LAUREL, Md. – Three Diamonds Farm’s well-traveled Field Pass, a multiple graded-stakes winner approaching $1 million in purse earnings, will get some class relief as he steps out of graded company for the first time in nearly two years in Saturday’s $100,000 Henry S. Clark at Laurel Park.
The 22nd running of the one-mile Clark for 3-year-olds and up is among five $100,000 stakes on the second of consecutive Spring Stakes Spectacular Saturdays, and one of the first three scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course along with the Dahlia for females 3 and older, also at a mile, and 5 ½-furlong King T. Leatherbury for 3-year-olds and up.
Also on the 10-race program are the Native Dancer for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles and six-furlong Primonetta for fillies and mares 3 and older. The Clark, Dahlia and Primonetta are all part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series that launched its 2022 season April 16 at Laurel.
Field Pass has made one start this year, running 10th behind defending champion Colonel Liam in the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) Jan. 29 at Gulfstream Park, a race where he was bumped at the start and failed to reach contention, though he wound up beaten less than four lengths.
“We just gave him some time after the Pegasus race. He just got outrun. He had some trouble early on that might have cost him, but I don’t think it was the difference between running 10th or winning,” trainer Mike Maker said. “Everything’s well. It should be a good comeback spot for him.”
A 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, Field Pass won the third of his four career graded-stakes in Maryland, taking the one-mile Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) last summer at historic Pimlico Race Course. Other graded wins have come in the 2020 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), Transylvania (G3) and Ontario Derby (G3) as well as the 1 1/16-mile Seabiscuit (G2) to end 2021. His last 12 races have come in graded events, since finishing seventh in the August 2020 Saratoga Derby Invitational, now a Grade 1.
“He’s been great. He’s a sound horse, and it’s been a lot of fun having him around,” Maker said. “I prefer him to go a mile and a sixteenth, but I don’t think the mile is going to be a big issue with the class drop.”
Victor Carrasco is named to ride Field Pass, an eight-time career winner with $938,143 in purses earned from 24 starts at 11 tracks in five states as well as Canada. Fourth in the 2019 Laurel Futurity in his only try over the local course, he drew Post 6 in a field of seven.
“He’s run well wherever he’s gone. It’s one less thing to worry about,” Maker said. “If there’s no speed he can take control of the race and if not he can sit off it. It just depends on the draw and the others in the race.”
Lael Stables’ Chez Pierre is undefeated in four starts, the first three of them in his native France prior to capturing his U.S. debut in a one-mile allowance March 9 at Tampa Bay Downs. The Clark will be his stakes debut.
“He was bought in France at private auction as a 2-year-old and he did very well. He won two races and he came back and ran a good allowance at the beginning of last year. Unfortunately, he hurt himself which required a little bit of time. We brought him back to America and he ran back at Tampa and won,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “The next logical step is to try a stakes now.”
His last race was the first beyond six furlongs for Chez Pierre, who Delacour said was being pointed to the Commonwealth Cup (G1) for 3-year-olds sprinting on turf last June at Royal Ascot prior being sidelined following a 1 ¼-length allowance victory the month before at Chantilly.
Chez Pierre raced in a stalking spot for much of his American debut, coming with a determined run to win by a neck over the firm course. Daniel Centeno, aboard that day, rides back from outermost Post 7.
“We always thought he could go the distance, especially in America with a little bit more pace in the races running on the flat ground, so we tried him at the mile and it worked out,” Delacour said. “I guess it was just circumstance, coming from sprinting and being a little fresh [but] he just put himself in the race very early. That wasn’t by design. It took him probably a quarter of a mile to settle but eventually he did and he came with a run.”
Delacour said the timing and distance of the Clark made it an attractive spot to test stakes company.
“We had a few options. There was a seven-furlong race in New York a week or two after, but because he won at a mile we want to try him again at a mile and go from there,” he said. “We’ve been happy with him.”
Monmouth Stud’s stakes winner Oceans Map is set to make his first start since finishing fifth in the 1 ½-mile Japan Turf Cup last October in his only previous race over the Laurel turf. He was entered but scratched from a stakes April 9 at Aqueduct when the turf came up soft.
“This race is a mile, and even though he’s run well before in marathon races he’s pretty versatile,” trainer Greg Sacco said. “We think this is a good starting point for the season for him.”
Oceans Map has been successful before in Maryland, winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance by 2 ½ lengths last May on the undercard of the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico. He was off the board in a pair of subsequent graded-stakes, including the United Nations (G1), before taking the 1 ½-mile Cape Henlopen at Delaware Park.
“He really came into his own last year, starting at Pimlico winning on Preakness Day. He’s just kind of blossomed. He was a late foal and is maturing and really coming into his own. We hope he keeps improving this year as a 5-year-old,” Sacco said. “He hasn’t missed a beat since he came back to us in January and he’s coming into the race the right way. We feel he’ll give a good account of himself on Saturday.”
In the Japan Turf Cup, Oceans Map was within striking distance of the leaders in third before dropping back and wound up five lengths behind Grade 3 winner Tide of the Sea, another Maker trainee. Feargal Lynch gets the riding assignment from Post 5.
“He made a big move and flattened out, which is uncharacteristic of him. He did scope with mucus so we treated it when we got back to New York and then sent him down to Florida for the winter,” Sacco said. “I think he would have had a better showing that day.”
Bruno Schickendanz’s Mandate, winner of the Artie Schiller last fall at Aqueduct; American Made Thoroughbreds’ Highway Bound, a 1 1/16-mile allowance winner on the dirt at Penn National April 1; Jennifer Truheart’s Rock On Luke, a dirt stakes winner yet to race on turf; and Built Wright Stables’ Sir Alfred James, sixth in the Frank Whiteley April 16 over Laurel’s main track, complete the field.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Field Pass (#1 inside yellow cap) winning the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup G3 at Pimlico Race Course July 25,2021. (Maryland Jockey Club)