Struth, Lewisfield meet again in Not for Love
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
When they last met, Struth was all that came between Lewisfield and his first career stakes victory. On Saturday, the late-developing gelding with star potential will try to turn the tables on his multiple stakes-winning rival in the $100,000 Not For Love at Laurel Park.
The six-furlong Not For Love for 3-year-olds and up and $75,000 Conniver at seven furlongs for fillies and mares 3 and older, both restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses, are among five stakes worth $450,000 in purses on an 11-race St. Patrick’s Day program. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.
Linda Zang’s Maryland homebred Lewisfield, based at Charles Town with trainer Jeff Runco, had a three-race win streak snapped when second to Struth by 4 ¼ lengths in the six-furlong Howard M. Bender Memorial Dec. 9 at Laurel.
The 4-year-old son of Great Notion bounced back with a commanding 6 ¾-length triumph in a second-level optional claimer Feb. 3 at Laurel, completing six furlongs in 1:08.95 over a fast main track.
“He got in a good spot down the backside and had a lot of horse and when the jockey asked him he responded like he normally does. He ran a very good race. It was one of his best races,” Runco said. “We’ve been kind of pointing for this race since his last race. We want to give him a little bit of time between races, which we have, and he’s ready to go for Saturday.”
Lewisfield chased the front-running Struth throughout the Howard Bender and while unable to match the winner was 4 ¼ lengths head of show finisher Winplaceorshowono. He shows three sharp works for his latest engagement, capped by a bullet three furlongs in 35 seconds March 9.
“The thing about the horse is he can be in front or he can lay just a little off the pace. He’s been trapped inside a couple times but that doesn’t seem to bother him. What happens in the race doesn’t seem to faze him too much, where some horses it will. He just gives it his all every time,” Runco said. “[In the Bender] he was down on the inside and he got trapped in there for a while but when he got outside he was able to finish second. He had a little bit of a rough trip but he gave it his all.”
The Howard Bender was the second stakes win for Struth since being claimed for $20,000 last spring by trainer Kieron Magee, also finishing first in the six-furlong Hockessin last summer at Delaware Park. Most recently, the gelded son of Hall of Famer Curlin was second by 1 ¼ lengths to Favorite Tale in the Dave’s Friend Jan. 8, his 6-year-old debut.
Lewisfield drew Post 2 with regular rider Arnaldo Bocachica at highweight of 120 pounds he shares with Eastern Bay and Final Prospect. Struth will break from Post 5 at 118 with Laurel’s winter-spring meet-leading rider Jorge Vargas Jr. aboard.
Multiple stakes winners John Jones, O Dionysus and Sonny Inspired are also entered in the Not For Love. Matt Schera’s John Jones will be sprinting on dirt for the first time since June 2016 – his last start before being claimed by trainer Lacey Gaudet.
Since then the 6-year-old Smarty Jones gelding has won six of 11 starts, three in stakes, including the six-furlong Mister Diz on turf over late Mid-Atlantic legend Ben’s Cat in the first start for his new connections. He was third in his 2018 debut, the Native Dancer run at about 1 1/16 miles Jan. 27 at Laurel.
“I wish we had something that was seven-eighths to a mile,” Gaudet said. “He’s going to be going up against some solid sprinters in that race so it’s going to be tough but we’re mostly just gearing him up for a turf campaign. I think it’s the right spot to get him into that.
“He’s doing great. He’s super-sharp; I can’t even gallop him anymore,” she added. “He’s doing really well and his attitude has changed a little bit so I think he’ll be sharp enough and tactical enough to be in that sprint race. We changed up a few things gearing up for that but he’s doing well.”
Rockinnn On Bye and Easy River complete the field.