LAUREL, Md. – Louis A. Bisso Jr.’s Nick Papagiorgio, unable to get past Somekindofmagician last year, redeemed that effort by holding off a late bid from the defending champion and spring a 13-1 upset in Sunday’s $75,000 Find at Laurel Park.
The 41st running of the Find and 50th renewal of the All Brandy for fillies and mares, both restricted to Maryland-bred/sired 3-year-olds and up and going 1 1/16 miles, were among three turf stakes worth $250,000 in purses on a Father’s Day program headlined by the $100,000 Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies sprinting 5 ½ furlongs.
It was the first career stakes victory for 6-year-old Nick Papagiorgio ($29.20), who had placed twice in three prior stakes attempts including his runner-up finish in last year’s Find, 1 ¾ lengths behind Somekindofmagician at similar odds. Ridden by Horacio Karamanos, they covered the distance in 1:41.33 over a firm Exceller turf course.
“He came out fresh this year,” winning trainer Michael LeCesse said. “He’s only had one race since his rest and he ran a great race. Horacio rode a great race on him.”
A gelded son of Outflanker bred in Maryland by Cynthia Pence and Philip Spingler, Nick Papagiorgio hadn’t raced since Dec. 26 when he ran fifth in a one mile, 70-yard optional claimer May 30 on the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs.
In the Find, Karamanos positioned Nick Papagiorgio along the inside saving ground in fifth as 40-1 long shot The Wolfman took the field of 11 through a quarter-mile in 23.88 seconds and a half in 48.66 tracked by Street Copper and Plot the Dots. Karamanos came off the rail midway around the far turn and the steadily gained ground between horses through the stretch before emerging from a tight pack in front by a half-length.
Somekindofmagician, racing for the first time since his narrow victory in the Maryland Million Turf last October at Laurel, found early trouble but came running late along the inside and nosed out B Determined for second. Audacious Quality made a furious bid on the far outside to get fourth. They were followed by Plot the Dots, 3-1 favorite Cannon’s Roar, Street Copper, Johng, The Wolfman, Lacco Ameno and Mint Game.
“We gave him that prep race over at Presque Isle and brought him down here. Horacio and I talked about staying close to the pace, and the horse did the rest,” LeCesse said. “We don’t have a perfect schedule, but he’ll be back here in Maryland.”
LeCesse, a winner of more than 1,500 career races, is based at Finger Lakes Race Track in western New York. His best horse was Tin Cup Chalice, the 2008 Indiana Derby (G2) winner he bred in New York that earlier that year became the first horse to sweep the Big Apple Triple – the Mike Lee at Belmont Park, New York Derby at Finger Lakes and Albany at Saratoga.
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.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski/MJC