Bob Baffert has won Maryland’s marquee race, the Preakness Stakes (G1),
five times during his Hall of Fame career, but he had never sent a
starter to Laurel Park until Brigand won the City Of Laurel Stakes on
returns to the central Maryland track Monday as the 9-5 morning line
favorite in the $250,000 General George Handicap (G3), which will
feature eight battle-tested sprinters going seven furlongs.
SprintFest weekend also includes the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap
(G2) and the $125,000 John B. Campbell Handicap on Saturday afternoon.
hard to find a race among Brigand’s past performances where he hasn’t
had the lead for at least part of the race. In his past two starts, the
Flatter colt posted a front running win in the City of Laurel Stakes and
a gate-to-wire score in the Turn of the Century Stakes against New
York-breds at Aqueduct on January 20. His best graded effort was a
second place finish in the Jerome (G2) at Aqueduct last spring. Irad
Ortiz has the mount.
“He’s doing great,” Baffert said. “He is finally matured and running like his purchase price ($925,000).”
Villano (3-1) hit the board in seven of nine stakes last year, winning
the Chick Lang at Pimlico Race Course and the Dave’s Friend at Laurel,
placing in the Hutcheson (G2) at Gulfstream, the Red Legend at Charles
Town and the De Francis Dash at Laurel and finishing third in the Woody
Stephens (G2) at Belmont. The son of Pollard’s Vision, who is trained by
Susie Crowell at Parx Racing, will carry jockey Kendrick Carmouche for
the fourth consecutive start.
is doing well. He had a bullet work yesterday (4f in 47.6 seconds),”
Crowell said. “He had a tremendous 3-year-old campaign and is a very
honest horse. He has been a pleasure to work with. It makes you want to
get up every morning to go to work.”
(4-1) ascended from the claiming ranks into a stakes competitor while
in the Rick Dutrow barn, finishing third in the Malibu (G1) at Santa
Anita Park to end 2011, third in the Bold Ruler (G3) at Belmont Park to
end 2012 and off the board in the Hals Hope (G3) at Gulfstream Park to
start 2013. Michelle Nevin takes over training for the son of Wando with
Erick Rodriguez riding for the first time.
really took to the dirt once he got to Rick’s barn,” Nevin said. “He
has been training extremely well since the Hal’s Hope and we are happy
with him. He already galloped over the track at Laurel and handled it
well. I am expecting a big effort.”
Afleet (6-1) battled New York-breds last year before venturing to
Laurel in late December to finish fourth in the Dave’s Friend Stakes.
Claimed for $75,000 in December by Rudy Rodriguez, the son of Northern
Afleet won two restricted stakes last year for his previous connections.
Horacio Karamanos will be in the irons.
Lynch has shipped Javerre (8-1) to Laurel for his last three starts and
the son of Outflanker put in on the board efforts in the Maryland
Million Sprint, the City of Laurel and the Native Dancer. The New
Jersey-bred won four races last year including the New Jersey Breeders
Handicap. J.D. Acosta is his rider.
He Perfect (10-1) has competed in eight stakes races, including two
graded events, since his last victory in May. The son of Pleasantly
Perfect ran in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and the Belmont Stakes (G1) two
years ago. The Doodnaught Shivmangal trainee is also entered in an
overnight stakes at Aqueduct on Saturday.
Lord (15-1) finished second in the John B. Campbell last year and has
nine in the money finishes in 13 career starts. Carlos Marquez has the
mount for trainer Jose Corrales.
Small trains Broad Rule (20-1), the upset winner of the Fire Plug
Stakes last time out. Forrest Boyce is his regular rider.
BULLET CATCHER HEADLINES FRIDAY CARD
Catcher, who made local and national headlines last month after
escaping from the Laurel Park backside and taking a 1.6 mile journey,
will headline Friday’s 8th race, a $40,000 allowance race.
The Jerry Robb trainee dead heated for second in a similar spot on
January 31, 20 days after the son of Strong Hope tossed jockey Jeremy
Rose while heading back to the barn after a workout and got loose. He
made his way out of the stable gate, made a left on Whiskey Bottom Road
and another left onto U.S. Route 1 before being caught, un-injured.
4-year-old is the 3-1 second choice on Frank Carulli’s morning line.
Six others are entered in the six-furlong sprint including Team Six
(2-1), Pass You Bye Bye (7-2), Hard Line (9-2) and Trappist Monk (6-1).
Bullet Catcher is 1-of-8 lifetime with five in the money finishes.