G2 Winner Still Having Fun Tops Eight Entered in $100,000 Fire Plug

G2 Winner Still Having Fun Tops Eight Entered in $100,000 Fire Plug

Needs Supervision Seeks Third Stakes Win in $100,000 What a Summer

LAUREL, MD – Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing’s Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun, a gutsy second in his return to competition last month, is the 124-pound topweight in a field of eight sprinters entered for Saturday’s $100,000 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 24th running of the Fire Plug 4-year-olds and up and the 34th renewal of the $100,000 What a Summer for fillies and mares 4 and older, both contested at 6 ½ furlongs, are among four stakes worth $350,000 in purses on a nine-race program.

Also on the card are a pair of $75,000 stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses going one mile, the Geisha for fillies and mares 4 and older and the Jennings for 4-year-olds and up. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.

Laurel-based trainer Tim Keefe cross-entered Still Having Fun in the seven-furlong Toboggan (G3) Saturday at Aqueduct, where the 5-year-old Old Fashioned gelding has never run. He owns three wins, two in stakes, and a pair of stakes seconds in eight career tries over his home course.

“I’m not really 100 percent sure where we’re going to go yet. The weather will probably play a role in where we go,” Keefe said. “Everything is good. Our short-term ultimate goal with him is the General George, so we’re just trying to figure out how best to get him there. These two races coming up, we’ll see who’s in there and also take a look at the weather.”

Still Having Fun ran seventh in the 2019 General George (G3), a seven-furlong sprint which will be run for the 44th time Feb. 15 at Laurel. In his most recent start, the six-furlong Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Dec. 7 at Laurel, he raced in mid-pack before coming with a game run up the rail under Feargal Lynch but fell a neck shy of multiple stakes winner Lewisfield.

The Bender was the first race for Still Having Fun since running eighth in the Churchill Downs (G1) May 4. He ran third in the Malibu (G1) to cap a 2018 season where he won the Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood at Laurel and Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park.

“The last race was good. He obviously ran well for us there. A little farther distance is clearly what he likes, but I still thought at three-quarters and coming off the layoff he ran well for us and just missed. We’re pleased with him,” Keefe said. “He’s been training great since then. He had a nice work last weekend. Feargal’s been working him and it was very good. It’s been a team effort with him all along, a group effort, and hopefully it’ll pay off for us. We couldn’t be happier with where he is right now.”

Kasey K Racing Stable and Michael Day’s Brother Chub has won 16 career races including his last two, the most recent coming in the six-furlong Claiming Crown Express Dec. 7 at Gulfstream Park. Based at Parx with trainer Michael Moore, he is two-for-three lifetime at Laurel, taking a 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Nov. 3.

Tiz He the One, winner of the seven-furlong Challedon Stakes Dec. 28 at Laurel; Arch Cat, an 11-time winner who ran second in the six-furlong Dave’s Friend on the same card; Dupree, racing first time off the claim for trainer Hugh McMahon; Honor the Fleet, third in the 2017 Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth and second in the Concern at Laurel; Long May You Run and Threes Over Deuces are also entered.

Needs Supervision Seeks Third Stakes Win in $100,000 What a Summer

Given six weeks off back-to-back starts seven days apart, one of them in New York, Needs Supervision returns to her home track in search of a third career stakes victory in the $100,000 What a Summer.

Trained by Jerry O’Dwyer for Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, Madaket Stables and Mike Karty, Needs Supervision will carry topweight of 124 pounds including jockey Feargal Lynch from Post 3 in a field of six.

Barber and Adam Wachtel also have a majority interest in Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun, entered on the same card in the $100,000 Fire Plug.

Needs Supervision raced six times in 2019, kicking off her campaign with a victory in the Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds. After finishing fifth in the Rachel Alexandra (G2), she went unraced until running second by a length in the Weather Vane Sept. 21 at Laurel.

“It’s one of the least-used commodities in racing: patience,” O’Dwyer said. “Thank God I’ve got some good owners and they let me be patient with her, and she’s rewarding us.”

Taken out of town again for the Raven Run (G2) in October at Keeneland, where she was seventh, Needs Supervision returned to Laurel for the seven-furlong Safely Kept Stakes, where she was pinched back at the start but overwhelmed her foes to win by 3 ¼ lengths, also under Lynch.

“She ran huge that day,” O’Dwyer said. “She’s a very nice filly and I’m pretty sure she will get her graded-stake win down the road somewhere. It’s just nice to have races like this on the weekend to keep building up her confidence and letting her take on nice fillies, and hopefully she can eventually step back up in class again.”

Exactly a week after the Safely Kept, Needs Supervision was back in the starting gate for the one-mile Go For Wand (G3) at Aqueduct. She tracked the pace but was outkicked down the stretch and wound up fourth in a field of six, beaten four lengths.

She’s been doing great,” O’Dwyer said. “It was a big ask for her to go up there a week later, but we took a chance in a small field and she didn’t disgrace herself. Maybe if it was a truer run race she’d have been a bit closer and she might have gotten graded-stakes placed. We were very happy with her performance. She came out of it good and she’s freshened up there now. She had a nice easy work over the weekend and she seems fit and well so we’re looking forward to running her.”

Old Coach Farm’s Angel At War won her first six career starts before suffering her first defeat when fourth in the 2018 What a Summer. She has gone on to place in three stakes, and most recently was fourth in Laurel’s Willa On the Move Dec. 28.

Rounding out the field are Willa On the Move runner-up Wildcat Combat, winner of last summer’s Power by Far Stakes at Parx; Hey Mamaluke and Victim of Love, second and third, respectively, behind Needs Supervision in the Safely Kept; and 2019 Mahoning Distaff winner Last True Love.