From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Javerre returns to Laurel Park Monday afternoon in search of a repeat performance in the $250,000 General George Handicap, which will feature nine battle-tested sprinters going seven furlongs. Last year, the Cal Lynch trainee was a driving winner of the Grade 3 sprint at odds of 6-1.
Monday’s 10-race card also features the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes. Laurel’s SprintFest weekend also includes the $300,000 Barbara Fritchie Handicap (G2) and the $100,000 John B. Campbell Handicap on Saturday afternoon.
Javerre, a son of Outflanker, has not won since last year’s General George and is a 20-1 longshot entering this year’s race. He finished sixth in his most recent outing, the Native Dancer at Laurel, his second start off a layoff. Frankie Pennington picks up the mount on the New Jersey-bred, who has 12 in the money finishes in 16 starts.
“His last race was a head scratcher,” Lynch said. “We scoped him after the race and everything was good. We have put two nice works into him since the race and we hope that race was just a blip on the radar. He was peaking at the right time last year and it is going to take an effort just like that to win it again. I am hoping the horse bounces back and runs a race that he is capable of. I would have been more confident if he had run better last time because this is the race we have been pointing to since giving him a little break last fall.”
Palace, the 8-5 morning line favorite, won three straight stakes races in New York last year, including the Fall Highweight (G3) before two second place finishes on the inner track at Aqueduct. The son of City Zip has been first or second 11 times in 12 starts for Linda Rice.
“He has not run his best races on the inner track,” Rice said. “He is very consistent with a lot of natural raw talent. He is a closer so they are always fun. He is a pleasure to have in the barn, just a great horse to be around.”
Another New York shipper is the second choice on Keith Feustle’s morning line. David Jacobson will send Tenango (7-2) from New York in search of his first stakes win. The son of Lion Heart has hit the board 10 times in 15 starts since arriving in the Jacobson barn.
“He has been in good form ever since arriving in our barn,” Jacobson said. “He is a hard-hitting horse who never throws in clunker. We’ll find out what he is made of Monday. This is probably his toughest spot but I think he fits. There are some nice horses in here but he’ll run his race and hopefully he is good enough.”
Six Maryland-based runners will battle the out-of-towners.
Service for Ten (9-2) finished second in his most recent start, the Fire Plug Stakes last month at Laurel. Previously, Service for Ten won six races for trainer Damon Dilodovico including the Dave’s Friend at Laurel last November before Dilodovico’s longtime assistant Mike Geralis took over training duties. Sheldon Russell will ride. The son of Service Stripe has finished in the money in 10 of his last 11 races with six victories.
“He always seems to show up,” Geralis said. “He is a determined horse who just wants to win. He is not flashy in the morning. Sheldon worked him for the first time before the last race and said he doesn’t work like he runs. He hasn’t really run a bad race since we claimed him. He is an overachiever. If they were all like him it would be an easy game.”
Dilodovico will saddle Warrioroftheroses (12-1) in the General George. Speed has been the name of the game for the 5-year old who has been on the lead in his past five starts, all stakes, with his best effort a second place finish in Delaware Park’s Governor Day. In his most recent start, the son of A.P. Warrior led to the eighth pole in the Native Dancer Stakes before tiring to fourth. Julian Pimentel retains the mount.
Well Spelled (8-1) won both the Jersey Shore (G3) and Gallant Bob Stakes as a 3-year-old in 2012 for trainer Benny Perkins. After running just once last year, the son of Spellbinder ran a game fourth in the Fire Plug last month under his new rider Trevor McCarthy.
“He seemed to come out of that last race in good form. We are happy,” Perkins said. “He was injured in winning the Gallant Bob and had significant surgery. It took him awhile to come back. He is now training well and is starting to show the talent that he had before and we’re encouraged with the way he ran last month.”
Broad Rule (10-1) has nearly $400,000 in earnings with twenty-one top three finishes in thirty-four lifetime starts. The Dickie Small trainee, who was third in last year’s General George, comes into the race off his second straight score in the Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel. Forest Boyce has been aboard the son of Dixie Union in all but one start.
“He has been training better than ever. Whenever he wins he gets full of himself,” said Dylan Smith, Small’s assistant trainer. “I think he is going to run big. He is pretty much my favorite horse in the barn. I have been riding him since he was two and he is the only one I still get on in the morning. He is just a tick below the top horses but he tries hard every time and win or lose is happy to train.”
Smash and Grab (12-1) ran a career-best 101 Beyer Speed figure in his previous start, an allowance victory at Laurel last month. The son of Sharp Humor finished first or second eight times last year, including a victory in the Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park. The 4-year-old is trained by Pedro Rodriguez and Jevian Toledo has the riding assignment.
Bandbox (15-1) posted a third place finish against optional allowance company on January 30 after missing nearly a year and a half of action. The son of Tapit won three stakes races during his two and three-year-old campaigns, including the Private Terms at Laurel for trainer Rodney Jenkins. Xavier Perez will be aboard.
The Maryland Racing Media drew a field of six fillies and mares, including Ilikecandy from the Graham Motion barn. The daughter of Malibu Moon is two-for-two at Laurel.
(Featured image, of Javerre, by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.)