Blacktype, a French-bred son of Dunkerque trained by Christophe Clement, prevailed by a half length in last year’s Commonwealth Turf. He returns to Laurel to try to become the first repeat winner of the grade 2 one-mile turf race.
The $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International is the headliner for Laurel Park’s “Class on the Grass” event. The 12-race program includes eight turf stakes, three of them graded, with $850,000 in purse money. There are two graded stakes for 3-year-olds, the $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G3T) and $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3T).
The three graded stakes formerly were conducted at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va., which has not offered racing since 2013. The Virginia Equine Alliance and Virginia HBPA are presenting the two grade 3 races.
The Baltimore/Washington International drew a field of eight that includes grade 1 winner Ring Weekend, multiple grade 2 winner Tower of Texas, and a pair handled by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown: Projectedand Catapult.
Blacktype, who drew post seven, won his most recent start, a 1 1/16 miles optional claimer on Sept 9. at Belmont Park. It was his first victory of the season highlighted by a third-place finish in the Longines Dixie Stakes (G2T). Prior to his Commonwealth Turf Cup victory in 2016, Blacktype won the Oceanport Stakes (G3T) at Monmouth Park. Horacio Karamanos, who won the 2013 Commonwealth Turf on London Lane, will ride Blacktype.
Ring Weekend, co-owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds, is a well-traveled, accomplished veteran who leads the Baltimore/Washington International field with more than $1.5 million in earnings. He picked up his grade 1 victory in the 2015 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita Park. Trainer Graham Motion saw some positives in his most recent race, a fourth in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2T) on a yielding turf course at Saratoga Race Course on Sept. 4.
“I think he’s probably not quite the horse he was, though his numbers are still very solid with this group of horses,” Motion said. “He’s a little bit more laid back perhaps than he was, which shows in his races. He tends not to get so involved early in the races. I actually thought his last race at Saratoga was strong enough against what’s the stronger group of horses that we have on the East Coast.”
In the Commonwealth Oaks, Stuart Janney III will try to win with a homebred for a third straight year. He won the 1 1/8-mile turf race in 2015 with Onus and last year with My Impression. Janney will go for the hat trick Saturday with In the Lee, a daughter of Tapit out of Janney’s graded stakes-winning mare Quiet Harbor.
“I worry that if I think about it too much it won’t come to pass,” said Janney of the possibility of winning the 1 1/8th mile turf event for 3-year-old fillies. “But it would be great. I care a lot about Maryland racing and everyone has been doing a great job there. I was toured all around the facility recently and it’s great what they’re doing. (Commonwealth) is a great day and it’s a fun race to win.”
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who will try to saddle his third consecutive Oaks winner for Janney, In the Lee is from a very special family that can be traced back to 2001, when Seth Hancock purchased the A.P. Indy mare Meghan’s Joy for Janney in foal to Deputy Minister at the Keeneland November sale. Meghan’s Joy has produced five graded stakes winners for Janney: Ironicus , Hunting, Norumbega, On Leave, and Quiet Harbor; as well as the multiple stakes winner Seal Cove.
“It’s been a good family,” Janney said. “Meghan’s been a terrific broodmare and she’s been bred to some very good stallions.”
In the Commonwealth Derby, Motion will send out Just Howard off a three-race win streak. The son of English Channel will make his graded stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile turf test.
Just Howard is a Maryland-bred with deep roots in the state. He is named after his breeder, the late Howard Bender, is owned by Skeedattle Associates, the long-standing partnership of three friends from Clarksville, Md. and is trained by Motion, who is based at Fair Hill in Elkton, Md.
Motion said that adding blinkers in May isn’t the only reason why Just Howard broke his maiden in his sixth try and then won two Laurel stakes on turf.
“That’s probably a part of it,” Motion said. “I do think he’s a horse that just kind of matured. He hasn’t done much wrong, this horse. He’s a pretty cool horse.”
Laurel Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 7
- Grade IIIT
- 1 1/8m
- 3 yo Fillies
- 3:30 PM (local)
|1||1Proud Reunion (KY)||Ashley Castrenze||120||Thomas F. Proctor||10/1|
|2||2Fly By (KY)||Jevian Toledo||116||Leah Gyarmati||15/1|
|3||3Rymska (FR)||Feargal Lynch||116||Chad C. Brown||2/1|
|4||4Canny (KY)||Sheldon Russell||116||Michael Stidham||20/1|
|5||5I’m Betty G (MD)||Julian Pimentel||116||Michael J. Maker||12/1|
|6||6Charged (KY)||Daniel Centeno||116||Michael Stidham||15/1|
|7||7Taperge (KY)||Nik Juarez||116||Chad C. Brown||5/2|
|8||8Chubby Star (MD)||Jose Lezcano||116||Horacio DePaz||6/1|
|9||9Flower Fashion (FR)||Horacio Karamanos||116||Christophe Clement||8/1|
|10||10In the Lee (KY)||Forest Boyce||116||Claude R. McGaughey III||12/1|
Laurel Park, Saturday, September 30, 2017, Race 8
- Grade IIT
- 3 yo’s & up
- 4:00 PM (local)
|1||1Glorious Empire (IRE)||Sheldon Russell||118||Carlos F. Martin||12/1|
|2||2Projected (GB)||Nik Juarez||118||Chad C. Brown||9/5|
|3||3Tower of Texas (ON)||Jesse M. Campbell||118||Roger L. Attfield||6/1|
|4||4Catapult (KY)||Feargal Lynch||118||Chad C. Brown||7/2|
|5||5Ring Weekend (KY)||Edgar S. Prado||118||H. Graham Motion||9/2|
|6||6Xmas Sky (KY)||Jevian Toledo||118||Elizabeth M. Merryman||30/1|
|7||7Blacktype (FR)||Horacio Karamanos||118||Christophe Clement||9/2|
|8||8Special Ops (KY)||Daniel Centeno||118||Michael J. Maker||15/|