Nakamura breaks maiden as Laurel Park opens turf course

by | Apr 14, 2018 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing

Racing on Laurel Park’s turf course this afternoon. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Bill Crager and Paul Hondros’ Nakamura, a second-time starter by 2011 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom, powered down the center of the stretch to reel in front-running Helicat and win Saturday’s fifth race at Laurel Park, a maiden special weight test for three-year-olds and up.

Ridden by winter-spring meet-leading jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. for trainer Graham Motion, Nakamura ($5.60) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.78 over a firm Fort Marcy Turf Course in the $40,000 maiden special weight for 3-year-olds and up.

It was the second of three grass races Saturday which marked the seasonal debut over Laurel’s world-class turf course.

“The turf course is beautiful. It’s the first time on it this year, but it is very good,” Vargas said. “This horse is still green a little bit. He’s still figuring out some things, but he’s got a future. He’s a good horse.”

Goodluckjohnathan and Helicat dueled on the lead through fractions of :24.99, :49.86 and 1:12.99 and straightened for home together until Helicat edged clear in mid-stretch. Nakamura launched his bid on the outside around the far turn and steadily gained ground down the lane to win by a neck.

In other turf action Saturday, My Own Lane ($29.40) sprang a 13-1 upset in Race 3, a $22,000 lifetime claiming event for 3-year-olds and up, and Brickyard Kitten ($11) took Race 7, an $18,000 waiver claiming race for 3-year-olds and up. Both races came at 1 1/16 miles over the Kelso Turf Course layout.