Laurel Park offers live racing on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The December 31 program includes two stakes, the $125,000 Broad Brush Stakes and the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.
The Juvenile Filly Championship event was scheduled to go Wednesday afternoon but was lost to inclement weather. When the race was re-drawn, an extra runner was added to the line-up, so seven fillies will go 7-1/2 furlongs in Monday’s fourth race. The Broad Brush Stakes, Monday’s eighth race, attracted nine runners who will race nine furlongs.
Graded stakes winner Called to Serve is the 9-5 morning line choice in the Broad Brush. Trained by Nick Canani at Belmont Park, the son of Real Quiet won the Discovery Handicap (G3) in his most recent start. Called to Serve’s dance card includes third place finishes in both the West Virginia and Oklahoma Derbies this year, as well as a runner-up finish in the Temple Hills Stakes at his home base. Joel Rosario is named to ride.
Local favorite Eighttofasttocatch (7-2) defended his title in the Jennings Handicap in his most recent start. The Not For Love offspring has won six stakes races at Laurel Park for trainer Tim Keefe since March 2011. Abel Castellano, Maryland’s leading rider, has the assignment on the 6-year-old for the first time.
“He returned to form in his last start. That was the kind of race I thought he’d run in the Maryland Million Classic (finished fifth as the favorite),” Keefe said. “I am not going to give Abel a lot of instructions, he has watched the horse run. In an ideal situation we would go to the front, slow it down and hope it goes our way but I think he is versatile enough that if it doesn’t go according to plan he can relax from the outside.”
Keefe also entered Hughes Next (15-1), a runner he claimed from Mike Trombetta in late October.
Sheldon Russell, who has been aboard Eighttofasttocatch 19 times, will instead ride Hello Lover (5-1). The Butch Reid trainee finished a distant second to Eighttofasttocatch in the Jennings here on Dec. 1. The son of Not For Love has won nine-of-16 this year for nearly $300,000.
Chris Grove will saddle both Norman Asbjornson (4-1) and Pretension (20-1). The former competed in the 2011 Preakness Stakes (G1) and has won twice since that appearance. The latter, who finished last in the 2012 Preakness, has not visited the winners’ circle since winning the Canonero II Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Kentucky Derby day.
Rounding out the field are Tonto Fontenot (8-1), Thunder Lord (15-1) and Avenida Paseo (30-1).
In the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, the favorite Walkwithapurpose (2-1) is two-for-three lifetime for trainer Ignacio Correas. The Sagamore Farm home-bred finished third in her debut at the Timonium State Fair but has won her last two starts, both at Laurel, in relatively easy fashion. Jeremy Rose continues in the irons on the daughter of Candy Ride.
Correas will also start Listen Boy (5-1), who broke her maiden on the turf in late October.
Hot Fun (5-2) has started five times with a win, two seconds and a third. Donald Barr trains the Latent Heat filly.
“She has improved from day one,” said Barr. “I taught her to rate early because that’s how it looked like she wanted to run. After her last race, there was no question we were going to aim for the Juvenile Filly Championship. I’m not sure how she’ll do at that distance but I think she will run good.”
Completing the field are maiden winners Bear Access (6-1), No Means No (6-1), Stormy Adventure (8-1) and Easter Fashion (12-1).