Crowded field in Small Stakes

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Jim Dun­leavy

The Richard W. Small is a fit­ting head­liner on a fives­takes Salute the Troops preVeter­ans Day card at Lau­rel Park on Satur­day. Small, who died in 2014, was not only a highly suc­cess­ful Mary­land horse­man, he served as a Green Beret in Viet­nam.

The $100,000 Small Stakes has come up ex­ceed­ingly strong and drawn a full gate of 14, plus two also-el­i­gi­bles. The un­der­card in­cludes a pair of seven-fur­long sprints for 3-year-olds, the City of Lau­rel and Safely Kept, and two six-fur­long stakes for 2-year-olds, the James F. Lewis III and the Smart Halo.

Eight of the 16 en­trants in the 1 1/8-mile Small won their last start. Five have won stakes this year, in­clud­ing three at Lau­rel. Doc­tor Mounty, Name Changer, and Some­thing Awe­some are graded win­ners in 2018.

Jose Cor­rales, who is based at Lau­rel, trains Some­thing Awe­some and Un­bri­dled Juan, both of whom are ma­jor play­ers for the Stronach Sta­ble.

Some­thing Awe­some was trans­ferred to Cor­rales in Oc­to­ber 2017 af­ter go­ing winless in eight starts on the year. He went on to score in five of his next six, in­clud­ing the Grade 3 Gen­eral Ge­orge at seven fur­longs and the Grade 2 Charles Town Clas­sic at 1 1/8 miles. He has not started since fin­ish­ing last as the fa­vorite in the Pim­lico Spe­cial in May.

Cor­rales said Some­thing Awe­some bled in that race and be­lieves “he was just tired” fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful but test­ing cam­paign.

Some­thing Awe­some is only 50-50 to start in the Small, ac­cord­ing to Cor­rales, who says the 7-year-old is about 75 per­cent cranked up for the race.

“The horse is train­ing well and I think I have him where he needs to be,” Cor­rales said. “But it’s been a lit­tle hard to get him back. He would get a lit­tle body sore, he had an is­sue with this feet. Lit­tle things like that.”

Un­bri­dled Juan, on the other hand, is in the best form of his ca­reer. Winless in 2017 as a 5-year-old, he was sent to Cor­rales last spring. He comes into the Small off vic­to­ries in two of his last three races, in­clud­ing the Grover Delp Me­mo­rial at Delaware Park last time out.

“This horse has im­proved so much,” Cor­rales said. “I think he’s go­ing to have a good cam­paign this win­ter. He’s go­ing to show us what he can do.”

Doc­tor Mounty will be switch­ing from turf to dirt for Shug McGaughey af­ter win­ning the Grade 3, $200,000 Bal­ti­more-Wash­ing­ton In­ter­na­tional Turf Cup at Lau­rel. The 5-year-old is 3 for 11 on both turf and dirt.

Bonus Points won the 2017 Mary­land Mil­lion Clas­sic at Lau­rel but was stranded on the also-el­i­gi­ble list for this year’s run­ning. He has a record of 2-3-0 from five starts at Lau­rel for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Name Changer won the Grade 3 Mon­mouth Cup on Haskell Day for trainer Alan Gold­berg. In the en­su­ing three months, he has only started once, fin­ish­ing third in the Penn­syl­va­nia Derby Cham­pion Stakes at Parx. He should take a step for­ward in this race.

Zan­otti has made eight con­sec­u­tive stakes starts – four graded – since win­ning the Queens County at Aque­duct in De­cem­ber 2017 for trainer Car­los Guer­rero. While winless dur­ing that span, he has fin­ished sec­ond six times and fig­ures to once again be in the thick of the bat­tle Satur­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.