Jevian Toledo caps 4-win day with Manfuso score

Thomas Coulter’s Nimitz Class came with a steady run down the center of the track to reel in front-running Ain’t Da Beer Cold and edge clear by a half-length in Friday’s $100,000 Robert T. Manfuso Monday at Laurel Park, completing a four-win afternoon for jockey Jevian Toledo.

The second running of the Manfuso for 3-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles and 20th edition of the 1 1/8-mile Carousel for fillies and mares 3 and up were the last of six $100,000 stakes on a Christmastide Day program rescheduled from Dec. 26.

Nimitz Class ($15.60), beaten in three previous stakes attempts in Maryland this year, got an ideal stalking trip under Toledo, Maryland’s leading rider of 2022 whose other wins Friday came aboard 2-year-olds Landon Jack in Race 1, Stardust Ziggy ($10.60) in Race 3 and Diamondsifyoudo ($2.60) in Race 6.

“Thank God, thanks to my agent [Marty Leonard] for a good job, all the trainers and owners for the opportunities, [and] my family that came here to support me, as well,” Toledo said. “Just thankful and taking advantage of every opportunity.”

Nimitz Class settled in mid-pack as 30-1 long shot Workin On a Dream took the field through an opening quarter-mile in 24.91 seconds. Even-money favorite Ournationonparade, winner of the Oct. 22 Maryland Million Classic, slipped up the rail to take over after a half in 49.66 with Ain’t Da Beer Cold in the clear three wide.

Toledo, subbing for jockey Angel Rodriguez, began to pick up horses leaving the far turn and set his sights on Ain’t Da Beer Cold, the first also-eligible in an overflow field of 12 that drew in following scratches of Ridin With Biden, Southern District, Grade 3-winning millionaire Cordmaker and Eloquist.

Make it 4 for Jevian Toledo. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski.

“I called Angel, we’re really good friends and he was supposed to ride the horse. He told me, ‘He always tries. Just help him away from the gate and just try to find a clear trip and he will try,’ and he did,” Toledo said. “He tried his best. When I asked him, turning into the stretch I felt like I had horse. I know they’re in front, but I felt like I can go by at any time because he was trying 100 percent.”

Nimitz Class ran a mile in 1:39.39 to overtake a stubborn Ain’t Da Beer Cold and earn his second career stakes win. In previous trips to Maryland this year, the 3-year-old Munnings gelding was second in the July 2 Concern and fourth in the Nov. 26 City of Laurel at Laurel Park, and fourth in the Sept. 10 Lite the Fuse at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Ain’t Da Beer Cold was second, 3 ¼ lengths ahead of Ournationonparade. It was another 1 ¼ lengths back to Plot the Dots followed by Armando R, American d’Oro and Workin On a Dream. Monday Morning Qb was also scratched.

“I got the outside post and that kind of bothered me a little bit because I wanted to be closer than what I was, but that’s how the race set up,” Toledo said. “At least we got the job done, that’s the main thing.”

A longtime owner and breeder and former owner of both Laurel and historic Pimlico Race Course who was instrumental in revitalizing Maryland racing, Robert T. Manfuso passed away in March 2020. Top-class runners bred and raised at Chanceland Farm with his life partner, trainer Katy Voss, include 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Aloha West, 2016 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Cathryn Sophia and millionaire Cordmaker.

In other stakes action at Laurel Park:

  • Coffeewithchris pulled a 16-1 upset in the Heft Stakes, a seven-furlong test for two-year-olds. Under jockey Jaime Rodriguez, the John Salzman, Jr. trainee pressed Full Moon Madness into submission and then inched away from 3-5 favorite Prince of Jericho to win by over two lengths in 1:24.96.
  • Make it three straight for the undefeated Malibu Moonshine, who used her late kick to rally from last for a 1 ¾-length score in the seven-furlong Gin Talking for two-year-old fillies. Off as the lukewarm favorite, she was, as always, last early under Angel Cruz but first late, which is what they pay off on. She is trained  by Charlton Baker for Happy Face Racing Stable.
  • Swayin to and Fro thrashed a good field of older distaff types to win the Willa On the Move by 6 ½ lengths for her second consecutive stakes score. Running time for the 6 ½ furlongs was 1:17.59. With Grant Whitacre up, the sophomore pressed Dontletsweetfoolya early, led after a half-mile, and drew away to the win, while the latter held second. Swayin to and Fro is trained by Mario Serey for Baxter Racing Stable.
  • After consecutive Grade 3 placings in New York, Factor It In was happy to return home, where he’s now won four of his last five starts, including two stakes. In Friday’s Dave’s Friend, he and pilot Angel Cruz went straight to the front and held post-time favorite Beren safe to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:10.65 for six furlongs. It was more than six lengths back to the rest. Factor It In is trained by Carlos Mancilla for Michael Scheffres.
  • Speaking of going right to the front, Malibu Beauty did just that under Jaime Rodriguez en route to a 7 ¾-length score in the Carousel Stakes for older fillies and mares. Running time for the nine furlongs was 1:53.70. Trained by Gary Capuano for Z W P Stable and Non Stop Stable, Malibu Beauty has now earned more than $500,000 in her career.