Sticksstatelydude transfers form to turf in Edward Evans Stakes

Press Release
June 22, 2018 08:03pm
Sticksstatelydude wins 2018 Edward Evans
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club
Sticksstatelydude, already a Grade 3 winner on dirt, transferred his stakes-winning form to the grass with a one-length victory over defending champion Special Envoy in Saturday’s $75,000 Edward Evans on Commonwealth Day at Laurel Park.

The one-mile Edward Evans was the third of four $75,000 stakes restricted to Virginia-bred/sired horses 3 and up over Laurel’s world-class turf course on the 11-race program. It was preceded by the Nellie Mae Cox and M. Tyson Gilpin for fillies and mares and followed by the 5 ½-furlong White Oak Farm.

Sticksstatelydude ($3.60), favored at 4-5 over his five rivals, went the distance with jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. in 1:34.85 over a firm Dahlia turf course. Special Envoy, who swept the three-race series at Laurel for Virginia-bred/sired horses last year, held on for second by a neck over Speed Gracer.

It was just the third start on turf for Sticksstatelydude, the winner of the 2016 Discovery (G3) at Aqueduct who finished fourth behind Grade 1 winner Almanaar in an optional claimer at Belmont Park 15 days earlier.

The Evans was the second straight race for Sticksstatelydude since being moved full-time to the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin, who had cared for and run the 5-year-old son of First Dude on the East Coast for his childhood friend, former Kentucky-based trainer Greg Burchell.

“That was a great win. I’m very happy for Greg. He’s the one that’s been with him the most hours in his life,” McLaughlin said by phone. “[Vargas] rode him very well. We thought we might be on an uncontested lead but it didn’t quite work out that way. But, I liked the way the race unfolded and the way Jorge Vargas rode him. It worked out well.”

Breaking from the far outside post, Sticksstatelydude found himself floated wide when 90-1 long shot Trustifarian drifted around the first turn, but he was able to settle in the clear three-wide as Carbon Data took the field through a quarter-mile in 23.42 seconds and a half in 46.98, pressed by Trustifarian.

Sticksstatelydude moved up to a contending position around the far turn and assumed the lead straightening for home, going six furlongs in 1:11.06. The winner stayed strong to the wire as Special Envoy made his belated bid after racing in mid-pack and tipping outside in the stretch to edge Speed Gracer.

"I was pretty confident,” Vargas said. “They told me to put him in the race and I did. He kind of took his time to get it together, but when he does he’s a beautiful thing to ride.”

McLaughlin has trained Sticksstatelydude on and off during the horse’s career with Burchell, who was based at Churchill Downs before giving up his last two horses and moving to North Carolina. The horse is named for one of Burchell’s long-time owners, Alvin ‘Stick’ Haynes, the late founder of Haynes Trucking in Lexington.

Haynes is still listed among the horse’s owners, along with his son, Mitch; John Ferris, another long-time client; Brad Ward, the nephew of a friend; and Pack Pride Racing, headed by Burchell’s wife, Beth, with two of her North Carolina State roommates. Burchell and Co., including breeder Canyon Lake Thoroughbreds, were on hand for Saturday’s race.

“We’ve been very blessed. We don’t all get together that often but it’s great when it all comes together,” Burchell said. “He’s a horse that’s had some physical problems and we’ve had to stop on him from time to time. The turf is easier on him considering his injuries,” he added. “His mother and his sister both won on the turf so we figured we’d give him a chance and we’re fortunate that it worked out.”

McLaughlin said he plans to point Sticksstatelydude to the next race in the series, the $75,000 Hansel Stakes going 1 1/16 miles Aug. 4 at Laurel.

Armoire Gets First Stakes Win in $75,000 Nellie Mae Cox

After running second in all three Virginia-bred/sired stakes last year, twice finishing behind Queen Caroline, Armoire turned the tables on her main rival with a 1 ½-length victory in the $75,000 Nellie Mae Cox.

It was the first career stakes win for Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s homebred, a 5-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller, who ran one mile in 1:34.61 under jockey Daniel Centeno over a Dahlia layout rated good.

“It worked out well,” winning trainer Arnaud Delacour said. “We had a good pace in front of us. She relaxed very well and came and made one move, and that’s the kind of race she likes to run.”

Sent off the even-money favorite in a field of seven, Armoire ($4.20) settled along the inside in fifth behind fractions of 22.81 seconds, 46.03 and 1:10.58 set by Zenbennie and Delacour-trained stablemate Well Blessed. Defending champion Queen Caroline and jockey Alex Cintron sat third as the field rounded the far turn when Centeno swept to the outside and got the first jump, opening up after finding daylight in the stretch and having plenty left to dismiss a late charge from Drop Dead Red.

“She got a perfect trip. She broke sharp and I just covered her up on the inside and saved all the ground,” Centeno said. “On the last turn I was looking at Cintron to see what he was doing, so I moved up outside of him. He’s the horse I had to beat and when I asked her, she moved really good and I surprised him.”

Queen Caroline stayed on to be third, 2 ¼ lengths behind Drop Dead Red and four lengths ahead of 18-1 long shot Complete St., followed by Zenbennie, Well Blessed and Secret Or Not.

Delacour said Armoire is likely to come back in the next race of the Virginia-bred/sired series, the $75,000 William M. Backer Stakes Aug. 4 at Laurel.

“That’s probably going to be the plan, to wait, give her plenty of time between races,” he said. “She likes that. She seems to run well fresh.”

