Highly regarded El Areeb returns to Laurel for James F. Lewis III

November 17, 2016 11:46am
El Areeb wins at LRL (10-15-16)
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club

Fresh off his impressive maiden victory last month, M M G Stables’ highly regarded El Areeb returns to Laurel Park for his stakes debut in Saturday’s $100,000 James F. Lewis III presented by Ourisman of Bowie.
The fifth running of the James Lewis for 2-year-olds and 20th renewal of the $100,000 Smart Halo presented by B&B Commercial Interiors for 2-year-old fillies, both at six furlongs, are among seven stakes worth $825,000 on an 11-race Fall Festival of Racing program highlighted by the $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) presented by Maker’s Mark.
Also on tap are the $100,000 Richard W. Small presented by Samsung Business for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; the $100,000 City of Laurel presented by Fidelity First and $100,000 Safely Kept presented by Insight for 3-year-old sprinters; and the $75,000 Geisha presented by Detail Finishes for Maryland-bred/sired females 3 and up at one mile.
Post time for the Fall Festival of Racing, which also includes four races over Laurel’s world-class turf course, is noon EST. A total of 142 horses were entered on the day, an average of 12.9 starters per race.
El Areeb, purchased for $340,000 as a 2-year-old in training in March, is making his fourth start in the Lewis. Fourth as the favorite when stuck inside in his June 11 debut at Parx, he started slowly and was fanned six wide but closed to be second in his second start Sept. 30, an off-the-turf maiden event run over a sloppy, sealed track at Laurel.
Breaking from the rail on a fast track Oct. 15, the gray or roan son of Exchange Rate led from gate to wire to win by 8 ¾ lengths in 1:10.30 for six furlongs. Trevor McCarthy, aboard for all three races, gets a return call from Post 8 of 11.
“He’s doing really well. We’re optimistic. I think he came out of his maiden win really good,” trainer Cal Lynch said. “We thought he was that kind of horse and then he kind of put everything together his last start. We’re expecting him to improve a little bit, if anything. He’s a developing 2-year-old that we’re excited about.”
One of three horses Lynch entered in the Lewis, El Areeb is the 8-5 program favorite. Lynch will also send out Charles L. Biggs’ Two Charley’s and Spinelli, owned by Lynch’s wife, Daniela. They will break side-by-side from Post 1 and 2, respectively.
Two Charley’s debuted with a five-furlong maiden claiming victory at Laurel July 29 going five furlongs, then was third in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Sept. 10 in his most recent start. The gray or roan colt is a son of Hansen, the champion 2-year-old colt of 2011.
“He’s finished a decent third the other day. He’s another horse that’s doing well,” Cal Lynch said. “Most of the horses in this race are a-other-thans, so we figured we’d give it a try. We’ve been looking to run him for a couple weeks now so he’ll be competitive. He’s doing well and he kind of needs to run, so we’ll take a little bit of a shot in there with him.”
Spinelli, by Grade 1 winner Songandaprayer, was purchased for $50,000 as a 2-year-old in training in April. He was seventh of eight over a sloppy, sealed track in his unveiling Sept. 30 at Laurel, but graduated by four lengths in a 5 ½-furlong maiden Nov. 5 at Penn National.
“Spinelli broke his maiden fairly handily the last day at Penn National. It’s the same scenario,” Lynch said. “We’d like to go in an a-other-than, but if you get a stake and you can get a piece of it … He’s a Louisiana-bred, so he might wind up going to Fair Grounds this winter. We want to see where he fits.”
Runnin’toluvya, Dennis’ Diamond, Deco Czar, Rockshaw, Speed Gracer and High Roller all enter the Lewis off last-out victories. The Great Ronaldo and Chill Factor complete the field.
Balanced Field of Nine Set for $100,000 Smart Halo
Seven horses coming off victories, including White Clay Creek Stakes winner Clairvoyant Lady, help comprise a nine-horse field in the $100,000 Smart Halo.
Owned and trained by Cal Lynch, Clairvoyant Lady earned her diploma with a gutsy neck victory in her second start July 15 at Laurel going five furlongs. Last time out, she came back Aug. 3 with a late surge in final 30 yards to win her stakes debut at Delaware Park.
“She’s still growing. She’ll want to go two turns. We freshened her up since that race at Delaware and she’s coming into it pretty good,” Lynch said. “We’re cautiously optimistic. The last race surprised us a little bit that she ran so good going 5 ½ [furlongs]. This is a little further on her home track. She’s a bit of a grinder so I think she wants to go a little further. This will be a good steppingstone to something else.”
Jockey Steve Hamilton rides Clairvoyant Lady, 15-1 on the morning line, from Post 4.

Sagamore Farm’s well-regarded homebred Riley’s Choice will make her stakes debut in the Smart Halo, exiting a front-running 3 ¼-length maiden victory Oct. 9 at Laurel. It was her first start since coming up empty in her highly anticipated debut July 1, where she finished fifth.
“She’s doing well. She’s training here on the farm and has just been doing everything right,” trainer Horaco DePaz said. “We were thinking she was going to put in a good effort [last time] but we kind of thought she would get it done in her first race, so that left us a little bit puzzled. She’s going into it well.”
Regular rider Victor Carrasco has the mount on Riley’s Choice from Post 8.
“The race looks like there’s a little bit of speed in there. It’s all up to Victor and how he feels comfortable with the filly,” DePaz said. “She’s got the outside post so that’s a really good position for us because he can kind of decide what he wants to do with her. We’re going to leave it in his hands.”
Also entered are Star Super, third in the Sorority Stakes Sept. 5 exiting a sixth-place finish in the Frizette (G1) Oct. 8; Toby Girl, Aiden’s Rag Doll, Squan’s Kingdom, Candycoated Dame, Perfect Wife and Tequilita, the 5-2 program favorite off her maiden triumph Oct. 22 at Keeneland.

Source: Maryland Jockey Club


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