G1 Winner Roadster Continues Comeback in Polynesian

September 16, 2021

Dreamalildreamofu Chasing Second Stakes Win in $100,000 Twixt

                        Among Four Stakes Worth $500,000 on De Francis (G3) Day Card

            LAUREL, MD – Speedway Stables’ Grade 1 winner and one-time Triple Crown contender Roadster will be making just his fifth start in the last two years and first on the East Coast as he continues his comeback in Saturday’s $100,000 Polynesian at Laurel Park.

            The 17th running of the Polynesian for 3-year-olds and up and the 39th edition of the $100,000 Twixt for fillies and mares 3 and older, both at one mile, are among four stakes worth $500,000 in purses on an 11-race program headlined by the $200,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3).

            Also on the card is the $100,000 Weather Vane for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting six furlongs. All four stakes are part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series.

            First race post time is 12:40 p.m.

            Roadster, bred by Stone Farm and purchased by Speedway’s Peter Fluor and K.C. Weiner for $525,000 as a yearling, won the 2019 Santa Anita Derby (G1) and has placed in four other graded-stakes during a 13-race career that began in California with trainer Bob Baffert.

            Far behind first-place finisher Maximum Security following a wide trip around both turns in the Kentucky Derby (G1), Roadster rebounded to run second behind stablemate Mucho Gusto in the Affirmed (G3). He ran three more times at 3, sandwiching a fourth in the Native Diver (G3) between seconds in the Damascus and Malibu (G1).

            Roadster ran twice at 4, and went unraced between a runner-up finish in the San Carlos (G2) last March and a fourth – beaten less than a length – in the New Orleans Handicap (G2) March 20 at Fair Grounds, his first start for trainer Michael Stidham. He has been off again since a fourth in the April 30 Alysheba (G2), again for Baffert, before being returned to Stidham at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md.

            “He had a little bit of a setback after his last race. He’s had foot issues throughout his career, and we got his feet back in good order. Right now he’s doing really well,” Stidham said. “He ran fantastic the first time for us.

            “He went back out to Baffert and they brought him back to Churchill and he didn’t run well there so we stopped on him and got him straightened out,” he added. “We hope that we have him where we want him now.”

            Overall Roadster has three wins and $888,500 in purse earnings from 13 career starts, running third in the 2018 Del Mar Futurity (G1) in his second career start. He has a total of five breezes since mid-August over the dirt and all-weather surfaces at Fair Hill, where Stidham said he has thrived.

            “There’s synthetic and dirt [tracks] and we have turf gallops out back and everything you could ask for. That’s the beauty of it,” he said. “He is a real quality horse [with] a ton of talent, but he’s had lots of stops and starts in his career with throat surgery early on as a 3-year-old and then foot issues. Obviously you don’t want to run a horse like that unless they’re 100 percent and that’s where we think we have him now.”

            Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the call on Roadster from Post 6 in a field of seven. According to Equibase statistics, Smith hasn’t ridden at Laurel since Feb. 17, 2007 when he won the Barbara Fritchie Breeders’ Cup Handicap (G2) on Oprah Winney.

            Also with graded-stakes credentials in the Polynesian are Cordmaker and Phat Man. Hillwood Stable’s Maryland-bred Cordmaker ran third in the 2018 and 2019 Pimlico Special (G3) and is 10-time career winner with six stakes including the 2019 Polynesian for Laurel-based trainer Rodney Jenkins. In his most recent start, he beat fellow Polynesian entrant McElmore Avenue in the 1 1/16-mile Victory Gallop Aug. 23 at Colonial Downs.

            Marianne Stribling, Force Five Racing and Two Rivers Racing Stable’s Phat Man has won at least one stakes in four of the last five years led by the 2020 Fred W. Hooper (G3) at Gulfstream Park over 13 rivals including ill-fated runner-up Zenden, who would go on to set a track record in the March 27 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) in his final start.

            Phat Man, 7, has raced seven times this year with two wins including the Battery Park July 10 at Delaware Park. Last time out he ran third, beaten less than three lengths by Code of Honor in the 1 1/16-mile Iselin (G3) Aug. 21 at Monmouth Park.

            “He’s doing really good. He won the stake at Delaware two races back and then he ran into Code of Honor at Monmouth. He was hung out wide the whole way,” trainer Kent Sweezey said. “The pace didn’t set up for him just right so we’re hoping the one-turn mile at Laurel will help him out a little bit and have some pace to run into. And whether it’s one turn or two turns, I think he’s definitely better at a mile.”

