Honor the Fleet
Threes Over Deuces (#7) was second in the January 2020 Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

Pocket 3s Racing’s Threes Over Deuces, racing for the first time since his runner-up finish behind Grade 1-winning millionaire Firenze Fire in the Feb. 15 General George (G3), found a seam along the rail in mid-stretch to surge past pacesetting Onemoregreattime and capture Saturday’s feature on an Independence Day holiday program at Laurel Park.

Ridden by five-pound apprentice Victor Rosales for trainer Gary Capuano, Threes Over Deuces ($8) snapped a string of three consecutive seconds this year, two by a neck, with his head triumph in the third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up.

The winning time was 1:09.98 for six furlongs over a fast main track. Stakes-placed Onemoregreattime, one of two horses in for a $50,000 tag and racing first time for trainer Jerry O’Dwyer, was second followed by 2019 Maryland Million Sprint winner Taco Supream, the narrow 2-1 favorite; Lewisfield, a four-time Laurel stakes winner making his 2020 debut; Completed Pass and Ballivor.

“He really got a perfect trip. Victor was patient. Very salty race, very good race,” Capuano said. “He got a great trip, and that was the difference between winning and losing. He likes to get beat right on the wire, but today he held off. He’s just a class horse.”

Runner up in the 2018 Star de Naskra at Laurel, Onemoregreattime was quickest from the gate and in front after going a quarter-mile in 23.05 seconds pressed by 2019 Jim McKay Turf Sprint winner Completed Pass to his outside with Lewisfield under a snug hold awaiting running room on the rail in third and Taco Supream in the clear three wide in fourth.

Onemoregreattime remained in front through a half-mile in 46.47 seconds still chased by Completed Pass while Taco Supream launched his bid on the far turn with Lewisfield still on hold. Onemoregreattime began to gain separation once straightened for home until Threes Over Deuces, unhurried throughout, began to gain ground on the inside and kept driving to get up in time.

“The trip was perfect. I saved ground behind horses and stayed behind the speed. I took a chance on whether it would open up or not,” Rosales said. “I was sitting, sitting, sitting and when I saw the light it was time to go. I had plenty of horse.”

Saturday’s win avenged a neck loss by Threes Over Deuces to Onemoregreattime in their season opener Jan. 3, a six-furlong optional claimer over a muddy and sealed Laurel surface. Just 15 days later, Threes Over Deuces came up a neck short in the 6 ½-furlong Fire Plug behind Honor the Fleet. The effort earned him a shot in the seven-furlong General George, where he edged Grade 2 winner Still Having Fun by a neck for second.

“It worked out good. He was patient on the inside and he got the jump on [Onemoregreattime],” Capuano said. “That horse dug in, but he fought hard.”