C Z Rocket Tops 36 Noms for G3 General George

February 5, 2023

C Z Rocket winning The Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park April 10, 2021. (Coady Photography) 

• Grade 3 Winner Yuugiri Among 21 Nominated to Barbara Fritchie (G3)
• Headline Six Stakes Worth $900,000 in Purses Saturday, Feb. 18 at Laurel

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, Md. – Millionaire C Z Rocket and fellow graded-stakes winners Double Crown, Repo Rocks and Weyburn are among 36 accomplished older sprinters nominated to the $250,000 General George (G3) Saturday, Feb. 18 at Laurel Park.

The 47th running of the General George for 4-year-olds and up and 71st edition of the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older, both sprinting seven furlongs, headline a Winter Carnival program featuring six stakes worth $900,000 in purses including the $100,000 Miracle Wood, the next stop in Maryland’s series for 3-year-olds on the road to the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1).

Altamira Racing Stable, Madaket Stables, Gary Barber and Tom Kagele’s 9-year-old C Z Rocket, based in California with trainer Peter Miller, is a 12-time career winner, three in graded-stakes, with nearly $2 million in purse earnings. He has also placed seven times in graded races, three of them Grade 1, including runner-up finishes in the 2020 and 2022 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, the latter at odds of 31-1 in his most recent start.

Double B Racing Stables’ Repo Rocks has won each of his last three starts, all in stakes, capped by the seven-furlong Toboggan (G3) last out Jan. 28 at Aqueduct. All three of those wins have come since joining the barn of trainer Jamie Ness, including the Let’s Give Thanks and Blitzen at his home track of Parx.

Chiefswood Stables Limited’s Weyburn is unraced since finishing off the board in his lone turf try last summer in the King Edward (G2) at Woodbine. The George Weaver trainee is a multiple stakes winner topped by the one-mile Gotham (G3) in 2021.

Double Crown winning the G2 Kelso at Belmont at the Big A Oct. 29, 2022. (/NYRA/Coglianese)

Built Wright Stable’s Double Crown upset the one-mile Kelso (G2) last fall at Aqueduct, his third career stakes win. Also twice graded-stakes placed, the 6-year-old most recently ran third in a one-mile allowance Jan. 30 at Parx and is one of 11 horses nominated by owner-trainer Norman ‘Lynn’ Cash, a list that includes stakes winner Eastern Bay, exiting back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Vosburgh (G2) and Bold Ruler (G3), the latter by a nose Oct. 29 at Aqueduct.

Other Cash nominees include Beverly Park, a 26-time career winner on a four-race win streak; stakes winner Gagetown, fourth in a troubled trip Feb. 4 at Laurel; multiple stakes winners Monday Morning Qb and Sir Alfred James; and Pirate Rick, fourth in the Toboggan. Sir Alfred James ran third in the 2022 General George behind Cordmaker and War Tocsin, also nominated back by owner-trainer Uriah St. Lewis.

Also prominent among General George nominees are multiple stakes winners Beren, Shake Em Loose, Smooth B and Threes Over Deuces; Factor It In, 8-for-13 lifetime at Laurel coming off back-to-back stakes wins including the 6 ½-furlong Fire Plug Jan. 21; and Weyburn’s stablemate Today’s Flavor, riding a three-race win streak.

Tsunebumi and Sekie Yoshihara’s Yuugiri, winner of the 1 1/16-mile Fantasy (G3) last spring at Oaklawn Park, tops 21 nominees to the Barbara Fritchie. Trained by Rodolphe Brisset, the 4-year-old daughter of 2011 Preakness winner Shackelford returned from nearly eight months between starts with a front-running allowance victory Dec. 30 at Oaklawn sprinting six furlongs.

Fille d’Esprit winning the Politely Stakes at Laurel Park Nov. 25, 2022. (Jerry Dzierwinski/MJC)

Jerry Robb-trained stablemates Fille d’Esprit and Street Lute, owners of 14 combined stakes wins, are also nominated. Fille d’Esprit, third in last year’s Fritchie, opened her 7-year-old season Jan. 21 with a 5 ¼-length score in the six-furlong What a Summer at Laurel, while Street Lute returned from a seven-month layoff to be fifth in a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Feb. 4.

