Vim won an allowance at Laurel Park on March 20. Photo by The Racing Biz.

From Staff Reports

YESTERDAY’S NEWS: OF MAIDENS AND SPEEDY TURF

J La Tache had run fast without finding the winner’s circle prior to yesterday’s third race at Laurel Park.  She had a second and five thirds from seven starts, all at top tracks: Saratoga, Keeneland, and Gulfstream.

So there was every reason for bettors to send the Graham Motion trainee off at 1-2 in the maiden special weight event for three-year-old fillies, and she lived up to her advance billing.

J La Tache, under jockey Trevor McCarthy, dueled with Thissongisaboutyou for a half-mile before disposing of that rival and going on to a four-length win.  Thissongisaboutyou held second, and it was another six lengths back to Tap Diva in third.  Running time for the six furlongs was 1:12.59 — a half-second faster than older maiden distaff runners covered it two races prior.

The win was McCarthy’s third straight to start the day and gave him a two-win lead over Victor Carrasco in the jockey standings.  McCarthy has 39 victories.

ALSO…

  • Laurel Park carded the first two turf races of its 2016 season yesterday, and both were won in gate-to-wire fashion.  Emelina sped right to the lead and held sway in the seventh, a starter allowance for fillies and mares, winning by three in a zippy 1:36.48 for one mile.  Two races later, in a 5 1/2 furlong sprint for older female maidens, five-year-old first-time starter Bucklebury and jockey Xavier Perez teamed up for a nearly-three-length win in 1:04.11, paying $34.60 to her backers.
  • Boxcars for The Squire!  The three-year-old Gunnerside gelding — who had finished seventh and eighth in the first two starts of his career — won a maiden claiming event for West Virginia-breds at Charles Town last night, returning $103.80 on a two-dollar win wager.  Under Victor Rodriguez, The Squire grabbed the early lead, nursed it for a half-mile, and just held off the late charge of Helgoland to win by a nose.  The Squire is trained by owner Gerasimos Moschonas.
  • There was a spill in the fifth race at Penn National last night.  Honour the Vow and jockey Wilmer Garcia ran up on a tiring Bayott, clipped heels and fell.  Zig Zip, running from the rear, stumbled over the fallen horse and unseated rider Francisco Garcia.  Both horses appeared to be fine, and Wilmer Garcia rode several subsequent races on the card.  No word yet on Francisco Garcia.

LOOKING AHEAD: TODAY’S RACING

  • Laurel Park hosts a solid renewal of the Primonetta Stakes as race seven.  Grade 2 winner Lady Sabelia is the 6-5 morning line favorite.  For more, click here.
  • Race 9 at Laurel Park is a $45,000 second-level allowance going 5 1/2 furlongs, and it’s attracted some familiar names.  Those include 2015 General George (G3) runner-up Cutty Shark, going for trainer Claudio Gonzalez, who claimed him two back from Donald Barr; 2015 Maryland Sprint Handicap (G3) place horse Service for Ten, who’s been away since December and, like Cutty Shark, runs for the tag; and 2014 Rollicking Stakes winner Governmentshutdown, who never quite lived up to his early promise and has been away since last July.  The favorite, however, is Mike Trombetta trainee Troubled Waters; the son of Giant’s Causeway is 3-1 and has been second and third against similar in his last two.  Forest Boyce will ride.
  • Penn National’s top race of the day is a first-level allowance carded as race five.  Five of the seven runners are lined between 3-1 and 5-1.  Charleston Pier gets the nod as tepid 3-1 favorite; the Circular Quay colt enters off a win in claiming company and has four wins from 19 career starts for trainer Rodrigo Madrigal.  Andrew Wolfsont will ride.
  • Parx Racing’s eighth race, a second-level allowance, brings together a trio of stakes-placed runners, all of whom have shown more affinity for running second or third than winning.  Favorite Zipped Code (9-5) has won six of 36 career starts, while finishing second or third 15 additional times, and has earnings of nearly $330,000.  He ran second in the 2014 Lyman Handicap over the strip.  Classic Giacnroll (7-2) logged his best results in the Grade 2 Jerome and Grade 3 Smarty Jones, both in 2014; he ran second in both.  He has a 28-4-10-2 record with earnings of more than $430,000.  And Gadget Man, with a 24-3-5-5 ledger, has a pair of placings in the Charles Hesse III Handicap for New Jersey-breds at Monmouth Park.