Laurel Park News & Notes

Laurel Park News & Notes

Jockey Russell Nears Return
Bodhisattva Returns Good from Pegasus, Schedule Uncertain
Medhurst to Call the Races at Laurel in July


LAUREL, MD., 06/24/15 – Jockey Sheldon Russell, who led all jockeys in wins and money earned during Laurel’s winter meet, hopes to return to riding during Laurel’s opening weekend of summer racing Friday, July 3. 

Russell has not ridden since April 25 when he suffered multiple punctures in his lungs due to broken ribs from a fall he sustained at Pimlico. Russell, forced to undergo surgery, did not return to the saddle until last week. Monday morning he galloped the graded-stakes winner Legendary at Fair Hill.

When asked what it was like getting back on a horse, Russell said; “It’s hard to explain because galloping is such a different feel from working horses, but I was comfortable. Everything went well. [Trainer] Tim Keefe gave me a great opportunity to gallop nice, easy horses and get a feel, and that has helped me a lot.”

During his two months away from racing, Russell said he spent his time running, swimming and working out on an Equicizer. And while he didn’t get on any horses Sunday, he competed in a 10K road race in Ellicott City and finished sixth.

Russell, who earned his 1,000th career victory earlier this year and was the leading rider at all three Maryland meets in 2011, will learn more about his comeback Thursday when he meets again with doctors.

“If all goes well, the plan is to try and make it back by Laurel,” he said. “Physically, I feel good and hopefully [doctors] give me some good news on Thursday.”


Tesio Stakes winner Bodhisattva, eighth in the Preakness (G1), came out of his seventh-place finish in Sunday’s Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth Park without any issues, according to owner and trainer Jose Corrales.

Plans originally called for Bodhisattva to compete in the weekend’s Ohio Derby, but the forecast called for bad weather in Ohio and Corrales decided to head to Monmouth.

“The weather was supposed to be really bad in Ohio and I was afraid of that and that’s why I scratched him, and everybody was kind of saying that this race is kind of easy at Monmouth,” Corrales said. “You don’t want to go back on things, but I should have run him in the Ohio Derby because he had a position outside and he had a chance to be able to perform the way I wanted him to perform. But you know what, you can say whatever you want after the race is done but you have to go with reality.”

Corrales said he was hoping Bodhisattva would break sharp and go to the front in the Pegasus or stalk the leaders from the outside because the 3-year-old “doesn’t like anything in the face.” But when Bodhisattva didn’t break well, “he didn’t really pick up right away from the beginning and then stayed on the rail all the way through…he never put in an effort to run. He got a lot of dirt in the face.”

The question now is what will Corrales do next with Bodhisattva?

“I have to wait a little bit,” he said. “I might turn him out just because he has run so much. He might need a little rest and come back again.”


Anne Arundel County resident Pete Medhurst, who has called the races at Rosecroft and Ocean Downs and is a sports personality on 106.7 The Fan and News Radio 99.1, will announce the races at Laurel this July.

Dave Rodman, the voice of the Maryland Jockey Club, will call the races at Oak Tree at Pleasanton before heading to Sacramento through July 26.

Medhurst has been calling standardbred races at Rosecroft and Ocean Downs since 1996. He is also the current play-by-play voice for the Naval Academy football team. A local graduate of Southern High School, Medhurst created an all-sports station in Salisbury when he was 20 and went on to be the play-by-play announcer of Salisbury University and the voice of Navy lacrosse and basketball.