            Phat Man owns four wins and two seconds in 11 tries at one mile. He has won four stakes and placed in seven others, including seconds in the 2020 Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), 2019 Harlan’s Holiday (G3), 2018 Tenacious and 2017 Super Derby.

            “We’ve run him in Grade 1s and taken him all over the country. I kind of said, ‘Why don’t we go back to what was really working, and that was picking up checks for [$]100[,000].’” Sweezey said. “If we can look up at the end of the year and he’s won three or four stakes races for us, wouldn’t that be cool?

            “He’s always showed up for us,” he added. “Knock on wood, he’s stayed really sound. He’s just a good boy.”

            Completing the field are multiple stakes winners Alwaysmining, back on dirt after three tries on the turf, and Captain Bombastic, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen; Victory Gallop runner-up McElmore Avenue and Tappin Cat, a winner of two straight for trainer Gary Capuano.

                        Dreamalildreamofu Chasing Second Stakes Win in $100,000 Twixt

            Full of Fun Racing and Madaket Stables’ multiple Grade 3-placed Dreamalildreamofu, exiting a trouble-filled last month, chases her second career stakes win in her return to Maryland for Saturday’s $100,000 Twixt.

            Trained by reigning Eclipse Award winner Brad Cox, the 4-year-old daughter of Commissioner was beaten 1 ½ lengths when second in the 1 1/8-mile Allaire du Pont (G3) May 14 at historic Pimlico Race Course after racing on or near the pace.

            “She ran big there,” Cox said. “[It’s] a one-turn mile this time. She normally has enough speed to put herself in the race and, hopefully, with a good trip she’ll be effective.”

            Third by a length in the seven-furlong Chicago (G3) over Arlington Park’s all-weather surface June 26, Dreamalildreamofu had a nightmare trip in her most recent start when she drew down inside and bumped the rail while in tight quarters and wound up 11th as the favorite in the one-mile Groupie Doll Aug. 15 at Ellis Park.

            “She pretty much was eliminated the first eighth of a mile. She’s rebounded with two good works since so we’ll see how it goes, but she’s doing well. She really is,” Cox said. “She’s versatile. She doesn’t have to have things a certain way or have a certain surface.

            “It makes finding races for her a touch easier than most horses,” he added. “And, like I said, her last race was somewhat of a throwout, just a real tough trip from down inside. She seemed to re bound from it in good shape.”

            Jevian Toledo rides from Post 7 in a field of nine.

            A multiple stakes winner against fellow New York-breds, Ruggeri Stable, Richard Coburn, Script R Farm and trainer Michael Miceli’s Mrs. Orb conquered open company with a come-from-behind victory in the 1 1/16-mile Caesar’s Wish July 4 at Pimlico. Horacio Karamanos, aboard in that race, returns from Post 6.

            “She kind of dropped a little farther back than I thought she would in that race, but she came running,” Miceli said. “She’s doing well. We’ve been looking for a spot and this seems like it could be a logical move.”

            Second in the Turnback the Alarm (G3) last November at Aqueduct, Mrs. Orb was third in her most recent effort, the Aug. 12 Saratoga Dew at Saratoga, following a wide trip and has worked twice since at Belmont Park.

            “She ran well. She had a little bit of traffic problems in the race but she ran a good race. In trying to find a spot for her, Laurel’s race looks like it could be OK,” Miceli said. “She’s doing well right now, so hopefully she’ll run a good race for us.”

            Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, riding at Laurel for the first time since 2007 according to Equibase statistics, has the call on Stetson Racing, Donato Lanni and Rita Riccelli’s So Darn Not, a 4-year-old daughter of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper trained by George Weaver. Last of 10 following a rough trip in last year’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico, So Darn Hot was third last out in the 1 1/8-mile Summer Colony Aug. 22 at Saratoga.

            Trainer Mike Trombetta entered the pair of R. Larry Johnson and R.D.M. Racing Stable’s Lookin Dynamic, second to stablemate Kiss the Girl in the seven-furlong Conniver March 13 at Laurel, and NK Racing and LNJ Foxwoods’ Villanelle, fifth to Dreamalildreamofu in the one-mile Latonia March 27 at Turfway Park.

            Multiple stakes winners Artful Splatter and Miss Leslie; Josie, winner of the July 3 Iowa Distaff for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen; and Off Topic, third in the 2019 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) for previous trainer Todd Pletcher and unraced in nearly a year, round out the field.

Laurel Park Press release

Photo: Michael Stidham ( Coady Photo)

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