Runnymede Racing LLC's Alwaysmining won his fourth consecutive race and third consecutive stakes with a 4 1/4-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Miracle Wood presented by Blackwell Real Estate at Laurel Park.
A 3-year-old gelded son of Stay Thirsty, trained by Kelly Rubley and ridden by Daniel Centeno, Alwaysmining covered the mile in 1:35.27. Gray Magician, who shipped from California, finished second by a nose over Tybalt.
Alwaysmining, a Maryland-bred coming into the Miracle Wood off a victory Dec. 29 in the Heft at Laurel, went to the front under Centeno and cruised through surprisingly mild fractions of :24.23 and :47.51 while Wendell Fong and Gray Magician chased the leader. Entering the stretch, Centeno asked Alwaysmining and the colt responded by opening up to a clear advantage.
“We went to the lead and made an easy lead all the way to the wire,” Centeno said.
“I thought it was brilliant, Rubley said. “We got to go :24 for the first quarter which was ideal. I thought we'd get some pressure today so that was perfect. They let him get away with it and Danny felt he had a lot of horse at the end.”
Rubley called Alwaysmining's victory “encouraging,” but said she would meet with ownership to decide the gelding's next start.
The Miracle Wood is named after the Maryland-bred winner of $498,090 who finished fifth in the 1986 Preakness (G2).
Making her stakes debut and first start since breaking her maiden, Las Setas (9-1), 3-year-old Maryland-bred daughter of Seville, led throughout to win Saturday's Wide Country Stakes by 5 ½ lengths over Our Super Freak. Crafty's Dream finished third.
Bred by Robert Manfuso and trainer Katharine Voss and owned by Manfuso, Voss and Wayne Harrison, Las Setas covered seven furlongs in 1:22.99 under jockey Jevian Toledo in her first trip over a fast track.
While Two Dozen Roses broke on top leaving the gate, Las Setas took the lead leaving the chute and galloped past fractions of :23.20, :46.15 and 1:10.49 before cruising home.
“This filly has shown an awful lot of ability,” Voss said. “The race, the timing and the distance were perfect for her. When I saw the 23 and 1 I thought it was good.”
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