Circle P takes the Maryland Juvenile (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md.— DeSales 85 LLC’s Circle P, making his stakes debut, sat well off dueling leaders Catahoula Moon and Speedyness before coming with a late run to split the top two in deep stretch and go on to a 1 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Maryland Juvenile at Laurel Park.
The 42nd running of the Maryland Juvenile served as co-headliner with the 37th edition of the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly, both races for Maryland-bred/sired horses sprinting seven furlongs.
Ridden by Ricardo Chiappe for Penn National-based trainer Flint Stites, Circle P ($19.80) completed the distance in 1:24.49 over a fast main track for his second win from four starts, both coming at Laurel, including a 6 ½-length waiver maiden claiming triumph Oct. 15.
Catahoula Moon, winner of the Oct. 14 Maryland Million Nursery at Laurel racing on the inside, and Speedyness, sent off as the 6-5 favorite off back-to-back wins with the addition of blinkers, battled up front through a sharp quarter-mile in 22.95 seconds and a half in 45.66, with Call Me Andy a distant third.
Approaching the eighth pole, as Catahoula Moon began to gain separation from Speedyness, Chiappe was rolling on Circle P down the center of the track, splitting the two horses and surging to the front.
“The horse ran awesome. He’s still a little green. He doesn’t like the dirt in his face,” Chiappe said. “In the stretch I was thinking to go outside but the horse put himself inside and just came flying. He was very good today. He was so relaxed and he showed class.”
Catahoula Moon was second, four lengths in front of Speedyness. Call Me Andy, Hittheroadjak, Cap Com, King’s River and Mister Agent completed the order of finish. All the Way and Jumpingjaggerflash were scratched.
Circle P, purchased for $47,000 as a yearling last fall, was second in his Sept. 15 unveiling at Penn National, and following his graduation ran third in a seven-furlong optional claimer Oct. 29, also at Laurel.
“He had a really good first race and I thought he ran really well. His second race he broke a little slow and he got hit pretty hard out of he gate and got pushed way back, and doesn’t like the dirt [in his face]. We’ve been working on that,” Stites said. “He’s been training super. We entered him in an allowance race earlier on and the race didn’t go, so this was our best option.”