Trombetta’s Quest Continues Thursday at Laurel
LAUREL, Md. – Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, Madaket Stables and Michael Caruso’s Wondrwherecraigis is back home at Laurel Park after giving trainer Brittany Russell her first career graded-stakes victory.
His front-running triumph in the seven-furlong Bold Ruler (G3) at Belmont Park came the day before Russell’s planned C-section to deliver her second child with husband Sheldon Russell, one of Maryland’s leading jockeys currently sidelined following foot surgery.
Wondrwherecraigis also provided the connections with a measure of redemption after finishing first in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) Sept. 18 at Laurel but disqualified to second for interference. The Russells watched the Bold Ruler from their Maryland home while assistant trainer Amanda Olds saddled the horse in New York.
“It really was a team effort. It was huge,” Olds said. “After the last race in Maryland, that was a massive bummer when he got taken down. But this kind of lifted the spirits a little, and we needed that. Especially with Brittany having a baby and everything else going on, it’s a big weight off the shoulders. We won it for the owners, we won it for the team. It’s good. It keeps the team mentality up. This is why we do it, to have wins like that.”
Olds said a proud Wondrwherecraigis exited the Bold Ruler in good shape.
“He came out of the race great, looks great, we can’t be happier with him,” she said. “He was touting himself pretty good, believe me. We were like, ‘OK, let’s come back down to ground level, buddy.’ After the race he looked great, cooled out great, just not a spot on him. He’s just such a classy horse. Having a horse like that, it makes it so fun. They just want to win.”
Olds praised Russell’s patience and perseverance with Wondrwherecraigis, a son of Munnings that went unraced at 2 and made four starts in 2020, running third in the Gold Mover at Belmont and fourth in the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga last summer before getting the rest of the year off.
Wondrwherecraigis didn’t race again until a three-length comeback triumph May 14 over Preakness (G1) weekend at historic Pimlico Race Course. He won another optional claiming allowance July 18 at Pimlico and the Aug. 13 Tale of the Cat at Saratoga prior to the De Francis.
“She had sent this horse to me when I worked for [trainer] Brad [Cox] and I remember she had just gotten him and he wasn’t the greatest mover. It’s a year’s difference and this horse is like a whole different horse this year,” Olds said. “She’s put a year’s work into him and he’s fantastic. He’s happy. His rider at Laurel, Nick, does a great job with him. I’m just really happy for her. There’s not really words for it. Brittany is such a good person. Sheldon is such a good person. It’s people like that that you want to succeed. They follow the rules to a ‘T.’ And, they’re great to their help, which is huge.”
To that end, and with Russell’s blessing, Olds finds herself in California this week with Mr. Amore Stable’s multiple Grade 1 winner Firenze Fire, who is scheduled to make his final start in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
“I gallop Firenze, so I’m actually at Del Mar,” Olds said. “She said, ‘You can’t pass that up, Amanda. You have to go with him. It’s his last race.’ So, she let me fly out for the week.”
Upcoming spots for Wondrwherecraigis could include the Fall Highweight (G3) Nov. 28 at Aqueduct and Dave’s Friend Dec. 26 at Laurel, both sprinting six furlongs. There is also the Cigar Mile (G1) Dec. 4 at Aqueduct, although he has never raced beyond seven furlongs in 10 career starts.
Olds said the Russells and their newborn son, Rye, are all doing well. They are also parents to daughter, Edy, who turned 2 in August.
“He’s a big, beautiful, healthy boy, and she’s doing good,” she said.
Atop Hello Beautiful, Sheldon Russell is congratulated by wife and trainer, Brittany, and daughter, Edy, after their win in the Alma North July 31, 2021, at Pimlico. (MJC)
Trombetta’s Quest Continues Thursday at Laurel
Trainer Mike Trombetta enters Thursday’s card one win away from 2,000 for his career. His only runners come at Laurel – Tidal Waters in Race 1, U S Constitution in Race 5 and Mr Jefferson and Bold Leader in Race 8.
On Friday, Trombetta has three horses entered in two races at Laurel as well as Biz Biz Buzz in the Atlantic Shores at Belmont Park and Can’t Buy Love in the Cellars Shiraz at Gulfstream Park.
For info on the Best Breeders’ Cup Seminar click HERE.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo: Wondrwherecraig is winning an AOC at Pimlico July 18, 2021 under Sheldons Russell. (Maryland Jockey Club)