Multiple stakes winners John Jones, Crabcakes and Limited View were among 84 nominees to four stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses worth $300,000 in purses on the Maryland Pride Day program Saturday, Aug. 18 at Laurel Park.
In addition to a full card of live racing, fans will be able to sample traditional Maryland food and drink and shop local artisans, while a free Maryland Jockey Club polo shirt will be given away with purchase of a program, while supplies last.
All four of the Maryland Pride Day stakes will be run at six furlongs. The $75,000 Ben's Cat for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 Jameela for fillies and mares 3 and older are scheduled for Laurel's world-class turf course, while the $75,000 Star de Naskra for 3-year-olds and $75,000 Miss Disco for sophomore fillies will be contested over the main track.
A total of 25 horses were nominated to the Ben's Cat, named for the late Mid-Atlantic legend that won 32 races, 26 stakes and more than $2.6 million in purse earnings from 63 starts in an eight-year career (2010-17). Bred, owned and trained by Hall of Famer King Leatherbury, Ben's Cat died last July less than a month following his retirement.
John Jones earned the first stakes win for himself and trainer Lacey Gaudet when defeating Ben's Cat in the 2016 Mister Diz Stakes, and he went on to take the Jennings Stakes in 2016 and 2017. The 6-year-old Smarty Jones gelding is winless in three starts this year, finishing third in the Native Dancer Jan. 27 and most recently tiring to eighth on the Delaware Park turf June 7.
Also nominated are 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points, also second in the Caveat Stakes against state-breds last summer; 2017 Maryland Million Turf winner Spartianos; multiple stakes winner Sonny Inspired and Onemoregreattime, third in the 2017 Maryland Million Nursery.
Morgan's Ford Farm's Crabcakes tops 29 horses nominated to the Jameela, having won six of eight career starts at Laurel with two seconds. Three of her local wins have come in stakes – the 2016 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship and 2017 Miss Disco and Maryland Million Distaff – and she returned from an eight-month layoff to take a six-furlong optional claiming allowance July 26. The Jameela would be her debut on turf, a surface trainer Bernie Houghton said he has been anxious to try.
Joining Crabcakes among nominees are multiple stakes winners Anna's Bandit and My Magician and stakes winners Great Soul, Hailey's Flip and My Sistersledge, who beat Great Soul by a nose in the 2017 Maryland Million Ladies.
John Salzman Jr., Fred Wasserloos and George Greenwalt's Limited View is prominent among nominees in both the Star de Naskra and Miss Disco. Limited View owns five wins, a second and a third from 10 lifetime tries at Laurel, having taken the 2017 Maryland Million Lassie and Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship as well as the six-furlong Marshua to open her 2018 campaign. She is winless in four tries since, finishing second in the Beyond the Wire and third in the Alma North, and has never raced against males.
Two-time juvenile stakes winner Whirlin Curlin; Whereshetoldmetogo, winner of the Concern Stakes last time out July 7 at Laurel; and First Mondays, undefeated in two career starts, are also nominated to the Star de Naskra as is Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun, who is being pointed to the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) Aug. 25 at Saratoga.
The 15 horses nominated to the Miss Disco also include stakes-placed Caught Dream'n, Deep Red and What the Beep.
Maryland Pride Day falls on the final Saturday of Laurel's summer meet, which wraps up Sunday, Aug. 19 before racing moves to the Maryland State Fairgrounds for the Timonium meet Aug. 24 to Sept. 3. Racing returns to laurel for the calendar year-ending fall meet Sept. 7.
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