Still Having Fun on target for General George date
Still Having Fun won the 2018 G2 Woody Stephens Stakes. Photo by Viola Jasko/NYRA.
Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing’s Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun blazed through his lone breeze Saturday in advance of his next scheduled start in the $250,000 General George (G3) Feb. 15 at Laurel Park.
Jockey Feargal Lynch was aboard as Still Having Fun went five furlongs in 1:00 over Laurel’s main track, the fastest of 12 horses at the distance. Lynch has been named to ride in the seven-furlong General George.
“I worked him by himself. The intention wasn’t to be a real super-duper sharp work, but I wanted him to do a little something out there and he kept his mind on his business,” trainer Tim Keefe said. “Sometimes when he is out there by himself and doesn’t really have a target to run after he gets a little aloof out there, but he didn’t today.”
Keefe praised track superintendent Chris Bosley and his crew for their work on the surface after several days of inclement weather.
“With all the rain we’ve had, Chris Bosley had the track in excellent condition. Maybe it was a little faster than normal, but no complaints,” Keefe said. “My intention was to work him today, but I waited to see the track and it was very good this morning so we decided to go. I was pleased. Barring anything between now and then, our plan is the General George.”
Lynch has been Still Having Fun’s regular work partner since the 5-year-old Old Fashioned gelding returned to Keefe’s barn after getting a break following the Churchill Downs (G1) last May. The General George will be his third start off the layoff, having run second in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Dec. 7 at Laurel and fifth in the Toboggan (G3) Jan. 18 at Aqueduct.
In the winter of 2018, Lynch rode Still Having Fun to victories in the Frank Whiteley Jr. and Miracle Wood at Laurel. That summer, the horse gave Keefe his first graded-stakes victory in the Woody Stephens (G2) at Belmont Park.
“Feargal’s been working the horse all along since he’s been back,” Keefe said. “Of course, he won a couple of the stakes for me early on in his career so he knows the horse very well. I’m pleased that he’s going to jump back on and ride him for us, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The 44th running of the General George for 4-year-olds and up and the 68th renewal of the $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) for fillies and mares 4 and older, both at seven furlongs, headline a Winter Carnival program featuring eight stakes worth $800,000 in purses.
A trio of $100,000 stakes will also be held during Winter Carnival, the biggest day of Laurel’s ongoing winter meet – the one-mile Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds and 1 1/16-mile Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies, and the 1 1/16-mile John B. Campbell for 4-year-olds and up.
In addition to live racing, Winter Carnival will feature kids’ crafts and face painting, a hot chocolate and coffee bar, ice sculptures, live ice carving demonstration, $2,500 ice wall, special stakes buffet and Maryland Jockey Club knit hat giveaway with program purchase, while supplies last.
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