G1-placed Big City Bob heads Private Terms field
Lebda won the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
Colts Neck Stables’ stakes winner Big City Bob, unraced since finishing third behind Triple Crown contender Tiz the Law in the Champagne (G1) last fall, is set to kick off his 3-year-old season in Saturday’s $100,000 Private Terms at Laurel Park.
The 31st running of the Private Terms for 3-year-olds at about 1 1/16 miles and the 32nd renewal of the $100,000 Beyond the Wire for 3-year-old fillies going one mile are among four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on an 11-race National Pi Day program. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.
Second in Laurel’s series of sophomore stakes, the Private Terms and Beyond the Wire serve as respective preps for the $200,000 Federico Tesio and $125,000 Weber City Miss April 18. The Tesio is a ‘Win and In’ race for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the $1.5 million Preakness (G1) May 16, and the Weber City Miss earns the winner an automatic berth in the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) May 15, both at Pimlico Race Course.
Big City Bob, by 2012 juvenile champion Shanghai Bobby, will be trying two turns for the first time since winning the one-mile Sapling Stakes last September at Monmouth Park. Rather than run in last weekend’s Gotham (G3) in New York, a one-turn mile, trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. opted to give the colt some extra time and distance for his seasonal debut.
“He had a little setback after the last race, nothing bad. He spent some time in Florida and then came back up to us,” Duarte said. “It made more sense to run here with the two turns, and the timing was better. We just think he’ll run good at Laurel with the way the track plays. It’ll give us a good line to see where we’re at and hopefully move forward to the Tesio or something like that.”
Purchased for $140,000 as a 2-year-old in training last spring and nominated to the Triple Crown, Big City Bob broke his maiden second time out and then stepped up to win the Sapling, earning him a shot in the Champagne Oct. 5, finishing 4 ¼ lengths behind Tiz the Law in the one-turn mile.
“He’s a nice horse. He’s won at two turns and he was very competitive in the Champagne to a nice horse. I think he should be very competitive on Saturday,” Duarte said. “He ran a great race last time. The way the business is, we had to stop on him a little bit but he should be coming back in good form. We’ll see what happens.”
Euro Stable’s Lebda exits a front-running triumph in the one-mile Miracle Wood Feb. 15 at Laurel, a race where he took a seven-length lead into the stretch and held off Mine Not Mine by three-quarters of a length. It was the first race of the year for Lebda, who finished third in the Dec. 28 Heft at Laurel and 1 1/16-mile Iroquois (G3) in Kentucky, won by Dennis’ Moment.
“He came out good from the last race. I was very happy with that race because he went very fast. He went in 22 and 45 [seconds] and he continued. In the end he slowed down, but it was because he went the first half of the race so fast,” Laurel’s winter meet-leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez said.
“I believe he’s going to be OK with a mile and a sixteenth. He tried it before in Kentucky and he ran third against the big horse that was the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup,” he added. “He was going 5 ½ furlongs the race before that. Now he’s going from a mile to a mile and sixteenth so it won’t be that much of a difference.”
LC Racing, D J Stable and Cash is King’s Mine Not Mine will make only his fourth career start, third straight in a stakes and second this year in the Private Terms. Fourth in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity in December, the Golden Lad colt trailed by as many as 16 lengths in the Miracle Wood before uncorking his rally.
The Miracle Wood was the first start for Triple Crown-nominated Mine Not Mine since fetching $210,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic December 2019 sale, three days after the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, and not one the new connections had originally considered.
“We really weren’t actually planning to go in that race. I spoke to the owners. We nominated because, why wouldn’t you? We planned on going in the allowance race in the book the next weekend and they guys asked me, ‘What about the Miracle Wood?’” trainer Brittany Russell said. “He was going really good, but I wanted another work in him. When he came out of the sale we kind of freshened him a bit so I hadn’t really pushed on him or done a lot of working with him. That being said, it wasn’t exactly the goal so we’re really proud of him because he really stepped up. I think he’ll really move forward from that race.”
Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Awesome Party, a son of Hall of Famer Curlin, enters the Private Terms off a gutsy neck maiden victory Feb. 17 at Aqueduct. Unraced at 2, he debuted with a troubled trip Jan. 11 at Gulfstream Park before being shipped north by trainer Todd Pletcher.
“He broke his maiden last time going a mile and an eighth. We wanted to keep him at two turns. We would have preferred it to be at a mile and an eighth, but this is kind of the next best thing. I thought he had a good work the other day at Belmont and we’ll see if he can take a step up in class,” Pletcher said. “I think like a lot of the Curlins he’s starting to improve as he gets a little older and certainly appreciates more distance. If he were to run well, maybe he would come back in something like the Tesio. We’ll continue to play it by ear, but hopefully he keeps moving forward.”
Triple Crown-nominated Amen Corner, fourth in the Miracle Wood, Took Charge, and My Friends Beer complete the field.
LATEST RACING NEWS
Fresh off a win in the Louisiana Derby, Wells Bayou moved into the top 10 of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for 3-year-olds.
Trainer John Stephens was the first to arrive at Monmouth Park this morning, a backside that figures to be more crowded than usual this summer.
Anna’s Bandit was best in Charles Town’s Original Gold Stakes, while her co-WV-bred Horse of the Year Runnin’toluvya, struggled in the Confucius Say.
Trainer Anthony Lynch, son of fellow trainer Cal Lynch, earned his first career victory Saturday at Laurel Park when Queen of Cause prevailed.
Saturday’s Confucius Say Stakes at Charles Town has only five runners, but it’s a rugged group topped by graded winner Runnin’toluvya.
Shotski, on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year, will get the rest of the year off as a result of bone bruising, trainer Jerry O’Dwyer revealed.