14 Stakes Worth $1.3 Million During Laurel Summer Meet

14 Stakes Worth $1.3 Million During Laurel Summer Meet

$150,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Set for July 16
Nine-Race Opening Day Program Starts at 12:40 P.M. Friday

BALTIMORE – The Maryland Jockey Club will offer a total of 14 stakes worth $1.3 million in purses, highlighted by the 31st running of the $150,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash July 16, during Laurel Park’s 37-day summer meet which opens Friday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 21.

Racing will be conducted Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the summer meet, with a post time of 12:40 p.m. There will be a special Independence Day holiday program Monday, July 4.

Stakes action begins at Laurel with a June 19 Father’s Day lineup of three races scheduled for its world-class turf course – the $100,000 Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies sprinting five furlongs, $75,000 Find for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 All Brandy for fillies and mares 3 and older, both restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses and going 1 1/16 miles.

Every other Saturday in July will feature stakes races, starting July 2 with the $100,000 Caesar’s Wish for fillies and mares 3 and up at one mile and $100,000 Concern for 3-year-olds sprinting seven furlongs.

The six-furlong De Francis for 3-year-olds and up was moved from its traditional spot on Laurel’s fall calendar to mid-July. Named for the late president and chairman of both Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course, the De Francis’ illustrious roster of winners includes Hall of Famer Housebuster, fellow sprint champions Cherokee Run, Smoke Glacken, Thor’s Echo and Benny the Bull, and Lite the Fuse, the race’s only two-time winner (1995-96).

Joining the De Francis on the July 16 program are the $100,000 Alma North going 6 ½ furlongs and $100,000 Big Dreyfus, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the turf, both for fillies and mares 3 and up; and the $100,000 Prince George’s County at 1 1/8 miles on grass for 3-year-olds and up. All four races are part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series.

Laurel wraps up its summer stakes schedule July 30 with five races worth $400,000 led by the $100,000 Deputed Testamony for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles. It is joined by four $75,000 races restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses – the Star de Naskra for 3-year-olds and Miss Disco for 3-year-old fillies, each sprinting seven furlongs on dirt, and a pair of 5 ½-furlong turf dashes, the Ben’s Cat for 3-year-olds and up and Jameela for fillies and mares 3 and older.

Friday’s nine-race opening day card is kicked off by a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight for 2-year-olds where Pompous Prince, by Palace, is the narrow 5-2 program favorite in a field of seven off a third after setting the pace in a similar spot May 1 at Laurel. California Ghost, a son of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, is the only other horse with a prior start, having finished fifth but placed fourth in a two-furlong maiden special weight May 23 at Parx.

Four races are scheduled for the turf on Friday drawing a total of 48 entries, an average of 12 starters per race.

Ten races are on tap for Saturday including five races scheduled for the grass that attracted 54 entries, an average of 10.8 per race. Among them are an entry-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up going a mile in Race 6 featuring Consultant, a nine-length maiden winner April 30 at Laurel, and Cosmicality, whose breeder, Angie Moore, also bred 2021 Horse of the Year Knicks Go; and Race 8, an optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs led by turf stakes winners Epic Idea, Ellanation and Cavalier Cupid.

Race 7 Saturday is a third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles featuring stakes winner Tappin Cat, second by a neck in the 2021 Maryland Million Classic, and stakes-placed Plot the Dots, Gentleman Joe and Workin On a Dream, the latter fourth in the May 20 Pimlico Special (G3). Race 9 is a one-mile allowance for 3-year-olds and up that includes 2021 Maryland Million Nursery winner Buff Hello and nine-time career winner Krachenwagen.

Jevian Toledo, the state’s three-time leading rider including 2021, has won two of the three meets in Maryland this year, taking Laurel’s winter stand as well as the recently concluded Preakness Meet at Pimlico. He was second by one win to 18-year-old apprentice Jeiron Barbosa at Laurel’s spring meet. Toledo is named in two races Friday and six races Saturday at Laurel.

Trainer Brittany Russell followed Laurel spring, her first career meet championship, by sharing the Preakness Meet crown with Richard Sillaman and becoming the first female to win more than one meet title in Maryland. Karen Patty (1992 Pimlico spring), Mary Eppler (2016 Laurel fall) and Linda Rice (2017 Laurel winter) had previously won or shared leading trainer honors.

Neither Russell nor Sillaman has a horse in Friday at Laurel. Russell is entered in two races and Sillaman one on Saturday.