Hare Forest Farm's St. Albans Boy gamely held off a closing Perfect Title inside the final 70 yards by a nose to win the 52nd running of the $100,000 Laurel Turf Cup Saturday at Laurel Park.
A 5-year-old gelded son of Giant's Causeway trained by Kelly Rubley and ridden by Daniel Centeno, St. Albans Boy covered the good 1 1/2 mile turf course in 2:28.69. Uncle Dave was third while Phipps Stable's Reflecting finished fourth.
St. Albans Boy, third in last year's Laurel Turf Cup behind Manchurian High and Calvados, had gone winless in his previous 11 starts. But the gelding came into the Laurel Turf Cup after closing to finish third behind a pedestrian pace Oct. 15 in the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland.
"Honestly, his last race at Keeneland was very impressive and so we were quite confident coming in here," said Rubley, based at Fair Hill Training Center.
St. Albans Boy broke alertly under Centeno and was rated third behind the longshot pacesetter Barton Holt, who set fractions of :25.12, :50.49, 1:15.23 and 1:40.40. At the head of the stretch, however, Uncle Dave, racing second, took the lead and was joined midway down the stretch by St. Albans Boy and a closing Perfect Title. But it was St. Albans Boy who would prevail between horses in an exciting three-horse finish.
"I think he has a lot of grit," Rubley said of the winner. "We were crossing our fingers and screaming a little bit, but very proud of his effort."
St. Albans Boy , who returned $9.20, has now won four of 19 starts, all on the turf, for $236,062.
Source: Maryland Jockey Club