Laurel News & Notes

Laurel News & Notes

Rodney Jenkins Looks Forward to Laurel, Top of Mind
Carrasco Keeping Busy Schedule
Weekend Specials Kick off July at Laurel


LAUREL, MD., 07/02/15– Trainer Rodney Jenkins is eager for the summer racing season to get started Friday afternoon at Laurel Park. Not only is Jenkins looking forward to not shipping, but he will saddle his 3-year-old colt Top of Mind in Friday’s seventh race if the 1 1/16mile event comes off the turf.

Top of Mind, a Kentucky-bred son of Curlin owned by Hillwood Stable LLC, won his debut in February at Laurel. After finishing second in an optional claimer in March, Top of Mind finished sixth in the April 18 Tesio after a rough trip.

"We had the worst trip a horse could have in that race,” Jenkins said. “I was upset at how he ran that day but when I went back and watched the replay he was blocked the entire way, even though it was a five-horse field. He never got out, he never really progressed, and then he got bumped again really hard at the head of the lane. (Jockey) Victor (Carrasco) kind of just gave up after that, which he did the right thing."

Jenkins said Top of Mind has trained well since the Tesio and that he wanted to “bring him back [at Laurel] where he likes the track, and just start over.”

Jenkins is scheduled to saddle two horses in Friday’s eighth and final race, a maiden special weight event scheduled over 5 ½ furlongs. Joseph, a son of Lion Hearted, finished ninth in his racing debut at six furlongs over the main track at Pimlico while Mr. Benz, another Hillwood runner, will be making his second start since a third-place finish across a five furlong turf course at Pimlico.

“I didn’t like him before I ran him,” said Jenkins of Mr. Benz. “I trained him for a year and he never worked faster than :51 for the half. But when he ran in his last race, the lights came on and he’s been doing fabulous.”

When asked about racing in July at Laurel, Jenkins said; “It's amazing what has happened the last year in Maryland. I just couldn't believe we were going to have turf racing here in the summer. It's great to not have to ship three, four hours all the time. I won't ship anywhere since we have summer racing. The Maryland purses in comparison to New York are very, very good. The track is good, the turf course is good. Plenty of excuses to stay home


Jockey Victor Carrasco, the leading rider at the Preakness Meet at Pimlico which concluded June 6, has been keeping busy the past three weeks.

“I’ve been riding all over the place,” Carrasco said. “Penn National, Parx, Delaware, Belmont, Charles Town. Driving is not easy. I do it, but it’s not easy riding day and night, day and night. You drive two hours to ride, get home late, wake up early and go out in the mornings to keep your business alive. I love it but sometimes it’s not easy. That’s why summer racing at Laurel is so nice.”

Carrasco said he’ll change his schedule beginning this weekend, riding at Laurel during the weekends and Delaware Monday through Wednesday. Carrasco is likely to once again be one of the top riders at Laurel. He’s named in all eight races on Friday’s twilight race card.

“"I really like being here,” he said. “Laurel Park is like home to me. All the trainers help me out with good horses. They always support me. We have many good riders over here, but I think it's going to be a good meet. It feels good to look at the entries and ride every single race with live horses on opening day.

“My goal is to get to 150 wins by the end of the year. Hopefully with the summer meet here we can be competitive, win some races and get closer to that goal."


Laurel will kick off its first live July racing program in five years Friday with a special twilight card and a weekend of activities for families and bettors.

Parking and admission will be free at Laurel Park. The track will continue offering its 10-cent Rainbow 6, a Pick 5 with an industry-low 12 percent takeout, and the new Super Hi 5 wager with a 15-percent takeout.

Post time on Friday is 3:40 p.m. Post time on Saturday and Sunday will be 1:30 p.m.

Friday’s eight race twilight program, including four scheduled turf races run over Laurel’s 142-foot wide turf course, will include a Happy Hour between 3-7 p.m. in Tycoons and TIPS featuring half-price appetizers, $4 domestic and 16-ounce domestic drafts. There will also be live music, a $20 buffet, and half-price drinks for ladies.

There will be $4 concession specials throughout the weekend at the Track Grill, Pizza Stand, Long Shots and Stone Bar. On Saturday, Tycoon and TIPS restaurant will feature half-price appetizers and drink specials.

Laurel will welcome families during its Sunday Family Fun program with a first race post time of 1:30 p.m. Weekend activities could include pony rides, petting zoos, carnival rides, games, a rock wall and moon bounce. There will also be a Sunday brunch in the Terrace Dining Room from noon to 4 p.m. with a cost of $22 for adults, $11 for children aged three to 11. Laurel will also offer $10 bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Reservations, recommended for Sunday brunch, can be made at 301.725.0700.