Fifty-six nominated to Laurel Park stakes Sept. 9
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
A total of 56 horses were nominated to the $75,000 Challedon and $75,000 Shine Again Saturday, Sept. 9, the first two of 44 stakes worth $4.4 million in purses to be run during Laurel Park’s year-ending fall meet.
Both restricted to non-winners of a sweepstakes, Challedon for 3-year-olds and up and the Shine Again for fillies and mares 3 and older are contested at seven furlongs.
Afleet Willy, from the barn of Laurel summer meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez, tops 22 nominees to the Challedon, named for the 1939 and 1940 Horse of the Year that won 20 of 44 starts between 1938 and 1942. Afleet Willy, 4, was a front-running head winner of a one-mile optional claiming allowance Aug. 14 at Delaware Park, his first start since being beaten a head in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial March 18 at Laurel.
Also nominated are Rockinn On Bye, last year’s Grade 3 De Francis Dash runner-up most recently third in the Aug. 26 Coalition at Timonium; Grade 3-placed Schivarelli and Chief Lion, the latter second as the favorite in the Dave’s Friend last December at Laurel; It’s the Journey, a winner of three straight six-furlong sprints for trainer Mike Trombetta yet to make his stakes debut; and Hot Seat, unraced since finishing second in the City of Laurel last November.
Multiple graded stakes-placed Kinsley Kisses and Grade 3-placed Improv and Stormy Sky head a group of 34 nominated to the Shine Again, which honors the Maryland-bred millionaire whose multiple graded stakes victories included back-to-back editions of the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga in 2001 and 2002.
Kinsley Kisses, third in the Beaumont (G3), Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at historic Pimlico Race Course and Delaware Oaks (G3) in successive starts last spring and summer, owns one win in five subsequent races. Improv was beaten a neck in the 1 1/16-mile Matron (G3) May 20 while Stormy Sky was third in the Vagrancy (G3) last May at Belmont Park.
Other nominees to the Shine Again include Line of Best Fit, third to recently retired champion Songbird in the Delaware Handicap (G1) July 15 last out; stakes-placed Elusive Joni, Hidden Mystery, Momameamaria and You Know Too; and Laurel-based Saida, a winner of three straight for trainer Cal Lynch.
Laurel’s 60-day fall meet opens Friday, Sept. 8 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 31.