Still Having Fun seeking step towards General George in Fire Plug

by | Jan 17, 2020 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing

Still Having Fun. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing’s Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun, a gutsy second in his return to competition last month, is the 124-pound topweight in a field of eight sprinters entered for Saturday’s $100,000 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel Park.

The 24th running of the Fire Plug 4-year-olds and up and the 34th renewal of the $100,000 What a Summer for fillies and mares 4 and older, both contested at 6 ½ furlongs, are among four stakes worth $350,000 in purses on a nine-race program.

Also on the card are a pair of $75,000 stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses going one mile, the Geisha for fillies and mares 4 and older and the Jennings for 4-year-olds and up. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.

Laurel-based trainer Tim Keefe cross-entered Still Having Fun (4-1 on the morning line) in the seven-furlong Toboggan (G3) Saturday at Aqueduct, where the 5-year-old Old Fashioned gelding has never run. He owns three wins, two in stakes, and a pair of stakes seconds in eight career tries over his home course.

“I’m not really 100 percent sure where we’re going to go yet. The weather will probably play a role in where we go,” Keefe said. “Everything is good. Our short-term ultimate goal with him is the General George, so we’re just trying to figure out how best to get him there. These two races coming up, we’ll see who’s in there and also take a look at the weather.”

Still Having Fun is 12-1 on the morning line for the Toboggan, which has attracted multiple Grade 1 winner Mind Control.

Still Having Fun ran seventh in the 2019 General George (G3), a seven-furlong sprint which will be run for the 44th time Feb. 15 at Laurel. In his most recent start, the six-furlong Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Dec. 7 at Laurel, he raced in mid-pack before coming with a game run up the rail under Feargal Lynch but fell a neck shy of multiple stakes winner Lewisfield.

The Bender was the first race for Still Having Fun since running eighth in the Churchill Downs (G1) May 4. He ran third in the Malibu (G1) to cap a 2018 season where he won the Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood at Laurel and Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park.

“The last race was good. He obviously ran well for us there. A little farther distance is clearly what he likes, but I still thought at three-quarters and coming off the layoff he ran well for us and just missed. We’re pleased with him,” Keefe said. “He’s been training great since then. He had a nice work last weekend. Feargal’s been working him and it was very good. It’s been a team effort with him all along, a group effort, and hopefully it’ll pay off for us. We couldn’t be happier with where he is right now.”

Kasey K Racing Stable and Michael Day’s Brother Chub has won 16 career races including his last two, the most recent coming in the six-furlong Claiming Crown Express Dec. 7 at Gulfstream Park. Based at Parx with trainer Michael Moore, he is two-for-three lifetime at Laurel, taking a 6 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance Nov. 3.

Tiz He the One, winner of the seven-furlong Challedon Stakes Dec. 28 at Laurel; Arch Cat, an 11-time winner who ran second in the six-furlong Dave’s Friend on the same card; Dupree, racing first time off the claim for trainer Hugh McMahon; Honor the Fleet, third in the 2017 Pegasus (G3) at Monmouth and second in the Concern at Laurel; Long May You Run and Threes Over Deuces are also entered.

NOTES Still Having Fun is the only Laurel-based runner entered in the Fire Plug… Laurel-based Needs Supervision is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the $100,000 What a Summer Stakes on Saturday’s card, an event which serves as a prep for next month’s Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie. The Jerry O’Dwyer trainee will have Feargal Lynch in the irons…

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