From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Shadwell Stable’s Elnaawi shipped to Laurel from Belmont Park in fighting form and took a victory lap in the 1-1/6th mile, $100,000 Native Dancer Stakes, the last of four stakes this afternoon at Laurel Park.
Sheldon Russell was winning his second stakes on the afternoon as he guided the son of Street Sense for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin to a 7-1/4 length victory. Turco Bravo was second and Cosmic Gold finished third. Betting favorite Stormin Monarcho finished fifth.
“The race worked out perfect,” Russell said. “He warmed up good and he took a liking to the track. He broke well and put me in a great spot. I thought Stormin Monarcho was the horse to beat. When he started backing up, my horse made a huge run and we never looked back.”
This was the first stakes win for Elnaawi, whose best previous stakes appearances were third place finishes in the Yankee Affair Stakes at Belmont Park last September and the 2013 Gotham Stakes (G3).
“I told Sheldon to try to keep this horse close. He gave him an excellent ride today,” said assistant trainer Austin Luttrell. “He has been training very well and doing everything that we’ve expected. He ran exceptionally well at Keeneland (an allowance win two races back). He enjoys the wet track and we got lucky.”
Elnaawi covered the distance over the sloppy going in 1:45.40. He paid $12.20.