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G2 Winner Still Having Fun Nominated to Return in $75,000 Bender Memorial
Maryland Spectacular Day Program Dec. 7 Features Calendar, Gift Giveaways
LAUREL, MD – Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing’s Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun and Runnymede Racing’s Alwaysmining, Maryland’s Triple Crown race contenders the past two years, are both nominated to end layoffs in the $75,000 Howard & Sondra Bender Memorial Saturday, Dec. 7 at Laurel Park.
The six-furlong Bender is one of four stakes for state-bred/sired horses worth $350,000 in purses on the Maryland Spectacular Day program that also features holiday-themed promotions and a 2020 Maryland racing calendar giveaway.
Still Having Fun, trained by Tim Keefe, has been working steadily at Laurel for his return, not having raced since finishing eighth in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Stakes (G1) May 4. The 4-year-old Old Fashioned gelding has faced stakes competition since breaking his maiden at Laurel in November 2017 including wins in Laurel’s Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood and the six-furlong Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont in 2018.
Kelly Rubley-trained Alwaysmining reeled off five consecutive wins, all in Laurel stakes, over the winter and spring capped by the Federico Tesio, earning him an automatic berth to the Preakness Stakes (G1), where he chased the pace before tiring to 11th. Since then, he was placed third in the Easy Goer and ran ninth in the Indiana Derby (G3) July 13, his most recent start.
Other prominent names nominated to the Bender are multiple stakes winners Clubman, Lewisfield and Sonny Inspired; Oldies But Goodies, winner of the July 14 Ben’s Cat turf sprint stakes; and Taco Supream, who upset graded-stakes winner Caul Paul and Lewisfield in the Maryland Million Sprint Oct. 19.
No Guts No Glory Farm’s Anna’s Bandit, riding a five-race win streak, tops the list of nominees to the $75,000 Politely for fillies and mares 3 and up, also at six furlongs. Anna’s Bandit extended her streak with a dominant triumph in the Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 19, her ninth career stakes victory.
Multiple stakes winners Las Setas, entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes at Laurel, and Limited View; and stakes winners Elevated Vision, Majestic Reason and My Star Potential – an open allowance winner Nov. 10 at Laurel in her first start in four months – are also nominated.
Two-year-olds will be in the spotlight in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, each at seven furlongs. Seven nominees to the Futurity are coming off wins, including stakes winner Raging Whiskey and Laddie Liam, third in the Maryland Million Nursery, while Maryland Million Lassie winner Hello Beautiful, Parx Juvenile Fillies winner Project Whiskey and turf stakes winner Miss J McKay top nominations to the Filly Championship.
Gates will open at 11 a.m. on Maryland Spectacular Day with a 12:25 p.m. first post. The program includes a $10,000 giving tree and a give-a-gift, get-a-gift promotion.