Timeless Curls, General Downs take Laurel route stakes
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Sookdeen Pasram’s Timeless Curls put away even-money favorite and early leader Face It after six furlongs and sprinted clear to her first career stakes victory, a 3 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 Nellie Morse.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Dale Capuano-trained Timeless Curls ($5), each taking another step up in company, fifth in nine starts overall and fourth in six tries over Laurel’s main track. Making her stakes debut, the 4-year-old daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin has never finished worse than third.
“She’s a hard-knocking filly,” winning jockey Weston Hamilton said. “She’s always right there for the money and she tries real hard. We tried to put her in a good spot and she kicked right on by them today.”
Timeless Curls kept Face It honest as the favorite in a field of five posted fractions of 23.77 seconds for a quarter-mile and 47.66 for a half. Hamilton steered Timeless Curls around Face It into the two path on the far turn, straightened for home and front and extended the advantage through the stretch. The winning time was 1:43.66.
Capuano entered Timeless Curls in the one-mile Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes Dec. 29 at Laurel, where she drew Post 12 in a field of 14. The race was won by Isotope, who Timeless Curls rallied to beat by a head winning a third-level optional claimer going six furlongs Nov. 29.
“She was training very well going into this race,” Capuano said. “We scratched a couple weeks ago out of the Thirty Eight Go Go. We had a bad post, it was a big field and we thought we’d give her a little more time. Luckily it paid off.”
Three races prior to the Nellie Morse, West Point Thoroughbreds’ General Downs took the lead from Grade 3 winner Just Call Kenny in mid-stretch and held off late-running Rich Daddy on the far outside to earn his first career stakes win in the $100,000 Native Dancer.
Ridden by Julian Pimentel for trainer Kelly Rubley, General Downs ($10.20) hit the wire in 1:42.92 for his second straight victory. It was the first time in stakes company for the 6-year-old gelding, who joined Rubley’s string at the Fair Hill Training Center last spring.
“He’s an older horse who’s been in the business a while and he loves his turnouts,” Rubley said. “He’s turned out every day when weather permits, and it’s been a big plus in making him a happy horse.”
Pimentel settled General Downs in fourth along the rail behind the front-running duo of Tour de Force and Saratoga Jack, who alternated leads through fractions of 24.18 and 47.61 seconds. When Just Call Kenny took the lead from Saratoga Jack on the far turn after six furlongs in 1:12.09, Pimentel steered General Downs to the outside for a clear run. They collared Just Call Kenny inside the eighth pole and won by three-quarters of a length.
Rich Daddy got up for second, a neck in front of Just Call Kenny, with 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points a length back in fifth after trailing the field early.
“He’s a really nice horse,” Pimentel said. “I had a really good trip. I was able to sit behind the speed and when it was time to go, he did.”
General Downs had one win, four seconds and a third from eight starts in 2018, beaten a nose and a neck in two of his races before breaking through in his final start of the year, Dec. 22 at Laurel. He went 10 months between races before debuting for Rubley last May.
“He had a nice long break before he came into me and it looks like he needed it,” Rubley said. “He’s truly never put a step wrong. He’s had a couple races that were OK but still pretty nice races.”