Sumaya U. S. Stable’s Lights of Medina, in her first start against winners, stalked and wore down multiple stakes-placed Forever Liesl en route to a two-length victory in the $125,000 Weber City Miss under jockey Fergal Lynch for trainer Todd Pletcher.
A “Win and You’re In” event for the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) Stakes at Pimlico on May 19, the 1 1/16-miles event was the first of five stakes on a Laurel Park Saturday card, co-headlined by the 37th running of the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes.
A slight favorite at even money, Lights of Medina ($4) completed the distance in 1:45.22 over a muddy main track that was downgraded to sloppy shortly after the race. Forever Liesl, 3-2 second choice, was urged to the front early by jockey Jevian Toledo and carved out fractions of 23.87, 47.69 and 1:13.18 before being collared within the final furlong by the winner. It was another 15 1/2 lengths back to runner-up Frank’s Folly in third and another 24 lengths back to Star Super, who rounded out the quartet. Heavy morning-line favorite Jenda’s Agenda was scratched early in the morning.
The victory was the daughter of Eskendereya’s second from five career starts and second in a row graduating in a Laurel one-turn mile maiden on Mar. 26. The $75,000 winner’s share increased her career earnings to $121,100 and added to a stellar year for principal Oussama Aboughazale’s Sumaya U. S. Stable, which has a 2017 record of 15-8-1-0 and $895,737 in purses.
“My agent spoke to (Pletcher) and he just told me she’ll just keep galloping and galloping,” Lynch added. “If there was no pace, I was going to make the lead. Jevian jumped and wanted to make it, so I let him go and gave my filly a clear path. I thought he had drawn off at the three-eighths pole, but to be fair my filly dug in again and re-broke and came running and really got on top in the end. The leader looked like she was going to be hard to catch but my filly kept plugging away. It was a great job by the trainer and all the guys in the yard. They did a fantastic job. When you’re riding for these guys, it makes our jobs easier.
“She galloped out great,” he continued. “The further the better for her I think. If it was in England I’d say she wants a mile and a half. She’s one of them.”
Larry Jones, trainer of the scratched 3-5 morning line favorite Jenda’s Agenda, said; “We sent her down there to run. I got notice [she was scratched] but it was not my idea. I’m not down there. We walked her this morning and everything was good on our end as far as we were concerned. But I’m going to tell you, after Eight Belles I don’t push it a lot. I don’t want something to happen. I’m not there myself to make the call so we just had to go with what [the veterinarian] wanted to do.”
Absatootly Upsets $75,000 Primonetta, Gives Jockey Gomez First Stakes
Newman Racing’s Absatootly ($23.40) charged down the stretch powerfully to earn her first open stakes victory in the 10th running of the $75,000 Primonetta Stakes. The upset win gave jockey Kevin Gomez his first career stakes victory and was the Charlton Baker-trained daughter of Mineshaft’s second added-money tally overall, following a restricted stakes in Dec. 2015.
Breaking from post seven of eight fillies and mares in the six-furlong main track event, the bay 4-year-old New York-bred filly stalked 2-1 favorite Appealing Maggie and 7-2 third choice Lovable Lady in third through fractions of 22.92 and 46.65 for a half-mile over the sloppy going, while under a snug hold and racing four-wide. As the favorite retreated, Absatootly cruised up to Lovable Lady, engaged that foe and overpowered her through a slightly erratic stretch drive, crossing the wire 1 1/2 lengths superior in 1:11 flat. It was another four lengths back to Next Best Thing in third.
Earning her fifth victory from 12 starts, the Belmont Park-based winner earned $45,000 to increase her career bankroll to $249,107 and stayed undefeated in three starts at Laurel.
In his 995th mount, Guatemala native Gomez, 22, earned his first stakes and 112th career victory. Based in Maryland, he was an Eclipse Award finalist last year for leading apprentice jockey.
“I thought someone was going to catch up with me,” Gomez said. “I just tried to keep her straight and hoped no one could catch me and she got it done.”
Sweet On Smokey, Stormy Sky, Bodacious Babe, Decoratedwithstyle and Appealing Maggie, who hopped at the break and rushed up to the front before faltering, rounded out the order of finish. Maziette was scratched.
Source: Maryland Jockey Club