LAUREL, MD. 03-12-09---Maryland-bred fillies and mares are featured in Saturday’s $50,000 Conniver Stakes, the Saturday headliner at Laurel Park.

Nine runners will race seven furlongs topped by morning line favorite Puskita (5-2), who in just four starts has won three times in Maryland along with a runner-up finish in the Beautiful Day Stakes at Delaware Park. Larry Murray trains the 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie and Malcolm Franklin is the only rider she has ever known. After missing six months with a cracked splint bone, the daughter of Indian Charlie won a pair of allowance starts at Laurel in a five-week period. Since her last start on January 22, Puskita posted a bullet workout at Laurel.

“She has a lot of talent,” Murray said. “What I like about her is that she is very tractable, she’ll do whatever you ask. Malcolm told me it is like driving a car, ‘if you put her in idle she’ll do that and when you step on the gas she goes’. We engineered a little break for her because we hope to have a big year. She really did well with it and she’s had two real good breezes and she is sitting on ready.”

Co-second choices on the program are defending champion All Giving (3-1) and Fascinatin’ Rhythm (3-1). All Giving is a workhorse, with ten lifetime wins which also includes victories in The Very One Stakes at Pimlico and the Alma North at Timonium last year. Jonathan Joyce rides the Allen’s Prospect offspring for trainer Flint Stites.

Fascinatin’ Rhythm has finished in the money in seven consecutive starts, including four stakes races. She rallied to finish third under Mario Pino in the Grade II Barbara Fritchie on February 14, her most recent start. Pino retains the mount for trainer Richard Small.

After winning just three times in her first 35 career starts, Met A Miner (7-2) was claimed for $14,000 by trainer Scott Lake and has reeled off two wins in front running fashion. Abel Castellano was aboard for both scores and retains the mount on the daughter of Allen’s Prospect.

“All Giving is certainly a very nice horse,” added Murray. “But the big unknown is the horse Lake is running. Those two that she’s run under him have been huge. To me she is the wildcard.

Completing the lineup are Two Columbus (15-1), Fancy Diamond (15-10), Church Bell (20-1), Southafrican Ball (20-1) and My Little Pretty (20-1).

The Conniver is the last race on the Laurel program and the first leg of the Magna 5 wager. The Magna 5 has a carryover of $218,895 from last week.


Jockey turned trainer Dane Kobiskie, who hung up his tack in February 2008 to begin conditioning horses, returned to the saddle in today’s seventh race and guided Mysterious Bandit to a gate-to wire victory over seven other optional/claimers. Kobiskie trains the seven-year-old mare for PTK LLC. She paid $6.40.

“No pressure,” said Kobiskie. “Jenna Joubert is my stable rider but she’s still injured, and my second choice Julian Pimentel is on days (suspended), so I said, ‘you know what, I rode this horse, and I’ll ride her myself’.”

Last summer at Colonial Downs, Kobiskie saddled and rode Citi Charisse, another of his charges, and guided her to a stakes victory.

The 30-year-old now has 290 wins as a rider and 39 as a trainer, including five during the current Laurel Park winter meeting.