Post Time Returns a Winner in $100,000 City of Laurel

Howl Roars to First Stakes Win in $100,000 Safely Kept
King Kumbalay Rules in $100,000 Richard Small Victory

BALTIMORE – Hillwood Stable’s Maryland champion Post Time, back in familiar surroundings, came with a determined run down the center of the track to reel in a stubborn Ninetyprcentmaddie and win Saturday’s $100,000 City of Laurel by head at Laurel Park.

The 13th running of the City of Laurel for 3-year-olds was the first of three $100,000 stakes on a nine-race Thanksgiving Saturday program followed by the Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, also sprinting seven furlongs, and the 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Sheldon Russell for his wife, trainer Brittany Russell, Post Time ($2.80) won his second career stakes and improved to 4-0 at his home base of Laurel after losing for the first time in the Oct. 21 Perryville at Keeneland.

Post Time, a 3-year-old son of Grade 1-winning multimillionaire Frosted, covered the distance in 1:24.33 over a fast main track, showing the type of grit he didn’t have to while winning his first four races by a combined 17 lengths.

“I said I was scared and Sheldon said, ‘I wasn’t. I was petrified,’” Hillwood’s Ellen Charles said. “[Post Time] has the determination to win, he just [wasn’t] able to do it by the lengths he was before.”

The typically late-running Post Time, favored at 2-5, settled at the back of the pack as 35-1 longshot Byk was hustled to the front from outermost Post 6 and went a quarter-mile in 23.53 seconds while chased by New York shipper Let It Ride, a winner of two straight over older horses making his stakes debut.

Byk was still in front after a half in 46.60 seconds as Let It Ride began to drop back and multiple stakes winner Ninetyprcentmaddie advanced along the inside with Post Time tipping outside to set up his run. Ninetyprcentmaddie straightened for home in front and Post Time was forced to come five wide around the far turn, needing the length of the stretch to get past a drifting Ninetyprcentmaddie.

It was 4 ¼ lengths back to 60-1 long shot Praetorian Guard in third, followed by Veeson, Byk and Let It Ride. Coffeewithchris, Super Accelerate and Giant Mischief were scratched.

Howl Roars to First Stakes Win in $100,000 Safely Kept

LNJ Foxwoods’ Howl, an eye-catching debut winner last month in Kentucky, followed up with a similarly impressive performance to capture her stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 Safely Kept.

It was the third win of the day and 100th career stakes victory for jockey Jevian Toledo, taking the mount from Flavien Prat, who was aboard for Howl’s 7 ¾-length maiden special weight triumph over her elders Oct. 28 at Keeneland.

“Taking the leap from maiden to stakes company and racing against experienced fillies like she did today is a huge leap,” LNJ’s Madison Scott said. “We’ve always believed in this horse. She’s never let us down, and she didn’t today.”

Howl ($2.80), sent off as the 2-5 favorite, settled in fourth racing in the clear three wide while Unified Alliance, front-running winner of the Coronation Cup in July at Saratoga, went the first quarter-mile in 23.20 seconds tracked by longshots Liquidator to her outside and Worst Behaviour on the rail.

Toledo and Howl continued to make up ground easily on the far outside and moved up to even terms with Unified Alliance and Liquidator rounding the far turn. Howl gained separation upon straightening for home and pulled clear chased by Weather Vane winner Apple Picker, who followed Howl’s move and came up a length short. The winning time was 1:24.61.

“She’s a lovely filly. We’ve liked her the whole time,” Scott said. “She’s always [been] a filly that’s big and strong, as you can tell in the paddock here today, and one we always believed in and had so much trust in. She did take a little bit of time to get to the races, but she really rewarded the owners’ patience with a lovely win like today.”

Warrior’s Ransom was 2 ¼ lengths behind Apple Picker in third, and it was another 2 ¼ lengths back to Worst Behaviour in fourth. Liquidator, Unified Alliance and Dot Marie completed the order of finish.

Howl’s win could serve as a springboard to the seven-furlong La Brea (G1) for 3-year-old fillies Dec. 26 on opening day at Laurel’s sister track, Santa Anita Park.

“We’ll of course talk with [trainer] Brad Cox and his team. They’ve done a wonderful job managing her,” Scott said. “If we want to dream, maybe the La Brea. We’ll see how she comes out here, talk with Brad, talk with the owners and go from there.”

The Safely Kept honors the champion sprinter of 1989 and member of the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame Class of 2011. The daughter of longtime Maryland sire Horatius was the first sprinter to top $2 million in earnings, the first Maryland-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race in the 1990 Sprint (G1), a four-time Maryland-bred champion including Horse of the Year twice (1989,1990) and is one of only seven horses to win three Maryland Million races. She won 24 races, 22 in stakes, from 31 lifetime starts.

King Kumbalay Rules in $100,000 Richard Small Victory

Kingsport Farm’s King Kumbalay found room in mid-stretch, opened up once in daylight and turned back a late bid from seven-time stakes-winning longshot Forewarned to win the $100,000 Richard W. Small by 1 ¾ lengths.

King Kumbalay ($8) ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.63 over fast main track for his second stakes win in three starts, following the 1 1/16-mile Alphabet Soup Handicap Sept. 23 at his home track of Parx. In between, he ran second in the M. P. Bellizzi Appreciation Mile.

“The mile was a little bit too short for him. There was not a lot of pace in there, he tried to chase it the whole way and I think it ended up catching him,” winning trainer Robert E. ‘Butch’ Reid Jr. said. “The mile and an eighth is more to his liking. He can gallop along for the first mile or so and then kick it in that last eighth. That’s what he does best.”

Outlier, breaking from the rail, slipped up the inside of promoted Maryland Million Classic winner Ain’t Da Beer Cold in a quarter-mile in 23.83 seconds to take the early lead, with Movisitor third and King Kumbalay racing fourth. Movisitor moved up alongside the top two after six furlongs went in 1:12.14 while jockey Abner Adorno waited for an opening on King Kumbalay.

“I can’t say enough about the job that Abner did. He took him back, settled him and he was inside the quarter pole and he still hadn’t dropped his head,” Reid said. “He got a little swallowed up, but this horse is tough and he pushed his way through. This horse has got a lot of class.”

Forewarned held off late-running Be Better, Laurel’s July 29 Deputed Testamony winner, by a head for second. They were followed by Market Maven, Hay Chief, Outlier, Ain’t Da Beer Cold and Movisitor.

“We’ve got a good, confident horse as you can see,” Reid said of King Kumbalay, bred in Pennsylvania by late Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. “He acted perfect in the paddock and that’s a hore that’s on his game. Very professional.”

Formerly run as the Broad Brush, the multi-millionaire and four-time Grade 1 winner he trained, the Richard W. Small was renamed following the beloved horseman’s death from cancer in 2014. Baltimore-born ‘Dickie’ Small served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War as a Green Beret before becoming a trainer, also campaigning Broad Brush’s son, 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Concern. He won at least one stakes race in Maryland every year but one between 1974 and 2014 and is also known for helping launch the riding careers of female jockeys such as Andrea Seefeldt, Jerilyn Brown, Rosie Napravnik and Forest Boyce.


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