REASSURED DOMINATES IN MAIDEN SCORE
Hillwood Stable’s homebred 2-year-old colt Reassured, third as a maiden in the Maryland Million Nursery second time out, graduated in style with an impressive 8 ¾-length triumph to open the program as live racing returned to Laurel Park Thursday.
- On PA Derby day, “At long last” the key phraseHot Rod Charlie got — at long last — his Grade 1 triumph in Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby. He wasn’t the day’s only “at long last” winner by any means.
Making his fourth career start and second straight around two turns, all under jockey Jevian Toledo, Reassured ($2.80) ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:47 over a fast main track in the waiver maiden claiming for juveniles, which drew a field of seven.
A son of 2014 General George (G3) winner Bandbox trained by Brittany Russell, Reassured was one of five horses taking advantage of the waiver and not racing for the $40,000 tag.
“We’ve always loved him and we sprinted him twice knowing that eventually he was going to want two turns,” Russell said. “Last time I think it was just bad luck. I don’t think anybody noticed but Toledo dropped his stick. He never hit him once and he just got nailed.
“Basically he went a mile and a sixteenth around there kind of on his own and he just got a little lost, so it was really nice to see him come back,” she added. “It was probably a blessing in disguise that he got beat last time because it was an education for him and then he comes back today and he’s a professional. I’m very pleased.”
Reassured got away slowly from the far outside post and had one horse beat early as Ferocious Storm led the way through fractions of 24.89 seconds, 49.45 and 1:14.56. Toledo swung to the outside and Reassured steadily picked up horses until taking over the lead around the turn and powering through the stretch with minimal encouragement.
“He just kind of gave him one whack to kind of keep him straight,” Russell said. “That’s always been his thing in the morning, he always kind of wanted to lay on horses, but with racing they just sometimes figure things out. Instead of throwing a bunch of equipment on them you just kind of hope that they move forward every time they run.
“He’s always kind of a step slow from the gate and you have to kind of deal with the cards you’re dealt,” she added. “Being outside like that, Toledo had to kind of tuck him in and try and get him over because he was going to get hung pretty wide. It didn’t surprise me that he was that far back but he was back there tugging pretty hard.”
Reassured was second in his Sept. 12 debut and third in the Oct. 24 Nursery, both going six furlongs, and was beaten a nose in his two-turn debut Nov. 19, all at Laurel. There are two $100,000 stakes for 2-year-olds remaining on Laurel’s 2020 calendar, both Dec. 26 – the seven-furlong Heft and Howard County at about 1 1/16 miles.
“We might take a peek at it, especially because there’s those longer races. That’s what it kind of looks like he loves,” Russell said. “I’m not going to rule it out. He’s a big horse, he takes to training and he obviously likes racing so I don’t think running him back on the quicker side would affect him at all. So, we’ll definitely consider it.”