Good Life Cider Staying Home for $75,000 Geisha
LAUREL, MD – After ending last season with a flourish, Hillwood Stable’s multiple stakes winner Cordmaker looks to carry that momentum into his 7-year-old season when he faces six rivals in Saturday’s $75,000 Jennings at Laurel Park.
The Jennings for 4-year-olds and up and $75,000 Geisha for fillies and mares 4 and older, both at one mile and restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, are among six stakes worth $550,000 in purses on a scheduled 10-race program that begins at 12:10 p.m.
Cordmaker, a gelded son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin, won the first of his eight career stakes in the 2018 Jennings when the race was run in late December, and opened last year running third as the favorite behind 10-1 long shot Tattooed.
Last year’s Jennings was part of a 10-race winless streak for Cordmaker that stretched back to the fall of 2019 and ended in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial last March. It was the only win in his first five starts last year, one that ended with victories in three of his last four races, all stakes.
Cordmaker captured the Victory Gallop at Colonial Downs and capped 2021 with wins in the Nov. 27 Richard W. Small and Dec. 26 Robert T. Manfuso at Laurel, earning him the overall Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series title as well as the long dirt male division. Cordmaker was bred by the late Manfuso and Katy Voss.
“He ended the year strong, and he’s doing well,” trainer Rodney Jenkins said. “I’m happy with him.”
Each of his wins last year came at 1 1/16 miles or longer. His last race at a mile came in the Sept. 18 Polynesian, when he finished second but was disqualified to sixth for drifting out late. Overall he has two wins, a second and a third in six career tries at eight furlongs.
“I think his best distance is a mile an eighth, mile and a sixteenth to be honest, but he’s fast enough that he’ll be close enough at the head of the lane going a flat mile,” Jenkins said. “It just depends on the break he gets and everything. We look for him to run good.”
Purchased by Hillwood’s Ellen Charles for $150,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic Eastern Fall Yearling sale of 2016 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Cordmaker has won 12 of 34 lifetime starts with four seconds, seven thirds and $794,640 in purse earnings. Jenkins said the connections have no plans with Cordmaker, third in back-to-back runnings of the historic Pimlico Special (G3) in 2019 and 2020, beyond the Jennings.
“I’m going to meet with Mrs. Charles after this race and we’ll go from there,” he said.
Regular rider Victor Carrasco will be aboard from Post 4 in a field of seven.
Bird Mobberley and Grady Griffin’s Galerio was beaten a neck when second in last year’s Jennings, the first of three straight runner-up finishes in Laurel stakes, none by more than 1 ¾ lengths, including a one-length loss to Cordmaker in the Harrison Johnson. Third in last summer’s Salvator Mile (G3), he has been claimed twice since, most recently for $50,000 by trainer John Salzman Jr. last November.
In two starts since changing barns, Galerio was fourth by 1 ½ lengths to 10-time stakes winner Whereshetoldmetogo in the seven-furlong Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial and second by a nose in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance behind fellow Jennings entrant Doubleoseven Dec. 30.
J.D. Acosta has the call on Galerio from outside Post 7.
Paradise Farm Corp. and David Staudacher’s Hanalei’s Houdini ran fourth in last year’s Jennings, also for prior connections. Claimed for $50,000 by trainer Mike Maker out of a fifth-place finish last October at Keeneland, the 6-year-old gelding has run second in each of his subsequent two starts – the 1 1/8-mile Claiming Crown Jewel Dec. 4 at Gulfstream Park and a one-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 13 at Aqueduct, the latter behind Grade 2 winner Green Light Go.
Hanalei’s Houdini drew Post 3 with jockey Horacio Karamanos.
The Poser, third by a length in the Maryland Million Classic last fall; Ain’t Da Beer Cold, runner up in the 2020 Howard County; and Bustoff round out the field.
Good Life Cider Staying Home for $75,000 Geisha
After spending last winter in South Florida, Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds’ Good Life Cider is staying home this year with a new trainer as she chases her first career stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Geisha.
A homebred of the late Richard Golden, who passed away Sept. 18 at the age of 82, Good Life Cider was off the board in two races at Gulfstream Park last December for Kentucky Derby (G1)-winning trainer Michael Matz. Both of those races came on turf, where she has made 11 of her 14 starts including six straight into last fall.
“Michael Matz had her all of her career and they just wanted to leave her in Maryland because she’s a Maryland-bred when he goes to Florida,” trainer Brittany Russell said. Russell took over her training last fall. “I’ve entered her a bunch of times and just hadn’t had any luck getting her in.”
Good Life Cider closed 2021 on a winning note, capturing a one-mile off-the-turf allowance Oct. 30 at Laurel under jockey Forest Boyce, who returns to ride from Post 5 in a field of seven.
“She’s a cool filly. She’s trained right along since I’ve had her,” Russell said. “She won with Forest aboard and she showed that she can handle the dirt. It’s going to be a tough task, but she’s ready to run and it’s a Maryland-bred race so it seems like the time to take a swing at it.”
Three Diamonds Farm’s Kiss the Girl ran a distant but decisive second in last year’s Geisha behind heavily favored Gale, then came back to register a three-quarter-length triumph in the seven-furlong Conniver, also at Laurel. She won two of her next eight starts to end 2021, including the 1 1/16-mile All Brandy over Laurel’s world-class turf course, and was most recently third in the 1 1/8-mile Carousel Dec. 26.
Trainer Mike Trombetta will also send out R. Larry Johnson and R.D.M. Racing Stable’s Lookin Dynamic, seventh in the Carousel. The 5-year-old daughter of two-time champion and 2010 Preakness (G1) winner Lookin At Lucky was second to her stablemate in the Conniver and late-running runner-up, beaten a half-length by Miss Leslie, in the 1 1/16-mile Thirty Eight Go Go.
James C. Wolf’s Artful Splatter is coming off a runner-up finish behind fellow multiple stakes winner Miss Leslie in the 1 1/8-mile Carousel Dec. 26 at Laurel. Trained by Kieron Magee, she ran fifth after setting the pace in last year’s Geisha. The 6-year-old Bandbox mare is looking to end an 0-for-13 drought dating back to the 2020 George Rosenberger Memorial at Delaware Park. She has placed four times during that stretch, three of them in Laurel stakes.
Also entered are C & B Stables’ Paisley Singing, third in the Politely and Thirty Eight Go Go; NRS Stable, James Chambers and Avalon Farm’s Coconut Cake, second to Hello Beautiful in the 2021 Weather Vane; and Little Man Farm’s Double Fireball, a last-out allowance winner Jan. 2 at Laurel.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Cordmaker (MJC)