Unbridled Juan too good for Dalmore in Laurel's Richard Small Stakes

Unbridled Juan too good for Dalmore in Laurel's Richard Small Stakes
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club
Stronach Stables’ Unbridled Juan, stepping up in place of his multiple graded-stakes winning stablemate Something Awesome, sat a stalking trip before pouncing in the stretch and holding off a resurgent Dalmore to win Saturday’s $100,000 Richard W. Small at Laurel Park.
The 1 1/8-mile Small, named for the successful and colorful longtime Maryland trainer and ex-Green Beret who died of cancer at age 68 in April 2014, anchored five stakes worth $500,000 in purses on a 10-race Salute the Troops Day program.
It was joined by the $100,000 City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, both at seven furlongs, and a pair of six-furlong sprints for juveniles, the $100,000 James F. Lewis III and $100,000 Smart Halo, the latter for fillies.
Unbridled Juan ($10) went the distance in 1:50.56 to win his second career stakes in as many starts. The pacesetting Dalmore was a stubborn second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Small Bear. It was a nose back to recent BWI Turf Cup (G3) winner Doctor Mounty in fourth, with 9-5 favorite Zanotti checking in sixth.
Something Awesome, unraced since finishing last as the favorite in the Pimlico Special (G3) May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course, was one of seven scratches from an overflow field. Also among them was the quartet of 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points, Belfour, Douglas Road and Adulator – all entered in a $47,000 optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles on Sunday’s nine-race program.
Dalmore, exiting three straight graded-stakes including a runner-up finish in the 1 1/8-mile Cornhusker (G3) July 6, was hustled to the front by jockey Jose Ferrer and looked comfortable going the first quarter-mile in 24.41 seconds under modest pressure from Tour de Force.
Jockey Alex Cintron gave Unbridled Juan a clear run in third outside of Tour de Force before taking second after a half in 47.71. Cintron set his sights on the leader after straightening for home and put him in a drive to the wire as Dalmore dug in late before grudgingly giving way.
“This horse, he gets along with this track pretty good I think because of the wide turns,” Cintron said. “He got into the race early, and he just gave me everything in the end.”
Unbridled Juan is now 2-for-2 at Laurel, rallying to win a one-mile off-the-turf allowance by a head Aug. 3. In his previous start, the gelded 6-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song won the 1 1/16-mile Grover ‘Bud’ Delp Memorial Oct. 17 at Delaware Park.
“I think Unbridled Juan got the chance to show himself. He ran very well. This horse is improving. I’m just blessed to be part of this,” trainer Jose Corrales said. “I think they like the Maryland crabs or something, these horses. It must have something to do with it, because Maryland makes these horses get better.”
 
 

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