Greeley and Ben eyes million-dollar mark in General George

Quotes and other information from a Maryland Jockey Club release.

DEA Thoroughbred Racing’s Greeley and Ben is entered to make the second start of his 10-year-old season just two weeks after running fourth in an open six-furlong allowance in Saturday’s $200,000, Grade 3 General George Stakes.

The 49th running of the General George (G3) for 4-year-olds and up and 70th renewal of the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older, both sprinting seven furlongs, co-headline a Winter Carnival program featuring four stakes worth $600,000 in purses.

Post time for the first of 10 races is 12:25 p.m.

Greeley and Ben has in the barn of Horacio De Paz for five starts, winning two of those. Last out, in just a five-horse field he rallied belatedly to be beaten 3 ½ lengths.

“It was obviously a smaller field, so pace and trip played a big factor. He was still closing and didn’t get beat far for third, but just left himself with too much to do,” trainer Horacio DePaz said. “For whatever reason, he’s just decided to break and keep himself back and become a closing sprinter now. It looked like he was running through the wire. After talking with Toledo, he said considering the way he’s closing this race could be a consideration for him.”

Greeley and Ben owns 25 career wins and is less than $10,000 away from the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings after 44 starts. A top-four finish in the General George will put him over the top. Only one of his prior starts has come at seven furlongs, when he was second in an optional claiming allowance Aug. 2, 2019 at Ellis Park for previous connections.

Greeley and Ben, a Greeley’s Conquest gelding, also owns something no other runner in the field does: a graded stakes win. He prevailed by a neck in the 2022 edition of the Grade 3 Fall Highweight in a frantic finish in which the first four finishers were within a half-length.

Greeley and Ben
Greeley and Ben and jockey Jevian Toledo won the Dave’s Friend Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Greeley and Ben’s most recent stakes win came in the December 23 Dave’s Friend at Laurel Park. He’s been fourth and fifth in two subsequent outings, and De Paz likes how his veteran is approaching this contest.

“He’s happy and on his toes. I actually got on him last week and jogged him around the track and he came off the track trying to put his head between his legs, just feeling good,” DePaz said. “Physically he’s handling everything fine.”

Jaime Rodriguez gets the call on Greeley and Ben from Post 6. Greeley and Ben is 10-1 on the morning line.

The morning line favorite, at 6-5, is the Brittany Russell-trained Post Time. The four-year-old Frosted colt has won six of seven in his career,  including a decisive score in the Maryland-restricted Jennings Stakes last out. Sheldon Russell will ride.

Nimitz Class is another leading contender, returning to the Mid-Atlantic for the first time since being purchased privately last fall by the partnership of Qatar Racing, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Swinbank Stables, Steve Addison and Campeche Stables. The 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred owns six stakes, four of them at Laurel, and was beaten a half-length when second in last summer’s Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park. Eighth in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup (G1) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park last out, he cuts back to a sprint for the first time since running fourth in the 2022 City of Laurel, also at seven furlongs.

He is 8-5 on the morning line and will have Jevian Toledo in the irons.

No Cents, Cowan, Seven’s Eleven, and Tenebris round out the field. Both No Cents (15-1) and Seven’s Eleven (9-2) are two-time stakes winners.

The General George is the ninth race on a 10-race program with a projected post time of 4:29 EST.