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English Minister Extends Streak to Four in $75,000 Find
1 1/16-Mile Turf Stakes Highlights Maryland Pride Day Program
LAUREL, MD – Fitzhugh LLC’s English Minister, less than two weeks removed from a track-record performance, reeled in long shot pacesetter Taxable Goods through the stretch and got up by a neck at the wire to capture Saturday’s $75,000 Find Stakes at Laurel Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Find for 3-year-olds and up on Laurel’s world-class turf course was the third of four stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses worth $300,000 in purses on a 12-race Maryland Pride Day program.
It was a career-best fourth straight victory for English Minister, a gelded 9-year-old son of grass champion English Channel that completed the distance in a sharp 1:40.85 over a firm All Along turf course for his eighth win from 54 starts.
While the winning time was more than a second away from the All Along course record of 1:39, it came close to the 1:40.41 that English Minister ran to set the 1 1/16-mile mark on the Bowl Game layout Aug. 4.
“It’s really cool and I hope it’s an encouragement to a lot of people in this game. These horses, they love this. They love this job,” said winning trainer Mike Trombetta’s assistant, Melanie Williams, who works with English Minister at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.
“He came out of his last race really well and we don’t have to train him very hard. He keeps himself fit,” she added. “He goes out in the paddock every morning and he loves the game. He’s easy. He’s been doing really well, and he’s happy. He’s a character.”
Taxable Goods, dismissed at odds of 17-1, raced on an easy lead through a quarter-mile in 24.56 seconds, a half in 49.01 and six furlongs in 1:12.38, chased by multiple Grade 3 winner and even-money favorite Just Howard, the 2017 Find winner. Jockey Julian Pimentel positioned English Minister just to the outside in third.
As the field rounded the far turn it was still Taxable Goods in front, while Trevor McCarthy had to work on Just Howard to keep up. Pimentel gave English Minister his cue and they ranged up on the leader once straightened for home, coming with a sustained run to edge past late.
“There was not much pace, so I tried to say as close as I could. I was like two or three lengths off the pace and when it was time to go, he did it. He’s very professional. He knows what to do,” Pimentel said.
“I was looking at [Just Howard] the whole way to see what he was doing, but I saw around the turn he started riding him and didn’t have much horse so I went right in there and tried to get the jump on him,” he added. “He knows where the wire is.”
O Dionysus, a stakes winner on dirt and turf for trainer Gary Capuano, stumbled badly out of the gate but managed to close late and be third, 1 ¾ lengths behind Taxable Goods. It was a half-length back to Just Howard in fourth, followed by Bonus Points and Belfour.
English Minister had lost 12 consecutive starts dating back to fall 2017 before launching his current streak with back-to-back wins over the synthetic surface at Presque Isle Downs this spring. The Find was his first stakes win after placing three times, including a second in the 2016 Find. He also finished fourth in 2017.
“It’s crazy,” Pimentel said. “He’s in really, really good form right now. He’s such a cool horse.”
The Find is named for the Sagamore Farm homebred that raced through age 11, starting 110 times with 22 wins, 27 seconds and 27 thirds and purse earnings of $803,615. He won or placed in 51 stakes, retired in 1961 as Maryland’s all-time leading money winner and the second-richest gelding in history.