Nine Races on Tap as Live Racing Returns to Laurel Park
LAUREL, Md. – A third-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the Dahlia turf course helps to spice up a nine-race card as live racing returns to Laurel Park Thursday to open Fall Festival of Racing weekend.
First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
Among the field of 10 for Thursday’s Race 8 are stakes winners Robin Sparkles, Can the Queen, Dontletsweetfoolya and Needs Supervision, the latter entered for main track only. Based in New York with trainer Bruce Brown, Robin Sparkles is the 6-5 program favorite.
Michael Schrader’s Robin Sparkles exits back-to-back third-place efforts going 5 ½ furlongs at Saratoga in the July 24 Caress (G3) and August 21 Smart N Fancy, which was contested over a yielding turf course.
“She’s really been very consistent, just always tries her hardest,” Brown said. “She got a little late last time. She just didn’t like the turf at all up in Saratoga. It was very soft, but she still finished third. She always tries every time. Last time was kind of a subpar effort, but she was just not getting over that turf whatsoever.”
The front-running Robin Sparkles captured an off-the-turf edition of the Mount Vernon May 31 at Belmont Park against fellow New York-breds and has finished third or better in 10 of her 11 career starts, with six wins. This will be her first time racing outside of her home state.
“The [six-furlong] Floral Park [Oct. 17] at Belmont is kind of our goal, but we wanted to get her a race in between,” Brown said. “There was a bit of a lull in the action, so we were looking for a race to try and keep her going and keep her sharp and it just so happened this race came up.”
Mychel Sanchez has the call on Robin Sparkles from Post 9.
“There are some decent ones in there, but with what she’s been running against she should fit in well,” Brown said. “She’s got a nice, long stride and she’s a free-running kind of horse, so [we] just kind of let her do her thing and don’t get in her way.”
Joanne Shankle’s Can the Queen became a stakes winner with her 1 ¾-length triumph in the five-furlong Sensible Lady Turf Dash July 24 at historic Pimlico Race Course, her most recent start. She was fourth after setting the pace in the July 4 Jameela at Pimlico, also five-eighths on the grass.
Five Hellions Farm’s Dontletsweetfoolya won five in a row last year between July and December including back-to-back stakes but has never run on turf and has gone unraced since June 13 and trainer Lacey Gaudet said she may need more time to be ready for her return.
Also, in the race are Dendrobia, Quiet Company and Spun Glass, respectively second, third and sixth to Ellanation in the Jameela; Bath And Tennis, Beautiful Grace and main-track-only entrant Rather Nosy.
Thursday’s card also includes a maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-old fillies in Race 3 and a Maryland-bred/sired allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up in Race 5, both scheduled for 5 ½ furlongs on the grass; and an entry-level allowance for fillies and mares 3 and older going 1 1/16 miles on the turf in Race 8 that drew an overflow field of 16.
Racing continues with a nine-race card Friday featuring stakes winners Kenny Had a Notion and Karan’s Notion lining up in Race 7, a 5 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up; and a pair of 5 ½-furlong maiden special weights for 2-year-olds in Race 3 on the main track and Race 8 and the turf.
Saturday is Laurel’s Fall Festival of Racing featuring five turf stakes worth $600,000 in purses headlined by the $150,000 Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds and $150,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies, both going 1 1/16 miles.
Also on tap are the $100,000 Japan Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up going 1 ½ miles, $100,000 All Along at 1 1/8 miles for fillies and mares 3 and older, and $100,000 Laurel Dash for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs.
For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE
David Joseph/MJC Press Office
Photo: Robin Sparkles winning the Mount Vernon Stakes and earning Black Type at Belmont Park on May 31, 2021, under Jose Ortiz. (Dom Napolitano)