From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Howard M. Bender’s Access To Charlie moved by speedy Malibu Beach Bunny with 3/16ths of a mile to go and held on to win the $100,000 Geisha Stakes for registered Maryland-bred fillies and mares this afternoon at Laurel Park. The Geisha was the first of four stakes races on Saturday’s nine race program.

Julian Pimentel was at the controls as the 5-year old daughter of Indian Charlie completed the one mile distance in 1:39.56 and paid $5.60 as the betting favorite. Monster Sleeping, who stumbled at the start and was quickly rushed into contention, came after the winner in the final furlong but finished second, losing by a neck.  Longshot Mystic Love took third.

The winner, who was fourth in the last year’s Geisha, was making her first start since a fifth place finish in the Grade 3 Obeah Handicap at Delaware Park in June. Larry Murray trains Access To Charlie.

“This horse was coming off a layoff so you never know how they are going to come back,”  said Murray. “She was training very well and I think she was as good as she ever was. She had run into some tough fillies before but we thought this was a good spot for her. I didn’t tell Julian much. I knew there was a lot of speed in here and she has to be in the game. She was pretty close and I liked where she was.”

“She normally doesn’t like to be right on the lead,” said Pimentel. “Today she was real fresh and fought all the way around. We really battled in the stretch to get there first. With the second finish line you have to be a little more patient and she got it done.”

Lady Sabelia Steps Up To Win Safely Kept Stakes

Mrs. Frank P. Wright’s Lady Sabelia, an impressive maiden winner in her previous start, proved that effort was not a fluke when she out-stepped ten other fillies in today’s $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes.

Trainer Robin Graham sent the daughter of Majestic Warrior to a front-running, 12-3/4 length victory on October 2 under Horacio Karamanos off of a ten month layoff. Today the filly pressed the early pace, swept to the lead around the turn and galloped away to win by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:23.97 for the seven furlong distance.  Flattering Bea closed rapidly from last to take second away from post time favorite Crazy About Me.

“She really impressed me when she broke her maiden,” said Karamanos. “I didn’t know about this one because she had to improve a lot. It’s the first time she went any distance. I kept close to the favorite and then let her go. She got a little tired but she really tried hard to the wire. I knew my horse could win if she could get the distance.”

“She has a lot of class,” said Graham. “She had to get a little bit tired jumping up in class and distance but she’s all right. Last fall her shins were bothering her so we stopped. Obviously we didn’t want to take this long to come back but it took this long to get her shins right. It just worked out. With the breaking of the maiden in her last start we decided to skip the allowance to go in this spot, since it was the last three year old filly stakes left here.”

Lady Sabelia paid $16.20.

Slip And Drive Surprises In Japan Racing Association Stakes

Jer-Mar Stable LLC’s Slip And Drive contested the lead from start to finish and won the grassy, 1-1/16th mile $100,000 Japan Racing Association Stakes.

Carlos Marquez Jr.  guided the gelded son of Artie Schiller to the front in the crowded field of ten older runners and nursed him along the whole way, winning in a hard drive to the wire 1:42.87 over a determined Roadhog, with pace pressing Super Chunky settling for third. Slip And Drive won by a nose and paid $46.20.

McLean Robertson trains Slip And Drive at Delaware Park. In one previous visit to Laurel, Slip And Drive finished fourth in the 2012 Laurel Turf Cup.

Assistant trainer Kyle Schindler said, “He ran a good race. We didn’t expect to get to the lead. Twenty-five and fifty were the fractions so what are you going to do? We kind of inherited it. This horse is always high energy. I expected a good race and we got one. We didn’t feel he was well respected at 22-1. He was only beaten five lengths by Wise Dan in a race at Keeneland (Shadwell Turf Mile G1). I don’t know where he goes next.”

“There was no speed in the race so we went for the lead,” said Marquez. “I figured if someone else wanted it I’d lay off but nobody came. We went so early and when I asked him I had a lot of horse left. I thought Super Chunky would go early as a sprinter going two turns but he didn’t and we had plenty at the end. He was running. My agent told me last week I was going to ride for Mr. Robertson and I used to ride everything for his father at Arlington and Oaklawn. He always had them ready.”

Res Judicata Gallops In City of Laurel Stakes

Someday Farm’s Res Judicata broke on top, settled comfortably into second and when asked by his rider, spurted to the lead and galloped to victory in the $100,000 City of Laurel Stakes for 3 year olds.

John Servis trains the son of Smarty Jones at Parx Racing and Kendrick Carmouche is his regular pilot. This was the second stakes victory for Res Judicata, who won the Elser Memorial last year at his home base. Today he covered the seven furlong distance in 1:23.09 and won off by 4-1/4 lengths, while Souper Knight edged City of Weston to finish second.

Res Judicata paid $16.

“Once he left, we went with the seven (Edge of Reality) and kind of let him set the fractions,” said Carmouche. “The trainer said just make one run with him. I stayed clear on the outside and then when we got to the quarter pole, it was a race from there on. They were either going to beat me or not beat me. It seems like every other race, he runs a good one. He set up good today. Last time he didn’t break quite as sharp, but Charles Town, it’s a bull ring. Today was a different story. It was perfect.”