Defending Champ Factor It In Nominated to $100K Fire Plug

Defending Champ Factor It In Nominated to $100K Fire Plug

G3 Winners Greeley and Ben, Classier Also Among 21 Nominees
Four Stakes Worth $350,000 in Purses Saturday, Jan. 20 at Laurel
Jockey Rodriguez Registers Third Consecutive Hat Trick Sunday

LAUREL, MD – Defending champion Factor It In, Grade 3 winners Greeley and Ben and Classier, and multiple stakes winners No Cents and Threes Over Deuces top 21 older horses nominated to the $100,000 Fire Plug Saturday, Jan. 20 at Laurel Park.

The 6 ½-furlong Fire Plug for 4-year-olds and up and $100,000 What a Summer for fillies and mares 4 and older sprinting six furlongs are among four stakes worth $350,000 in purses that kick off Maryland’s 2024 stakes schedule.

They are joined on the program by a pair of $75,000 events restricted to Maryland-bred/sired 4-year-olds and up, the Geisha for fillies and mares and Jennings, each going one mile.

Michael Scheffres’ Factor It In won the Dave’s Friend to end 2022 and Fire Plug to open 2023, the latter by two lengths as the favorite. Now 8, he is twice Grade 3-placed, having run third in the 2022 Bold Ruler and Fall Highweight at Aqueduct by less than a length combined.

Darryl Abramowitz’s Greeley and Ben, who turned 10 Jan. 1, beat Factor It In in the Fall Highweight and was off for nearly a year before returning last November at Laurel, where two starts later he defeated Factor It In again in the six-furlong Dave’s Friend Dec. 23. A week later, he ran fifth in the Gravesend at Aqueduct.

Super C Racing, Inc.’s Classier, winner of the 2021 Los Alamitos Derby (G3), won four of nine starts after being claimed by trainer Kieron Magee for $40,000 last spring at Laurel, including an off-the-turf Henry S. Clark. Also nominated is stablemate Brother Conway, a $16,000 claim last June that has strung together four straight wins.

Dollarization won the Lite the Fuse last fall at historic Pimlico Race Course and was beaten a half-length when second in the Dave’s Friend, a head in front of No Cents, winner of the 2020 James F. Lewis III and Heft at Laurel that has won once in 11 subsequent races. Pocket 3’s Racing’s Threes Over Deuces has been third or better in 40 of 61 starts, nine of them wins, also running second in the 2020 General George (G3) and 2022 Maryland Sprint (G3).

Thomas Brockley’s Headland, last-out winner of the 6 ½-furlong Willa On the Move Dec. 23 at Laurel from the New York string of trainer George Weaver, and fellow stakes winners Disco Ebo, Kant Hurry Love, Moody Woman and Tappin Josie top 21 nominees to the What a Summer. Tappin Josie, from the same connections as Greeley and Ben, owns three wins from five lifetime starts at Laurel.

Grade 3 winner Double Crown, nose victor of the 1 1/16-mile Robert T. Manfuso Dec. 23 at Laurel; multiple stakes winners Coastal Mission, Coffeewithchris, Ournationonparade, Seven’s Eleven; two-time Maryland-bred champion Joe, a stakes winner on turf and dirt; and Post Time, Maryland’s champion juvenile male of 2022 that is a perfect 4-0 at Laurel with stakes wins in the 2022 Maryland Juvenile and 2023 City of Laurel in his most recent start Nov. 25, are among 19 nominees to the Jennings.

The Geisha drew 15 nominees led by Happy Face Racing Stable’s Malibu Moonshine, Maryland’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2022 following wins in the Juvenile Filly and Gin Talking at Laurel; Mavilus, winner of Laurel’s Conniver last March; and stakes-placed Champagne Toast, Liquidator and Sweet Gracie.

Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for all four stakes Sunday, Jan. 14.

Notes: Jockey Jaime Rodriguez registered a hat trick for the third consecutive racing day Sunday, on Roan Burgundy ($6.20) in Race 2, Rubys Flash ($11.20) in Race 3 and Speedyness ($) in Race 8. All three horses are trained by Jamie Ness … Jockey Jevian Toledo doubled aboard Fainor’s Filets ($2.80) in Race 4 and Formal Affair ($14.80) in Race 7 … There will be carryovers of $1,992.14 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 4-9) and $1,848 in the $1 Jackpot Super High Five (Race 6) when live racing resumes Friday, Jan. 12 starting at 12:25 p.m.