Determined Vision Sees Way to $75,000 White Oak Farm Win

D Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock’s Determined Vision lived up to his name in his turf and stakes debut, leading all the way for a hard-fought half-length upset of Saturday’s $75,000 White Oak Farm Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 5 ½-furlong White Oak Farm was the last of four $75,000 stakes restricted to Virginia-bred/sired horses 3 and up over Laurel’s world-class turf course on the 11-race Commonwealth Day program. It was preceded by the Nellie Mae Cox and M. Tyson Gilpin for fillies and mares and one-mile Edward Evans.

Determined Vision ($24.80) and rider Jevian Toledo had to survive objections from both Christian Hiraldo, aboard runner-up Available, and Julian Pimentel on fourth-place finisher and 7-5 favorite Fly E Dubai before both claims were dismissed.

Fitted with bright blue earmuffs for the first time in just his fifth career start, the 3-year-old Jump Start gelding set a blazing pace of 21.72 seconds for the opening quarter-mile, chased by Hatteras Bound, before going a half in 44.65 seconds with Available pressing to his inside.

The group remained tightly bunched going around the far turn and Determined Vision was still in front after five furlongs in 56.11. Set down for a drive through the stretch by Toledo, they were able to outrun Available and hold off late-running Lime House Louie, who was a half-length back in third and a head in front of Fly E Dubai.

“My experience is that there hadn’t been a lot of Jump Starts that like the grass but moreso than that, he’s an a-other-than running against horses that are two-other-thans and that’s a tough ask for a horse,” Schoenthal said. “But, at the end of the day, the race didn’t seem like it was that tough and we didn’t think that there was a lot of speed in there. We thought maybe we’ll get out there and steal it. It worked out awesome.”

Lime House Louie finished third for the second straight year in the White Oak Farm. Rounding out the finishers were Homespun Hero, 11-year-old Two Notch Road, the 2016 White Oak winner, Hatteras Bound and Braxton.

Toledo dismounted Determined Vision on the turf course following the race so the tack could be readjusted for their return to the winner’s circle. Schoenthal credited the jockey for a superb ride.

“He’s kind of a high-strung horse. We put the earmuffs on him in the morning and it really seemed to calm him down so we added the earmuffs for the race today and he seemed like he relaxed and took a deep breath and ran well despite having his saddle slip,” Schoenthal said. “Hats off to Toledo. A lot of riders would have pulled him up out of the race for their own safety and he rode the hair off him, anyway. It was really Toledo’s win more than anything else.”

Altamura Takes $75,000 M. Tyson Gilpin with Late Rally

Making her stakes debut fresh off a maiden triumph eight days prior, also over the Laurel turf, Altamura barged between horses in mid-stretch and came with a strong rally on the far outside, emerging from a four-way photo finish with a head victory in the $75,000 M. Tyson Gilpin.

Ridden by Horacio Karamanos for trainer John Stephens, who co-owns the 3-year-old filly with Frederick Seitz and Danny Ward, Altamura ($18) ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:02.05 over the All Along layout.

A daughter of Artie Schiller, Altamura went unraced at 2 and didn’t debut until May 12 in an off-the-turf maiden special weight at Monmouth Park. She gave Thompson his first career stakes win.

“She’s just really improved from her first start and we’ve been very pleased with her. We gave her the time last year to mature, so we’re very excited,” Stephens said. “Truthfully, I think she can go longer; this spot just kind of fit her.”

Virginia Fable was in front after a quarter-mile in 22.36 seconds but was passed by Northern Eclipse, who went the half in 44.93 while Up Hill Battle gave chase on the inside and Altamura settled in mid-pack. Karamanos made his move at the top of the stretch and had to squeeze between Northern Eclipse and defending champion Do What I Say before gathering momentum once clear to catch Virginia Fable near the wire.

Up Hill Battle was another neck back in third, a neck ahead of Sister Says. What the Beep, the 3-2 favorite, Northern Eclipse, Do What I Say and Dixie Dazzle completed the order of finish.

“The filly broke really good out of the gate,” Karamanos said. “When the turn was coming I was a little tight so I sat in behind a little bit and when I asked her she gave me a really nice kick. At the eighth-pole the horse was coming through and horses started to squeeze her a little bit but she was coming with nice action and she came on at the end really strong.”

Jockey Carrasco Wins First Race of Comeback Saturday

No Guts No Glory Farm and Marisa Gino’s Ten Hut found room between horses in mid-stretch and sprinted clear to win Saturday’s ninth race and give jockey Victor Carrasco the first victory of his latest comeback.

Carrasco, 25, the Eclipse Award-winning apprentice of 2013, returned from more than nine months away from competitive riding June 17 at Laurel, after breaking the fibula and tibia in his right leg in a race-day spill at Delaware Park.

Ten Hut ($10) was the seventh mount back for Carrasco, a multiple meet champion at both Laurel and legendary Pimlico Race Course.

“This is a very, very special win for me. Coming from an injury this serious and being able to get back to do what I love, it means a lot to me,” Carrasco said. “Nobody knows how hard I worked to be here today. It’s a very, very special win for me.”

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Jerry Robb, Ten Hut won the $23,000 claiming event by 1 ¾ lengths in 1:36.11 for one mile over a main track rated good. Hours earlier, Carrasco finished second with Vow’s Son in the second race at Delaware Park.

“We’re getting back to it. I worked very extra hard in physical therapy … but the only way to get fit is riding races and this was only my seventh horse that I rode,” Carrasco said. “Every time I ride I’m getting fitter and fitter and people are going to see that I’m getting my confidence back, and hopefully I’m going to keep winning.”

Carrasco is named in three of 10 races at Laurel on Sunday, which will feature carryovers of $6,858.92 in the $1 Super Hi-5 (Race 1) and $630.02 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 5-10). First race post time is 1:10 p.m.


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