TACO SUPREAM BACK IN WIN COLUMN AT LAUREL

Taco Supream
Taco Supream proved best in a salty allowance Thursday at Laurel Park. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

Big Bertha Stable and Stormy Stable’s Taco Supream, scratched from the $100,000 Frank Whiteley Stakes last weekend, returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in 14 months with a popular 1 ½-length triumph in Thursday’s feature at Laurel Park.

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Sent off the even-money favorite among a field of seven in the third-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs, Taco Supream ($4.20) earned his eighth career triumph all coming over his home track. The winning time was 1:09.26 over a fast main track.

It was the first win for 5-year-old Taco Supream since his upset victory in the 2019 Maryland Million Sprint. He had gone winless in seven straight races including a Feb. 17 optional claimer where he finished first by a nose but was disqualified to fourth for interference.

“We didn’t know if this race was going to fill, that’s why we went to the Whiteley first. We didn’t want to skip it and not run until the middle of January or whenever it would have been,” winning trainer Damon Dilodovico said. “He was ready to go. He probably would have run well in that race, and we were fortunate to get the win today.”

Jockey Horacio Karamanos put Taco Supream in an ideal stalking spot behind 20-1 long shot pacesetter Fiber and Emily, who went the first quarter-mile in 22.67 seconds. Taco Supream ranged up on his outside to take the lead after a half in 45.47 with fellow stakes winner Wendell Fong in pursuit. Once straightened for home, Taco Supream steadily edged clear of Wendell Fong while Fiber and Emily held on for third over Big Engine.

“I was pretty pleased with the trip we got. Last time we got stuck on probably the worst part of the track that day and Francatelli went 1:08 to beat us, so he really performed that day going against what I thought was a track bias,” Dilodovico said. “To come back and get a good trip like this and nto take it all the way to the wire and get some daylight between us and the second horse was a bit of a relief.”

Dilodovico said he will consider Taco Supream for the Dec. 26 series of eight stakes at Laurel that include the $100,000 Dave’s Friend at six furlongs and $100,000 Native Dancer at 1 1/8 miles for 3-year-olds and up.

“There’s some races the day after Christmas and we’ll look at those and see how things work out and how he comes out of this race,” he said. “He wouldn’t know he’s a day over 3. He’s a young-acting horse, and we just try to keep him fresh and happy.”

In Thursday’s co-feature, Gold Square’s Little Miss Raelyn ($7.40) repelled the challenge of Coconut Cake through the stretch to post her third straight victory in Race 6, a second-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up. Racing for the first time since March 7, the 4-year-old filly completed seven furlongs in 1:23.48.

NRS Stable, James Chambers and trainer Tim Keefe’s Avalon Farm’s 3-year-old filly Coconut Cake, scratched on the eve of the Maryland Million Distaff Oct. 24 with a quarter crack, had her win streak snapped at three races. In third was 2019 Distaff runner-up Conjecture.

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