Five turf stakes for Virginia-bred/sired horses, each with a purse of $75,000, highlight Friday’s (October 9) nine race card at Laurel. The stakes were originally scheduled to be run September 2 at Colonial Downs but since the meet ended prematurely due to Covid-related issues, were rescheduled to run in Maryland.
The M. Tyson Gilpin, Jamestown and Punch Line Stakes will be contested at 5 1/2 furlongs while the Brookmeade and Bert Allen Stakes will be run at the 1 1/16th miles distance.
Dare To Dream Stables’ Embolden headlines a 14-horse field in the Punch Line Stakes scheduled as Race 8, final Virginia-bred event on the card. The 3-year-old The Factor gelding is fresh off a pair of Grade 3 efforts at Keeneland and Saratoga. In his prior race, the Michael Stidham trainee finished second in the Edward P. Evans Stakes and in 2019, wired the field in capturing the Jamestown Stakes. Trevor McCarthy will ride Embolden, who was bred by Nancy Terhune and Ernest Frohboese.
The pair also bred Reform School, a 3-year-old Munnings colt who will compete in the Punch Line and is coming off an allowance win at Charles Town last month. In ten life starts, the Crystal Pickett trainee has finished in the top three eight times. Sheldon Russell has the mount.
Twin Creeks Racing and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Largent looks to add to an already impressive 2020 campaign in the Bert Allen Stakes. The Todd Pletcher trainee has three wins and a pair of runner-ups so far from five starts including a victory in the Edward P. Evans Stakes July 20 at Colonial. In seven outings, the 4-year-old Into Mischief gelding has never finished worse than second. He was bred by Lazy Lane Farms and will have Trevor McCarthy up top.
Paul Hirsimaki’s Divine Interventio, winner of $354,644, makes his first Virginia-bred stakes start in the Bert Allen. The 7-year-old Malibu Moon gelding has 43 career outs and 27 “in-the-money” finishes. The Hugh McMahon trainee was bred by the William Backer Revocable Estate and will be ridden by Katie Davis.
Morgan Ford Farms’ River Deep is also in the field. The 6-year-old Arch gelding won the Hansel and Bert Allen Stakes in 2018 and the Evans last year, but has struggled in 2020. He recently prepped in the Blue Ridge Hunt’s Woodley Cup feature September 19 in Berryville and defeated five others at a one-mile distance. Sheldon Russell, who has ridden River Deep in all three of his stakes wins, will be aboard again.
Eagle Point Farms’ What The Beep looks to make it two straight in Virginia-bred stakes company when she faces a field of five other fillies and mares in the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes. The 5-year-old Great Notion mare won Colonial’s Camptown Stakes by one length July 29 with Forest Boyce in the irons. She was also up top when What The Beep won the ’18 Gilpin edition and will ride again Friday for trainer Karen Dennehy Godsey.
Country Life Farms’ Bella Aurora is one of six fillies and mares in the Brookmeade Stakes field. In nine starts, the Michael Trombetta trainee has competed in six stakes including a win in the Gin Talking last December at Laurel. The 3-year-old Carpe Diem filly finished second in the ’19 Jamestown and third in this year’s Camptown. Bella Aurora was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm and will be ridden by Julian Pimentel.
Competition could come from Newtown Anner Stud’s Tasting the Stars, who has only five lifetime starts. The Michael Stidham conditioned filly appeared in the ’19 Virginia Oaks at Colonial. The 4-year-old daughter of Bodemeister was off for a year and just returned with a fifth in the Twixt Stakes September 5 at Laurel. She was bred by Audley Farm Equine and will be ridden by Trevor McCarthy.
The Jamestown Stakes for 2-year-olds attracted a field of seven including a pair who broke their maiden this summer. Louis Ulman and Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion won a tight maiden special weight at Delaware July 30 and most recently, finished sixth in the First State Dash Stakes. The Great Notion gelding was bred by Althea Richards. Rashid’s Thoroughbred Racing and Kingdom Bloodstock’s Cool Enough captured a $20,000 maiden claimer in New Kent August 5, wiring the field after the race was moved to the dirt track. The Tamarkuz filly was bred by Morgan’s Ford Farm. Jorge Ruiz and Forest Boyce have the respective mounts.
The Bert Allen and Punch Line Stakes are each included in Friday’s Stronach Pick-5 wager that features a $100,000 guaranteed pool.
Virginia racing enthusiasts can wager the action at any Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, VA-Horseplay Off Track Betting Center or online at TVG.com, Xpressbet.com, Twinspires.com and NYRABets.com.