LAUREL, MD. 12-26-08---Trainer Scott Lake began this decade with fewer than 700 career victories. With a win in today’s seventh race at Laurel Park with Blushing Tiger ($7.40), the conditioner becomes the eighth trainer in history to reach the 4,5000 win plateau.

Lake, the nation’s second leading conditioner with 418 winners, has 113 victories at the major Maryland tracks this year and will wrap up his fourth consecutive state title tomorrow when the local 2008 season concludes.

The 43-year-old conditioner, who has horses stabled in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and Florida has won 3,819 races since January 1, 2000, including 830 at Pimlico and Laurel this decade. Only Dale Capuano, who has visited the winners’ circle 831 times at the major Maryland tracks since 2000, has more victories.

“I am in awe when you sit back and think about what we accomplished,” Lake said. “I just wanted to train horses and it turned into this. We are proud of what we have achieved.”

The barn added its 4,501st winner with Sophisticated Lady ($4.80) in the eighth race.

Lake has seven horses entered to start at four different tracks Saturday, including a pair at Laurel.


A DECADE OF DOMINANCE

YEAR OVERALL (Rank) MARYLAND (Rank)
2000 337 (1st) 107 (2nd)
2001 407 (1st) 126 (2nd)
2002 399 (2nd) 76 (3rd)
2003 454 (1st) 72 (2nd)
2004 374 (2nd) 39 (tied 6th)
2005 417 (2nd) 70 (1st)
2006 528 (1st) 114 (1st)
2007 485 (2nd) 113 (1st)
2008 (thru 12/26) 418 (2nd) 113 (1st)

TOTAL 3,819 830


PEACE TOWN TARGETS MARYLAND JUVENILE CHAMPIONSHIP

Peace Town is one of eight runners focused on capturing the final stakes race of the year at Laurel Park, Saturday’s $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship. Previous winners in the 1 1/16th mile test include Preakness runner-ups Oliver’s Twist and Magic Weisner.

Peace Town (9-5), a chestnut son of Peace Rules trained by Mike Trombetta, won two of his first three starts, then finished second in the Trapp Mountain Stakes at Belmont Park. He’s been on the sidelines since October 13, but will gear up again under jockey Julian Pimentel.

“We had other plans for him but we had to alter plans after the equine herpes situation hit Laurel last month and the entire backside was quarantined,” Trombetta said, “So we just backed up a step and trained for this spot. He has some decent works and hopefully he’s ready to roll. We are hoping he’ll be able to get the distance and he posted a three quarters of a mile workout (December 13) that was amazing. He was by himself and did it as nicely as you could ask (1:12.60). You toss out the sixth place finish on the Polytrack at Presque Isle and he has done just about everything we have asked of him. He was second to a good horse in New York and had a lot of adversity in the allowance race here in August but still managed to win.”

Trombetta has had a successful fall campaign with 24 wins from 98 starters at Laurel Park, but the 42-year-old conditioner’s barn is not as hot as Gary Capuano’s. Since he turned 45 on November 14, Capuano has won 12 of 19 races at Laurel with 18 in the money finishes.

Capuano will saddle Eyes On Versailles, the 3-1 second choice. The son of Louis Quatorze has raced three times at Laurel Park, winning the last two, including one at the distance. Carlos Quinones will continue to ride.

The Prince (4-1) won his debut race at Delaware, then experienced serious traffic problems at the start of a race a Philadelphia Park, where he finished second but was disqualified to third. Jeremy Rose picks up the mount for trainer Tony Dutrow.

Ready To Cruise (6-1) won his maiden start, then finished in the money in two of three against allowance company. Malcolm Franklin rides for Larry Murray.

Count On Lou (8-1) has racked up five seconds with one victory in eight starts. He’s ended up second in his last three, chasing Eyes On Versailles in his most recent try. Rafael Mojica is his regular rider. Ferris Allen trains the gelded son of Marquetry.

In the Juice (10-1) defeated Count On Lou by a nose in an allowance test at Laurel on November 19 at one mile. The son of Rock Slide was fourth in the Maryland Million Nursery. Trainer Jerry Robb has two victories in this race: Run Alden (1993) and Apple Special (2007).

Blueberry’s Start (12-1) has a victory at the distance, breaking his maiden here on December 4 for trainer Rodney Jenkins. Travis Dunkelberger picks up the mount on the son of Jump Start.

Royal Stare (20-1) has two wins from four starts and was second in the Tri State Futurity at Charles Town. Mario Pino, who accompanied the son of Louis Quatorze to a score at Penn National earlier this month has the mount for trainer Judy DiNatale.