Apprentice Christian Maldonado Rides First Winner Friday

Apprentice Christian Maldonado Rides First Winner Friday

Golden Tabby Seeking Stakes Success in $75,000 Conniver
Second of Three Stakes Worth $250,000 on Saturday Program

LAUREL, MD – No More Mask, owned and trained by Jose Corrales, shook off pace pressure from Fancy Princess and pulled clear through the stretch to give 10-pound apprentice Christian Maldonado his first career riding victory Friday at Laurel Park.

No More Mask ($14.20), a 5-year-old Maryland-bred mare making her 29th career start, was the 31st mount for Maldonado, a 20-year-old native of Puerto Rico, and 22nd since coming to the U.S. in late January after attending the famed Escuela Vocacional Hipica.

The six-furlong claiming event for fillies and mares 4 and up was the seventh lifetime win for No More Mask, racing for the first time since being clamed for $5,000 out of a runner-up finish March 3 at Laurel. The winning time was 1:12.76 over a fast main track.

“It feels amazing,” Maldonado said. “It’s been a lot of hard work. Two years at school and now this. I’m working hard in the morning every day and I’m so happy.”

Maldonado is the son of retired jockey Nestor Maldonado, a multiple stakes-winning jockey with 137 wins between 2001 and 2013 according to Equibase statistics. Christian Maldonado was winless in nine races at Camarero Race Track before making his domestic debut Jan. 27 at Laurel, finishing seventh on Leave Drama Behind.

“He’s a little green still but I told him to come to the states where I could help him. He came over and I started working with him a little bit, and I told him, ‘I’m going to put you on a winner,’” Corrales said. “I’m so happy for him because he deserves it. He works hard every morning and he’s going to do well.”

Golden Tabby Seeking Stakes Success in $75,000 Conniver

John Fanelli’s Golden Tabby, first or second in seven consecutive starts dating back to last spring, will draw plenty of attention as she goes after her first stakes victory in Saturday’s $75,000 Conniver at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong Conniver for fillies and mares is the second of three stakes worth $250,000 in purses on a 10-race program and one of two restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses along with the $75,000 Not For Love for 4-year-olds and up.

Anchoring the stakes action is the $100,000 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial for 4-year-olds and up going one mile that drew a field of seven including graded-stakes winners Double Crown and Magic Michael as well as stakes winners Nimitz Class, Dollarization and It’s Sizzling Time.

Golden Tabby is a 5-year-old bay daughter of Golden Lad, a Grade 3 winner for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher in 2014 and 2015 that now stands at Northview Stallion Station in Chesapeake City, Md. and has sired such horses as stakes winners Hello Beautiful, Air Token, Cinnabunny, Laddie Liam, Kissedbyanangel, Catahoula Moon, Paymengold and Talk to the Judge.

The Conniver will be just Golden Tabby’s second try as far as seven furlongs, winning her lone start at the distance in August 2022 for previous trainer Kathleen DeMasi. Claimed for $15,000 last June, also at Parx, she raced twice for trainer Haleem Lee before being moved to Jamie Ness.

“She’s been a good addition,” Ness said. “She fits in the condition because she’s Maryland-sired. She looks good in the race. Seven-eighths is stretching her distance limitations, but we’re excited about her.”

Runner-up in the 2022 New Start at Parx, Golden Tabby was second as the favorite in the Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial last summer, also sprinting six furlongs, in her first start for Ness. She won an off-the-turf allowance last fall at Delaware Park and a 6 ½-furlong claimer Jan. 10 at Parx, and her two seconds have come by a half-length combined.

“She’s done nothing but run good for us and she’s been hooking really good horses every time and competes well. I think can compete well in this race,” Ness said. “She’s ready to go. We feel good about her.”

Golden Tabby is rated as the 9-5 favorite on the morning line in a field of eight. Mychel Sanchez will be aboard from Post 7.

Notes: Trainer Brittany Russell saddled a pair of winners Friday, Golden Lion Racing’s Riley G ($3.60) in Race 5 and Repole Stable’s Maryland-bred Overly Dramatic ($3.20) in Race 7 … Trainer Jamie Ness also sent out two winners, Magical Monarch ($7) in Race 1 and Margin of Air ($) in Race 8 … 4-year-old filly Riley G was making her third start for Russell and sixth overall in the seven-furlong maiden special weight, winning in 1:26.77 over a fast main track … Overly Dramatic, a 3-year-old daughter Into Mischief that had raced twice this winter at Gulfstream Park for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, was a popular winner of the six-furlong waiver maiden claimer in 1:12.37 … There will be a carryover of $2,816.44 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 5-10).