Joe Makes Return on Dirt in $75,000 Bender Memorial

Joe Makes Return on Dirt in $75,000 Bender Memorial

Intrepid Daydream Takes Win Streak into $75,000 Politely

LAUREL, MD – The Elkstone Group’s two-time Maryland champion homebred Joe, a stakes winner on both turf and dirt, shortens up and switches back to the main track for his return to the races in the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Friday, Nov. 24 at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong Bender for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 Politely for fillies and mares 3 and older sprinting six furlongs, both restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, come on the first of back-to-back stakes days over Thanksgiving weekend.

On Saturday, Nov. 25 Laurel will serve up three $100,000 stakes – the 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up, City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, each going seven furlongs.

Post time for the first of nine races Friday is 12:25 p.m.

Named for U.S. President Joe Biden, a family friend of Elkstone’s Stuart Grant, Joe was an even sixth in his most recent start, a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance June 17 on the Laurel turf, a race that included Grade 3 winners Eons and Double Crown and multiple stakes winner Oceans Map.

Joe’s 4-year-old debut came in a similar spot going one mile May 6 at Laurel, his first race in nearly a year after overcoming some minor issues, which also included Eons and Maryland Million winners Sky’s Not Falling and Wicked Prankster. Joe stumbled at the start and was never in contention, finishing seventh.

“We tried him twice this year, and he did not run like the old Joe,” Grant said. “We’re hoping that this gets him started. He’s pretty versatile. He can run turf or dirt so, if he’s back to the same old Joe then we’ll run him in the winter and he should be able to compete in stakes company.”

Winner of the James W. Murphy last May at historic Pimlico Race Course in his grass debut, Joe won the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio by a head over stablemate Mr Jefferson in April 2022 in his last dirt start. Joe’s last race under a mile came in the 2021 Maryland Juvenile, which clinched his Maryland champion 2-year-old male title. He was voted champion 3-year-old male of 2022.

Joe has been working toward his comeback at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., where he shows 10 timed breezes since mid-August. Regular rider Victor Carrasco is named from Post 3.

“It wasn’t strategic, it’s just that he’s ready and there’s no turf around,” Grant said. “I don’t know what this race will show us. Seven [furlongs] is good for him. I don’t think he could run less than seven. It’s a different race than he’s usually doing. We found success on turf, but we know he can run on dirt. I don’t know what to expect and sort of what this will even tell us. But, we’re excited to at least have him back.

Ain’t Da Beer Cold, promoted winner of the Oct. 14 Maryland Million Classic at Laurel, and Double Crown, who ran third, are also among the field of 10. Five of Ain’t Da Beer Cold’s wins have come at Laurel, while Double Crown won Pimlico’s Polynesian Sept. 10 and was most recently seventh in the one-mile Forty Niner (G2) Oct. 28 at Aqueduct.

Also entered are Seven’s Eleven, Holy Synchronicity and Hello Hot Rod, respectively first, third and sixth in the six-furlong Maryland Million Sprint; multiple stakes winner Coffeewithchris, seventh in the May 20 Preakness (G1); Super Accelerate, popular winner of Laurel’s July 29 Star de Naskra; Sagamore Mischief, racing first off the claim for New York-based trainer Tom Morley; and Tenax.

Late longtime owner-breeders Howard and Sondra Bender were fixtures at Maryland racetracks for nearly four decades. Among their more than 500 winners were graded-stakes winners Secret River, Foufa’s Warrior, Promenade Girl, Green Darlin, London Lane and La Reine’s Terms.

Intrepid Daydream Takes Win Streak into $75,000 Politely

Paul Fowler Jr.’s homebred Intrepid Daydream, in the best form of her career, chases a third stakes victory this year and attempts to extend her overall win streak to four races in the $75,000 Politely.

A 4-year-old daughter of Jess’s Dream, Intrepid Daydream exits a popular three-length triumph in the seven-furlong Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 14 at Laurel, defeating a strong field that included her multiple stakes-winning stablemate Malibu Beauty, two-time Maryland champion filly Luna Belle and Maryland’s 2022 Horse of the Year Fille d’Esprit.

The first two wins of Intrepid Daydream’s current streak came 12 days apart in September, both at the Politely’s six furlongs – a restricted allowance at Delaware Park and the Shine Again at historic Pimlico Race Course, her first career stakes win.

“I hope she keeps it going. She’s doing wonderfully, and thank goodness,” Fowler said. “The hardest part is keeping them together. We’ve been very fortunate so far.”

Intrepid Daydream was scratched from the 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go Nov. 11 at Laurel to await this race. Jevian Toledo, up for the entirety of her streak, rides back from Post 2.

“She was going to run long the other day but [we] thought this might be a little better spot, so here we are. We’ll see what happens,” Fowler said. “You always take each race as it comes. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Based at Laurel with trainer Gary Capuano, Intrepid Daydream owns six wins, three seconds, one third and $318,350 in purse earnings from 12 starts. She is 4-for-7 lifetime at the Politely’s six furlongs.

“She’s still healthy, she’s doing great. If she can do well here and come out of this in good order, we’ll see what the [condition] book has to say,” Fowler said. “We tend not to travel. We tend to stay local. There’s really no definitive plans right now.”

ZWP Stable, Inc. and Non Stop Stable’s Malibu Beauty sixth in the Distaff, ran fourth behind Hybrid Eclipse in the Thirty Eight Go Go. The 5-year-old mare is winless in six starts this year following her last victory in the 2022 Carousel at Laurel, her fourth overall.

Mens Grille Racing’s Response Time comes back three weeks after finishing fifth as the favorite in a six-furlong allowance Nov. 3 at Laurel. The 5-year-old Mosler mare ran second by three lengths to Intrepid Daydream in the Distaff after defeating runner-up Malibu Beauty by 1 ¼ lengths in the 6 ½-furlong Timonium Distaff Oct. 14.

Canoodle, third by a half-length at odds of 34-1 in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Nov. 4 at Laurel; Moonboots, runner-up in a seven-furlong state-bred allowance Oct. 18 at Parx; and Utterly Enchanting, second in back-to-back starts over wet tracks including the Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap Oct. 14 at Laurel, complete the field.

Bred and raced by Mrs. Richard du Pont, Politely won 13 stakes and placed in eight others from age 2 to 5, setting an Atlantic City track record in the 1967 Matchmaker and matching it the following year. Retired following the 1968 season, she won 21 of 49 career starts and was a member of the inaugural Maryland-bred Thoroughbred Hall of Fame Class of 2013.