Cordmaker Fitting Winner of $100,000 Robert T. Manfuso

Cordmaker Fitting Winner of $100,000 Robert T. Manfuso

Miss Leslie Runs Win Streak to Three in $100,000 Carousel

LAUREL, MD – In a fitting end to his 6-year-old season, Hillwood Stable’s Cordmaker paid tribute to his breeder by earning his 12th career victory and eighth against stakes company in Sunday’s $100,000 Robert T. Manfuso at Laurel Park.

The inaugural Manfuso for 3-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles and the return of the 1 1/8-mile Carousel for fillies and mares 3 and up, which carried Grade 3 status from 1988 through 1997 and was last run in 2002 at Laurel, were among six $100,000 stakes on a nine-race Christmastide Day program.

Cordmaker ($4.40) was bred in Maryland by Manfuso and his life partner, Laurel-based trainer Katy Voss, who presented the winner’s trophy to the connections, including Hillwood’s Ellen Charles, trainer Rodney Jenkins and regular rider Victor Carrasco.

A longtime owner and breeder and former owner of both Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course who was instrumental in revitalizing Maryland racing, Manfuso passed away in March 2020.

“We’ve all been talking about it for about a week. I’m glad we were able to get it done,” Jenkins said. “It was nice. He’s such a good horse.”

A gelded son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin, Cordmaker won for the third time in four starts – all in stakes – and clinched the older male long dirt division and overall MATCH Series titles.

Breaking from the rail as the 6-5 favorite in a field that scratched down to six, Cordmaker settled in fourth as multiple stakes winner Alwaysmining took the lead and held it through a quarter-mile in 23.47 seconds and a half in 47.38 pressed by Workin On a Dream, who finished second to Cordmaker in the Richard W. Small Nov. 27 at Laurel.

Carrasco tipped Cordmaker out leaving the far turn and set his sights on 3-2 second choice Shackqueenking, who had inherited the lead after Alwaysmining began to fade. Cordmaker straightened out, powered past Shackqueenking and opened up for a 3 ½-length victory. Workin On a Dream edged Shackqueenking by a half-length for second, with Plot the Dots a nose better than McElmore Avenue in fourth.

“Naturally he drew the one hole of all days, but he figured it out,” Jenkins said. “He got around that turn and saved some ground there, and then when they straightened out and Victor asked him, I think he won as easy as he’s won any race in his life.”

Cordmaker has finished third or better 23 times in 34 career starts including 12 wins and $794,640 in purse earnings. He is 17-for-26 in the money at Laurel, his home track, with other stakes wins in the 2018 Jennings, 2019 Polynesian, and 2019 and 2021 Harrison Johnson Memorial and last month’s Small. He also won the Aug. 23 Victory Gallop at Colonial Downs and 2019 DTHA Governors Day Handicap at Delaware Park, and was third in the 2019 and 2020 Pimlico Special (G3).

Miss Leslie Runs Win Streak to Three in $100,000 Carousel

BB Horses’ Miss Leslie extended her win streak to three races including back-to-back stakes after sweeping to the lead once straightened for home and sprinting clear through the stretch to a 3 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 Carousel.

Ridden by Angel Cruz for fall meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez, Miss Leslie ($5) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:52.21 over a fast main track as the 3-2 favorite in a field of eight fillies and mares. Fellow multiple stakes winner Artful Splatter was second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Kiss the Girl, who edged Belle of the North by a neck for third.

Scatrattleandroll, breaking from one spot inside Miss Leslie who drew the far outside, was sent out of the gate by jockey Jaime Rodriguez and in front through fractions of 24.58 and 49.11 seconds, pressed by Artful Splatter. Smooth With a Kick, racing for the first time since Jan. 17, led the second flight with Kiss the Girl.

Cruz gave Miss Leslie her cue leaving the backstretch and the 3-year-old daughter of Paynter began to roll while in the clear on the outside, reeling in Artful Splatter at the top of the stretch and opening up after a mile in 1:39.52.

“I felt really comfortable because we worked her last week and she worked really good,” Cruz said. “Today, every horse was coming from off the pace and my filly comes from off of it. It played out really well.”

Miss Leslie won the Anne Arundel County to cap her 2-year-old campaign and the April 24 Weber City Miss in her third start at 3. She went winless in five starts, including graded attempts in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2), Monmouth Oaks (G3) and Charles Town Oaks (G3), before ending the slide with a last-to-first optional claiming triumph Oct. 21 at Delaware Park.

In her prior start, Miss Leslie rallied from next-to-last to capture the Nov. 13 Thirty Eight Go Go going about 1 1/16 miles at Laurel. Each of the wins during her streak have come over older horses and with Cruz aboard.

“She’s a good filly. She’s nice to ride. We’ve had to work hard with her but she does everything right,” Cruz said. “A lot of times I just work her because she’s really nervous in the morning. Claudio lets me work her and it’s been playing out really good. She works good and she runs good.”

Notes: Laurel will host a special Monday program of nine races Dec. 27 featuring carryovers of $10,645.14 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and $2,170.08 in the $1 Super Hi-5. Tickets with five of six winners in Sunday’s Rainbow 6 each returned $1,419.50.