Nearly 120 horses were nominated to Laurel Park’s four stakes this coming Saturday. The four-stake roster includes three open races and one race restricted to Maryland-bred and Maryland-sired horses.
Perhaps the day’s biggest story revolves around the 73rd running of the Jennings Handicap for state-breds. In that race hard-hitting veteran Eighttofasttocatch is expected to make the final start of his career. A win in that one-mile event would push the son of Not for Love’s earnings past $1 million. It would also make the eight-year-old the first horse to win four runnings of the Jennings, breaking a tie with Maryland legend Little Bold John.
The day also features a pair of stakes for juveniles and a six-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares.
The Gin Talking, for juvenile fillies, and the Marylander, for two-year-olds, will both be contested at seven furlongs. They have attracted 32 and 29 nominees, respectively. Lake Sebago, who won last month’s Smart Halo, for fillies at six furlongs, is nominated to try to stretch out in the Gin Talking. But on the boys’ side, Golden Years, the fourth-place finisher from the James F. Lewis on the same day, is the only one of the top four nominated to the Marylander.
The Willa On the Move, a sprint for older fillies and mares, may draw the day’s most intriguing field from among its 39 nominees. The winners of the first two editions of the race — Winning Image (2012) and She’s Ordained (2013) — are both nominated to Saturday’s event. So, too, are graded winner La Verdad, multiple graded-placed runner Disco Barbie, multiple stakes winners Lady Sabelia and Geeky Gorgeous, and a number of other hard-hitters.
Entries will be drawn on Wednesday, December 3.
A Christmas wish list from a Virginia Horse racing enthusiast….
All I want for Christmas is a new Virginia legislature that gives a damn about horse racing in Virginia. Also, it would be nice to have lawmakers who actually cared about the millions of dollars in gaming and slots being lost each year to neighboring states.
All I want for Christmas is a Virginia Racing Commission that actually has some authority to make horse racing decisions.
All I want for Christmas is a Horsemen group that realizes and understands that fans simply don’t want to attend a race track to watch their $10k claimers run every week…horses that are better suited for pony rides.
All I want for Christmas is a new owner. Jeff Jacobs had the right idea, but it was sort of like punching a square peg through a circular hole. Any new owner would have to take a similar approach and of course deal with the same old horsemen group.
All we want for Christmas is off-track wagering. Both sides in the recent dispute have still not accepted the fact that fans want the OTBs to be open more than anything. Live horse racing and the amount of it is secondary.
And finally, All I want for Christmas is to be swept away, sort of like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, to Kentucky, Florida or elsewhere where they get it when it comes to horse racing to enjoy the sport once again!
Then move to Kentucky.