Field Pass gets the win in the Find (Jim McCue)
1st Career Stakes Win, 4th on Day for Apprentice Concepcion
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md.— Three Diamonds Farm’s multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Field Pass, given a heady ride by apprentice Axel Concepcion, came with a steady run down the center of the stretch to reel in Crabs N Beer for a neck victory in Saturday’s $75,000 Find at Laurel Park.
The 42nd running of the Find for 3-year-olds and up and 51st renewal of the $75,000 All Brandy for fillies and mares 3 and older, both restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses and run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, headlined the final Saturday program of Laurel’s 33-day summer meet.
Facing fellow Maryland-breds for the first time in his 35th career start, Field Pass ($10.20) covered the distance in 1:41.70 over a firm Fort Marcy turf course for his 10th lifetime win, eight of them in stakes, and complete a four-win day for Concepcion.
It was the first stakes victory for Concepcion, an 18-year-old native of Puerto Rico that rides with a five-pound weight allowance and is Maryland’s leading apprentice this year. He is represented by agent Tom Stift, who also has the book for Laurel jockeys Angel Cruz and Jeiron Barbosa.
“All three of them just work so hard and they’re like brothers. They feed off each other’s success and today it was Axel’s turn to have a huge day,” Stift said. “It’s awesome. He deserves every bit of it.”
Concepcion turned pro Jan. 1 in Puerto Rico, where he won 21 races before coming to the U.S. and earning his first domestic victory Feb. 19 at Fair Grounds. His first Mid-Atlantic triumph came Feb. 25 at Laurel, and he was the leading rider during Laurel’s spring stand, his first full meet. Now with 28 wins, Concepcion is second to Jaime Rodriguez (36) in Laurel’s summer meet standings.
“Obviously, Mike [Maker]’s been watching the races and watching Axel ride. You don’t put a bug boy on a horse like that unless you’ve been paying attention,” Stifit said. “I do the numbers on the races, and I send them to all the trainers and I let them know I’m open. Mike had texted me back and asked if I was open. I said, ‘Yes, who do you want? And he said, ‘Concepcion.’ I said, ‘You got it.’”
Field Pass and Concepcion had to steady in tight on the first turn and were unhurried running in seventh early as Wish Me Home broke sharply and went straight to the front, going the opening quarter-mile in 24.11 seconds with Tappin Cat, a multiple stakes winner on dirt racing for just the second time on grass, in close pursuit.
Down the backstretch Field Pass settled into full stride as Wish Me Home continued to lead through a half in 48 seconds and six furlongs in 1:11.75 before being overtaken by Crabs N Beer, who had recovered from being carried out six wide on the first turn to race in contention throughout. Concepcion tipped Field Pass to the outside to launch their bid once straightened for home and they continued to gain on Crabs N Beer until surging past late.
Crabs N Beer held second, a half-length ahead of Wish Me Home, who edged Brittany Russell-trained stablemate The Addison Pour by a neck for third. They were followed by Tappin Cat, Sky’s Not Falling, My Boy Paddy and B Determined. Wicked Prankster was pulled up and walked off after bearing out on the first turn. Galerio, entered for main track only, and Tom Hagen were scratched.
It was the first win for Field Pass since being promoted to first in the Texas Turf Classic last summer at Lone Star. Among his graded-stakes wins is 2021 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3) at historic Pimlico Race Course. He pushed his career bankroll to more than $1.2 million with his 10th win, all at different racetracks from coast to coast.
After riding eight races Saturday at Laurel, Concepcion was named in six night races at Charles Town. He is named in three of nine races Sunday at Laurel.
“He’s got to be there in the morning at 6 a.m.,” Stift said. “He’s been doing it for months now. He’s on a mission.”
The Find is named for the Sagamore Farm homebred that raced through age 11, starting 110 times with 22 wins, 27 seconds and 27 thirds and purse earnings of $803,615. He won or placed in 51 stakes, retired in 1961 as Maryland’s all-time leading money winner and the second-richest gelding in history.