Post Time Among Five Stakes Winners in $75,000 Jennings

Post Time Among Five Stakes Winners in $75,000 Jennings

Malibu Moonshine Looks to Rediscover Form in $75,000 Geisha
Among Four Stakes Worth $350,000 in Purses Saturday at Laurel

LAUREL, MD – Hillwood Stable’s Post Time, beaten just once in five starts and undefeated on his home track, is one of five multiple stakes winners among a field of eight in a competitive edition of Saturday’s $75,000 Jennings at Laurel Park.

The 80th running of the Jennings for 4-year-olds and up and 51st renewal of the $75,000 Geisha for fillies and mares 4 and older, both contested at one mile and restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, are the first two of four stakes worth $350,000 in purses on a 10-race program that begins with a special noon post time.

Post Time has not raced since a determined head victory over seasoned stakes winner Ninetyprcentmaddie in the seven-furlong City of Laurel on Thanksgiving weekend. The effort improved the 4-year-old Frosted colt to 4-0 at Laurel and was a solid rebound off his first career loss when third by a length behind Grade 3 winner Raise Cain in the Perryville at Keeneland.

“He’s doing good,” trainer Brittany Russell said. “We’re excited to try him a mile. It’s a salty little spot. He’s going to have to have his running shoes on. But, he’s been training good and I think he’ll be up to the challenge.”

Post Time was named Maryland’s champion 2-year-old after going undefeated in three 2022 starts including the Maryland Juvenile. He got a belated start to 2023, debuting with a win over his elders in September at historic Pimlico Race Course before taking his act on the road for the Perryville.

“Emma [Wolfe] gets on him up at Fair Hill and she does a fantastic job with him. He has his days when he’s a total handful but at the end of the day when he puts his head down to train, he’s all class,” Russell said. “He’s always going to be a horse that we have to worry about his quirks, but he runs.

“I don’t know what he’s going to think about 25 degrees and possible wind chill. He might be a little fresh with that weather, but he’s doing really good,” she added. “He went on the road to Keeneland and handled that pretty well. He’s pretty good at Laurel. I do think that on race day he’s a bit better now.”

Post Time drew outermost Post 8 with Sheldon Russell up for the fourth straight race.

The Cottonwood Stable’s homebred Seven’s Eleven won two straight and four of five, all at Laurel, including victories in the Maryland Million Sprint and Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial to cap his 2023 season. The 4-year-old Bandbox gelding beat older horses by 4 ¾ lengths last out in an optional claiming allowance Dec. 22 going the one-turn mile.

“He is doing so good. He’s galloping strong and he worked good the other day,” trainer Carlos Mancilla said. “He feels good. I think it’s going to be a tough race, but he’s going to be tough, too.”

Regular rider Angel Cruz will be up from Post 5.

Built Wright Stables’ Grade 3 winner Double Crown has won nine of 44 starts and $838,185 in purses, most recently capturing the 1 1/16-mile Robert T. Manfuso by a nose Dec. 23 at Laurel, seven days after running sixth in an Oaklawn Park stakes. Runner-up to Seven’s Eleven in the Bender, the 7-year-old also won the 1 1/16-mile Polynesian last fall at Pimlico.

The Elkstone Group homebred Joe won the 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio on dirt and one-mile James Murphy on grass in successive starts over the spring of 2022, but has yet to rediscover that form and gone winless in four subsequent races. A Maryland champion at both 2 and 3, the now 5-year-old most recently ran a distant fifth in a one-mile optional claiming allowance Dec 31 at Laurel.

Third in that same race was John Salzman Jr., Fred Wasserloos and Anthony Geruso’s Coffeewithchris, a stakes winner over Laurel’s main track at 2 and 3 that ran seventh in last year’s Preakness Stakes (G1). The 4-year-old’s body of work in 2023 included a victory in the one-mile Miracle Wood, seconds in the Spectacular Bid, Private Terms and Concern and a third in the Star de Naskra, all at Laurel.

Holy Synchronicity, third in the Maryland Million Sprint and fourth in the Bender; six-time winner Dee Jay, coming off a one-mile optional claiming allowance triumph Dec. 6 at Parx; and All Threes complete the field.

The Jennings honors William Jennings Sr., one of Maryland’s greatest horsemen whose Glengar Farm was located six miles from historic Pimlico Race Course. Jennings bred, owned and trained 1887 Preakness winner Dunboyne. His grandson, Henry S. Clark, followed in his footsteps and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1982.

Malibu Moonshine Looks to Rediscover Form in $75,000 Geisha

Happy Face Racing Stable’s Malibu Moonshine, winless in three starts since going undefeated and being named Maryland’s top juvenile filly of 2022, seeks a return to her championship form when she launches her 4-year-old in Saturday’s $75,000 Geisha.

Malibu Moonshine won each of her first three starts, all in Maryland, including the Maryland Juvenile Filly and Gin Talking at Laurel to cap her rookie season. She ran third in the Ruthless at Aqueduct to open 2023, then went unraced for 5 ½ months before running eighth in the Miss Disco, also against Maryland-bred/sired horses, in her comeback last summer.

“She’s doing good. She’s coming into the race very good, I think. She’s been training very forwardly. We plan to take the trip down on Saturday,” New York-based trainer Charlton Baker said. “She’ll try wherever she runs, but she has a fondness for Maryland. That’s where she started out. She’s doing pretty good right now.”

Malibu Moonshine went to the sidelines again after the Miss Disco, returning in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance against older horses Nov. 24 at Aqueduct, finishing fourth in her most recent start.

“The last one was a little too short for her, but we needed to get her back going. That was a good place to get her started. We were hoping for a seven-furlong race, but it came up six furlongs and we couldn’t wait another three weeks to run,” Baker said. “She’s been going forward since then.

“Hopefully we’ll get a good race out of her. The mile I don’t think will be a problem,” he added. “She’s never shown speed. She shows it in the morning, but she doesn’t in the afternoon. I think a mile is pretty much what she wants to do. It’s a little further where she can get herself a little closer, instead of sprinting.”

Angel Cruz, aboard for all three of her Laurel races including both stakes wins, gets the return call from Post 4 in a field of 11.

“She travels good, which is the main thing, and she’ll try,” Baker said. “We definitely would like to see her bounce back to those [2-year-old] races. She’s grown up and is in good form right now, so I expect her to run a big race.”

Michael Scheffres’ Mavilus is also a two-time stakes winner at Laurel, taking the Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap in 2022 and Conniver last March, each sprinting seven furlongs and both since being claimed by trainer Carlos Mancilla for $5,000. Her most recent win came at one mile last summer at Delaware Park.

Another stakes winner in the field is No Guts No Glory Farm homebred Mama G’s Wish, a 5-year-old mare that won the six-furlong Lewes in June 2022 at Delaware and most recently ran second, beaten a nose, in a six-furlong optional claimer Dec. 31 at Laurel.

Also entered are Northern Glow and Bay Street, respectively first and third in a 1 1/16-mile Laurel allowance Dec. 8; Circle Home, most recently fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Carousel Dec. 23 at Laurel; stakes-placed Champagne Toast; six-time winner I’m Gittin There; last-out winners Bella Bettina and Brooklyn Girl; and Royal Whisper.

The Geisha pays homage to Alfred G. Vanderbilt’s Maryland-bred daughter of Discsovery, foaled in 1943 at his Sagamore Farm in Glyndon, Md. Bred to 1945 Preakness winner Polynesian, she produced one of the greatest racehorses and sires of the 20th century, Native Dancer, in 1950.