Showalter held off Hennessy to break his maiden at first asking yesterday at Laurel Park. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

Showalter, who held off Hennessy Fire to break his maiden, will make his first stakes start in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Trainer Robert Leaf Jr., doesn’t need to be reminded that Showalter, a 2-year-old gelding named after Baltimore Orioles baseball manager Buck Showalter by the team’s CEO and majority owner Peter Angelos, is garnering national interest.

For instance, there’s the nearly 2,000 views of his only race on Youtube. The rather inventive way someone put Buck Showalter’s face on American Pharoah’s body. Or the coverage it has received locally, nationally and globally

“People see me and say, ‘Hey, you got Showalter. You running in the stakes?’ No pressure, right,” Leaf joked.


Showalter, whose debut Nov. 29 resulted in a gritty victory over a 5 1/2-furlong muddy track, steps up in company Saturday when he meets nine others in the $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity, for Maryland-bred two-year-olds, at Laurel Park.

The Futurity will be one of five stakes races run at Laurel. The nine-race program will also include $100,000 Dave’s Friend, $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go, $50,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship and $50,000 Jennings Handicap.

First race post time is 12:25 p.m.

Showalter, a homebred son of Grade I-winning sire Quality Road out of the stakes-placed mare Lucette, beat seven others on Nov 29 including runner-up Hennessy Fire, who finished second in his next start, this past Saturday, behind The Racing Biz Big Move of the Week horse Charmed Victory.

“I think he beat some nice horses when he won,” Leaf said. “The horse that finished second came back and ran a good race. I know he’s running against some horses (Saturday), but I think he’ll get the extra distance and, going seven furlongs, he won’t have as much pressure from the start.”

Leaf said Showalter, who has had some allergy issues, always showed potential. When asked if he expected such a determined effort from his gelding first time out, Leaf replied; “I was expecting that kind of ability, but maybe not that kind of tenacity. I mean, you never know until they run. But he’s a super-tough horse. He’s a trooper.”

Angelos will also have one of the likely favorites in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship at seven furlongs in Lexington Street, a homebred daughter of Street Sense who will be seeking her fourth consecutive victory for trainer Gary Capuano. After finishing second in her career debut back in July, Lexington Street has won three consecutive starts, from five furlongs to a mile, by a total of nine lengths.

The $100,000 Dave’s Friend, to be contested over six furlongs, has drawn a field of 10 including Majestic Hussar and Rainbow Heir.

Majestic Hussar, who has earned $323,697 in 22 career starts, comes into the Dave’s Friend off a second-place finish Nov. 25 in the Fabulous Strike Handicap at Penn National. The William Campbell-trained 5-year-old had won an allowance optional claiming event at Laurel Oct. 23. Rainbow Heir, a winner of eight of 18 starts and three of four at Laurel, won an allowance optional claimer at Laurel Dec. 4 and won the Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) back in 2013.

The $50,000 Jennings Handicap at a mile will feature Maryland Million Classic winner Admirals War Chest, who returned to finish third Nov. 27 in an allowance optional claimer.