LAUREL, MD. 01-26-12---Abel Castellano rode four winners Thursday afternoon to take over the top spot in the jockey standings at the Laurel Park winter meeting.

The 28-year-old won aboard Lord Kipling ($3.40-second), Yano ($4.40-third), Myrasira ($7.20-seventh) and Diner Gal ($6.20-ninth).

“I am riding a lot of good horses which is giving me confidence,” said Castellano, who rode a career-best five winners here on April 5, 2008. “It is all about confidence for me. Riding for top trainers has been huge and I have been taking advantage of it.”

Castellano now has 11 trips to the winners’ circle, one more than Sheldon Russell. Julian Pimentel, Erick Rodriguez and Alberto Delgado are two back.


Saturday’s $100,000 Dancing Count Stakes is the first added-money test of the new year at Laurel Park. The six-furlong affair for 3-year-olds attracted seven runners, with the eventual post time favorite still in doubt.

Maryland Jockey Club oddsmaker Frank Carulli settled on maiden winner Beggarthyneighbor as the 5-2 morning line choice. The Kentucky-bred son of Half Ours, who is stabled with Chad Brown in New York, dug in to beat maidens at Aqueduct on New Year’s Day in his third lifetime start. Malcolm Franklin picks up the mount.

Dale Capuano will saddle Costas Fiftieth (3-1), who trains at Laurel but has never started here. The speedy Soto offspring is two for seven, with victories at Penn National and Monmouth Park. Erick Rodriguez is his regular pilot.

“It is a pretty evenly matched race,” said Capuano, who is five wins shy of 3,000 for his career. “I am going to the front. Our strategy is to go far as he can as fast as he can. He runs pretty hard but it seems like he puts it together every other time. Hopefully that ends up being true because he didn’t run well in his last start. I think he is capable of running an 85 Beyer which would fit really well in this spot.”

Ill Conceived (4-1) has finished on the board in five of six starts, including a third place finish in the Pennsylvania Nursery on December 10. He followed that effort with a controlling, gate-to-wire victory at Parx Racing. The son of Spanish Steps is trained by John Servis. Abel Castellano will ride.

Charles Town runner Trippi’s Secret (6-1) has two wins in West Virginia and two thirds at Laurel. Elias Peltroche gets his first try on the Ollie Figgins trainee.

Locally based Rocky Gap (8-1) comes out of the barn of Linda Gaudet. The Rockport Harbor colt is one for four and enters the Dancing Count off a bullet half-mile workout at the Bowie Training Center on Tuesday morning. Julian Pimentel retains the mount.

New York-bred Brooklyn Red (8-1) ships from Belmont Park with two wins in three tries at Aqueduct. After winning his first two starts, the son of Silver Wagon backed up to last in the Restoration Stakes on the final day of 2011. Sheldon Russell will ride for trainer Gary Contessa

Maiden winner The Camden Comet (10-1) will represent Tom Iannotti on Saturday. A romping winner over Pennsylvania-breds in his second start has Ricardo Chiappe in the irons.

Laurel will conduct a School Supply Drive Saturday for Brockbridge Elementary and Maryland City Elementary Schools. Those who donate supplies will receive a complimentary gift and two daily passes.


The Maryland Million will have a team jumping into the Chesapeake Bay Saturday afternoon in support of one of its sponsors, Special Olympics Maryland. The 16th annual Polar Bear Plunge is held at Sandy Point State Park, near the Bay Bridge.

Among those plunging will be 1983 Preakness Stakes winning jockey Donnie Miller, Allen Stacy, the 1986 Eclipse Award winning apprentice rider and trainer Tim Keefe.

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The forecast is for temperatures in the mid 40’s at 2 o’clock Eastern when the team is expected to plunge.