KENNY HAD A NOTION HUNTING STAKES HAT TRICK
Louis Ulman and Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion, having won back-to-back stakes on different surfaces against restricted company, gets his biggest test to date in an attempt to extend his streak to three straight in Saturday’s $100,000 James F. Lewis III at Laurel Park.
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The ninth running of the Lewis for 2-year-olds co-headlines a nine-race program with the 24th renewal of the $100,000 Smart Halo for 2-year-old fillies, both stakes sprinting six furlongs. First race post time is 12:25 p.m.
Kenny Had a Notion will be facing open company in the Lewis for the first time since his July 30 debut at Delaware Park, where he came from off the pace to get up by a head sprinting six furlongs as the favorite in a maiden special weight.
“We’ll see what he’s made of now. There’s no restrictions on this one,” trainer Dale Capuano said. “I think he’ll run his race. If he’s good enough, he should be tough. We’ll see.”
Kenny Had a Notion returned to Delaware to run sixth in his stakes debut in the First State Dash, contested over a sloppy track. Back at his home track of Laurel, he rolled past fellow Virginia-breds in the 5 ½-furlong Jamestown on turf, returning three weeks later to cruise by the same five-length margin in the six-furlong Maryland Million Nursery.
Capuano-trained stablemate Alwaysinahurry, second in the Nursery and nominated to the Lewis, came back to beat winners by a neck in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance Nov. 7 at Laurel.
“After the Maryland Million he’s done so well, and this is the next race for him. So, we’ll see how he does,” Capuano said of Kenny Had a Notion. “I was very impressed with him last time. He showed good speed, he was on the bit the entire race, and when he got through on the inside he just opened up in the stretch. Alwaysinahurry, who he beat and who I still say is a pretty nice horse as well, came back to win the allowance race on Saturday. That just flatters his performance a little bit more, I would think.
“The only time he’s lost so far was that sloppy race at Delaware. He just didn’t it going in that race,” he added. “He was a little bit short and it’s nice to run him at Laurel because that’s where he trains the whole time.”
Alex Cintron, up for his debut, gets a return call from Post 7 in the field of 10. All horses will carry 122 pounds.
Also entering the Lewis off two straight wins is Lugamo Racing Stable’s eponymous Chitu colt, whose lone career loss came when second behind undefeated Jaxon Traveler in his Sept. 25 unveiling at Pimlico Race Course. Jaxon Traveler is being pointed to the Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 2 at Laurel.
Lugamo romped by six lengths in a seven-furlong maiden special weight Oct. 16 and came back two weeks later with a 4 ¼-length optional claiming allowance triumph going one mile, both at Laurel. Angel Cruz will be back aboard for a third straight time, from Post 9.
“I wasn’t going to run him but the way he’s acting he’s telling me he’s ready to go again. My only concern is the distance,” trainer Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon said. “That’s the thing. It’s cutting back but you know, he’s going to run his race. He’s putting himself pretty much on the lead on the time without even being asked, so I hope he can do the same thing again.
“He took the last race like a breeze. He’s a happy horse. He’s doing really, really good,” he added. “He came out of it than he did the race before and the first race even better. He’s such an amazing horse. He’s out there galloping and all he wants to do now is buck, wants to rear up, wants to play. He’s very happy. He’s feeling really good.”
Sanchez-Salomon said Lugamo’s attitude has been the perfect complement to his talent as the colt continues to develop.
“He’s a really, really smart horse. He’s pretty quiet in the shedrow but when the rider gets on him and he gets out to the track, he’s a different horse. He transforms himself. All he wants to do is show that he’s the man,” he said. “What really amazes me is when he comes back and is done training, all he wants to do is lay down until it’s time for breakfast. You can lay on his back and sleep next to him and he won’t even move. That’s the sign of a really nice horse, so I hope he stays like that.”
Colts Neck Stables homebred Dalton will be making his Laurel debut for trainer Jorge Duarte Jr. after alternating his first four starts between Delaware and Monmouth Park. Last out, the Kantharos chestnut stalked the pace before taking a short lead into the stretch, and wound up second by a nose to Pickin’ Time in the six-furlong Smoke Glacken Oct. 24. Pickin’ Time came back to win the Nashua (G3) Nov. 8 at Aqueduct.
Completing the field are First State Dash winner Singlino, trained by Jack Worsley; No Cents, a, winner of two straight at Monmouth for Laurel-based trainer Cal Lynch; Ain’t Da Beer Cold, Fearless Fly, Heir Port, Texas Basin and Xtreme Mayhem.
The James F. Lewis III is named for the late longtime horseman who served as first president of Maryland Million Ltd. and past president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. A breeder, owner and trainer, Lewis’ top horses included 1974 Test (G2) winner Maybellene, 1974 Flirtation (G3) winner Heartful and multiple stakes winner Swift Attraction. His daughter, Lisa Lewis, has been training since the early 1990s.