Laurel Park hosts stakes-filled Saturday card

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Ted Black

December 29th, 2018

During the weekend between Christmas Day and the various New Year's Eve celebrations leading up to 2019, many racing fans still have a thirst for quality action and several of them turned their attention to Laurel Park on Saturday afternoon as the Maryland oval offered six stakes events on the main track.

One of the earlier races on the card, the $100,000 Heft Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings produced a mild upset. Alwaysmining (Daniel Centeno), a juvenile son of Stay Thirsty trained by Kelly Rubley, recorded his third straight tally when he broke sharply and fended off the late bid of favored Win Win Win to score by nearly a length in 1:22.60 for the seven furlongs. The best Maryland-bred juvenile on the circuit, Alwaysmining posted his fourth win in nine starts this year although he will likely yield champion Maryland-bred two-year-old colt honors to Knicks Go, hero of the Grade I Kentucky Futurity who was second to Game Winner in the Breeders Cup Juvenile.

Then two races later on the card in the $75,000 Jennings Stakes for Maryland-bred older males, Cordmaker (Alex Cintron) rallied from well off a hot pace provided by John Jones and overhauled the leaders in the lane to score by three lengths in 1:35.84 for the one-turn mile. A sophomore son of Curlin trained by Rodney Jenkins for owner Ellen Charles, Cordmaker notched his second win in five starts this year - both at the one-turn mile at Laurel - and now owns three wins and $140,000 banked from nine lifetime outings.

One race later in the $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes for two-year-old fillies, Please Flatter Me gave jockey Alex Cintron his second straight stakes on the card when he guided the juvenile daughter of Munnings to a wire-to-wire score. Trained by Mark Reid for the Madaket Stables, Please Flatter Me recorded her second straight stakes tally and remained perfect in three career outings by drawing off to a six-length score by getting the seven panels in 1:23.81 and appeared to be getting stronger as the race progressed.

Then one race later in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes for three-year-old fillies going a one-turn mile, Isotope (Jorge Vargas, Jr.) saved ground down the backside and through the far turn and rallied inside for a 6-1 upset while stopping the timer in 1:37.63. A four-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal trained by Jeremiah Englehart for owner Acqua Nova Stable, Isotope recorded her fourth win in nine starts in 2018 and now owns a 7-1-3 slate and $240,000 banked from 19 lifetime outings.

One race later in the $100,000 Dave's Friend Stakes for older male sprinters, Colonel Sharp displayed plenty of early speed and late grit to prevail by a neck over Altissimo in 1:09.30 for the six panels. A five-year-old Colonel John gelding trained by Hugh McMahon, Colonel Sharp dueled with Midtowncharlybrown early, disposed of that one then shook off favored Laki turning for home and held safe the inside bid from Altissimo to score by a neck.

Immediately after the race McMahon made his intentions known for Colonel Sharp, proclaiming 'It's the General for the Colonel' referring to the Grade III, $250,000 General George Stakes at Laurel Park on February 16, 2019. Colonel Sharp finished 2018 with five wins in 12 starts and earned nearly $240,000 and displayed speed and grittiness en route to taking the Dave's Friend Stakes. He will be among the outsiders in the General George, but he certainly cannot be overlooked based on his recent form and fondness for the oval.

Then one race later in the $75,000 Politely Stakes for Maryland-bred or sired fillies and mares, Elevated Vision (Jevian Toledo) posted an absolute shocker when she rallied for a 38-1 upset while 1-5 favorite Crabcakes offered nothing and failed to hit the board. A sophomore daughter of Great Notion trained by Phil Schoenthal, Elevated Vision recorded her first stakes triumph and third win in five tries overall while getting the six panels in 1:10.69 and provided onlookers with the biggest upset on the day.