Cloud Nine Stable’s Betsy Blue, based in New York with trainer Linda Rice, was third in the one-mile Go For Wand (G3) Dec. 3 and won the 6 ½-furlong Garland of Roses Dec. 10 and seven-furlong Interborough Jan. 21 at Aqueduct in her last three starts. Also nominated from New York is Steven Schoenfeld’s Union Lake, a last out winner sprinting 6 ½ furlongs at Aqueduct that ran third in the 2022 Prioress (G2).

R.A. Hill Stable, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rock Ridge Racing, BlackRidge Stables and James Brown’s Pass the Champagne is a 5-year-old mare with two wins and three seconds from six career starts that was second by a head to two-time Eclipse champion Malathaat in the 2021 Ashland (G1). Also trained by Weaver, she returned from nearly a year away to run second in the 1 1/16-mile Wayward Lass Jan. 14 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Multiple stakes winners Buy the Best, Disco Ebo, Hybrid Eclipse, Malibu Beauty, Swayin to and Fro and stakes winner Prodigy Doll are among other notable Fritchie nominees.

Local stakes winners Coffeewithchris and Prince of Jericho top 23 nominees to the Miracle Wood. Preceded by the Jan. 21 Spectacular Bid, the one-mile Miracle Wood is followed in Maryland’s 3-year-old stakes series by the $100,000 Private Terms at 1 1/16 miles March 18 and $125,000 Federico Tesio going 1 1/8 miles April 15 – a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated horses to May 20 Preakness at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Prince of Jericho ran second to Coffeewithchris in the Dec. 30 Heft at Laurel before reversing that finish with a four-length triumph in the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid. Prince of Jericho is trained by Brittany Russell, who won the 2021 Miracle Wood with Maythehorsebwithu, while Coffeewithchris’ trainer, John Salzman Jr., is the defending Miracle Wood champion following Local Motive’s victory in 2022.

Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred Arctic Arrogance has been first or second in all five of his starts in New York for Rice. He won the Oct. 30 Sleepy Hollow against fellow New York-breds and has run second by a half-length in the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) Dec. 3 and one-mile Jerome Jan. 7 in his two most recent starts.

C Z Rocket’s undefeated stablemate, Tom London, Terry Lovingier and Eugene Zondlo’s Thirsty John, was nominated to the Miracle Wood after a front-running half-length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile California Cup Derby Jan. 7 at Santa Anita. It was the first start in nearly eight months for the Stay Thirsty colt since a 3 ¼-length maiden score sprinting 4 ½ furlongs last May.

The seven-furlong Wide Country attracted 21 nominations including 2022 Maryland Million Lassie winner ChickienessGirl Trouble, a winner of back-to-back sprint stakes at Parx; L Street Lady, who beat Chickieness in the Jan. 21 Xtra Heat at Laurel; and out-of-town stakes winners Opus Forty Two, Sally’s Sassy and Stonewall Star.

The Wide Country is followed at Laurel by the $100,000 Beyond the Wire going one mile March 18 and $125,000 Weber City Miss going 1 1/16 miles April 15, a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for the 99th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 19 at Pimlico.

Double Crown, Monday Morning Qb and Shake Em Loose are also among 35 nominees to the $100,000 John B. Campbell for 4-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles, along with defending champion Galerio and fellow stakes winners Armando R, Forewarned, Hello Hot Rod, Nimitz Class, Ournationonparade, Plot the Dots, Sea Foam and Vance Scholars.

Rounding out the stakes action is the $100,000 Nellie Morse for fillies and mares 4 and up at about 1 1/16 miles that saw 23 horses nominated led by Fille d’Esprit, Hybrid Eclipse, Malibu Beauty and Pass the Champagne. Others include Fille d’Esprit stablemate Award Wanted, winner of the Jan. 21 Geisha at Laurel; Grade 3 winner Battle Bling; Grade 3-placed Cover Version; and Jan. 1 Ladies winner Falconet.

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