G3 Winner That’s Right To Make Season Debut in $100K King T. Leatherbury

April 20, 2023

That’s Right a frontrunning winner of the Turf Monster (G3) last fall at Parx (EQUI-PHOTO)

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

LAUREL, Md.— James Shannon Jr.’s That’s Right, front-running winner of the Turf Monster (G3) last fall at Parx, is set to make his season debut against seven rivals including six-time stakes winner Carotari in a highly competitive edition of the $100,000 King T. Leatherbury Saturday at Laurel Park.

The fourth running of the Leatherbury for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the grass is among five $100,000 stakes on the second of consecutive Spring Stakes Spectacular Saturdays at Laurel, and one of the first three scheduled for its world-class turf course along with the Dahlia for females and Henry S. Clark, both going one mile.

The 11-race program also includes the 1 1/8-mile Native Dancer for 3-year-olds and up and six-furlong Primonetta for fillies and mares 3 and older. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.

That’s Right, based at Parx with trainer Michael Moore, will be making his first start since finishing fifth in the six-furlong Carle Place Oct. 23 at Aqueduct, a space of 181 days. He ended a 148-day break between races when he made his 2022 debut last March.

“We took one last shot at Aqueduct even though we knew it was six furlongs, which is a little beyond what he wants to do. He just ran OK there and he needed a little break, so we sent him to the farm,” Moore said. “He’s been working real well. Obviously he’s a turf horse, so we gave him the time off and since he’s been back he’s been doing basically everything we can ask so far.”

That’s Right began his career on dirt, going winless in four tries including a maiden claimer at Laurel before graduating by five lengths in his turf debut, a five-furlong maiden special weight last May 20 on the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) undercard at historic Pimlico Race Course. The 4-year-old Goldencents colt owns four wins in six grass starts.

“He was OK on the dirt. We ran him at Laurel once. He would always stop somewhat at the end,” Moore said. “We actually entered at Laurel for [a $25,000 tag] and he got excluded when there were too many entries. We ended up going in the maiden special weight at Pimlico and he won real easy. He’s just a totally different horse on turf.”

That’s Right won his first three times on the grass capped by a victory in the My Frenchman at Monmouth Park. The streak was broken when he ran sixth in the 5 ½-furlong Mahony at Saratoga, but he rebounded with a 1 ½-length triumph over 10 others in the five-furlong Turf Monster on his home course.

“That was great. It was our biggest day because it was [Pennsylvania] Derby day and it was a great day, perfect weather, big crowd,” Moore said. “It was nice because in most cases we have to ship him. We had gone to Saratoga prior to that and didn’t do any good, so it was nice to be able to run him out of his own stall and just walk over to the paddock, and he ran real well.”

It will be the fifth try at 5 ½ furlongs for That’s Right, rated as fourth choice on the morning line at 9-2, who has one win, one second and one third going the distance. Regular rider Andy Hernandez will be back aboard from Post 7.

“Speed is his game. He breaks real fast, goes to the lead and basically goes as far as he can go as fast as he can go. We’d prefer if it was five-eighths, but we can’t be too picky,” Moore said. “We’re hopeful that the time did him good and that with getting a little older he’s maybe a little stronger. We hope that he can be even better this year, but we’ll see.”

William Branch’s 7-year-old Carotari has a recency edge on That’s Right, having raced three times this year, all in stakes, placing twice including a half-length loss when second in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (G3) Feb. 11 behind defending champion Yes I Am Free. Most recently he was third in Gulfstream’s March 18 Silks Run, also sprinting five furlongs on the grass.

“I think he ran into some pretty nice horses at Gulfstream. He’s always been very honest. His races have been very solid, but he just ran into a couple that are a bit better than him,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “[Yes I Am Free] sort of snuck away on him and he could never wear him down. Hopefully this group might be a little bit more to his liking.”

Carotari wins the Jim McKay Turf Sprint (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Carotari has raced at 14 different tracks in nine states from coast to coast, winning 10 of 31 starts. Two of his stakes wins have come his only previous trips to Maryland, both at Pimlico – the Jim McKay Turf Sprint last May on the Preakness (G1) undercard and the Laurel Dash in September, each in front-running fashion.

“I’d love to actually run him back in the sprint he won there last year on Preakness Day, so this would be a nice little stepping stone to get him back there,” Lynch said. “He’s just been a lovely old healthy horse to train, so we’ve been very lucky as far as that goes, and he still loves the game. He still loves to run and we’ve just been very fortunate to keep him around as long as we have.

“You hope that they haven’t lost a step but his numbers are still very consistent. He’s still got plenty of energy in his training,” he added. “He’s still very healthy, touch wood. I think there’s still a few more good races left in him, for sure.”

Paco Lopez has the call from Post 6 on Carotari, the 9-5 program favorite.

Gordon Keys’ Grateful Bred ran second in last year’s Leatherbury, beaten a half-length by True Valour in his first race since winning the 2021 Maryland Million Turf Sprint. The 7-year-old gelding went winless with four seconds in seven starts last year, all in stakes, running fourth behind Carotari in the McKay and Laurel Dash. Grateful Bred’s four runner-up finishes came by less than two lengths combined.

“He wintered well this year, so that’s good. He looks good and he seems to be in good form,” trainer Madison Meyers said. “We’ll see. I’m sure it’s a tough spot, but it’s time to get going.”

Sheldon Russell will be aboard Grateful Bred (4-1) from Post 4.

D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock Inc.’s Determined Kingdom (12-1) is a two-time stakes winner against fellow Virginia-breds with the 5 ½-furlong Punch Line last July at Colonial Downs his most recent. He has run three times on the Laurel turf with two wins, both coming at the Leatherbury distance, including his Punch Line prep. Third in the Mahony, 4 ½ lengths ahead of That’s Right, he has earned all four of his career wins at 5 ½ furlongs.

Trending Stable’s Breezy Gust (12-1) exits a 1 ¼-length win in the six-furlong Not For Love over Laurel’s main track March 18, his 10th win from 30 starts and first in a stakes. Trained by Josue Arce, the 6-year-old gelding was sixth, beaten 3 ½ lengths by That’s Right in the Turf Monster, one of only two times he has raced on grass.

Also entered are 8-year-old gelding E.J.’s Revenge (30-1), an 11-time winner from 86 starts, primarily on dirt; Our Shot (3-1), another 2022 Preakness Day winner sprinting five furlongs on the grass making his stakes debut; and Kadri (10-1), an eight-time career winner from 47 starts racing for just the second time on grass.

The King T. Leatherbury honors the Maryland native and legendary Hall of Fame horseman who turned 90 March 26. Leatherbury has compiled 6,508 career wins, ranking fifth all-time; owns or shares 26 training titles at both Laurel and Pimlico; and had four consecutive 300-win seasons in the mid-1970s, leading the country in 1977 and 1978. He is perhaps best known as the breeder, owner and trainer of late Mid-Atlantic legend Ben’s Cat, who won 26 stakes over eight seasons before he was retired and later died due to complications from colic in 2017.

@jonathanstettin @bbopjz Fantastic writing, thoroughly enjoyable read.

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