LAUREL, Md. – Silvino Ramirez’s Share the Ride soared through an opening along the rail entering the stretch and pulled away to earn his second career graded-stakes victory and give journeyman rider Victor Carrasco his first in Saturday’s $250,000 General George (G3) at Laurel Park.
The 45th running of the General George for 4-year-olds and up and the 69th edition of the $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) for fillies and mares 4 and older, both sprinting seven furlongs, co-headlined a Winter Sprintfest program of six stakes worth $900,000 in purses.
Originally scheduled for Feb. 13, Winter Sprintfest was pushed back a week after winter storms passed through the Mid-Atlantic region. Parx-based Share the Ride ($10.80) hit the wire in 1:22.85 over a fast main track.
Winner of the 2013 Eclipse Award as North America’s champion apprentice, the 28-year-old Carrasco has battled through assorted injuries over his career, picking up his 1,000th lifetime winner last January at Laurel.
“First of all I want to say thanks to the trainer and the owner. I can’t even explain,” Carrasco said. “I’ve been through so much in my career [that] when I passed the wire, I could not believe it. But thank God we’re here and thanks to Share the Ride, we got it done.”
Share the Ride, a gelded son of Candy Ride, won the six-furlong Fall Highweight (G3) Nov. 29 at Aqueduct to cap his 2020 campaign. He made his 6-year-old debut Jan. 16 at Laurel, leading into deep stretch before being caught at the wire and finishing second by a neck behind Wendell Fong.
Last time out, Share the Ride chased the pace on the outside and settled four third, beaten 3 ¼ lengths as the favorite, in the seven-furlong Toboggan (G3) Jan. 30 at Aqueduct.
“Everything came out like the plan we made. We’re really happy,” Ramirez said. “He’s a fast horse. He likes to run in front. He was a little behind last time. He didn’t like it so much, so this time we were in front. That’s the way he likes it.”
Arthur’s Hope and jockey Alcibiades Cortez were eager for the lead and held it through a brisk pace of 23.20 seconds for a quarter-mile and 46.13 for the half, with Share the Ride in close pursuit. Arthur’s Hope drifted out as the field approached the stretch and Share the Ride had plenty of room to roll once straightened for home.
Tattooed, upset winner of the one-mile Jennings Jan. 16 at Laurel in his previous start, split horses in mid-stretch to get up for second, two lengths ahead of 2020 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) winner Laki. It was another half-length back to multiple stakes winner Lebda in fourth.
Arthur’s Hope, Informative, Chilly in Charge, Grade 3 winner Majestic Dunhill and 2-1 favorite Funny Guy completed the order of finish. Fortunate Friends was scratched.
“The instructions were to not go to the lead, to make sure that I sit second or third, and I tried my best to do that. When I saw Cortez on my outside, I just sat patient and waited and when we got near to the quarter pole and said, ‘Go,’ he responded well and we got the ‘W,’” Carrasco said.
“To be honest I felt like he was never slowing down,” he added. “I was a little concerned by the sixteenth pole because I’ve been in that position before where you feel like to you them and then you get nailed at the wire. But I felt like I had enough from the sixteenth pole to the wire.”
General George Replay
Photo: Share The Ride (Jerry Dzrewzinski/Maryland Jockey Club)