G3 Winner Wondrwherecraigis Retired from Racing

G3 Winner Wondrwherecraigis Retired from Racing

Multiple Stakes Winner Seven’s Eleven Favored in Friday Feature
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LAUREL, MD –Wondrwherecraigis, a three-time stakes winner that gave Laurel Park-based trainer Brittany Russell her first graded-stakes triumph in the 2021 Bold Ruler (G3), has been retired from racing.

Owned by the partnership of Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Michael Caruso, the 6-year-old Munnings gelding had lost four straight races after opening the season with an optional claiming allowance victory in mid-April at Laurel.

“We retired him,” Russell said. “He’d just lost a step and we didn’t want to keep banging his head in. Rather than try to run him for a tag and win a race, and watch somebody take him, we just kept him. He was always going to stay with us.”

Wondrwherecraigis finished with eight wins, four seconds, one third and $540,170 in purse earnings from 20 starts, with additional stakes wins in the 2021 Tale of the Cat at Saratoga and 2022 Fire Plug at Laurel. He was second three consecutive years in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, starting in 2021, when he crossed the wire first but was disqualified for interference.

Six weeks later Wondrwherecraigis earned graded credentials in the Bold Ruler, the day before Russell gave birth to a son, Rye, the second child with her husband, champion jockey Sheldon Russell. Daughter Edy was born in August 2019.

“He’s special to us. He was always going to have a soft landing,” Brittany Russell said. “It’s sad we’re not racing him anymore, but he retired healthy, and sound and he still has a lot of life ahead of him. Hopefully, we can have some fun with him.”

Following this year’s De Francis Wondrwherecraigis ran fourth in his final two starts, the six-furlong Lite the Fuse Sept. 16 at historic Pimlico Race Course and an open 5 ½-furlong allowance Oct. 20 at Laurel, both times as the favorite. He also brought the connections to Dubai for the 2022 Golden Shaheen (G1).

“He’s just sort of hanging out right now being a horse, but next spring I don’t know what we’re going to do. He might come to the track and we might try to make him a pony, I don’t know,” Russell said. “But we love that horse, he’s not going anywhere. He’s down at a friend’s farm, so he’s actually out enjoying himself. If we can get him trained up a little bit, by the time [Edy] is ready for a proper horse he should be ready.”

Multiple Stakes Winner Seven’s Eleven Favored in Friday Feature

The Cottonwood Stable’s Maryland homebred Seven’s Eleven, 5-for-9 this year including a pair of stakes wins, is favored at 5-2 on the morning line as he drops back into allowance company for Friday’s feature at Laurel Park.

Trained by Carlos Mancilla, 3-year-old Seven’s Eleven beat his elders in the Oct. 14 Maryland Million Sprint and Nov. 24 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial. In between he ran third in a second-level optional claiming allowance sprinting six furlongs and stretches out ot one mile under similar conditions in Race 7 Friday, where he drew Post 2 in a field of 11.

To the outside in Post 10 is Double Deez Stables Inc.’s Berks, racing second time off a $40,000 claim for trainer Kieron Magee. The 4-year-old gelding has won seven of 12 races this year including four in a row between April 13 and July 13. Berks is one of five horses in for a $40,000 tag, including multiple stakes winner Armando R.

Race 8 is an entry-level optional claiming allowance for 2-year-olds sprinting six furlongs led by Misson Beach, a $400,000 son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin racing first time for trainer Brittany Russell. Owned by similar connections as Preakness (G1) winner National Treasure, Mission Beach won on debut at Del Mar before running fifth in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga and last of four in the Bob Hope (G3), also at Del Mar, for Bob Baffert.

There will be carryovers Friday of $13,271.34 in the 50-cent Late Pick 5 (Races 5-9), $4,365.90 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 4-9) and $1,078.82 in the $1 Jackpot Super High Five (Race 6).

Laurel will also host nine races Saturday highlighted by four $100,000 stakes – the 6 ½-furlong Willa On the Move and 1 1/8-mile Carousel for fillies and mares 3 and older, and the six-furlong Dave’s Friend and 1 1/16-mile Robert T. Manfuso for 3-year-olds and up.

Post time both days is 12:25 p.m. There will be no live racing Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. The fall meet concludes with programs Dec. 29, 30 and 31.

Fans can pick up free 2024 wall calendars Saturday and Dec. 30, one per person, while supplies last.