Defending Champs Among Nominees To Virginia-Bred Stakes Slated For June 23rd At Laurel

The first of three special Virginia-bred/sired race days this summer at Laurel Park is slated for Saturday June 23rd. A four-pack of stakes will be contested. Here is a preview based on  nominations.

Four Stakes Worth $300,000 Saturday, June 23 Over World-Class Turf Course
Super Hi-6 Carryover of $1,193 for Return of Live Racing Friday, June 15

LAUREL, MD – Defending champions Special Envoy, Queen Caroline and Do What I Say are among 112 nominations to a quartet of $75,000 stakes restricted to Virgina-bred/sired horses hosted by Laurel Park Saturday, June 23.

The one-mile Edward Evans and 5 ½-furlong White Oak Farm for 3-year-olds and up, and the one-mile Nellie Mae Cox and 5 ½-furlong M. Tyson Gilpin for fillies and mares 3 and older will be contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course.

It is the first of two days during Laurel’s summer meet, which runs June 1 to Aug. 19, to feature four $75,000 Virginia-bred/sired grass stakes. The Hansel, Meadow Stable, William M. Backer and Campton will be run Saturday, Aug. 4.

Special Envoy (outside) just edges Rose Brier (inside) in a classic matchup in the 2017 Evans Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s homebred Special Envoy won the Edward Evans en route to a sweep of Laurel’s Virginia-bred stakes in 2017 that included the Hansel and Bert Allen, the latter Sept. 30. The Arnaud Delacour-trained 7-year-old Stroll gelding has not raced since that victory, and has been working steadily for his return at the Fair Hill Training Center.

Amy Moore’s Queen Caroline was a popular front-running winner of the Nellie Mae Cox last year, one of two wins from eight starts in 2017, the other coming in Laurel’s Brookmeade Stakes, also against fellow Virginia-breds. She last raced Oct. 28 when off the board in the 1 1/16-mile Athenia (G3) at Belmont Park, and has also been prepping for her return at Fair Hill for trainer Michael Matz.

Queen Caroline went wire-to-wire in successfully defending her crown in the 2017 Nellie Mae Cox Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

R. Larry Johnson homebred Do What I Say has finished in the top three in six of seven career tries at Laurel, two of them wins, including a come-from-behind triumph length triumph over Sister Says in the 2017 White Oak Farm. The 5-year-old Street Magician mare made her seasonal debut running second in an optional claiming allowance going 5 ½ furlongs May 5 at Laurel.

Lawyer Dave and Lime House Louie, separated by a half-length when second and third, respectively, in last year’s race, top White Oak Farm nominees. Lawyer Dave went on to win the Punch Line Stakes at Laurel in the fall and has made one start this year, running fifth in an off-the-turf five-furlong claiming sprint May 26 at legendary Pimlico Race Course.

Also prominent among nominees are Two Notch Road, an multiple stakes-winning 11-year-old gelding with more than $522,163 in lifetime earnings who captured the 2016 White Oak Farm; and multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Long On Value.

Two Notch Road upset Exaggerated in the 2016 White Oak Farm Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Super Hi-5 Carryover of $1,193 for Return of Live Racing Friday, June 15

Live racing returns with a 10-race program Friday, June 15 that includes a $1 Super Hi-5 carryover of $1,193.44 in opener. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.

Six races are scheduled for Laurel’s world-class turf course over the Kelso and Fort Marcy layouts. A total of 60 horses were entered, an average of 10 starters per race.

Friday’s feature is a $47,000 third-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up at 5 ½ furlongs on the Kelso turf course featuring stakes winners Anna’s Bandit, Daylight Ahead and Deer Valley.