Monday Morning Qb Pointed to Preakness Day Stakes

Monday Morning Qb Pointed to Preakness Day Stakes

145th Preakness (G1), James Murphy on Turf on Radar
Jockey Kevin Gomez Registers Hat Trick Friday at Laurel
Rainbow 6 Carryover Grows to $14,286 for Saturday Card

LAUREL, MD – Cash is King and LC Racing’s stakes-winning 3-year-old Monday Morning Qb, a game second behind undefeated Happy Saver in the Federico Tesio Sept. 7 at Laurel Park off a seven-month layoff, is under consideration for the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1) Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

The 1 3/16-mile Preakness, run this year as the final jewel in a refashioned Triple Crown while serving as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), anchors a weekend of 16 stakes, nine graded, worth $3.35 million in purses Oct. 1-3.

Monday Morning Qb earned his lone stakes victory last December in the seven-furlong Heft at Laurel Park and was briefly on the Triple Crown trail, finishing fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Withers (G3) Feb. 1 at Aqueduct. The sizeable Maryland-bred son of Imagining was given time after that race to mature and develop, returning to trainer Robert E. ‘Butch’ Reid Jr. last month.

He was entered but unable to draw into the field for a one-mile turf allowance Aug. 28 at Laurel and wound up launching his comeback in the 1 1/8-mile Tesio, the traditional local prep for the Preakness. He set solid fractions of 24.76 seconds, 48.82 and 1:13.13 before being overtaken at the head of the stretch by Happy Saver but battled on despite failing to switch leads, finishing 1 ½ lengths behind the winner but nine lengths clear of Big City Bob in third.

“He ran very well considering the layoff. To come back going a mile and an eighth was not an easy task, so we were very pleased with his effort,” Reid said. “He came out of it well. He’s been back to the track and he looks happy and raring to go. He was definitely tired afterwards but after a couple days he bounced right back. We’re real happy with him.

“I think if he switched leads, I’m not saying we would have beat that horse but he’d have been a lot closer I believe,” he added. “He’s got a little bit of a concentration problem that we have to work on to get him to switch leads turning for home. He’s kind of always had that habit. It’s unfortunate because he does it perfectly in the morning.”

The Tesio was Monday Morning Qb’s second straight race at two turns. His sire was a multiple graded-stakes winner going long on the grass including the 2014 Man o’ War (G1) for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and earned nearly $1.2 million in purses.

“We felt all along he’d get two turns,” Reid said. “We really think he’s going to route on turf is what he’s going to end up being. We’ll think about getting him on the turf. I would like to try that before the end of the year, for sure.”

To that end, Reid said the connections are also considering the $100,000 James W. Murphy on the Preakness undercard. The Murphy, also for 3-year-olds, is contested at a mile on the grass.

“We’re looking at both races. We still haven’t ruled out the Preakness, to be honest with you,” Reid said. “The Murphy for straight 3-year-olds going a mile on the turf [is interesting]. We’ll definitely make him eligible for both of those races and pick our best spot from there.”

Jockey Kevin Gomez Registers Hat Trick Friday at Laurel

Jockey Kevin Gomez, a finalist for the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice of 2016, scored back-to-back victories on the way to a three-win day Friday at Laurel Park.

Gomez, 26, visited the winner’s circle after Race 2 with Jose Corrales-trained Air Token ($17.80) and Race 3 aboard Daper’s Drink ($10.80), from the barn of trainer Aimee Hall. His highest-priced win of the day came on Smokin Hot Factor ($20.20) in Race 6.

A native of Guatemala, Gomez came to the U.S. at the age of 13 in 2007 to be with his father, Oscar, a perennial leading jockey at Finger Lakes Race Track in western New York, where Gomez won his first career race in August 2015.

Gomez has been a regular in Maryland since December 2015. He has 12 wins and more than $450,000 in purse earnings at Laurel’s current summer meet.

Notes: Jockey Trevor McCarthy posted a riding double Friday aboard Empire Line ($3.80) in Race 5 and Patriotic Punch ($4.40) in Race 9 … Trainer Brittany Russell celebrated her birthday in style Friday, sending out Cash is King and LC Racing’s second-time starter Juror Number Four ($16) to a victory in Race 7, a six-furlong waiver maiden claiming event for 2-year-old fillies … Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Forest Boyce, who teamed up to win the $100,000 Henry S. Clark Monday with Doctor Mounty, did it again with Vigilantes Way ($2.80) in Friday’s featured Race 4, a one-mile optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up originally carded for the turf … Winners Air Token ($17.80) in Race 2 and Smokin Hot Factor ($20.20) in Race 6 were both bred in Maryland by Carol Kaye … The 20-cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Friday to grow its carryover jackpot to $14,286.18 for Saturday’s nine-race card that begins at 12:40 p.m. Multiple tickets with all six winners each returned $365.86.