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Graded Winners Abound Among 118 Nominees to June 16 Stakes
Four Stakes Worth $400,000 Open Summer Schedule Worth $1.1 Million
G1 Winners Divisidero, Force the Pass Top $100,000 Prince George’s County
LAUREL, MD – More than a dozen graded-stakes winners, including Grade or Group 1 winners Divisidero, Force the Pass, El Picaro and The Great Day, are among 118 nominations to a quartet of $100,000 stakes to be run Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16 at Laurel Park.
The $100,000 Polynesian for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Alma North for 3-year-old fillies, both at seven furlongs, and the $100,000 Prince George’s County for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Big Dreyfus for females 3 and older, each at 1 1/16 miles on Laurel’s world-class turf course and new to the calendar, kick off a schedule of 13 stakes worth $1.1 million in purses during the 43-day summer meet.
Gunpowder Farms and Brereton C. Jones’ Divisidero, a two-time Grade 1 winner with more than $1.4 million in career earnings, tops 25 nominees to the Prince George’s County. Based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., the 7-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy won the Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs in 2016 and 2017 and last tasted victory in the 2018 Arlington Handicap (G3), trainer Kelly Rubley’s first graded-stakes triumph. Most recently, he finished fourth by 2 ½ lengths in the Muniz Memorial Handicap (G2) March 23 at Fair Grounds.
Colts Neck Stables’ homebred 7-year-old Force the Pass has run twice in 2019, finishing second in a May 3 optional claiming allowance at Laurel behind fellow graded-stakes winning millionaire Ghost Hunter, and third in the Monmouth Stakes (G2) May 25. He is a three-time stakes winner, including the Penn Mile (G3) and Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) in successive 2015 starts.
Chilean-bred El Picaro and Argentina-bred The Great Day both won Group 1 races in their native country last year. Also nominated are graded-stakes winners Doctor Mounty, Irish Strait, Just Howard and Maraud; two-time Maryland Million Turf winners Phlash Phelps and Talk Show Man; and Pizmo Time, a winner of three straight who set the Bowl Game turf course record for 1 1/16 miles in April, a mark broken by Ghost Hunter June 8.
Most popular among horsemen was the Big Dreyfus, which attracted 33 nominations including graded-stakes winners Andina Del Sur and Thewayiam and Irish Group 3 winner I’m So Fancy; graded-stakes placed Chipolata, Lift Up, Orbolution, Pamina, Peach of a Gal and Viva Vegas; and multiple stakes winners Dark Artist, Hogans Holiday and Shimmering Aspen.
Timothy Grams owned-and-trained West Virginia-bred Runnin’toluvya, a winner of 10 consecutive races including the $1 million Charles Town Classic (G2) April 20 over his home track, leads 32 nominees to the Polynesian. Also prominent are fellow graded winners Always Sunshine, Do Share, No Dozing and Proforma; multiple stakes winners Cordmaker, John Jones, Laki, Lewisfield and Sonny Inspired; Grade 1-placed Mr. Crow and Skyler’s Scramjet; and 11-time winner Parade of Nations.
The Alma North drew 28 nominations, topped by multiple stakes winners Please Flatter Me, most recently second to Covfefe’s course-record triumph in the Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) May 17 at Pimlico Race Course; Bye Bye J, Fashion Faux Pas, Parisian Diva and Newly Minted, the latter undefeated at 3-0; and stakes winners Gotta Be Strong, Miss Marcela, Pat’s No Fool, Ujjayi, Victim of Love and multiple graded-stakes placed Tomlin, third in the Miss Preakness last out.