Laurel: Three wins for Axel Concepcion

Laurel Park’s young jockeys made a big impression Saturday. With Axel Concepcion leading the way, young guns Concepcion, Jeiron Barbosa, and Luis Rivera, Jr. combined to win six of the day’s nine races.

Concepcion won three on the afternoon, taking the day’s second, third, and sixth races, the latter two aboard 10-1 shots, and the trio won five of the first six races.

In the sixth, he guided Eldest Son, making his bow in the Jamie Ness barn, to a hard-fought neck victory over another 10-1 outsider, It’s Viper, in an allowance/optional claimer for three-year-olds. Two Triple Crown-nominated runners, B West and Seven’s Eleven, finished sixth and ninth, respectively, while flashy last-out maiden winner Omo Dada was a troubled 10th in a race in which the top four finishers all went off at 9-1 or higher.

Concepcion also won aboard Major Houlihan (10-1) for trainer Hugh McMahon and on the favored Brzina (1-1) for Keiron Magee.

Barbosa won a pair, including a sharp 3 ½-length score in the featured second-level allowance for fillies and mares aboard Mit Mazel. It was the Rudy Sanchez-Salomon runner’s second straight win and third in four outings.

Eldest Son en route to victory. Photo by The Racing Biz.

Rivera won aboard She’ll Make Waves for trainer Jerry Robb in a claiming event for sophomores. The Cross Traffic filly is 2-for-2 in her career after a hard-fought win in which the top three were all within a head… 

On Friday jockey Jevian Toledo and trainer Brittany Russell teamed up to win three. That included sharp maiden scores by sophomores Uncle Jake and Goodgirl Badhabits. The latter, making her career debut, won by 12 ¾ lengths in the 5 ½-furlong contest.

The former, making his first start in Russell’s barn, won by 9 ½ lengths in a one-mile test. It was the Triple Crown nominee’s second career outing. 

As for his next start, he could obviously seek to move through his allowance conditions, or, if the connections feel ambitious, try to take bigger swings. While he won’t make the March 18 Private Terms Stakes, the next likely local stakes spot would be the April 15 Federico Tesio Stakes, a nine-furlong contest that is a win-and-in for the Preakness.

“We think he’s a really nice horse,” Russell said. “It’s nice to see he has the allowance [condition]. Who knows. The Tesio? I think he wants to go all day. That’s also a big ask off a maiden win, so I think we’ll just stay grounded.”