Three-year-olds Will Be On Display Throughout the Week

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Ted Black

May 16th, 2017

While many Maryland thoroughbred racing fans are eagerly anticipating this Saturday's 142nd running of the Preakness Stakes, the middle jewel in racing's Triple Crown of which only Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming has a chance to attain, standardbred fans will be keen on watching several sophomores compete in stakes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday evenings at two different ovals.

Tuesday evening will mark the opening leg of the Maryland Sire Stakes eliminations for three-year-olds of both gaits and genders as those trotters and pacers look to earn berths in their respective MDSS finals on May 30 and May 31 at Rosecroft Raceway.

Tuesday's opening leg of the MDSS elims for three-year-old filly pacers features Miss Valerie (Roger Plante, Jr.) who won all 10 of her starts last year as the local dominant juvenile of her gait and gender and makes her sophomore debut against an overmatched group that has combined to win three of 57 starts and Whitesvillemichelle makes her career debut. In the other division, Hybrid Heidi has won twice in eight starts and Mia Love once in 10, but the others are winless in 14 career outings and Western Dragoness makes her career debut in this spot.

In the MDSS prelim for sophomore trotting colts, Ei Ei O (Brian Burton) will look to regain his winning ways after making an early break as the 6-5 second choice in the Dexter Cup elims at Freehold Raceway on Derby Day. Hybrid Henry seeks his first win in three starts this year after recording nine victories in 10 outings last season at age two, while LG's Hotshoe Boy will look to shed his bridesmaid status, having finished second four times in six winless starts this year and 10 times in 17 career outings in which he owns just one victory.

Then on Wednesday evening in early, non-betting races at Rosecroft, Holy Trout (Plante) headlines the MDSS three-year-old filly trot, having won both of her starts this year after capturing eight of 12 outings and earnings $60,000 last season at age two. Camita (Jim Morand) seeks her first win in five starts this year for trainer Les Givens after posting a solid 2-6-3 slate and $52,500 banked in 11 tries as a juvenile.

Clearly the most intriguing event is the one MDSS split for three-year-old pacing colts where Mr Ham Sandwich (Russell Foster) arrives off a determined, troubled trip victory on Derby day and brings seven wins in 10 career tries for trainer Judy Welty and owner-breeder Brian Emerson. Looking to upend the 'Ham' are Adios Muchachos (Milby) seeks his first win in three starts this year after posting a 3-5-1 slate and $48,000 bankroll from 10 starts, while Toms Tarzan (Burton) brings a 3-5-4 slate and $35,000 banked from 12 career outings.

Then on Saturday evening, long after the Preakness Stakes has been decided, Yonkers Raceway will host two eliminations for the $150,000 Lismore Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies and one elim - which will actually only eliminate one horse - of the $350,000 Art Rooney Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings.

The opening split of the Lismore will have a decidedly Maryland-bred flavor as Ashlee's Spitfire, Tequila Monday and Agent Q (David Miller) will garner ample support from posts one, four and seven, respectively. Agent Q won her seasonal debut after posting a solid 3-7-0 slate and $440,000 bankroll from 10 starts one year ago. Tequila Monday was the New York Sire Stakes champion 2yofp last fall when she won four of five starts, while Ashlee's Spitfire has won two of six outings. All three Maryland-breds could reach the lucrative final next weekend.

The second Lismore split includes an evenly matched group, of which three will be eliminated. World Apart (Tim Tetrick) makes her sophomore debut following a freshman season in which she posted a 4-2-3 slate and $130,000 bankroll from 12 starts. Gotthisone Hanover (George Brennan), Caviart Cherie and Ideal Run (Jason Bartlett) should advance to the final, while railbound Big City Betty can not be entirely overlooked.

Then several races later a field of nine sophomores will clash in the Art Rooney elim, of which one will be sent home. Downbytheseaside drew post nine in the second tier for trainer Brian Brown and won his sophomore debut in sharp fashion against Pennsylvania Sire Stakes foes at the Meadows on Derby Day after boasting a solid 8-3-2 slate and $575,000 bankroll last season for trainer Brian Brown. Funknwaffles (Brian Sears) won eight of nine starts and earned $250,000 last season, while Miso Fast (Matt Kakaley), Summer Side, Stealth Bomber and Henry The Dragon (Montrell Teague), a winner 11 times from 14 career outings in Delaware, will all look to avoid being bumped from the lucrative final.