Pickin’ Time Wins City of Laurel Stakes At Laurel Park

Roseland Farm Stable’s graded-stakes winner Pickin’ Time swept to the lead on the outside around the far turn and had plenty left to turn back a bid from He’smyhoneybadger nearing the wire for a 1 ¼-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 City of Laurel at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.

The 11th running of the City of Laurel for 3-year-olds was the first of three $100,000 stakes on the program, followed by the Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, also sprinting seven furlongs, and 1 1/8-mile Richard W. Small for 3-year-olds and up.

Ridden by Mychel Sanchez for trainer Kelly Breen, Pickin’ Time ($12.80) earned his fourth career stakes win and first in open company since the 2020 Grade 3 Nashua last November at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y. Most recently, he won the Monmouth Park’s New Jersey Breeders Handicap Aug. 29. The winning time was 1:23.74 over a fast main track.

Breaking outside all but one horse in the field of eight, Pickin’ Time was positioned third while in the clear behind multiple stakes-placed pacesetter Awesome Gerry, who led through a quarter-mile in :23.28 pressed by 31-1 long shot Three Two Zone. Three Two Zone assumed the lead after a half in :46.60 with Pickin’ Time poised to pounce.

“He gave me a pretty good feeling from the beginning. I think the team did a great job getting him ready for the race,” Sanchez said. “He was pretty easy. He broke really well. I had a good position. I didn’t have to use him in the beginning, so I pretty much sav[ed ground] the whole way and when I asked him to go, he really took off.”

Pickin’ Time rolled past Three Two Zone once straightened for home and powered through the stretch while He’smyhoneybadger, who beat Pickin’ Time in the Oct. 23 Perryville at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., came with a belated run. It was three lengths back to Three Two Zone, who was three-quarters of a length better than Awesome Gerry in fourth.

Stakes winner Everett’s Song, the 3-2 favorite, ran fifth to snap his three-race win streak. Riden With Biden, Plamen, and Depository completed the order of finish.

“I guess my horse was ready to go today,” Sanchez said. “It seems like he does better when he gets early position clear. The last couple times he was kind of in between horses [when] he broke a little poorly. I think the post position helped me today.”

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