Foot Injury Sidelines Multiple Meet Champion Rider Russell

Foot Injury Sidelines Multiple Meet Champion Rider Russell

Home Brew Unleashes Late Kick to Capture Career Debut Friday

LAUREL, MD – Champion jockey Sheldon Russell, ranked second by wins among Maryland riders this year, will be out indefinitely with a foot injury suffered during Thursday’s opening day program finale at Laurel Park.

Russell, 34, was hurt after being dropped by Little Bit of That, a 2-year-old Maryland-bred filly trained by his wife, Brittany Russell, when the daughter of Great Notion reared in the post parade.

Little Bit of That scratched from the 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight turf sprint for juvenile fillies, her career debut. The race was won by another first-time starter, Kit Keller.

“His horse reared up in the post parade,” agent Marty Leonard, who also represents jockey Jevian Toledo, said. “He was thrown off the horse and just landed on it wrong.”

Russell was carried from the track and taken for evaluation. He is scheduled to have a follow-up appointment next week to determine the severity of the injury.

“He broke a bone in his foot,” Leonard said. “We don’t know more right now. He’s going to see a specialist on Monday. We’ll know more then.”

Russell went 1-for-4 on opening day of Laurel’s calendar year-ending fall meet, winning with his first mount, Ten Strike Racing’s sophomore Paynter gelding Arrio also trained by his wife in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight for horses 3, 4 and 5.

Maryland’s overall leading rider in 2011, Russell earned the most recent of his eight career meet titles at Laurel’s 2020 fall stand. He ranked second at Laurel’s winter meet to open 2021, one victory behind 2020 Eclipse Award winner Alexander Crispin, and finished fifth with 26 wins during the extended four-month Preakness Meet at historic Pimlico Race Course that ended Aug. 22.

Russell has 65 wins in Maryland this year, second only to teenage sensation Charlie Marquez’s 79 through Thursday. He earned career win No. 1,500 aboard Hello Beautiful in the Alma North July 31 at Pimlico, and celebrated by gifting $1,500 to her groom, Luis Barajas.

Though beset by injuries early in his career, Russell had been riding at full health since the spring of 2017 before suffering a broken right wrist last July at Delaware Park that cost him two months. He closed 2020 strongly by capturing the Laurel meet title, his first since 2015, and ranking third overall with 86 wins in Maryland.

Home Brew Unleashes Late Kick to Capture Career Debut Friday

Home Brew, a juvenile homebred from prominent owners Gary and Mary West, found clear sailing in mid-stretch and responded with a two-length victory in his career debut Friday at Laurel Park.

Ridden by teenage sensation Charlie Marquez for trainer Kelly Breen, Home Brew ($10.40) ran six furlongs in 1:11.51 over a fast main track in the maiden special weight for 2-year-olds. Based at Monmouth Park, he went off as the fourth choice at 4-1 in a field of eight.

Breaking from Post 6, Home Brew raced up with the leaders soon after the break before settling in between horses along the rail tracking pacesetter Tops the Chart through splits of 22.99, 46.77 and 59.11 seconds. Marquez tipped out to the center of the track once straightened for home, taking over inside the sixteenth pole and drawing clear.

“He’s been schooled like that before. I was a little bit concerned when he was dropping back [but] Charlie came back and said he was very professional,” Breen said. “I think he might have felt a little something underneath him and I’m hoping that he did. He said he was very well-schooled and ran that way.”

Home Brew is by 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense out of the Tapit filly Omnitap.

“He can be ornery. I did tell Charlie about that, to let him know in the starting gate that he can be a handful. He’s a man’s man for a 2-year-old,” Breen said. “He always likes to have his presence announced so I think that’s good. Good horses like to be seen and like to be heard. He was whinnying and hollering going into the winner’s circle. It’s not a bad thing.

“The horse is bred to go longer,” he added, “so we’re looking forward to the future.”

Breen had one other starter Friday, Screen Door Stables’ As Seen On Tv, who ran seventh of eight after chasing the early pace in Race 6, a starter optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up. As Seen On Tv was a stakes winner at 2 and ran second by a head in the Mucho Macho Man and third in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in South Florida last winter. Friday’s race was his second start this year following his July 3 debut at Monmouth.

Other maiden special weight action for 2-year-olds Friday saw Live Oak Plantation’s Biz Biz Buzz ($18.80), a homebred son of Fed Biz, overcome a bump at the start to sweep past rivals on the far outside and capture Race 5 in 1:04.92 for 5 ½ furlongs over the All Along turf course; and Hard Rock Gold ($21), bred and owned by Martine Britell, dig in late for a head triumph over Trust Daddy in Race 7. The winning time was 1:12.18 for six furlongs over the main track.

Notes: Jockey Jaime Rodriguez and trainer Jamie Ness teamed up for a pair of wins Friday with Wick ($2.60) in Race 2 and Spotted Bull ($10.40) in Race 6. Jockey Horacio Karamanos also had two winners, Claire’s Darling ($49.60) in Race 1 and Double Happiness ($7.40) in Race 3 … There will be a jackpot carryover of $1,202.56 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 for Saturday’s nine-race program that begins at 12:40 p.m. Tickets with five of six winners Friday each returned $901.50.