Uncle Jake from SoCal to make debut for Russell

March 9, 2023

Live Racing Returns Friday to Laurel Park

Fast and Shiny (inside) and Uncle Jake (outside) workout at Santa Anita Dec. 23, 2022. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club)

LAUREL, Md. – Triple Crown-nominated Uncle Jake, a $675,000 son of champion Uncle Mo, is entered to make his first start for trainer Brittany Russell in Friday’s opener as live racing returns to Laurel Park.

The one-mile maiden special weight for 3-year-olds attracted a field of six led by 3-5 program favorite Uncle Jake, owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital and Catherine Donovan.

Uncle Jake hails from the same connections that moved Fort Warren from Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to Russell, recently voted her second straight Renaissance Award as Maryland’s top trainer. Fort Warren, third in the Jan. 29 San Vicente (G3) at Santa Anita, shows one breeze Feb. 25 at Laurel, going a half-mile in 50.20 seconds.

Out of the Harlan’s Holiday mare Tasha’s Miracle, a two-time Grade 3 winner in California, Uncle Jake debuted Jan. 29 in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita, finishing fourth following a slow start. The runner-up in that race, Sonoran, came back with a 7 ½-length maiden special weight romp Feb. 20 for Baffert.

Uncle Jake has had three breezes at Laurel, most recently going four furlongs in 48.40 seconds, handily, March 5. Jevian Toledo is named to ride from Post 4.

Russell will also unveil Brereton C. Jones’ Touchdown Montage, an American Freedom gelding that has breezed steadily at Laurel since mid-January for his debut. The Elkstone Group’s Maryland homebred Vax a Nation steps up after running second in three consecutive maiden claiming races ranging from one to 1 1/8 miles.

In Race 3, a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight for 3-year-old fillies, Russell will send out the 5-2 morning-line favorite in Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Goodgirl Badhabits, a $135,000 daughter of Mastery that breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 March 1 in her final tuneup.

The second division of the filly maiden special weight comes in Race 7 where another Uncle Mo offspring, Soave Stables and Lynch Racing’s Ruthanne, drew the rail for her debut off a dozen works at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. Trainer Phillip Capuano will send out Devil Pays in Gold, a Maryland-bred daughter of stakes winner Uncle Lino, seventh in the 2016 Preakness (G1).

Winter meet-leading trainer Jamie Ness will send out the favored entry of Jardani and Under the Radar in Race 8, an entry-level allowance for 4-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles. The co-feature comes in Race 7, a one-mile optional claiming allowance for 3-year-old fillies where six of the nine entrants were also nominated to the $100,000 Beyond The Wire March 18.


Post time will remain 12:25 p.m. for the duration of the winter meet, which runs through Friday, March 31 … There will be a carryover of $10,481.69 Friday in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, spanning Races 4-9.

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