Stablemates Award Wanted, Street Lute Top $75K Conniver

March 16, 2023

Award Wanted victorious in the Jan. 21 Geisha at Laurel Park (Jim McCue)

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

LAUREL, Md.— While his multiple Maryland-bred champion and last year’s winner Fille d’Esprit is on a well-earned vacation, trainer Jerry Robb will send out the pair of Award Wanted and Street Lute seeking a second straight victory in the $75,000 Conniver for Maryland-bred/sired fillies and mares 4 and up.

Robb captured the Conniver back-to-back with Anna’s Bandit in 2018 and 2019. Claimed for $10,000 in August 2020, Fille d’Esprit won the Conniver during a 2022 season where she went five-for-13 in 2022, all her wins coming in stakes, and was third in the Barbara Fritchie (G3) to be named Maryland-bred champion sprinter, older female and Horse of the Year.

“We’re very proud of what she’s done,” Robb said. “She’s a very nice filly. They’re few and far between to have a claim like that.”

Robb claimed No Guts No Glory Farm and Erica Upton’s Award Wanted for $16,000 out of a Feb. 21, 2021 win at Laurel and the 6-year-old mare has hit the board in 18 of 24 subsequent starts, seven of them wins, including the Jan. 21 Geisha. Last out, she ran second to Hybrid Eclipse in the Feb. 18 Nellie Morse.

“I had her at Delaware all last year running and she did pretty good, but when she got back to Laurel it was like a 10-point difference in her numbers. She just jumped forward tremendously. Her last three races have been off the chart,” Robb said. “I think that’s what she wanted.”

Lucky 7 Stables’ Street Lute, 5, is an eight-time stakes winner, five of those coming at Laurel, the most recent in the 2021 Wide Country. She made only four starts in 2022 and was fifth in a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Feb. 4 at Laurel, her first race in seven months.

“I think she got quite a bit out of that race, but that was six weeks ago. I’ve breezed her in between. She needs to run more but it’s tough to find races for her,” Robb said. “She was fine, she’s just always been tough to get fit. I thought she was fit the last time but obviously she wasn’t. We’ll see if this time she can improve off that.”

Mens Grille Racing’s Response Time won back-to-back 5 ½-furlong sprints 20 days apart last month at Laurel for trainer Hamilton Smith, who won the 2003 Conniver with Gazillion. The 5-year-old mare has made one prior stakes start, running fourth in the 2021 Miss Disco.

Also entered are multiple stakes-placed Quiet Imagination, exiting a sixth in the Feb. 18 Fritchie; My Flicker; eight-time winner Mavilus; Combat Queen, who had a three-race win streak snapped last out in a six-furlong optional claimer Feb. 20 at Laurel; and Summer Odds.

Named the top handicap mare of 1948 following a season that included wins in the Beldame, Comely, Vagrancy and Brooklyn handicaps, the latter over Hall of Famers Gallorette and Stymie, Conniver was bred in Maryland by Alfred G. Vanderbilt. She retired in 1949 after 15 wins from 56 starts.

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