From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Laurel Park’s popular multi-stakes Saturday programs continue this weekend with contests for handicap runners, juveniles and fillies and mares.
Maryland Jockey Club handicapper Keith Feustle tabbed Eighttofasttocatch as the prohibitive 4-5 morning line favorite to win his fourth consecutive $125,000 Jennings Handicap. The 8-year-old, who has 11 stakes victories, will be making his final start needing just $2,030 to become the 24th Maryland-bred to reach the $1 million milestone. The son of Not For Love has made just two previous starts this year for trainer Tim Keefe, a last place finish in the Japan Racing Association Stakes on the turf in September then a month later won the Maryland Million Classic for the third time in four years.
“I went through most of my stress heading into the Maryland Million after he ran poorly in the Japan. Was it because it was his first race back off a long layoff on the turf, which is not his favorite surface or was the horse not into it anymore?” Keefe said. “I knew he was training great but I didn’t know how well he would run. After coming off a big win that day, there isn’t as much pressure. I am very happy with him. He is 100 percent sound and doing great. I expect a big effort. If he gets beat, it will be by a better horse.”
Eight other Maryland-bred runners are expected to face Eighttofasttocatch, including the top two finishers from the Maryland Million Sprint, D C Dancer (4-1) and Always Smiling (6-1).
Lady Sabelia is the 5-2 morning line choice over 12 other fillies and mares in a wide-open $100,000 Willa On The Move Stakes. The daughter of Majestic Warrior has won three of four this year, including the Red Cross Stakes at Monmouth Park and comes into the race off an impressive allowance score here on October 29 when the 4-year-old filly ran a career best 99 Beyer. The Robin Graham trainee also was victorious in the Safely Kept at Laurel last fall.
“She tries hard every time and is a nice filly with a lot of class and I think she is getting better as she gets older,” Graham said. “The race came up very tough. Hopefully she will be able to break well enough to get off the rail.”
Winning Image (7-2) beat Lady Sabelia in the Cornucopia Stakes at Parx Racing in October for her 10th stakes victory. Other stakes wins include the What A Summer at Laurel and the Primonetta at Pimlico earlier this year and the 2012 Willa On The Move. The ageless Tony Black, 63, has the mount.
Disco Barbie (5-1) has three allowance wins this year and three runner-up finishes in graded stakes for trainer Dale Capuano. Leading rider Trevor McCarthy has been aboard the last two starts at Woodbine and will ride the daughter of Pure Prize.
“This race has more speed than the previous two races,” McCarthy said. “She is going to break sharp and settle and give me that big turn of foot heading to the wire. I like that style in a race with a lot of speed. Hopefully she will not be too far out of it to run them down.”
Golden Years is the even money favorite in the $100,000 Marylander Stakes for 2-year-olds. The Not For Love colt won his first two starts, including the Maryland Million Nursery for Rodney Jenkins before finishing fourth in the James Lewis Stakes. Golden Years worked a bullet half-mile in 48 2/5 seconds on December 1 in preparation for this start.
“He was great during the work and when I saw him on the track this morning during training and he looked like a monster,” said Victor Carrasco, who has ridden Golden Years in every start. “I don’t think this race is as tough as the last one. We got beat by some really good out of town runners.”
Lake Sebago is the 2-1 favorite in the $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes for 2-year-old fillies after a surprise victory, at odds of 27-1, in the Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park on November 15, her second lifetime win in the last three starts for trainer Jerry Robb.
“Jerry added blinkers for her last start and it was exactly what she needed,” said McCarthy, who will be aboard the daughter of Munnings for the fourth consecutive race. “She loves an off track and it is supposed to rain Saturday. I think the extra furlong is going to help. She was just hitting her stride in the last eighth of a mile going six. I love her. We are going to win the race.”
Saturday afternoon also includes the annual Giving Tree promotion with more than $10,000 in gifts, including flat screen televisions and iPads. Everyone in attendance will receive a complimentary 2015 Maryland racing calendar.