McGaughey, Janney Shooting For All Along Hat Trick At Laurel

Following a pair of optional claiming allowance races that Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey feels has her back on track, Stuart Janney III’s Grade 3-winning homebred My Impression returns to stakes company looking to give her connections a third straight victory in the $150,000 All Along, presented by Blackwell Real Estate, Saturday at Laurel Park in Maryland.

The 1 1/16-mile All Along for fillies and mares 3 and older and the 56th running of the $100,000 Laurel Turf Cup, presented by Ourisman of Clarksville, for 3-year-olds and up going 1 ½ miles are among six stakes over Laurel’s world-class turf course that complement the 27th running of the $250,000 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) on a 13-race Fall Festival of Racing program.

All seven stakes, worth $900,000 in purses, were rescheduled from Sept. 15 due to the threat of severe weather from Hurricane Florence. First race post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m.

McGaughey has won the All Along the past two years with Janney homebreds On Leave in 2017 and Onus in 2016, when the race was run as the Lady Baltimore. My Impression, third by 1 ½ lengths going one mile Aug. 31 at Saratoga last time out, has had two bullet works since that race including a half-mile in 48.11 seconds Monday over Belmont Park’s inner turf.

“She worked good. She’s been doing pretty good,” McGaughey said. “Her last race was a good race at Saratoga. She might have needed it a little bit and she’s done really well since then. The extra week probably helps her, too. We’re going to take a shot and see what happens.”

A 5-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa, My Impression is winless since taking the one-mile, 70-yard One Dreamer Stakes last September at Kentucky Downs. She ended last year running second by a neck in the Athenia (G3) and third by a head in the Forever Together Stakes before getting the winter off.

My Impression finished off the board in a pair of stakes to open 2018 as well as a one-mile optional claiming allowance July 15 at Belmont Park. In her only previous trip to Laurel, she won the 2016 Commonwealth Oaks (G3) – the lone graded triumph among three career stakes wins.

“I was trying to find a spot for her and I thought it would be a good place to run her. She’s run well there before and we’re looking forward to bringing her down there,” McGaughey said. “She’s been pretty consistent. Her races have been good. Her first couple races this year weren’t but now I think I’ve got her back on the right track so we’ll go from there.”

Hall of Famer Gary Stevens is named to ride My Impression at 120 pounds from Post 10 in a field of 13 including main track only entrant Ready to Confess, one of four from the barn of trainer Graham Motion.

Motion also entered The Elkstone Group’s Celestial Insight, Wertheimer & Frere’s Esquisse and Sam-Son Farm’s Mythical Mission in an effort to win his third All Along. He won it as the Lady Baltimore in 2013 with Strathnaver and 2015 with Interrupted.

Each of the Motion trio is looking for their first graded success. Mythical Mission, placed seven times previously, finally broke through in a stakes with her gutsy nose victory in the one-mile, 70-yard West Virginia Senate President’s Cup Aug. 4 at Mountaineer.

“I thought she was very game in that race. I entered her in Canada last week and the race came up very solid,” Motion said. “One of the reasons I didn’t want to run her last week was the race was at a mile and an eighth and I think a mile, mile and a sixteenth is more her trip. I think she’s a solid, Grade 3-type filly so hopefully she runs well. She’s done well.”

Celestial Insight began her 5-year-old campaign running second by a neck in the Mint Julep Handicap (G3) June 9, her most recent trip at the All Along distance. She followed up off the board in the 1 3/16-mile Modesty Handicap (G3) at Arlington Park and 1 1/8-mile Violet (G3), the latter Sept. 1 at Monmouth Park.

“I really was just very puzzled by her last race. I really don’t know quite what to make of it,” Motion said. “She acts like a really good horse and she ran really well first time out at Churchill. I think I made a mistake of running her back too quickly in Chicago and last time I was just disappointed. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher, but she came out of it well and that’s why we find ourselves in this position.”

Esquisse is the only one of her stablemates with experience over the Laurel turf, having run third by a neck as the favorite in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance Aug. 17, a race where she took a short lead into the stretch but could never gain separation from her rivals.
She won a minor stakes race last summer in France before coming to the U.S. and will be racing with blinkers for the first time in the All Along with jockey Jorge Vargas Jr. up.

