Doubleoseven won an allowance in May at Pimlico. Photo Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

Article adapted from a Maryland Jockey Club release

Doubleoseven, who showed promise early in 2021, will make his first start in nearly four months in Sunday’s $100,000, 1 1/16-mile Robert T. Manfuso Stakes at Laurel Park.

There he’ll find perhaps the sternest test of his young career: eight rivals, many of them older, headlined by six-year-old Cordmaker, an earner of more than $730,000 in his career. No wonder he’s 20-1 on the morning line.

McCarty Racing LLC’s Doubleoseven, a three-year-old Hard Spun gelding, sandwiched a third-place effort on the dirt in Belmont Park’s Gold Fever Stakes with a pair of allowance wins. He then tried the turf twice, finishing fourth in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park and then eighth in the Grade 3 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs.

The latter race came August 31. Sunday’s Manfuso will be his first start since – and his first try at his Laurel Park base since March 20.

“It was just a planned break for him. He’s not a real tall horse but he’s kind of long and lean, so we gave him a little time to let him grow. The owner is very good, very patient,” trainer Jerry O’Dwyer said. “I was hoping to run him in a two-other-than a couple of weeks ago as a prep and come back for the stake, but things didn’t work out that way. We’ve just been sitting on him.”

Doubleosven was well back early in the Kent before rallying to finish fourth, less than four lengths behind the winner. He was closer early in the Virginia Derby but faded.

“We gave him a couple tries on turf. He ran well in the Kent Stakes so we said we’d give him another go. There wasn’t a lot of options for him at the time for a 3-year-old stakes,” O’Dwyer added. “It didn’t go as planned but he’s equally effective on the dirt.”

Doubleoseven has had a steady string of works at Laurel since Oct. 31 for his comeback, which would mark just the second time the 3-year-old faced older horses. He won his only other try in a restricted 1 1/16-mile allowance May 29 over a sloppy Pimlico main track.

“He’s doing very well,” O’Dwyer said. “We just gave him an easy breeze here [the other day]; he went in 1:01 and change. I didn’t even breeze him the week before. I just left him alone because he’s fairly fit and tied on. He’s a light-framed horse so I don’t want to overcook the goose.”

Johan Rosado has the mount on Doubleoseven, who will leave from the second stall – just outside Cordmaker.

The morning line favorite for the Manfuso is Cordmaker (2-1), who enters off a win in the nine-furlong Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Nov. 27. Other Manfuso contenders include the place and show horses from the Small, Workin On a Dream (6-1) and Shackqueenking (5-2), respectively; and the Dale Bennett-trained Everett’s Song (9-2), already a stakes winner in just five career starts.