Ournationonparade looks to keep on a roll

Happy Go Lucky Stable, Inc.’s Ournationonparade, who debuted for new connections with a dominant victory in the Maryland Million Classic last month, returns to Laurel Park looking to extend his overall win streak to five races in Saturday’s $100,000 Richard W. Small.

The 22nd running of the 1 1/8-mile Richard Small for 3-year-olds and up is the third of three $100,000 stakes on a nine-race post-Thanksgiving Day program following the Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies and City of Laurel for 3-year-olds, both sprinting seven furlongs.

First race post time is 12:15 p.m.

Bred in Maryland by John Williamson, Ournationonparade was claimed for $50,000 out of a sprint victory at Churchill Downs in late September and pointed to the Classic – contested over the same track and distance as the Small – by trainer Jamie Ness.

The 5-year-old Cal Nation gelding was kept in the clear by jockey Jaime Rodriguez on both turns, moved up from mid-pack to take a comfortable lead into the stretch and opened up through the lane to win by 5 ¾ lengths. It was the second win in three tries for Ournationonparade at Laurel, the other coming in the 2019 Maryland Million Nursery.

“It was definitely ‘Holy cow.’ He trained that good and he ran like he trained,” Ness said. “The guy that had him before had him in good form and we just tried to keep him the same way, and we did. Now we’re looking to go and do it again. He’s giving us all the same indications he did before the last race. It seems like we’re all ready to go.”

Ournationonparade was entered in the $175,000 Claiming Crown Jewel Nov. 12 at Churchill but a combination of the far outside Post 10 and a sloppy, sealed track was enough for Ness to scratch as one of the top contenders and await the Small.

“We were going to go [but] we drew a bad post and there was some really nasty weather coming in, so it wasn’t too hard to say, ‘Let’s just sit and wait for this race.’ I’m glad we did it, in hindsight,” Ness said. “He worked the other day and worked good. I like the distance for him, and he likes the track.”

Ournationonparade cruised home in the Maryland Million Classic. Photo by Allison Janezic.