“She’s a filly that we’ve always thought was this caliber. I know she got beat last time at Laurel in the allowance race, but sometimes the turf course plays funny and we just couldn’t get by the leader. We put blinkers on her for this race and she’s trained well for it,” Motion said. “It’s something Jorge recommended to me. He said it to me after he rode her that day, he thought she was shying away from the horses a little bit and thought this would help her. So we’ve worked her in them and he liked the way she went.”

Placed four times in graded-stakes, 2018 South Beach Stakes winner Stormy Victoria is entered to make her first start for trainer Christophe Clement since finishing seventh in the Intercontinental (G3) June 9 at Belmont. The 6-year-old Stormy River mare will carry topweight of 122 pounds, two more than each of her rivals.

Broken Bridle, Lift Up, Not Taken, Quick Witted, So Innocent and Valedictorian complete the field.

Graded Winners Renown, Scuba Tangle in $100,000 Laurel Turf Cup
Merriebelle Stable’s Renown and DARRS, Inc.’s Scuba, graded-stakes winners on different surfaces, top a field of 11 long-distance horses entered in the $100,000 Laurel Turf Cup.

Renown can become the race’s first two-time winner, having taken the 2016 edition for trainer Elizabeth Voss. Last year, the 7-year-old gelding was uncharacteristically sent to the lead and opened up by seven lengths early before tiring to be third, beaten 3 ½ lengths.

“We tried a different tactic last year and just sent him, and he ran well,” Voss said. “I don’t want him too far back. I think we’ll try to be close to the pace. I don’t really want to go out far in front but I don’t want him to have to do too much because he’s not super quick at the end.”

Renown is a six-time winner at 1 ½ miles including the Sycamore (G3) in his 2016 finale and the 2017 and 2018 Secretariat at Great Meadows. He has raced just three times this year, most recently finishing third by a length but elevated to second in the John’s Call Stakes Aug. 22 at Saratoga.

“He ran well last time at Saratoga and just got unlucky where he got stuck,” Voss said. “He’ll run all day. We’ve just had some little back issues that we’ve dealt with but he’s doing great now.”

Scuba captured the 1 ¼-mile Hawthorne Gold Cup (G3) on dirt to cap his 2017 season and opened this year running third in the Mineshaft (G3) and New Orleans (G2) handicaps over the winter at Fair Grounds. He raced wide on both turns and faded to last in the 1 3/8-mile Flat Out Stakes May 4 at Belmont and will be making his first start since.

Trained by Brendan Walsh, Scuba has seven wins and $742,210 in purse earnings from 28 career starts. His best year came in 2016 when he won the 1 ¾-mile Marathon (G2) at Santa Anita and 1 ½-mile Greenwood Cup (G3) at Parx, both on dirt. He has one win in four previous tries on the grass.

“We’re going to take a shot and see how we do. He’s doing well and working good. He’s coming off a layoff, obviously, but we’re going to change it up a little it for him and see how he does on the grass. It’ll either open a new door for us with him or it won’t,” Walsh said. “He ran on it when he was a younger horse and he ran quite well. We’ll give it a go and at least it’ll help him get up to full fitness if nothing else.”

Scuba has prepared for his return with a steady string of works at Churchill Downs. He has raced once before at Laurel, taking a Dec. 13, 2014 allowance at 1 1/16 miles for previous trainer Tony Dutrow.

“We just backed off of him after his last race and gave him a little bit of a freshening. He didn’t have any problems at all; he just kind of lost his way a little bit when he ran there at Belmont in the spring, but he looks like he’s back on track again,” Walsh said. “On his day he can run with anybody, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Flying Pheasant Farm’s Barney Rebel will be making his 60th career start in the Turf Cup, with 10 wins and $264,259 in purse earnings. Half his wins have come at Laurel including a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance on the grass June 24. He finished fifth in a competitive off-the-turf open allowance going one mile Aug. 3.

“He’s been around. He’s a little horse, so it’s easier I think to keep those horses sound. Because he’s smaller and doesn’t weigh much he doesn’t take the pounding like a bigger horse,” trainer Mary Eppler said. “He came out of his last race good. It was a tough race when it came off. The race before he ran very well to win that day.”

Rounding out the field are 2017 American St. Leger (G3) winner Postulation; graded-stakes placed placed Hello Don Julio, Final Copy and Tizzarunner; 2017 Tenacious Stakes winner Cooptado; Vintage Matters, runner-up in the 1 ½-mile Cape Henlopen Stakes July 7 at Delaware Park; Decisive Triumph and Not in Charge.

The post McGaughey, Janney Shooting For All Along Hat Trick At Laurel appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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