Larry Pratt and Dave Alden's Doctor Mounty, trailing all but one horse at the top of the stretch, closed relentlessly on the far outside to pass a tightly bunched group led by favored Divisidero in deep stretch and come away with a one-length victory in Sunday's $100,000 Prince George's County Stakes at Laurel Park.
The inaugural Prince George's County for 3-year-olds and up over Laurel's world-class turf course was the third of four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on a special nine-race Father's Day program that kicked off the $1.1 million stakes schedule during Laurel's 43-day summer meet.
Also on the card were the $100,000 Big Dreyfus for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 1/16 miles on the grass and a pair of $100,000 seven-furlong dirt sprints – the Polynesian for 3-year-olds and up and the Alma North for 3-year-old fillies.
In addition to live racing, Laurel played host to Cars, Cigars & Barbecue, one of the most unique Father's Day celebrations in the Mid-Atlantic, offering families barbecue specials, cigar rolling, yard games and a car display featuring the Asphalt Angels and Lost in the 50s car clubs.
Ridden by Forest Boyce for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, Doctor Mounty ($16.80) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.30 over a firm Exceller turf course. Multiple Grade 1 winner Divisidero, racing for the first time since March 23, was a head better than Just Howard for second, with O Dionysus another head back in fourth.
The Great Day, unraced since last July, was fifth in his North American debut, 1 ¾ lengths behind O Dionysus. It was 1 ¼ lengths back to Arnaud Delacour-trained stablemate Douglas Road followed by two-time Maryland Million Turf winner Talk Show Man.
It was the fifth win from eight career starts at Laurel for the New York-based Doctor Mounty and third in four tries over its turf course, including the 2018 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) last fall – the first of his two career graded-stakes triumphs.
Jockey Forest Boyce, McGaughey's frequent go-to rider in Maryland, settled Doctor Mounty in fourth to the inside of Divisidero as Douglas Road, making his stakes debut, took the field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.64 seconds tracked by Just Howard, a Grade 3 winner and Maryland's 2017 Horse of the Year. The top two held their spots following a half in 48.72 when O Dionysus, a stakes winner on dirt and turf, moved past Argentinean Group 1 winner The Great Day into third.
Just Howard and O Dionysus moved in tandem to challenge Douglas Road around the far turn as Divisidero began to launch his bid under Jevian Toledo, sweeping into contention four wide. Boyce followed Divisidero on Doctor Mounty, tipping outside in mid-stretch and setting the 5-year-old son of Street Sense down for a drive to the wire.
“I thought I maybe gave him a little too much to do at the three-eighths pole, but then he really started picking it up. I thought at the quarter pole we had a shot to get there, so it was good,” Boyce said.
“Shug had him ready today,” she added. “He did everything perfect. He felt really good. I knew I had a good shot going into the turn and then I got a little worried that [Divisidero] was getting away from us, but he really kicked it in.”
Doctor Mounty moved to within $80 of $500,000 in career purse earnings with the victory, his eighth from 29 starts. It was his second in seven tries following the BWI Turf Cup, the other coming in the Tropical Turf (G3) Jan. 12 at Gulfstream Park in his seasonal debut.
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