Photo Essay: Tesio Stakes day in pictures
This weekend brought the latest renewal of the Federico Tesio Stakes and the Weber City Miss. Both for sophomores, the former is a “win and in” for the Preakness, the latter for the Black-Eyed Susan. The two races were supported by two other stakes on the day.
Here’s what the day looked like through photographer Allison Janezic’s eyes, with quotes from some of the participants:
Jockey Feargal Lynch took the winter off, spending it in Spain, where his parents live and playing golf regularly with his father. That sounded and felt a lot better to the 45-year-old than slogging through a long, cold winter in central Maryland.
It didn’t do him any harm – his victorious ride aboard Perform in the Tesio was a masterpiece. In fact, he might argue it did him good.
“It keeps me fresh, you know? I think at my age, I enjoy it more,” Lynch said. “Coming back to these races, especially, it really lights me on fire. These are the days I want to be here for.”
They’re off in the Weber City Miss, and Cats Inthe Timber looks like she’s trying to take flight — literally. Later in the race, she took metaphorical flight, rallying on the outside to win by a half-length under jockey Jevian Toledo, a win that punched her ticket to the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes May 19.
Will the connections press on to the big race?
“I’d like to think we’ll take a swing,” said trainer Brittany Russell. “I mean, she’s taking the right steps forward. So I’ll talk to I’ll talk to the team and see what they would like to do.”
Beth’s Dream, off a dominant allowance win at Gulfstream Park, impressed again with a two-length score in the Heavenly Cause Stakes for fillies and mares for her first stakes win. The Victor Barboza trainee stalked the pace, took over entering the lane, and cruised home clear.
“Every time I looked back, she kept pulling the ears forward,” said winning Jaime Rodriguez. “Every time I asked her a little bit, she gave me more.”
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
Jockey Jevian Toledo seems to be shrugging off his flying start at the Laurel Park spring meet. He has seven winners from 25 starts thus far (28%) and just less than $300,000 in purse earnings.
Among those wins: Cats Inthe Timber, who won a hard-fought Weber City Miss and could be Black-Eyed Susan-bound.
It was lucky sevens in the day’s biggest races, as both Weber City Miss winner Cats Inthe Timber and Federico Tesio Stakes winner Perform wore number seven en route to victory.
Here, Perform gets off to a bit of a stumbling start; he had just one horse beaten after six furlongs had been run before unleashing an eye-catching rally to win by a head.
“I thought I was in trouble going down the back,” said winning rider Feargal Lynch. “I’ll be honest, I was like, ‘I’m just not handling the track here.’”
Until he really, really was handling it.
Laurel Park from near the winner’s circle, seeming to spread out in every direction.
Jockey Jorge Ruiz spent the winter at Gulfstream Park, avoiding the Maryland cold. Now that the weather’s warming up and turf season is back in Maryland, so, too, is Ruiz, and on Saturday he piloted Alwaysinahurry to a rallying one-length victory in the Frank Whiteley Stakes.
Ruiz, a native of Argentina, is off to a fast start at Laurel. He has four wins from nine starts since returning.
As Alwaysinahurry rallied up on the outside of rivals in the Whiteley, he drifted slightlyin inwards before powering home to victory.
Then the stewards hung the inquiry sign. And we waited. And waited. And waited.
“You know, my heart got racing when I watched the head-on,” trainer Phil Capuano said of waiting out the inquiry. “In the first shot, it looked like he might have laid on Factor It In just a touch, and obviously, that just causes a snowball effect.”
Finally, the race was declared official, and Capuano had the first stakes triumph of his young career.
As the racing day ended, the sun peeked out from behind the historic Laurel Park paddock, setting on a day in which three of four stakes went to horses with odds of 7-1 or higher.
Meanwhile, the weathervane pointed the way forward. Or backwards, depending on perspective…