No Timetable for Return of Multiple Stakes Winning 9-Year-Old
Coastal Mission Takes Monday’s Presidents Day Holiday Feature
Live Action Returns to Laurel with Eight Races Thursday, Feb. 24
LAUREL, MD – Hillside Equestrian Meadows’ multiple stakes winner Laki, unraced since finishing sixth last September in defense of his 2020 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) victory, is continuing to enjoy his winter break with no timetable on his return.
Laurel Park-based trainer Damon Dilodovico said Monday that the newly turned 9-year-old Cuba gelding remains at owner Paul ‘Buck’ Kalinowski’s farm in Connecticut, where he has typically spends down time between seasons.
“He’s still up there. The owner sent me some videos recently and it seems like he’s doing well,” Dilodovico said. The trainer won with with his only starter on Monday’s special Presidents Day holiday program, Vince Campanella’s 6-year-old gelding Going to the Lead ($7.80) in Race 5, an entry-level allowance for 4-year-olds and up.
“We wanted to send him home to see how he recovers,” he added. “Not that he had any issues; he just needed some time.”
Laki has made 38 career starts with 11 wins, eight seconds, six thirds and $833,162 in purse earnings. He has won at least one stakes race five straight years, a streak he continued in last April’s Frank Y. Whiteley at historic Pimlico Race Course, and seven stakes overall.
Though he was a race-day scratch from the $100,000 Dave’s Friend Dec. 26 at Laurel, Laki had already clinched a third straight Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series older dirt sprint division title following 2018 and 2019. The Series was shelved in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Laki ran 10th in his career debut, a Nov. 5, 2016 maiden claimer on the turf, but followed with four consecutive victories including his first stakes triumph in the 2017 Not For Love and has raced exclusively on dirt since. He has also enjoyed stakes success in the 2018 Polynesian and Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial, 2019 Frank Whiteley, 2020 Oceanport Centennial and De Francis and 2021 Whiteley, his most recent win.
The Oceanport, held over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, is the latest date Laki has opened a campaign. The season was delayed by the pandemic which temporarily closed racetracks in many jurisdictions, including a 2 ½-month period in Maryland from mid-March to late May.
Bred in Maryland by Tom Michaels and Lorna Baker, Laki was named the state’s champion older male in 2018 and champion sprinter in 2020.
Over his career, Laki has also finished second in the 2018 De Francis and third in the 2019 and 2021 General George (G3). Held Feb. 19 as part of a rich winter program featuring six stakes worth $900,000 in purses, the seven-furlong General George was won by another veteran, 7-year-old Cordmaker. It was the first graded triumph for Cordmaker, owned by Hillwood Stable and trained by Rodney Jenkins.
“It was weird not having any runners in this weekend. It seemed like Laki had been a mainstay in them for so long,” Dilodovico said. “I was happy for Cordmaker. He’s just amazing. Everybody loves Rodney here. He’s been around for many years and he’s mentored many people, so everybody was rooting for Cordmaker the other day, that’s for sure.”
Notes: Jockey Jaime Rodriguez and trainer Jamie Ness teamed for back-to-back winners with Axxerator ($15.80) in Race 2 and Chrisatude ($3.20) in Race 3. Ness, as Jagger Inc., also owns or co-owns both horses … Jockey Horacio Karamanos also doubled aboard Going to the Lead ($7.80) in Race 5 and Hybrid Eclipse ($3.60) in Race 6 … Coleswood Farm Inc. homebred Coastal Mission ($4), scratched from the one-mile Miracle Wood Feb. 19, surged past Al Loves Josie approaching the wire to capture Monday’s Presidents Day holiday feature in Race 7, a six-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds. The winning time was 1:11.12 over a fast main track … Live racing returns to Laurel Thursday with an eight-race program starting at 12:25 p.m.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Laki (MJC Photo)