No Dozing solid favorite in Saturday’s Concern at Laurel Park
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
After making six straight graded-stakes starts, including several Triple Crown preps during the spring, Lael Stables’ homebred No Dozing finds himself back in Maryland and sprinting for the first time since last fall in Saturday’s $75,000 Concern at Laurel Park.
The seven-furlong Concern for 3-year-olds honors Robert E. Meyerhoff’s Maryland-bred multi-millionaire, whose four career graded-stakes wins for trainer Dickie Small included the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and 1995 Californian (G1).
Based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., No Dozing has not raced since finishing second as the favorite in the Pat Day Mile (G3) May 6 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Arnaud Delacour had hoped to bring him back in the Woody Stephens (G2) June 10 at Belmont Park but missed the race with a minor injury.
“I’ve been very happy with the horse,” Delacour said. “We had to freshen him up a little bit. He had a bruised foot, so we took care of that and in the meantime he took a bit of a breather, because it was a long year for him. He’s been working great so I’m looking forward to seeing him run.”
No Dozing has made six consecutive starts at a mile or longer, not having sprinted since taking a six-furlong optional claiming allowance last Sept. 10 at Laurel, three weeks following his maiden triumph at Delaware Park.
“We liked him right away. I’m not sure about his optimal distance, to be honest, and that’s why I’m very interested to see him run the seven-eighths,” Delacour said. “He won obviously at Laurel last year going three-quarters so I’m excited to see him run.”
A bay son of 2010 Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Union Rags, No Dozing was fourth in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and second in the Remsen (G2) to cap his juvenile season. On Tampa Bay Downs’ road to the Triple Crown over the winter, he was off the board in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and was beaten a neck when third in a three-way photo in the Lexington (G3) at Keeneland April 15.
No Dozing faced horses like Classic Empire, Mo Town, McCraken, Tapwrit and West Coast along the way and figures to draw attention on class alone. Jockey Daniel Centeno will ride from the inside of his six rivals at 116 pounds.
“It should be a nice race on paper. It’s should be a little bit easier than what we’ve faced before being on the Derby trail.” Delacour said. “I couldn’t be happier with him.”
DARRS, Inc.’s Proforma is a two-time stakes winner exiting a commanding victory in the six-furlong Jersey Shore June 24 at Monmouth Park, a race where he was bumped at the start but came with a three-wide rally to hit the wire 1 ¾ lengths in front.
In his only other start this year, the chestnut Munnings gelding was a no-factor fifth in the Chick Lang May 20 on the undercard of the Preakness (G1) at historic Pimlico Race Course. It was his first start since winning the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds in mid-December, forced to sit idle when an outbreak of the equine herpesvirus hit the Louisiana track.
“We got mixed up in that quarantine down in Fair Grounds and missed some training with him. We brought him back on Preakness weekend and he didn’t run very well, but I think it was a combination of just being away for about three months and needing the race,” Stidham said. “We got a couple of good works in him after that race and came back and he was dominant in the race at Monmouth.”
Stidham has been pleased with how Proforma bounced out of the race with a pair of sharp works at Fair Hill, most recently going five furlongs in 1:00.60, fifth-best of 37 workouts over its all-weather surface.
“He’s a real confident little horse. He’s got a great attitude and when he’s in the right spot, he shows a lot of class and ability. I think he is a one-turn horse but I think seven-eighths is within his range of distance,” Stidham said. “Depending on how fast they’re going up front, he’s comfortable sitting back or if they’re not going very fast, he can lay closer. He’s very adaptable and one of his biggest assets is he’s got a really good mind.”
Proforma will carry topweight of 122 pounds including jockey Sheldon Russell from Post 4.
Honor the Fleet, fourth in the Sir Barton May 20 at Pimlico and third in the Pegasus (G3) June 18 at Monmouth in his past two starts; Alex Again, second in three consecutive races including the Parx Derby and Jersey Shore; Pimlico-based Greek Prince, fifth in the Private Terms at Laurel and Pegasus; and the George Hall-owned pair of Cohen’s Cat and Truly a Moon Shot complete the field.