Making just her fifth career start and first in stakes company, Elevated Vision bolstered her resume and lifted the spirits of her connections with an emotional 38-1 upset in Saturday's $75,000 Politely at Laurel Park.
The six-furlong Politely for fillies and mares 3 and up and the $75,000 Jennings for 3-year-olds and up at one mile, both restricted to horses bred or sired in Maryland, were among six stakes worth $550,000 in purses on a 10-race Christmastide Day program.
A 3-year-old bay daughter of Great Notion facing older horses for the third straight time, Elevated Vision ($78.40) won by a length in 1:10.69 over a main track rated good for owners D Hatman Thoroughbreds and trainer Phil Schoenthal's Kingdom Bloodstock.
Defending champion My Magician made a late run to edge Anna's Bandit by a neck for second, with Hailey's Flip another neck back in third. Multiple stakes winner Crabcakes, the 3-5 favorite that had never finished worse than second in nine previous tries at Laurel, seven of them wins, ran eighth, with fellow multiple stakes winner Limited View – racing for the first time since Aug. 18 – trailing the field after setting the pace.
“I'm a little bit shocked, to be honest with you. We were really just hoping to run third and when she turned for home and it looked like Crabcakes wasn't really firing on and by the eighth pole I thought, 'We might actually win this thing.' We're just thrilled,” Schoenthal said, choking back tears.
“I've got a son who's in the hospital right now and the owner's fiancé is in the hospital,” he added. “A lot of things have been going the wrong way so it's nice to have something go the right way.”
Jockey Jevian Toledo kept Elevated Vision in the clear three wide from Post 4 as Limited View was in front through an opening quarter-mile in 22.25 seconds and a half in 45.93, pressed by 70-1 long shot If I Was a Boy. Elevated Vision moved to challenge on the turn and straightened for home in front, powering through the lane as My Magician on the far outside and Anna's Bandit rallied late.
It was the third win from five starts for Elevated Vision, who won each of her first two races in February and March before going to the sidelines, returning to run third in a restricted turf allowance against her elders May 6. She didn't race again until Nov. 30, also finished third against older horses in a six-furlong dirt allowance.
“She came out of the box early and won a couple races right off the bat. Then she had a couple little issues there and there that kind of sidelined her for the summer, but we always hoped she was this kind of horse,” Schoenthal said. “But, until you lead them over here in a stakes race, you don't know. She deserved to be a long shot. She was not very accomplished. It's very exciting.”
Hillwood Stable's Cordmaker sat off a scorching pace set by two-time defending champion John Jones before uncorking a rally through the stretch to win the $75,000 Jennings by 3 ½ lengths.
It was the first career stakes win in three tries for Cordmaker ($13.40), a gelded 3-year-old son of two-time Horse of the Year and Hall of Famer Curlin, and it came against older horses. The winning time was 1:35.84.
John Jones, who capped his 2016 and 2017 seasons by winning the Jennings, went the first quarter in 23.41 seconds and a half in 45.58, pressed to his outside by Taco Supream. John Jones held a slim edge turning for home but it was Cordmaker and jockey Alex Cintron who circled past on the far outside to collar the leaders and sprint clear.
Rockinn On Bye dug in late to edge John Jones by a half-length for second, with Taco Supream fourth and Talk Show Man, a multiple turf stakes winner, fifth.
“I liked the way it set up. They went awful fast. Even though this track is lightning fast, for a mile to go the half in 45 is really moving,” winning trainer Rodney Jenkins said. “He ran beautiful. The last time I worked him I got Alex to come work him and he worked super. I knew he was sitting on a big one. He liked the wet going, too; I think that helped. I thought Alex rode him as good as a jockey can ride one. This horse, you have to just sit on him. He's a little nervous and he got him to settle.”
Fifth in both the 2017 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and Nov. 10 City of Laurel Stakes, Cordmaker won for the third time from nine starts. He was beaten a head going seven furlongs against in an optional claimer at Laurel Nov. 22.
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