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Fall Festival of Racing Draws 159 Nominations for Five Stakes
Juveniles Showcased in $150,000 Laurel Futurity and Selima
Live Racing Returns to Laurel with 10-Race Program Thursday
LAUREL, MD – Undefeated stakes winners Epic Luck, Koala Princess and Turnerloose and Grade 3-placed Portfolio Company are among the nominees to a pair of juvenile stakes that headline the Fall Festival of Racing Saturday, Oct. 2 at Laurel Park.
The $150,000 Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds and $150,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies, both going 1 1/16 miles, are among five turf stakes worth $600,000 in purses which drew a total of 159 nominations.
Also on the Fall Festival program are two listed stakes, the $100,000 Japan Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles and $100,000 All Along for fillies and mares 3 and older at 1 1/8 miles, and the $100,000 Laurel Dash for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs.
Owned by Mark Ashby and William Gotwals and bred by Gotwals and trainer Lynn Ashby, Epic Luck has won each of his two starts. He romped by 10 ¾ lengths in debut going a mile on the dirt July 28 at Delaware Park, and came back with a 2 ¼-length triumph in the Aug. 31 Kitten’s Joy at 1 1/16 miles on the Colonial Downs turf.
Klaravich Stables’ Portfolio Company was also a winner first time out, taking a July 17 maiden special weight at Saratoga, and was beaten two lengths when second to Coinage in the Sept. 1 With Anticipation (G3). Both races came on grass at the Laurel Futurity distance.
Trainer Chad Brown also nominated another Klaravich horse in British-bred Unanimous Consent, a come-from-behind winner of his lone start in a one-mile maiden special weight on the Monmouth Park turf Sept. 11.
Also prominent among 35 nominees are C My Meister and Wow Whata Summer, respectively third and fourth to Epic Luck in the Kitten’s Joy; Cynergy’s Star, winner of the 6 ½-furlong Timonium Juvenile on dirt Aug. 29; Sept. 1 Jamestown winner Determined Kingdom; Midnight Worker, third in the one-mile Sapling on dirt Sept. 5 at Monmouth for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher; and Aug. 20 Skidmore runner-up Pure Panic.
Runnymede Farm, Peter Callahan and Chris Zinkhan’s Koala Princess has been perfect thus far for Arnaud Delacour, based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. The daughter of More Than Ready won by 8 ¼ lengths in front-running fashion Aug. 21 at Monmouth, then showed another dimension by coming from off the pace to capture the 6 ½-furlong Ainsworth Sept. 12 at Kentucky Downs.
Dawn and Ike Thrash’s Turnerloose, trained by reigning Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, is also off to a 2-0 start. The Nyqust filly held firm after being pressed throughout her debut July 16 at Ellis Park and returned with a dominating five-length triumph in the Sept. 6 Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs, both going a mile on the grass.
Trainer Graham Motion used the Selima as a springboard to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) in 2019 at Santa Anita with Maryland-bred Sharing. Motion has three of the 30 nominees this year in Luna Antonia, Olivia Darling and Sparkle Blue.
AMO Racing USA’s Olivia Darling and Catherine Park and Augustin Stable’s Sparkle Blue are both coming off maiden victories. Olivia Darling graduated in her second try sprinting six furlongs on the main track Sept. 11 at Delaware, while Sparkle Blue was a 3 ¾-length winner of her lone start Aug. 17 at Colonial in an off-the-turf maiden special weight going one mile. Luna Antonia has run once, finishing third in a 5 ½-furlong turf dash Sept. 9 at Laurel.
Other nominees include Continentalcongres, second against males in the Jamestown; Ellis Park Debutante runner-up Golden Sights; and a quartet of Brown trainees led by Consumer Spending and Hedy Lamarr, respectively 1-2 in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight Sept. 6 at Saratoga, and McKulick, who beat Consumer Spending in a similar spot Aug. 8.
Two dozen grass marathoners were nominated for the Japan Turf Cup including Tide of the Sea, winner of the 1 ½-mile W.L. McKnight Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park and a pair of graded-stakes placed horses trained by Pletcher – No Word, second in the 2020 Belmont Derby (G1) and Sept. 6 Bernard Baruch (G2), and Shamrocket, third in the Bowling Green (G2) and fourth as the favorite in the John’s Call in his two most recent starts.
Also nominated are A Thread of Blue, winner of the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Derby Invitational in 2019; Bluegrass Parkway winner of the 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup Aug. 8 at Ellis Park; Oceans Map, Real Factor, Cibolian, the top three finishers from the 1 ½-mile Cape Henlopen Aug. 16 at Delaware; Eons, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Buckland July 26 at Colonial; Midnight Tea Time, third by a length in 1 1/16-mile Dinner Party (G2) May 15 and fifth by three lengths in 1 ½-mile Prince George’s County June 13, both at Pimlico; John’s Call winner Serve the King and Dinner Party runner-up Talk Or Listen.
Most popular among horsemen with 36 nominees was the All Along led by Magic Attitude, winner of the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) in 2020 and 1 3/8-mile Sheepshead Bay (G2) May 1 at Belmont Park. Also nominated are Argentinian Group 1 winner Bellagamba; Tightly Twisted, winner of the 1 1/8-mile Big Dreyfus July 24 at Pimlico; Feb. 21 Endeavour (G3) winner Counterparty Risk, second in the Big Dreyfus; Kiss the Girl, winner of the 1 1/16-mile All Brandy Aug. 21 at Pimlico; multiple stakes winner Tuned; graded-stakes placed Beautiful Lover, Call Me Love, Joy Epifora, Luck Money, Oyster Box and Seasons; and Fool Yourself, a winner of four straight since being claimed by trainer Claudio Gonzalez.
The Critical Way and Francatelli, respectively first and third in the Aug. 31 Parx Dash (G3); multiple stakes winner Introduced; and Meadow Stable winner Grateful Bred are prominent among 35 nominees to the Laurel Dash.
Live racing returns to Laurel Park Thursday with a 10-race program beginning at 12:40 p.m.