Admirals War Chest cleared early and held on late to win the Maryland Million Classic. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Admirals War Chest cleared early and held on late to win the Maryland Million Classic and is expected back in action on December 26. Photo by The Racing Biz.

From a Laurel Park release

After a brief Christmas break, live racing action will resume at Laurel Park on Saturday, December 26 with five stakes races, including a pair of events for juveniles.  The five races drew a total of 99 nominations.

The $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity will feature the stakes debut of Showalter, who slugged it out with Hennessy Fire en route to victory in his career opener at Laurel Park on November 29.

Named for Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, the son of Quality Road carries the colors of breeder Peter Angelos, the Orioles’ majority owner and CEO. The Maryland-bred gelding is trained by Robert Leaf Jr.


In the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, Showalter may have to contend with some more experienced runners.  Those include Maryland Million Nursery winner Corvus, for trainer Katy Voss and owners Voss, Robert Manfuso, and Wayne Harrison, and runner-up Flash McCaul, who represents owner Country Life Farm and trainer Mike Trombetta. Corvus, who took the Nursery at first asking, was most recently sixth in the James F. Lewis, III Stakes at Laurel Park.  After rallying to win his career debut on September 20, Flash McCaul, a son of Friesan Fire, has been the runner-up in three consecutive starts, most recently over a sloppy track at Parx Racing in a two-turn allowance test on December 1.

Angelos will also have a major contender in the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship when trainer Gary Capuana saddles Lexington Street.

The daughter of Street Sense was the bridesmaid first time out at Laurel Park on September 18, but has rattled off three straight victories since. She earned her diploma on October 4, romped in the $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie 13 days later and scored as the 2-5 favorite in a one-mile allowance at Laurel on November 27. Her expected opposition includes Look Who’s Talking, who is coming off a troubled fifth-place effort in the $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes behind runaway winner Cathryn Sophia on November 27. Look Who’s Talking – a granddaughter of the standout race mare Gin Talking – is trained by Robin Graham for owner/breeder Skeedattle Associates.

Older male sprinters will square off in the $100,000 Dave’s Friend Stakes at six furlongs. New Farm’s consistent homebred Rainbow Heir has won three of his four Laurel Park appearances, including a 4 1/4-length success in a December 4 allowance for trainer Ben Perkins Jr. The 5-year-old son of Wildcat Heir has earned $388,710 to date while winning eight of his 18 career starts. He will likely be opposed by Majestic Hussar, who outran his 87-1 odds to finish second behind Favorite Tale in the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap at Penn National on November 25. Owned by William Bayne Jr. and trained by William Campbell, Majestic Hussar has earned over $90,000 for his connections since being claimed for $25,000 in the fall of 2014.

The $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes will feature three promising fillies going a flat mile. Barlar LLC’s Bound is coming off two straight victories at Parx Racing, the $100,000 Plum Pretty Stakes on October 10 and a one-mile allowance on November 2. Bernard Houghton trains the 4-year-old daughter of Jump Start. Also looking to build on a two-race streak is Athena, a 3-year-old filly by Street Sense conditioned by Helen Pitts for owner Mary Grum. The Midwest-based filly paired up allowance wins at Churchill in November, including a wide trip going a mile on November 25. Also in the mix is Laurel stalwart Lionhearted Lady, heroine of the Maryland Million Distaff on October 17 for trainer Hamilton Smith. JoAnn Smith’s color bearer followed that effort with a third-place finish in the Willa On the Move Stakes on December 5.

Admirals War Chest rates top billing in the $50,000 Jennings Handicap for Maryland-breds at a mile. Trained by Corby Caiazzo, the 4-year-old gelding posted a front-running victory in the $150,000 Maryland Million Classic on October 17, but was caught late and settled for third in a Laurel allowance on November 27. He will have to contend with the promising sophomore Noteworthy Peach, who was sidelined following a second in the $100,000 Federico Tesio Stakes in April. Conditioned by Gary Capuano for owner Non Stop Stable, the son of Read the Footnotes scored in his October 3 return at Laurel, but faltered against starter allowance foes on November 1.

First post at Laurel Park is at 12:25 p.m.