Admirals War Chest returns to action, may defend Md. Million Classic title
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s homebred Admiral’s War Chest, making his first start in more than 10 months, took the latest step toward a possible third straight victory in the Maryland Million Classic by running fifth in Sunday’s featured eighth race at Laurel Park.
It was his first start since November 19 of last year, when he ran 10th in the Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park.
Under jockey Steve ‘Cowboy’ Hamilton, the 6-year-old gelding dueled with Warrioroftheroses through solid early fractions of 24.42 seconds for the quarter-mile and 47.56 for a half before tiring in the stretch as 3-2 favorite Doctor Mounty ($5) came flying on the far outside to win the $47,000 third-level optional claiming allowance.
The winning time was 1:36.80 for one mile over a fast main track. The race had originally been carded at the same distance over the Bowl Game Turf Course.
“We just needed to get a prep before the Maryland Million,” said Roland Marpoe, assistant to trainer Corby Caiazzo. “I don’t know where this puts us as far as that right now; that’s between Dr. Sinatra and Corby. This was really just a prep for the Maryland Million. We couldn’t get him in a race before this, so this was the only one we had.”
Admirals War Chest is one of only five horses to win back-to-back editions of the Maryland Million Classic, joining Timely Warning (1990-91), Algar (1997-98), Docent (2002-03) and Eighttofasttocatch (2013-14). Eighttofasttocatch is the only three-time winner, having taken the 2011 edition.
Admirals War Chest had had four works since early September for his return, three at Sinatra’s Delaware-based farm. But his connections had had a tough time getting him into a race.
“We gave him the winter off. He’s an older horse so he needs his time. He just gets a break in the wintertime,” Marpoe said. “We’d like to win it three times in a row, that would be awesome. That was really our plan. We’ve been trying to get him in a race and this was really the first race that we could get him in. He knows his job and he does his job. He didn’t show too much in this race but really it was just a prep.”
MILESTONES Trainer Hamilton Smith recorded the 1,900th victory of his career this past weekend. On Wednesday, Princess A’go Go, a horse he trains for his brother Franklin G. Smith, cruised to an easy win to break her maiden by almost eight lengths with Edwin Gonzalez in the irons. Smith now has 1,900 wins from 12,777 starts with career earnings of $37,357,493… Trainer Hugh McMahon logged career win number 800 Sunday at Laurel Park. With Katie Davis in the irons, Gold Braid, owned by Joe Besecker, won a starter/optional claimer easily to push McMahon’s career mark to 800 wins from 3,778 starts, with career earnings of just shy of $18 million.