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Mandatory Payouts Scheduled for New Years Eve Program
Jockey Toledo, Trainer Gonzalez Lead Meet & Overall Standings
BALTIMORE – Laurel Park puts the finishing touches on its calendar year-ending fall meet with a nine race card Friday that will include mandatory payouts in the Rainbow 6, Late Pick 5 and Super Hi-5 wagers.
Post time is 12:25 p.m.
The $1 Super Hi-5 will begin in Race 1, a one-mile claimer for 2-year-olds that drew a field of eight. The Rainbow 6, which will have its 20-cent maximum wager restriction removed, begins in Race 4 with the Late Pick 5 starting in Race 5.
Both the Late Pick 5 and Rainbow 6 sequences include Friday’s three featured races. In Race 6, a field of 10 juvenile fillies was entered in a maiden special weight scheduled for one mile. Favored at 9-5 on the morning line is Fortune Racing’s Candy Light, a daughter of Candy Ride bred by Gary and Mary West and trained by Graham Motion that fetched $200,000 as a 2-year-old in training in June. Her two previous starts have come on turf, finishing second by a head Oct. 21 at Laurel and fourth as the favorite Dec. 3 at Aqueduct.
Race 7 is a second-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs led by 5-2 program favorite Pretty Lori, a four-length allowance winner over older horses in her previous start Nov. 21 at Laurel. Challengers include stakes-placed Juror Number Four (3-1), most recently fourth in the Nov. 27 Safely Kept, and Judi Blue Eyes (9-2), third in the Maryland Million Ladies and 20-for-31 in the money lifetime.
Race 8 is a first-level allowance for 3-year-olds and up going around two turns at about 1 1/16 miles. Top choice on the morning line at 5-2 is Big Venezuela, who has run third or better in seven consecutive starts including a 7 ½-length win Aug. 22 at historic Pimlico Race Course. Ratify (7-2) has won three of four starts since joining trainer Brittany Russell in the spring but is unraced since June 14. Our Lucky Man (9-2) exits a head victory Dec. 14 at Parx going one mile.
Entering Thursday’s card, jockey Jevian Toledo led the fall meet with 52 wins, eight more than runner-up Jorge Ruiz, and more than $1.8 million in purse earnings. Claudio Gonzalez held a 33-24 advantage over Russell in the trainer standings, to go along with a meet-best $1.2 million in purses earned.
Toledo and Gonzalez are also poised to be crowned leading jockey and trainer in Maryland for 2021. The state’s overall champion in 2015 and 2017, Toledo led 18-year-old Charlie Marquez in wins, 108-101, with more than $3.7 million in purses earned.
Gonzalez has long since clinched his fifth consecutive overall Maryland title, leading the way with 109 wins and nearly $3.6 million in purse earnings. Dale Capuano was second with 59 wins.
Laurel Park is set to open its 2022 winter meet with a nine-race New Year’s Day holiday program.
Tag Stables LLC’s Uncaptured Spirit, a 2-year-old colt by Uncaptured running off a five-month layoff, won Thursday’s third race, a maiden special weight event at six furlongs. Trained by Mark Shuman, Uncaptured Spirit ran away from seven others over a muddy track to win by 7 ¾ lengths while covering the distance in 1:10.93. The colt had finished second in his only previous start in July at Delaware…