Jockey Xavier Perez kicked off Laurel Park's summer meet in style by riding longshot first-timer Guilty and heavily favored Quad Eights to victory, sweeping the two juvenile races on Friday's Opening Day program.
J R Sanchez Racing Stable's Guilty ($27) got the meet off to a rousing start with a 12-1 upset of the opener, the first of two divisions of a $33,000 waiver maiden claiming event for 2-year-olds, running five furlongs in 59.25 seconds over a fast main track.
An Arkansas-bred son of Guilt Trip trained by Rodolpho Sanchez-Salomon, Guilty settled in the clear in third as Malibu Moonstruck pressed Cold Sweat through a quarter-mile in 22.52 seconds. Perez gave Guilty his cue midway on the turn, collared the top two approaching the eighth pole, surged past and turned back a bid from 9-5 favorite Irishtown on the far outside to win by 1 ¼ lengths.
“I was expecting him to run good,” Perez said. “I've been working with him in the morning and taking him to the gate. We were having little issues with him breaking out of the gate but we added the blinkers on and you see the results. Everything worked out in our favor.”
No Guts No Glory Farm and Gene Gould Jr.'s Maryland-bred Quad Eights ($2.40) was made the 1-5 top choice off back-to-back runner-up finishes at Laurel to open his career, beaten a total of two lengths. Wearing blinkers for the first time, the Outflanker colt broke sharply and easily assumed the lead, rolling through fractions of 22.51 and 45.70 seconds chased by On the Turf.
Quad Eights raced greenly but remained in command nearing the stretch, taking the turn wide before shifting back to the rail for the run through the lane, where he prevailed by 1 ¾ lengths under a hand ride in 58.48 seconds, with On the Turf second and Just One Not Two a distant third.
“He still running green and starting to figure out things. We added the blinkers. We thought the blinkers were going to make a little bit of a difference from the way he ran last time, so erratic,” Perez said. “But, it seems like it's just the way the horse is.
“I tapped him once on the shoulder, and he kind of switched leads on the turn. I blew the turn a little bit and I dove back to the inside again as soon as he switched leads,” he added. “I tapped him on the shoulder and he kind of tried to prop a little bit, but as soon as I went hand-riding him he kept going.”
Trained by Jerry Robb, Quad Eights was claimed for $40,000 by trainer Mark Reid on behalf of Smart Angle LLP.
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