Runnymede Racing's Alwaysmining went straight to the front under jockey Daniel Centeno and never looked to register his first stakes victory with another impressive front-running performance in Saturday's $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity at Laurel Park.
The 37th running of the Juvenile Futurity for 2-year-olds and the 33rd renewal of the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship for 2-year-old fillies were the first two of three stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses on the nine-race program, joined by the $75,000 Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up.
Making his third start since being transferred to Fair Hill-based trainer Kelly Rubley, Alwaysmining ($8.80) ran seven furlongs in 1:21.91 over a fast main track to earn his second straight gate-to-wire triumph following a 10-length optional claiming romp in the slop Oct. 27, also at Laurel.
“He won really good last time and I really liked him. They asked me if I wanted to come and I said yes,” said Centeno, who winters at Tampa Bay Downs. “I was watching the races and looking at the track and it seemed a little fast, so we tried to get a good position. He took the lead and made it easy all the way to the wire.”
Alwaysmining, a gelded son of Stay Thirsty, was pressed by 50-1 long shot V.I.P. Ticket through a quarter-mile in 22.83 seconds and tracked by Our Braintrust, racing for the first time since his Tremont Stakes victory June 9. James F. Lewis III Stakes winner and 3-2 favorite Scrap Copper joined the chase after a half-mile in 45.34.
Centeno shook up Alwaysmining leaving the quarter pole, opening up by 3 ½ lengths turning for home and never being threatened through the lane to win by 2 ½ lengths. Our Braintrust stayed on for second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Scrap Copper, followed by Thatwouldbegrand, Sky Magician, Trifor Gold, Outofthepark and V.I.P Ticket.
Alwaysmining broke his maiden by 5 ½ lengths in June at Laurel for original trainer Laura Wohlers and was fifth in one start for Eddie Graham before being sent to Rubley. After struggling in seventh over a soft turf course in the Laurel Futurity, he romped in his return to the dirt last out.
“I've been very happy with how he's been training coming into this race. The last race was obviously quite impressive,” Rubley said. “I think the fun part about this horse is that he's versatile. He's won at a mile, he won at 5 ½ and now seven [furlongs], so the possibilities are endless. We'll see how he comes back from this. We're going to enjoy today.”
Make Family First Stable's Money Fromheaven, making her eighth career start but first in a stakes, came with a steady drive on the far outside and outran 9-5 favorite No Mo Lady to the wire to spring a 23-1 upset in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.
Ridden by Victor Carrasco for trainer Hamilton Smith, whose Scrap Copper was beaten as the favorite in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity one race earlier, Money Fromheaven ($49.80) won for the second straight time after needing seven starts to break her maiden. The winning time for seven furlongs was 1:24.18.
Questionoftheday was quickest from the gate and led by a length and a half after going the first quarter-mile in 22.17 seconds. The Mike Trombetta-trained stablemate of No Mo Lady opened up by seven lengths through a half in 44.38 and was still in front by four heading into the stretch before getting weary as her pursuers closed in.
No Mo Lady and Julian Pimentel came up alongside the tiring leader in mid-stretch as Money Fromheaven ranged up, and the two brushed slightly closing to the wire before Money Fromheaven edged past.
“Hammy did a great job with her. He didn't give me any instructions. [He] told me, 'You rode her enough and you know what to do, just do the best you can,'” Carrasco said. “In the first part of the race, I just sat on her and I waited. I followed Julian most of the way. As soon as we turned for home, I tipped out and she gave me everything she had and we got it done.”
Maryland Million Lassie runner-up Belial was third, with Waiting for a Star, Nine Martinis, Like a Pro, Questionoftheday, Past Perfect and Sip of Sunshine completing the order of finish.
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