Ness Continues Assault on Meet, Yearly Standings Friday at Laurel

Ness Continues Assault on Meet, Yearly Standings Friday at Laurel

Multiple Turf, Dirt Stakes Winner Witty Returns in Saturday Feature
Nominations Close Saturday for Pair of $100,000 2YO Stakes Dec. 30
Breakfast & Hot Chocolate Buffet, Pictures with Santa Saturday

LAUREL, MD – Jamie Ness, leading the trainer standings both at the fall meet and for the year in Maryland, entered five horses including 2-1 program favorite Been Real Busy in the 2-year-old filly maiden feature when live racing resumes Friday at Laurel Park.

Co-owned by Morris Kernan Jr. Yo Berbs and Ness, Been Real Busy will be racing first time for her new connections after being claimed for $30,000 out of a runner-up finish Oct. 27 at Keeneland going 1 1/16 miles, the same distance for Friday’s waiver maiden claimer. Second in back-to-back starts, she is entered for a $45,000 tag.

Other contenders include Sakura Sky, runner-up in a one-mile maiden event Nov. 2 at Churchill Downs, and Classy Chick, dropping down and stretching out after finishing second by a length in a one-mile maiden special weight Dec. 2 at Laurel for five-time defending Maryland training champion Claudio Gonzalez.

Ness is poised to take the title away from Gonzalez, with 111 wins from 409 starters at Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course, two wins ahead of Brittany Russell. Ness also leads Russell, 34-28, at the calendar year-ending fall meet with eight racing days remaining.

On Saturday Ness has eight horses entered in five of nine races including Patty Cakes and Rowsie Express in Race 5, a seven-furlong allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up, and Kadri and Perfect Day in co-featured Race 7, a second-level, six-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up where the favorite will be Elizabeth Merryman-bred, owned and trained Witty, a multiple stakes winner on both dirt and turf.

Witty drew Post 4 in his return to the dirt for the first time since running second in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance over Memorial Day weekend at Pimlico, the first of four straight runner-up finishes – three in stakes – before back-to-back victories in the Ben’s Cat and Maryland Million Turf Sprint at Laurel. Last out he ran fifth in the six-furlong Turf Sprint Championship Nov. 18 at Aqueduct.

Already this year, Ness has won titles at Laurel’s winter and summer stands as well as Delaware Park, and will once again top the standings at Parx when its meet concludes Dec. 27. His stable rider, Jaime Rodriguez, tops Laurel’s fall meet standings with 44 wins, two more than Jevian Toledo. Rodriguez also leads the way with 160 wins on the year in Maryland, with Jeiron Barbosa (133) and Toledo (123) both in triple figures.

Free nominations close Saturday for two $100,000 stakes to be run Saturday, Dec. 30 – the Heft for 2-year-olds and Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies, both sprinting seven furlongs.

Nominations can be made by contacting stakes coordinator Eleanor Albert at or calling 301-725-0400. Entries will be taken and post positions drawn for both stakes on Friday, Dec. 22.

Laurel will also be hosting Breakfast with Santa from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the second-floor clubhouse sports bar, featuring a holiday breakfast and hot chocolate buffet, kiddie canvas painting and the opportunity to have pictures taken with Santa and his elves. For more information, click here.