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Ruiz Notches Four Wins, Bustoff Captures Thursday Feature
Horsemen Pleased with Renovations to Laurel Park Main Track
LAUREL, MD – Jockey Jorge Ruiz notched four wins on the day, and Sola Dei Gloria Stable’s Bustoff completed a daily double for teenage riding sensation Charlie Marquez and trainer Hugh McMahon with his front-running triumph in Thursday’s feature race at Laurel Park.
A 6-year-old Maryland-bred Haynesfield gelding, Bustoff ($7.40) completed one mile in 1:38.96 over a fast main track to win the third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up by 3 ½ lengths. Torch of Truth rallied late to edge 20-1 long shot Whiskey and You by a neck for second.
Bustoff broke alertly and outran Whiskey and You and Speightsford for the lead, going a quarter-mile in 23.68 seconds and a half in 47.19. Whiskey and You turned up the pressure on the far turn but Bustoff opened up once straightened for home and cruised to his 11th victory from 34 career starts, 10 of those wins coming at Laurel.
Thursday marked the return of live racing to Laurel after missing the first two weekends of December due to maintenance of the main track, the result of which was met with positive reviews by horsemen.
“It’s much better; like night and day,” trainer Dale Capuano said. A winner of more than 3,500 career races, Capuano saddled Taking Risks Stable and Louis J. Ulman’s favored Zen Pi ($4.60) to victory in the opener, a six-furlong claimer for 3-year-olds and up. The winning time under jockey Jorge Ruiz was 1:12.55.
“We’re tickled to death. Jorge said the track felt good,” Capuano said. “You can tell by the time. These horses should run [1:12] and change and that’s what he did,” he added. “It’s good. I think they’re run on the right track. I think getting [consultants] John Passero and Glenn Kozak was the right thing to do. We’re all after the same thing. We might have different approaches to getting there but we’re all for safe racing and keeping our horses and riders safe.”
Ruiz’s other winners Thursday were Tenax ($12.20) for trainer Ken Cox in Race 3, Bourbon Wildcat ($30.20) for trainer Jose Magana in Race 6 and Capuano-trained Boss Logic ($6) in Race 8. Ruiz ranks second to Jevian Toledo in wins at the fall meet, 44-42.
Toledo leads all riders with 102 wins this year at Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course, two more than the 18-year-old Marquez. Angel Cruz is third with 84 and Ruiz fourth at 82.
“The track is now different. Before it was hard, now it’s deeper and a little fluffier,” Ruiz said. “The horses hit the ground a little more softly.”
Notes: Laurel will host a nine-race card starting at 12:25 p.m. Friday … Saturday is Maryland Spectacular Day with nine live races including a pair of $100,000 stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses: the Maryland Juvenile and Maryland Juvenile Fillies. Also on the day are Holiday Giving Tree and Give a Gift/Get a Gift promotions, as well as a 2022 Maryland racing calendar giveaway.