Shake Em Loose winning the 2022 Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park. (Jerry Dzierwinski/Maryland Jockey Club)
~ Gelded 3YO Ex-Claimer Back on Work Tab at Laurel
~ Five Stakes Winners to Line Up for Saturday Feature
~ Trainer Russell, Jockey Cruz Each Win Twice Friday
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md. – J R Sanchez Racing Stable’s Shake Em Loose, unraced since mid-May, is back on the work tab as the claimer-turned-multiple stakes winner continues working toward his comeback.
Owned and trained by Rudy Sanchez-Salomon, Shake Em Loose breezed a half-mile in 51.20 seconds Dec. 3 at Laurel Park, his first timed work since before a sixth-place finish in the May 21 James W. Murphy on turf at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The 3-year-old gelding, by Grade 1 winner Shakin It Up, was given a break after the Murphy – his 12th start in 10 months – and returned to Sanchez-Salomon’s Laurel string in early October.
“I took an X-ray of his ankles, and we found a little small chip in his ankles, so we took them out,” said Sanchez-Salomon, who won Friday’s Laurel opener with Mi Patria Racing’s 4-year-old filly Startwithabang ($7.40). “We wanted to give him plenty of time to come back. He came back really well and he’s doing great.
“He started training really lightly,” he added. “I let him work [a half-mile] the other day and he was very impressive. He’s been impressing me, so I hope he is coming back to himself again.”
Sanchez-Salomon claimed Shake Em Loose for $16,000 out of a maiden win last November at Laurel and he paid immediate dividends with a 59-1 upset in the Heft racing first time for his new connections.
After running seventh in the Spectacular Bid in January to open his sophomore season, Shake Em Loose won an optional claiming allowance and the Private Terms in succession and finished third in the Federico Tesio. Sanchez made him a late nominee to the Triple Crown with the 147th Preakness (G1) in mind but opted instead for the Murphy on the undercard.
“I’m just going to go day by day with him. The best thing is, he’s starting to show me that he wants to do something again. He’s getting stronger and stronger every day. He’s impressing me a lot. Knock on wood I hope he stays sound, and everything goes well,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “It’s great to have him back in the barn. Everybody pays attention to him on the racetrack, so that’s nice.”
Laurel will host a nine-race program Saturday starting at 12:25 p.m. Race 7 Saturday is a six-furlong maiden special weight for 2-year-olds led by narrow 5-2 program favorite Kerness, a first-time starter by Laoban who fetched $60,000 as a yearling at Saratoga last summer and is trained and co-owned by Jamie Ness. Eric Long’s Weekend Tizzy is a son of champion Bernardini making his fourth career start having run second in each of his first two outings this fall at Aqueduct.
Race 8 is an optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs that drew a field of six including stakes winners Threes Over Deuces, Karan’s Notion, Indian Lake, Golden Candy and Exculpatory along with Going to the Lead, third last out in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Nov. 25.
Laurel wraps up the weekend with nine live races on Sunday. The feature comes in Race 8, an optional claiming allowance for 2-year-olds sprinting 5 ½ furlongs. From New York come Chiringo, most recently fourth in the Nov. 5 Atlantic Beach on turf, and Prove Right, third in the one-mile Nashua (G3) Nov. 6. Favored at 7-5 on the morning line is Sept. 29 First State Dash runner-up Lost Weekend, exiting a troubled fifth in the Oct. 22 Maryland Million Nursery.
Notes: Fall meet leading trainer Brittany Russell swept Friday’s late daily double with Icy Stare Down ($4.40) in Race 8 and Circling the Drain ($2.60) in Race 9 … Jockey Angel Cruz doubled Friday aboard Startwithabang ($7.40) in Race 1 and Bigmancan ($16.20) in Race 3 … Corrales Racing and Maria Corrales’ 3-year-old Street Sense gelding Phra Phrom ($19.60) held off favored Celtic Cousen through the stretch to win Race 2, a six-furlong maiden special weight for horses age 3, 4 and 5, in 1:12.08 over a fast main track.