixth-place finish sprinting six furlongs April 22 at Keeneland. But, he wanted to stretch her out and the first opportunity came in a 1 1/8-mile maiden claimer on the grass May 26 at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Cupid’s Strike led from start to finish that day, taking a seven-length lead into the stretch and opening up to win by 9 ½ lengths in 1:51.10 over a firm course.

“We claimed her for the dirt going long, and we couldn’t get a race going long on the dirt,” said Farrior, who won Friday’s seventh race with James Wolf’s 4-year-old gelding Password Protected ($7.60).

“We entered her on the turf at Pimlico and we thought it might come off, so it was kind of dumb luck running her on the turf and she ran big. She ran so good that day. I hadn’t seen it in the morning, so I was really shocked,” he added. “But ever since she’s won she’s kind of gotten better every day,” he added. “It’s kind of like she grew up that day.”

Cupid’s Strike came back to face older horses in an open 1 3/8-mile allowance June 25 at Laurel where she set the pace for a half-mile and was just a head off the lead turning for home, beaten 3 ¼ lengths and holding on by a neck for second.

“I just don’t think she wants to go a mile and three-eighths. That’s a long way, but she ran good,” Farrior said. “It was against older horses, too, and now she gets to run against straight 3-year-olds so she should be pretty tough in there, I believe.”

Cupid’s Strike drew far outside Post 11 in the Searching under jockey Sheldon Russell and is listed at 12-1 on the morning line. Vergara is the narrow 7-2 program favorite over fellow stakes winner Ocean Safari.

“She breaks well and she wants to go. I don’t think she has to have the lead, but I think she just breaks and kind of inherits the lead,” Farrior said. “A mile and a sixteenth I think will be a little better for her.”

Maryland’s Oscar White Inducted into Racing Hall of Fame Friday

Oscar White, a Pittsville, Md. native that trained exclusively for the prominent Jeffords family from 1940-78, was inducted posthumously into the National of Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Friday in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

White, who passed away in 1983 at the age of 74, was selected for induction by the Museum’s Historic Review Committee, along with racehorses Hillsdale and Royal Heroine. Other members of the Class of 2022 were modern racehorses Beholder and Tepin and Pillars of the Turf James Cox Brady, Marshall Cassidy and James Ben Ali Haggin.

Sally Jeffords, granddaughter of Walter Jeffords Sr., one of only five people to be named Exemplars of Racing by the Hall of Fame, accepted the honor for White.

“I am so grateful to the Hall of Fame for this opportunity to thank Oscar White for all the joy he gave my family through his amazing talent, his horsemanship and hard work,” Jeffords said during her speech at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion.

White’s association with the Jeffords family began as a teenager in 1927 when he started working as a groom and exercise rider at Glen Riddle Farm in Berlin, Md. He steadily rose through the ranks and later learned under future Hall of Fame trainers Preston Burch and Buddy Hirsch, among others, before being offered the job by Jeffords Sr.

White won with five of his first seven starters for Jeffords at old Bowie Race Track. In 1944, he trained Pavot to an undefeated 2-year-old championship season and the following year Pavot won the Belmont Stakes, Wilson and Jockey Club Gold Cup. White won the Belmont again in 1952 with One Count, who also captured the Travers and would be named champion 3-year-old male and Horse of the Year.

In 1951, White trained Kiss Me Kate to the 3-year-old filly championship. Overall he won 706 races, 104 stakes races and trained 35 stakes-winning horses, all homebreds.

“He was always right there, doing whatever it took to win,” Jeffords said. “This is a well-deserved honor for Oscar White, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to share a few words and memories of Oscar with you.”

Notes: Jockey Forest Boyce doubled Friday aboard Hop Picker ($2.60) in Race 3 and Wish Me Home ($12) in Race 5 … Joseph Allen’s 3-year-old Hop Sicker, a $350,000 daughter of Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist making her fourth career start, ran seven furlongs 1:25.71 over a fast main track to capture the maiden special weight for fillies and mares age 3, 4 5 by 2 ¼ lengths in front-running fashion.

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