Faces Trio of Stakes Winners Among Six Rivals in 3-Year-Old Sprint
LAUREL, Md. – John Davison and Eunhee Kim’s Super Love, undefeated through three starts, will put his perfect record on the line as he makes the long-awaited step up into stakes company for the first time in Saturday’s $75,000 Star de Naskra at Laurel Park.
The 29th running of the Star de Naskra for 3-year-olds and fifth renewal of the Miss Disco for 3-year-old fillies, both sprinting seven furlongs, are among four $75,000 stakes restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses on the 10-race program along with the Ben’s Cat for 3-year-olds and up and Jameela for fillies and mares 3 and older, each scheduled for 5 ½ furlongs on the grass.
Headlining the last of Laurel’s three spectacular Saturdays in July featuring a total of 11 stakes worth $1.05 million is the $100,000 Deputed Testamony for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles. First race post time is 12:40 p.m.
Based with trainer Damon Dilodovico at Laurel, where he has raced exclusively, Super Love was a front-running maiden special weight winner going 5 ½ furlongs in debut April 16 who came back to beat winners in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance May 5, both by 1 ½ lengths and neither as the favorite.
Super Love was an overwhelming choice over his elders in his most recent start, which turned into a breakthrough performance. He broke sharp and quickly opened up two lengths on the field, powering home 8 ¾ lengths in front under a hand ride from Horacio Karamanos. The winning time for 5 ½ furlongs was 1:03.79.
“It all came together for us last start. Honestly, I just kind of felt like in his previous efforts he was just kind of running with the pack for the most part,” Dilodovico said. “Horacio was saying he just liked to stay with the horses. It was good that he finally figured out to move along because some of these horses as you go along, they’re not going to be easily put away. If you keep somebody in the game that long they might cause some problems for you near the wire.”
The connections have remained patient with Super Love, nominating him to but bypassing both the six-furlong Chick Lang (G3) May 21 at historic Pimlico Race Course and seven-furlong Concern July 2 at Laurel to await this spot. Karamanos, aboard for each of his starts, rides back from Post 2 at 119 pounds.
“I feel like the owner was very willing, in fact more suggesting, ‘Let’s just wait, our chance is coming up,’” Dilodovico said. “We waited, and I think that was the right move. Now we are kind of going into this thing the right way.
“He’s been training really well. I’m very confident with where he is right now,” he added. “Not that he set a land speed mark last time, but he ran very well, a very professional race, and came out of it the way you hope that they would come out of it. It’s all positive.”
Each of Super Love’s six rivals have stakes experience including 2021 Maryland Million Nursery winner Buff Hello, 2021 Timonium Juvenile winner Cynergy’s Star and Bird Mobberley’s Local Motive, a stakes winner on both turf and dirt for trainer John Salzman Jr.
By Divining Rod, third to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the 2015 Preakness (G1), Local Motive is entered to return to the dirt after finishing off the board in the one-mile James W. Murphy May 21 at Pimlico. The Murphy was the first start for Local Motive after winning the Feb. 19 Miracle Wood and running third in the Jan. 29 Spectacular Bid and March 19 Private Terms to open his 3-year-old season.
Local Motive missed some time after the Murphy with a minor foot bruise but tuned up for the Star de Naskra with a half-mile move in 49 seconds July 21 under regular rider J.D. Acosta, who gets the call from Post 1 at topweight of 122 pounds.
“I turned him out for a couple weeks after his last race and he had an issue with his foot,” Salzman said. “I got a good work into him the other day. I talked to J.D. about it and he said he seemed fine. He said he was happy with the work, and he seemed like he was fit enough. But he’s going to have to run, it’s a stake. He’s training every day and he’s going fine and if I’m happy with the way the race looks then [he’s] going to run.”
Another horse back on dirt after a failed turf effort is Morris Kernan and Jagger Inc.’s Uncle Irish, who ran last of seven behind Main Event in the 1 1/8-mile Kent (G3) July 2 at Delaware Park. Prior to that the Uncle Lino gelding had put together back-to-back wins in Maryland by 11 ½ combined lengths, including a one-mile optional claiming allowance triumph June 11 at Laurel.
“He won a couple of allowance races down there and then we tried him in the Kent. I don’t think it was that he didn’t like the turf, I think the competition was just too much for him,” trainer and co-owner Jamie Ness said. “Now we’re back against Maryland-breds. He’s a late-maturing horse. Obviously two turns would be his thing, but the race is seven-eighths, so we’ve got to go with it.”
Jamie Rodriguez rides from Post 5 at 118 pounds.
Also entered are a pair from trainer Jerry Robb, Alottahope and Al Loves Josie. No Guts No Glory Farm’s Alottahope was second to multiple stakes winner Joe in the 2021 Maryland Juvenile and has won twice in six starts this year along with fourths in the Spectacular Bid and Chick Lang and a fifth last out in the Concern. Al Loves Josie, owned by No Guts No Glory and CJI Phoenix Group, exits a 3 ¼-length optional claiming allowance score sprinting six furlongs July 9 at Laurel.
The Star de Naskra is named in honor of the 1979 champion sprinter bred and owned by Carlyle Lancaster. He had a record of 15-10-4 and purse earnings of more than $580,000 from 36 starts between 1977-79, winning eight stakes and three graded-stakes, the latter during his championship season.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo Super Love winning his third in a row on June 19, 2022, at Laurel Park. (Maryland Jockey Club)