Feeling Woozy breaking his maiden Nov. 20 at Laurel Park. (Jim McCueMaryland Jockey Club)
By David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
LAUREL, Md. – With more than 2,100 career wins to his credit, Hamilton Smith has a track record of success in late-season 2-year-old stakes that the 77-year-old trainer hopes to continue Saturday at Laurel Park.
Smith will send out Feeling Woozy in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile and Gormley’s Gabriela in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Fillies, both seven-furlong sprints restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses.
Feeling Woozy, also owned by Smith, enters the Juvenile off a front-running four-length maiden special weight triumph Nov. 20 at Laurel going seven furlongs. It was his fourth career start and came on the heels of back-to-back runner-up finishes in similar spots 21 days apart in October.
“He’s just coming around to himself. He ran some good races earlier and ran against some pretty nice maidens, but his last race was by far his best,” Smith said. “He won pretty handily. I think we’ll have him off the pace a little bit. It looks like there’s two or three horses in there that have a little bit of speed so he should be lying back probably fourth early and make his run.”
Smith won the Juvenile in 2016 with Great Bullsooffire. Feeling Woozy, by multiple graded stakes winning millionaire Irish War Cry, drew outermost Post 7 under regular rider Angel Cruz.
“I like the post,” Smith said. “It’s a good place to be.”
The even-money favorite in the Juvenile is Hillwood Stable’s Post Time, undefeated through two starts for fall meet leading trainer Brittany Russell, with Eric Camacho riding from the rail. Also entered is Maryland Million Nursery winner Johnyz From Albany.
Smith will be going for his second straight victory in the Juvenile Fillies and sixth overall with JoAnn Smith’s Gormley’s Gabriela. The bay daughter of Grade 1-winning millionaire Gormley has two wins from five starts – a 1 ¼-length maiden claiming triumph second time out July 15 and an optional claiming allowance victory Sept. 30 where he was elevated following the disqualification of first-place finisher Tappin Josie.
Most recently, Gormley’s Gabriela ran a troubled third in the six-furlong Smart Halo Nov. 12 at Laurel, beaten 6 ¾ by Twice as Sweet though just a neck behind runner-up Miss Georgie.
“She had a little bit of a rough trip, but she’s a come-from-behind filly, anyway, and once she got clear she was running real well at the end,” Smith said. “I think she’ll love seven furlongs, even further for that matter. Same scenario, she’ll probably be lying about mid-pack and make a run the latter part of it.”
Smith previously won the Juvenile Fillies with Gin Talking (1999), True Sensation (2001), Pour It On (2003), Money Fromheaven (2018) and Luna Belle (2021).