LAUREL, MD. 12-05-13---After finishing third in the 2010 Maryland Million Turf, trainer Tim Keefe decided that Eighttofasttocatch needed a change. The son of Not For Love has responded with 11 victories in 25 main track starts, including nine stakes races.
“He really needed a boost in confidence at that point in his career,” Keefe said. “He responded. I have made some mistakes along the way, putting him in spots where he couldn’t compete, but (owners) Arnold and Sylvia Heft deserve a lot of credit. They have never pressured me to run him. Horses like him come very infrequently so I want to keep him around as long as I can.”
The winner of his past two starts at Laurel Park - the Maryland Million Classic (Oct. 19) and the Jennings Handicap (Nov. 16) - Eighttofasttocatch is set to break from the extreme outside post under Forest Boyce. Based on his current form, the seven-year old figures to make a beeline for the lead, since he won his last two outings in gate-to-wire fashion.
“I certainly wouldn’t have picked the outside but we will still be okay,” added Keefe. “He prefers the front and has become one dimensional but at the same time he has staying power. He came out of the Jennings in good condition. I am bringing him back quicker than normal but he loves this track and has never been better, so there is no reason not to run.”
Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Keith Feustle has made Eighttofasttocatch the 9-5 morning line favorite.
Lucy’s Bob Boy (4-1) has won sixteen of twenty-one starts, including a handy 8-3/4 length score in his last outing, the A Huevo Stakes at Charles Town. He is seven-for-nine this year with victories in three other stakes at Charles Town. Sandra Dono trains the son of Flatter. Arnaldo Bocachica has the mount.
Other runners with impressive credentials include Ponzi Scheme (5-1) and Gourmet Dinner (6-1), who won the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot as a two-year old in 2010 and finished on the board in both the Holy Bull (G3) and Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) the following year.
Jerry Robb will saddle multiple stakes winner Fred High (12-1) in the Broad Brush. Robb opted to run the son of Crypto Star in the $450,000 West Virginia Breeders Classic at Charles Town instead of the Maryland Million Classic and the gelding responded with his sixth victory of the year. He then finished third, behind Lucy’s Bob Boy last month. Wesley Ho has the riding assignment.
“I rode the horse for the two other trainers who had him previously but ever since he stepped into Robb’s barn, he has been a totally difference horse. He has put on weight and his attitude towards running is completely different,” Ho said. “I think he is peaking right now. We got boxed in last time out and he still made a big effort. There is plenty of pace in this race with the two favorites so I think this horse could run a really good race.”
Robb, who is an impressive 13-of-31 at the current fall meet, will have runners in all three stakes races.
Two-year old fillies are the focus of the seven furlong $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes. Post time favoritism will fall to either Mamdooha or Respectful Wishes, who are listed at even money and 6-5 respectively on the morning line in the seven furlong race.
Mamdooha was a maiden winner at Aqueduct for trainer Kieran McLaughlin in her second lifetime start. Despite a hard bump at the break, the daughter of Daaher recovered quickly and won going away, earning a Beyer speed figure of 75. Eddie Castro will ride.
Respectful Wishes has stakes experience, with a second in the White Clay Creek Stakes on her resume. She’s won her past two starts for Robb, both under Ho at Laurel. The daughter of Fairbanks has three wins and a second in six lifetime starts.
“This filly is starting to put everything together,” added Ho. “She seems to be improving with each effort. Two starts back she set some fast fractions. Last time out she relaxed on the front-end and I had plenty of horse left. I think the 7/8’s is her best distance and she is going to be tough to beat.”
Robb also entered Venice Queen (10-1), who has been on the board in six-of-eight starts this year.
Two-year old colts and geldings make up the field of eight named to start in the seven furlong $100,000 Marylander Stakes.
Jessethemarine is the 2-1 program favorite off an impressive rally to win his last start, the James F. Lewis Stakes at Laurel on November 16. The son of With Distinction made an eye-popping stretch run to win at odds of 35-1. After the race his owner-trainer John Rigattieri said he looked forward to running Jessethemarine at the seven furlong distance.
Joint Custody (7-2) is third choice on the morning line after a second place finish in the Maryland Million Nursery and a rallying fourth in the James F. Lewis. Ho will be aboard the son of Outflanker for the fourth straight time.
“In his first three starts he was sent to the lead but in his last start we let him break on his own and do his own thing,” Ho said. “He had to be taught to have dirt kicked in his face and did end up making a good run down the lane.”
The $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes was scheduled to be part of the Saturday card but only three runners were entered in the one mile test for fillies and mares, so the race was scratched.
Lucky fans will be selected throughout the day as part of the annual $10,000 Give Tree giveaway. Mystery gifts include flat screen televisions and iPads. Everyone in attendance will receive a complimentary 2014 Maryland racing calendar.
ANOTHER MULTIPLE WIN DAY FOR CARRASCO; X MARKS THE SPOT FOR PEREZ
For the ninth time in the last 10 live racing days at Laurel Park, apprentice Victor Carrasco produced a multiple win afternoon. The 21-year old guided Runaway Dame ($6-race 6), Kissed by the Mist ($9.40-race 8) and Sweet Yulianna ($5.80-race 9) to victories Thursday afternoon. He leads the fall standings with 51 victories and tops all North American apprentice riders in both victories (194) and earnings ($3,827,365).
Xavier Perez rode three winners on Thursday’s nine-card. The 26-year old visited the winners’ circle aboard with Fibber and Molly ($4.60-race 1), Hiram ($21.80-race 5) and Time of the Sword ($9.60-race 7). The win total matched what Perez had for the entire fall meet entering the day.