Breeze Easy LLC's Grade 3 winner Late Night Pow Wow earned a return trip to graded-stakes competition by galloping to her eighth consecutive victory in Saturday's $100,000 What a Summer at Laurel Park.
The 33rd running of the six-furlong What a Summer was the first of four $100,000 stakes on a nine-race program and led off 65 stakes, 13 graded, worth $9.2 million in purses on the schedule in Maryland through mid-October.
Facing just four rivals following scratches of multiple stakes winner Limited View and potential pacesetter She's Stunning, Late Night Pow Wow ($2.40) was in control throughout under regular rider Freddy Peltroche to win by 6 ¼ lengths.
Javier Contreras-trained stablemate Divine Mischief outran Behrink's Bank to be second, with multiple stakes winner Moonlit Song fourth. The winning time was 1:09.27 over a fast main track.
It was the fifth consecutive stakes victory for Late Night Pow Wow including the Charles Town Oaks (G3) last fall, third straight against open company and second in a row over Laurel's main track for the West Virginia-bred, who Contreras plans to bring back in the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) Feb. 16 as part of Laurel's Winter Carnival.
“She's pretty special. Not too many horses do that kind of stuff. She's very special to us,” Contreras said. “We're aiming for the Barbara Fritchie next month, and hopefully we can get the same results.”
Breaking from the rail after originally drawing Post 2, Late Night Pow Wow matched strides early with Behrink's Bank, who held a short lead after a quarter-mile in 22.49 seconds. Peltroche calmly assumed the top spot on the far turn and let his 4-year-old mare open up through the stretch, going a half in 45.69 and five furlongs in 57.54.
“She's very good in the gate and she broke very good and she relaxed,” Peltroche said. “The horse has a lot of speed to go in front, so I wait to the stretch. The horse got to the stretch and changed leads and everything was good. Not too many questions. It was an easy race for the filly today.”
Late Night Pow Wow has won 10 of 11 career starts, her only loss coming when she ran second in her stakes debut last April at Charles Town. Her victory in the Willa On the Move Stakes Nov. 24 at Laurel was the first away from her home track. The daughter of Fiber Sonde saw her bankroll grow to $469,400.
West Point Thoroughbreds' General Downs took the lead from Grade 3 winner Just Call Kenny in mid-stretch and held off late-running Rich Daddy on the far outside to earn his first career stakes win in the $100,000 Native Dancer.
Ridden by Julian Pimentel for trainer Kelly Rubley, General Downs ($10.20) hit the wire in 1:42.92 for his second straight victory. It was the first time in stakes company for the 6-year-old gelding, who joined Rubley's string at the Fair Hill Training Center last spring.
“He's an older horse who's been in the business a while and he loves his turnouts,” Rubley said. “He's turned out every day when weather permits, and it's been a big plus in making him a happy horse.”
Pimentel settled General Downs in fourth along the rail behind the front-running duo of Tour de Force and Saratoga Jack, who alternated leads through fractions of 24.18 and 47.61 seconds. When Just Call Kenny took the lead from Saratoga Jack on the far turn after six furlongs in 1:12.09, Pimentel steered General Downs to the outside for a clear run. They collared Just Call Kenny inside the eighth pole and won by three-quarters of a length.
Rich Daddy got up for second, a neck in front of Just Call Kenny, with 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points a length back in fifth after trailing the field early.
“He's a really nice horse,” Pimentel said. “I had a really good trip. I was able to sit behind the speed and when it was time to go, he did.”
General Downs had one win, four seconds and a third from eight starts in 2018, beaten a nose and a neck in two of his races before breaking through in his final start of the year, Dec. 22 at Laurel. He went 10 months between races before debuting for Rubley last May.
“He had a nice long break before he came into me and it looks like he needed it,” Rubley said. “He's truly never put a step wrong. He's had a couple races that were OK but still pretty nice races.”
Jeff Drown's Home Run Maker extended his win streak to three races in his stakes debut, collaring Sheikh of Sheikhs in deep stretch and edging clear for a half-length victory in the $100,000 Fire Plug.
Continuing his resurgence since arriving in Maryland last fall, Home Run Maker ($9) improved to three-for-four with one second over Laurel's main track, winning in a sharp 1:08.42 for trainer Jeremiah Englehart.
Shane's Jewel went the opening quarter-mile in 22.69 seconds pressed by Sheikh of Sheikhs with Home Run Maker racing along the rail and 9-5 favorite Cautious Giant to his outside. Cautious Giant edged into third behind the two leaders after a half in 45.05, but dropped back to fourth as Sheikh of Sheikhs established the lead once straightened for home.
Jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. had room on the inside off the turn but opted to swing Home Run Maker to the middle of the track, where he was set down for a drive and surged past Sheikh of Sheikhs nearing the wire. Shane's Jewel finished third, with Cautious Giant fourth.
“This horse is doing fantastic right now. I worked him last week and he dragged me. Jeremiah was here, and he was amazed the way he did it,” Vargas said. “You can see the results. He dragged me out there today and when I ducked him out and he saw clear, he just took off.”
Home Run Maker was third, beaten a head, in his Laurel debut Sept. 14, then followed up with back-to-back three-quarter-length victories – all at six furlongs – Oct. 25 and Nov. 30. He breezed a half-mile in 47.80 seconds Jan. 6 for his 4-year-old debut.
“We were confident,” Englehart's assistant, Talia Lynch, said. “We worked him last week with Jorge and he did a great job.”
Sookdeen Pasram's Timeless Curls put away even-money favorite and early leader Face It after six furlongs and sprinted clear to her first career stakes victory, a 3 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 Nellie Morse.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Dale Capuano-trained Timeless Curls ($5), each taking another step up in company, fifth in nine starts overall and fourth in six tries over Laurel's main track. Making her stakes debut, the 4-year-old daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin has never finished worse than third.
“She's a hard-knocking filly,” winning jockey Weston Hamilton said. “She's always right there for the money and she tries real hard. We tried to put her in a good spot and she kicked right on by them today.”
Timeless Curls kept Face It honest as the favorite in a field of five posted fractions of 23.77 seconds for a quarter-mile and 47.66 for a half. Hamilton steered Timeless Curls around Face It into the two path on the far turn, straightened for home and front and extended the advantage through the stretch. The winning time was 1:43.66.
Capuano entered Timeless Curls in the one-mile Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes Dec. 29 at Laurel, where she drew Post 12 in a field of 14. The race was won by Isotope, who Timeless Curls rallied to beat by a head winning a third-level optional claimer going six furlongs Nov. 29.
“She was training very well going into this race,” Capuano said. “We scratched a couple weeks ago out of the Thirty Eight Go Go. We had a bad post, it was a big field and we thought we'd give her a little more time. Luckily it paid off.”
New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry.
Copyright © 2019 Paulick Report.