Eighttofasttocatch Looking To Repeat In Japan Racing Association Stakes In Maryland Million Prep

Eighttofasttocatch Looking To Repeat In Japan Racing Association Stakes In Maryland Million Prep

LAUREL, MD. 09-06-12---Defending champion Eighttofasttocatch and nine others with proven turf ability will meet in Saturday’s grassy Japan Racing Association Stakes at Laurel Park. The 1 1/16 mile test is race 10 on the 11-race program.

The 2011 race came off the turf and was contested at a flat mile on the main track when Eighttofasttocatch (9-2) used the race as a prep for the Maryland Million Classic, which he also won.  He finished the year by taking the Jennings Handicap and added the Harrison Johnson Memorial to his resume in March before finishing last in the Pimlico Special (G3) on May 18. The 6-year-old, who is trained by Tim Keefe and who will be ridden by Sheldon Russell, hasn’t started since.

“I gave him some time off after the Pimlico Special,” Keefe said. “He has been training great and we have been gearing for the Maryland Million Classic. I would prefer the dirt but he likes the grass and has been training on it on Wednesdays when the turf course has been open.”

The Not For Love gelding has not been on the grass since a seventh place finish in the Dixie Stakes (G2) on Preakness day 2011.

“That was a tough spot,” added Keefe. “Paddy O’Prado won the race but he handled the turf just fine that day. He had trouble running against that kind of company. More than anything I am looking to get a race under him before the Maryland Million. He can only get so much out of training.”

The 27th Jim McKay Maryland Million is set for Saturday, Oct. 6 at Laurel Park.

Maryland Jockey Club handicapper Frank Carulli has tapped Action Andy as the 7-2 morning line favorite. The Gators N Bears offspring has eleven in the money finishes in fourteen races on the turf, including a victory in the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs this summer. Horacio Karamanos will ride for trainer Carlos Garcia.

“This is a wide open race, I think there are five horses that can win it,” Garcia said. “The horse is in great shape. We hope to be on the lead but he can rate as well. He really has matured. He owns a couple track records at Tampa Bay and is getting better with age.  We expect him to run well Saturday.”

Dane Kobiskie claimed Tonto Fontenot (5-1) for $50,000 and a month later stepped him up to finish second in Mountaineer’s West Virginia Speakers Cup. The 5-year-old had raced in optional claiming events at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds before moving to Kobiskie’s barn in the Bowie Training Center.

El Commodore (6-1) has posted several close-up finishes on the turf this year including a second in the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3), a third in the Henry Clark Stakes at Pimlico and a second in the Red Bank Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park. Abel Castellano gets his first ride aboard the El Prado gelding for trainer Greg Griffith.

See Tobe (6-1) was second and Mythical Hero (15-1) third when they met in the mile-and-one-half East Hanover Stakes at Penn National in late July. See Tobe is trained by Gary Capuano and Julian Pimentel will ride. Alexandra White conditions Mythical Hero and has given the mount to Forrest Boyce.

Three-time turf winner Dannhauser (10-1) enters Saturday’s stakes off a victory in the Van Clief Stakes at Colonial in July. Prior to that win, Dannhauser finished fourth behind Action Andy in the Da Hoss. Richard Monterrey has the mount for trainer Kathleen O’Connell.

Completing the field are 10-1 shots Mr. Irons (third in the Kitten’s Joy) and London Lane (fourth in the Sussex Stakes) and Paris Vegas (12-1, fifth in Henry Clark Stakes).


Owner-trainer Joe Ayers Jr. won the first two races on Thursday’s card, scoring with Mr. Jiggles ($5.80) and Madalyn's Choice ($69.20). The two were a combined 2-for-54 entering the day.

Madalyn’s Choice was ridden by apprentice Silvia Zapico, who recently relocated to Maryland from Finger Lakes.

About Laurel Park

Laurel Park is a Stronach Group company, North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America's top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world's largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a major producer of televised horse racing programming through its HRTV cable and satellite network and is North America's premier supplier of virtual online horse racing games, as well as a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry.