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G2 Black-Eyed Susan, G3 Miss Preakness Possible for Dontletsweetfoolya
Sons of G1 Winners Comprise Entire Field in Thursday’s Juvenile Sprint
G2 Winner Still Having Fun Being Pointed Toward Winter Campaign
Double Carryovers for Return of Live Racing Thursday
LAUREL, MD – Coming in the midst of Preakness Prep Weekend, when the Maryland Jockey Club served up nine $100,000 stakes over the course of two days, Donletsweetfoolya’s first time facing winners was a race that could have easily been overlooked. She made sure it wasn’t.
Five Hellions Farm’s promising 3-year-old filly, a bay daughter of Grade 1 winner Stay Thirsty, turned in a second-straight eye-catching performance Sept. 5 at Laurel Park, rolling to a front-running 8 ¾-length open allowance triumph in 1:22.06 for seven furlongs.
The effort came six weeks after Dontletsweetfoolya graduated in a 9 ½-length maiden special weight romp, running six furlongs in 1:10.27 against three overmatched rivals on a sloppy and sealed main track. Jevian Toledo, battling for Laurel’s summer meet riding title with Horacio Karamanos, was aboard for both races.
“She was impressive in her maiden win, too, but so many things went her way – it was a short field, it was on the slop – but she came out of that race so good, miles ahead of herself,” trainer Lacey Gaudet said. “It was just really nice to see her get back against a legit field and on a dry surface and show a little bit more of the horse that we think that she can be.”
The connections gave some consideration to sending Dontletsweetfoolya to the seven-furlong Charles Town Oaks (G3) Aug. 28 for 3-year-old fillies, as well as a seven-eighths sprint at Saratoga, but opted to keep her home and take the next step in her progression.
“Maybe in a different year after an impressive maiden win like that, we might have gone elsewhere,” Gaudet said. “We were teetering on the edge of shipping her. Do we want to get it over with and see how she goes? It was nice that the seven-eighths race went here. What was impressive to me was that she got the distance on a dry surface and it’s just going to make her that much better of a horse in the future.”
Dontletsweetfoolya ran twice at 2 last fall, finishing fifth and third in a pair of maiden special weights during the fall. She got the winter off and a late start at 3 due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, debuting with another third June 19, a race where she drifted five deep midway on the turn.
“These owners, they are just incredible to work with. They’ve really let us be able to do the right thing by her,” Gaudet said. “She’s getting more and more mature with everything she does. I think she’s going to be fun.”
The fun could include making her stakes debut Oct. 3 on the undercard of the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course in either the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at 1 1/8 miles or the $150,000 Miss Preakness (G2) going six furlongs. Both are for straight 3-year-old fillies.
“Right now, those are the two options that we’re bouncing around. The only difference between them both would probably be how well she’s going into the weekend,” Gaudet said. “To me, if you’re going this route and you’re going in that direction I like to keep going in one direction. I hate to go backward, but I think the two turns is a lot to ask. I guess I would think it would be a little bit easier right now, in the spot that we’re at, to back her up to three-quarters at Pimlico.
“At Pimlico you can only go three-quarters or two turns, so it’s a little hard. She’s speed. She’s so naturally fast. It’s a really tough call. Here [at Laurel], we could go the one-turn mile and you wouldn’t hesitate trying that,” she added. “But when you throw two turns at them, that’s a lot different. She is a filly that in her first couple of starts we were a little worried about her. In the mornings she’s lugged out and blown the turn, she did it in one of her early races. Obviously this is a good year to try it because you don’t have to worry about the crowd, so that would maybe help her a little bit.”
For the health and safety of its horses and horsemen, the Preakness Meet at Pimlico will follow Laurel’s lead and be held without spectators. Gaudet felt Dontletsweetfoolya benefited from not being rushed or shipped to find a spot during the height of the pandemic that paused racing in much of the country earlier this year.
“I think the good part about this year is that we’ve been super patient about staying home, whereas a lot of other people were trying to make up for lost time. I just don’t know who’s going to be very tough when we get to Preakness time,” Gaudet said. “We did mention, ‘Do we just throw everything against the wall and since you’re going to Pimlico and it’s a speed-favoring track, just go for the Black-Eyed Susan?’ Those are things we’re going to have to talk about in the next week or two.
“It is a little quick back. It’s the end of her 3-year-old year – do we just wait and try and go to New York or Kentucky in the fall and not worry about Preakness weekend? She’s not Maryland-bred, but we really don’t want to ship too far,” she added. “[The BES] would be like throwing two things at her, shipping her and stretching her out super far, but she’s always been an impressive filly and with every race she’s making it a little easier to try things with. The way she came out of the last race, we really weren’t that afraid to try and ship her. We’re obviously glad that we didn’t have to. Now, I’m excited to get her to stretch out.”
Sons of G1 Winners Comprise Entire Field in Thursday Juvenile Sprint
Joseph Besecker’s Kwist, a gray or roan son of 2015 juvenile male champion and 2016 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Nyquist, will make his career debut as the 5-2 program favorite against six rivals in a six-furlong maiden special weight for 2-year-olds Thursday at Laurel Park.
Kwist will break from the rail under jockey Angel Cruz for summer meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez, who is winless with one third from four previous 2-year-old starters this year at Laurel. Cruz has won 12 of 37 mounts (32 percent) for Gonzalez this summer and together they have finished in the top three at a 62 percent clip.
Out of the Citidancer mare Citiview, Kwist is a half-brother to Midnight Lucky, winner of the Sunland Park Oaks and Acorn (G1) at 3 and Humana Distaff (G1) at 4 in 2013-14. He was purchased for $45,000 out of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale June 30 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.
All seven maidens in the field are by Grade 1 winners, including a son of 2013 Florida/Kentucky Derby hero Orb in MOM Stable’s Irish Snow. He is joined in the field by Tim Keefe-trained stablemate Buddy Revell, owned by Thomas and Tara Rooney and by Hit It a Bomb, winner of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
“I ended up putting them in together. They’ve been breezing together and doing a lot of their works together. They’re very similar horses,” Keefe said. “You always look forward to their first starts. They’re both coming along well and looking to do something.”
Irish Snow drew Post 3 with jockey Weston Hamilton, while Kevin Gomez will ride Buddy Revell from outside Post 7. Both are listed at 10-1 on the morning line.
“Irish Snow is doing well. He’s very smart and I’m excited to run him,” Keefe said. “He looks like a typical Orb. I think he’s probably going to be a sprinter. He’s a stocky 2-year-old. He’s not going to be real big but he’s probably 15-3 and he’s a beautiful mover.
“Buddy Revell they bought out of the yearling sale at Timonium last year. He is a Maryland-bred,” he added. “I’m not that familiar with his sire, but I saw him at the sale. He was an attractive yearling and Tom really liked him so he ended up buying him.”
The only horse in the field with a previous start is Team Gaudet’s Alpha Queue, a bay son of 2012 Travers (G1) and 2013 Woodward (G1) winner Alpha that ran fifth in his unveiling, a five-furlong maiden special weight Aug. 7 at Laurel.
Trevor McCarthy has the call from Post 5 on Alpha Queue, who worked a half-mile in 48 seconds Sept. 5, fifth-fastest of 65 horses over Laurel’s main track.
“I wish it was a little bit further for him. The further he goes in the mornings the better he is,” trainer Lacey Gaudet said. “He had a hell of a workout the other day that really set him up.”
Rounding out the field are Helms Deep, by 2013 Wood Memorial (G1) and Haskell (G1) winner Verrazano; Golden Gulley, by 2013 Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner and 2013-14 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) winner Goldencents; and Market Cap, by Candy Ride, a two-time Group 1 winner in his native Argentina before taking the 2003 Pacific Classic (G1).
G2 Winner Still Having Fun Being Pointed Toward Winter Campaign
Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing’s Still Having Fun, unraced since finishing off the board in the Carter Handicap (G1) June 6 at Belmont Park, is on the comeback trail.
Trainer Tim Keefe said the 5-year-old gelding, a winner of $570,867 in career purses, is currently with trainer Bruce Jackson at his Fair Hill Training Center facility in Elkton, Md.
“He went and had a little procedure done. He’s up at Bruce Jackson’s right now in Fair Hill and he should be back next month,” Keefe said. “We’re looking forward to a good winter campaign for him.”
Still Having Fun gave Keefe the first graded-stakes victory of his career in the 2018 Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont, after beginning his sophomore year with wins in Laurel’s Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood. Still Having Fun capped the season running third in the Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita and has since run seven times over the past 1 ½ years.
His best finishes during that time have come at Laurel, when Still Having Fun was second in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial in December 2019 and third in the General George (G3) Feb. 15.
“He had a little hiccup after he came back but we’ve gotten all that rectified and he’s doing really, really well. He looks great and he’ll be back to Laurel probably in the next 30 days,” Keefe said. “I’ll be anxious to get him back here and get him going. He’s doing fine.”
Double Carryovers for Return of Live Racing Thursday
Live racing returns to Laurel Park Thursday with an eight-race program and carryovers in both the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and $1 Super Hi-5 wagers.
The Rainbow 6 went unsolved during Monday’s special Labor Day holiday program that featured five $100,000 including the Federico Tesio for 3-year-olds and Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies, won respectively by Happy Saver and Grand Cru Classe.
Thursday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 3-8 and begins with a carryover jackpot of $8,776.73. The sequence is kicked off by a six-furlong maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-olds where all seven horses are by Grade 1 winners, topped by 5-2 program favorite Kwist. Imaginary Stables’ Lady Boss, whose three career starts came this summer at Gulfstream Park, is favored in Race 4, a 5 ½-furlong allowance sprint for fillies and mares 3 and up on the Exceller turf course.
Race 6 is a wide-open optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going one mile on the Bowl Game turf course where Soglio, a six-time winner racing first time off the claim for trainer Steve Klesaris, is the narrow 4-1 program favorite. Veteran campaigner John Jones, a stakes winner on turf and dirt, tops Race 7, a third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs. The 8-year-old John Jones is one of four horses in the field of eight entered for the $50,000 tag.
There will also be a carryover of $1,824.18 in the Super Hi-5 for Thursday’s opener, barring scratches. First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
Laurel will offer a nine-race card Friday featuring a pair of scheduled turf features in Race 4, a second-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up going one mile over the Bowl Game layout, and Race 8, an entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs, also on the Bowl Game.
Once again, Laurel is featured prominently in the weekly national Stronach 5 wager, which opens in Race 7 and, following Race 9 at Gulfstream Park, returns for Races 8 and 9 before concluding with Race 3 at Golden Gate Fields.
Minimum wager on the Stronach 5 is $1.