Grand Cru Classe
Grand Cru Classe held on to win the Weber City Miss Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo by Maryland Jockey Club.

Speedway Stable’s Grand Cru Classe, making just her third career start and first in a stakes, led every step of the way and held off late-running Market Rumor by a neck to stay unbeaten in Monday’s $100,000 Weber City Miss at Laurel Park.

The Weber City Miss for 3-year-old fillies at about 1 1/16 miles was the last of five $100,000 stakes on a special Labor Day holiday program that capped Preakness Prep Weekend and also featured Happy Saver’s victory in the Federico Tesio, which serves as a ‘Win and In’ event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the 145th Preakness (G1) Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

Monday’s card included three stakes contested over Laurel’s world-class turf course – the 5 ½-furlong Laurel Dash and 1 1/16-mile Henry S. Clark for 3-year-olds and up and 1 1/8-mile All Along for fillies and mares 3 and up.

The winning time of 1:44.02 over a fast main track was the second-fastest in five editions of the Weber City Miss, trailing only Goodonehoney’s 1:43.49 from 2018 and earning Grand Cru Classe an automatic berth in the 96th Black-Eyed Susan (G2) on Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course on the Preakness undercard.

Sent off as the even-money favorite off an 8 ¾-length maiden win in the slop May 24 at Gulfstream Park and a four-length open allowance score July 9 at Belmont Park, both over her elders, Grand Cru Classe found herself on the lead from her rail post pressed on the outside by Malibeauty through fractions of 23.86 and 48.45 seconds.

Market Rumor loomed a threat on the far outside after Grand Cru Classe went six furlongs in 1:13.29 and saw her lead shrink to a head at the top of the stretch. Set down for the drive, Grand Cru Classe put away Malibeauty and dug in tenaciously through the stretch to turn back Market Rumor, who was exiting a sixth-place finish in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) Aug. 1.

“She’s pretty quick out of the gate and that was the plan, to break out of there and let them come get us,” winning jockey Julian Pimentel said. “She bobbled a little bit but she’s pretty quick and she pressed on. She found another gear when they came to her.”

Market Rumor was three-quarters of a length better than Grade 1 winner Perfect Alibi in third. It was three lengths back to Ankle Monitor in fourth, with Lasting Union, Princess Cadey, Breviary, Malibeauty and Grade 3 winner Project Whiskey completing the order of finish.

Bred in Kentucky by Daniel J. Burke, Grand Cru Classe fetched $335,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale last May at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

In the undercard stakes supporting the Tesio and Weber City Miss, Nay Lady Nay dominated the All Along Stakes for fillies and mares on the lawn, winning by over five lengths with Victor Carrasco up for trainer Chad Brown; trainer Claudio Gonzalez teamed with jockey Angel Cruz for their third stakes win of the weekend when Completed Pass won the Laurel Dash on the lawn; and Doctor Mounty, ridden by Forest Boyce for trainer Shug McGaughey, led throughout to win the Henry S. Clark Stakes on the grass.

Four of the day’s five stakes were won by New York shippers, the lone exception being COmpleted Pass’s win in the Dash.