LOCALS HOPE TO HOLD STRONG TESIO STAKES HAND
Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ Maythehorsebwithu was among nine Triple Crown nominees at the late March 29 deadline. He will be making his ninth start, fourth straight in stakes and fifth overall in the Tesio. He has progressively gone from 5 ½ furlongs in his Delaware Park debut last summer to 1 1/16 miles in the March 13 Private Terms at Laurel, his two-turn debut, where ran second by a half-length to Shackled Love.
“There’s a little bit more of a run to the first turn over here, so you just hope that he gets a good spot and settles into that first turn and can just get comfortable,” Russell said. “Hopefully he just keeps running like he has.”
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Maythehorsebwithu is one of five Maryland-based horses set to run in the Tesio Stakes. In addition, four horses, including the shipper Hello Hot Rod, are Maryland-breds. Hello Hot Rod is 5-1 in the wide-open field, while Maythehorsebwithu is the morning line favorite, at 5-2.
A dominant front-running winner of the one-mile Miracle Wood by four lengths Feb. 20 at Laurel, Maythehorsebwithu has been second in his other two stakes attempts including a neck loss to multiple stakes winner Kenny Had a Notion in Laurel’s seven-furlong Spectacular Bid Jan. 16.
Maythehorsebwithu had an easy five-furlong breeze in 1:01.80 Sunday at Pimlico, where he has joined Russell’s on-track string. Her husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, gets the return call from far outside Post 8.
“He had an easy day [Monday] because he worked on Sunday and he came out [Tuesday] morning and had his back all up and he was playing around and had lots of energy. It’s just exciting to see him kind of touting himself like that again,” Russell said. “He doesn’t really seem like he cares that he’s at Pimlico and all that. He’s been a lot of fun thus far, so you hope that he just keeps stepping forward.”
This year’s early Triple Crown nominations opened Jan. 11 at a cost of $600, due by Jan. 23. The second and final deadline in late March came at a cost of $6,000.
“We felt this horse would be more of a sprinter type and the longer we’ve had him and the more we’ve got to know him and race him, we’ve been just delighted with the results,” Russell said. “I love our horse. I feel good about the position we’re in regardless, so I’m just excited to have our guy to walk over.”
Also a late Triple Crown nomination was Phillip Ward’s Tiz Mandate (12-1), whose lone victory came in his unveiling last Nov. 22 at Laurel, a six-furlong maiden special weight sprint he won by a neck. He ran fifth in a strong edition of the Heft Stakes Dec. 26 that included No Cents, Kenny Had a Notion and Singlino to cap his juvenile year.
Tiz Mandate opened 2021 running fourth in the Spectacular Bid, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, then rallied to be second behind Maythehorsebwithu in the Miracle Wood. In both starts, the Strong Mandate ridgling got away slowly, something trainer Damon Dilodovico hopes to remedy with the addition of blinkers for the Tesio.
“We’re hopeful that will help him out getting away from the gate,” he said. “He was primed for a big effort last time. Obviously your heart just sinks when you spot decent horses as many lengths as he spotted them. But I think it was just all about his focus. It was non-existent that day. We’re hoping that the blinkers will have him more focused.”
Jevian Toledo will be up for the third straight race on Tiz Mandate, who has yet to try two turns, breaking from Post 2. They breezed a half-mile together in 50.60 seconds April 19 at Pimlico with Laurel’s main track currently closed to workers during evaluation and renovation.
“He just does not seem to get tired. He just keeps looking for more. Once you start running against some of these horses, maybe that’ll change,” Dilodovico said. “The way he’s coming into this race is not the fairest way to bring him into it, but we still have confidence in him. So, we’ll see what happens.”
ZWP Stable, Inc. and Non Stop Stable’s Shackled Love (9-2) is entered for a shot in the Tesio. The gelded son of Preakness winner Shackleford had a maiden win and two seconds among his first five starts before stepping up to stakes company in the Private Terms. He pressed pacesetting even-money favorite Maythehorsebwithu from the gate, took a narrow lead in mid-stretch and dug in to the wire for a 21-1 upset.
“It’s amazing how things sometimes work out,” trainer Gary Capuano said. “We stuck him in and looked at the race. His numbers fit with the race and he’s been improving, so it was worth taking a shot. He had a good post position, the whole thing. It looked like he could be competitive in there if he ran his race.”
Apprentice Charlie Marquez climbs back aboard from Post 7.
Completing the field are Excellorator, Zertz and Royal Number, respectively third, fifth and sixth in the Private Terms; and The Reds, exiting a fifth in the one-mile Gotham (G3) March 5 at Aqueduct for New York-based trainer John Kimmel. The Reds is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line.