MISCHEVIOUS ALEX AMONG TOP NOMS TO TESIO
Dean Martini and South Bend, the top two finishers from the Ohio Derby (G3), multiple Grade 3 winner Mischevious Alex and a quartet from seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher are among 20 horses nominated to the $100,000 Federico Tesio Monday, Sept. 7 at Laurel Park.
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The 1 1/8-mile Tesio for 3-year-olds, a ‘Win and In’ event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the 145th Preakness Stakes (G1) Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course, is one of nine stakes worth $900,000 in purses to be contested over Laurel’s Preakness Prep Weekend that includes four stakes on Kentucky Derby (G1) Day, Saturday, Sept. 5, drawing a total of 218 nominations.
Two starts after being claimed for $50,000, Dean Martini upset the Ohio Derby at odds of 14-1, holding off late-running South Bend by three-quarters of a length. Dean Martini returned to run sixth in the Ellis Park Derby Aug. 9, while South Bend was purchased privately and finished fourth in the 1 ¼-mile Travers (G1) Aug. 8 at Saratoga.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Mischevious Alex won the seven-furlong Swale (G3) at Gulfstream Park and one-mile Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct over the winter but has finished off the board in his two most recent starts, both at seven-eighths – the Woody Stephens (G1) June 20 and H. Allen Jerkens (G1) Aug. 1.
Among Pletcher’s nominees are Oaklawn Stakes runner-up Farmington Road, on the Triple Crown trail earlier this year and allowance winner over the Colonial Downs turf last out July 29; Happy Saver, a son of Pletcher’s 2010 Derby winner Super Saver that debuted June 20 at Belmont and is unbeaten in two starts; and Money Moves, also unraced at 2 who won suffered his first career loss in a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming allowance July 25 at Saratoga.
Also on the special Labor Day holiday program Sept. 7 is the $100,000 Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies going about 1 1/16 miles, a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on the Preakness undercard.
A total of 27 horses were nominated to the Weber City Miss led by 2019 Spinaway (G1) winner Perfect Alibi, who finished behind likely Kentucky Oaks (G1) favorite Gamine in each of her last two starts, most recently the Aug. 8 Test (G1) at Saratoga; Project Whiskey, 38-1 winner of the Delaware Oaks (G3) July 4; and Bella Aurora, winner of Laurel’s seven-furlong Gin Talking last December.
Three grass stakes, which drew a total of 93 nominations, will also be run Sept. 7. Most popular among horsemen was the $100,000 All Along for fillies and mares 3 and up at 1 1/8 miles with 35 nominees including graded-stakes winners Secret Message, Theodora B. and Varenka and graded-stakes placed Beautiful Lover and Feel Glorious.
Pewter Stable’s Dubini is nominated to defend his title in the $100,000 Laurel Dash for 3-year-olds and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the turf and is joined by fellow stakes winners Introduced, Just Might, Regally Irish, Shekky Shebaz, Smooth B, Texas Wedge and Wet Your Whistle along with the 10-year-olds Oak Bluffs, a 21-time career winner trained by Mary Eppler, and 2013 Mr. Prospector (G3) winner Singanothersong.
The $100,000 Henry S. Clark at 1 1/16 miles for 3-year-olds and up drew 32 nominees, among them Isabelle Haskell de Tomaso’s defending champion Irish Strait; graded-stakes winners Doctor Mounty, Golden Brown, Monongahela and Olympico; and veterans John Jones and O Dionysus, stakes winners on both turf and dirt.
John Jones and Monongahela are also nominated to the $100,000 Deputed Testamony, a 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-olds and up on the main track that returns to stakes calendar Sept. 5 for the first time since 2008. Other nominees include multiple stakes winners Cordmaker and Someday Jones, Grade 3 winner Name Changer and impressive recent Laurel allowance winner Top Line Growth.
Grade 3 winners Bellera, Golden Award and Horologist and stakes winners Another Broad, Artful Splatter, Gotham Gala, Meadow Dance and Tasting the Stars are among nominees to the Deputed Testamony’s female counterpart, the $100,000 Twixt, won in 2019 by retired 2019 Barbara Fritchie (G3) winner Late Night Pow Wow.
The Sept. 5 stakes are rounded out by a pair of six-furlong dirt sprints, the $100,000 Polynesian for 3-year-olds and up led by stakes-winning stablemates Laki and Taco Supream, and $100,000 Alma North for fillies and mares 3 and older, topped by 12-time stakes winner Anna’s Bandit and fellow multiple stakes winner Hello Beautiful.