Toledo, Robb seeking Laurel winter meet titles

Jockey Jevian Toledo and trainer Robb lead their respective standings as Laurel Park enters closing weekend of its 2021 winter meet.

Toledo, 27, has a nine-win edge over apprentice Jean Alvelo, 36-27, in the race for leading rider. Toledo also has $1.22 million in purse earnings, second to Victor Carrasco ($1.28 million). Carrasco is third with 24 wins, followed by Jaime Rodriguez (22) and Xavier Perez (20).

Alvelo will conclude the meet as leading apprentice rider; his nearest competitor, Bryson Butterfly, has 14 wins.

Perez is 20-for-70, good for a 29% strike rate that is tops among regular Laurel riders. Toledo is winning at a 25% clip at the meet.

A native of Puerto Rico and winner of more than 1,200 races, Toledo is coming off a 2021 season where he led all Maryland jockeys in wins for the third time in his career, and captured Laurel’s calendar year-ending fall stand. He has two stakes wins during the winter meet – aboard Brittany Russell trainee Wondrwherecraigis in the Jan. 29 Fire Plug and stablemate Whereshetoldmetogo in the March 19 Not For Love.

The 69-year-old Robb is tops with 22 wins and $845,323 in purse earnings from 62 starters including Fille d’Esprit in the March 19 Conniver. Claudio Gonzalez, Maryland’s leading trainer by wins since 2017, is second with 21 wins while Jamie Ness is in striking distance with 19 wins.

Robb is seeking his first training title since sharing the 2018 Pimlico crown with Mary Eppler and Kieron Magee. A winner of more than 2,000 races, he previously led Laurel’s 2009 spring, 2004 winter and 2003 spring standings.

Robb is 22-for-62 at the meet, good for a 35% strike rate. Gonzalez has 21 wins from 95 starts (22%), while Ness is 19-for-80 (24%).

Ness’ Jagger Inc. is tied with Lugamo Racing Stable for leading owner with seven wins. Robb’s No Guts No Glory Farm is second with six wins. Robb and Perez have teamed up for 20 wins from 54 starts (37 percent), while Rodriguez and Ness are 16-for-59 (27 percent).

Laurel will play host to 10 races Friday and Saturday. Friday’s feature comes in Race 7, a second-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 4 and up sprinting six furlongs where Response Time goes after her fourth consecutive win. Race 8 is an optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and about 1 1/16 miles that drew 10 horses including Heffner, third last out in the Feb. 19 Miracle Wood.

Saturday’s card includes a third-level optional claiming allowance for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles that features Treasure Trove, fifth by less than a length in the 2021 Ben Ali (G3); Dixie Drawl, third in the 2021 Harrison Johnson Memorial making his second start in eight months; Money Ride, on a two-race win streak; and 16-time career winner Bobby G.

Saturday also marks the return of Larry Rabold’s Excellorator, unraced since being disqualified from first to second for drifting out in the stretch of the 2021 Federico Tesio at Pimlico. The 4-year-old son of 2013 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb was claimed for $62,500 out of a Laurel win last February and ran third in the Private Terms a month later in his first start for trainer Hugh McMahon.

Toledo is named in four races Friday and five Saturday, while Alvelo has 13 mounts over the same span. Robb has three horses entered in two races Friday and one entry Saturday. Gonzalez has seven horses entered in five races Friday and four horses in three races Saturday.

Our top-rated horses to date at the meet

  1. Cordmaker – rating 109 – won two stakes including the G3 General George
  2. Galerio (107) – Won the Campbell and finished third in two other stakes
  3. Youngest of Five (105) – Second and fourth in stakes company
  4. Shackqueenking (104) – Fourth in the G3 General George
  5. Workin On a Dream (104) – Second in the Harrison Johnson Memorial
  6. Treasure Trove (104)

Top-rated fillies and mares

  1. Fille d’Esprit (99) – Won the Conniver, third in the G3 Fritchie
  2. Prodigy Doll (98) – Has kept right company
  3. Kaylasaurus (98) – Good tries in all three starts
  4. Kiss the Girl (98) – Pair of stakes wins but buried by top-rated horse in the Conniver
  5. Princess Kokachin (97) – Two allowance wins and third in a stake
  • Minimum two starts at the meet; rating based largely on quality of competition