Robust Group Of Nominations For Laurel Park’s Winter Sprintfest Races

Graded-stakes winners Eres Tu, Pacific Gale, Sharp Starr and Victim of Love; multiple stakes winner Hello Beautiful, undefeated on the local main track; and Dontletsweetfoolya, riding a five-race win streak, are among 23 older females nominated to the $250,000 Runhappy Barbara Fritchie (G3) Saturday, Feb. 13 at Laurel Park.

The 69th running of the Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older and the 45th renewal of the $250,000 General’s Stake (G3) for 4-year-olds and up, formerly the General George, highlight a Winter Sprintfest program offering six stakes worth $900,000 in purses. Both graded-stakes are contested at seven furlongs.

Eres Tu captured the 1 1/8-mile Allaire du Pont (G3) Dec. 26, her second straight stakes win at Laurel for trainer Arnaud Delacour. Pacific Gale snapped a 17-race losing streak with a 16-1 upset of the seven-furlong Inside Information (G2) Jan. 23 at Gulfstream Park.

Sharp Starr, trained by Horacio DePaz, won the one-mile Go for Wand (G3) Dec. 5 at Aqueduct over fellow Fritchie nominee Portal Creek to cap her 3-year-old season, and opened 2021 running second in the seven-furlong La Verdad Jan. 3. Victim of Love is a two-time winner at Laurel including the What a Summer last January. Second in last year’s Fritchie, she went on to capture the 6 ½-furlong Vagrancy (G3) at Belmont Park.

Hello Beautiful owns five career stakes wins but is seeking her first graded triumph. The 4-year-old filly has strung together three straight wins for trainer Brittany Russell, all in stakes; is 7-0 on the Laurel dirt with three of those wins coming at seven furlongs; and exits a popular triumph in the Jan. 16 What a Summer. Dontletsweetfoolya, yet to run in 2021, has won five consecutive races by 28 ¾ combined lengths including the Nov. 28 Primonetta and Dec. 26 Willa On the Move at Laurel.

Always Sunshine, who returned from a 541-day layoff to win a Jan. 24 optional claiming allowance at Laurel, and fellow graded-stakes winners Laki, Majestic Dunhill. Mischevious Alex, Share the Ride, Shotski and Sunny Ridge are among 30 horses nominated to the General’s Stake.

Trained by Edward T. ‘Ned’ Allard, Always Sunshine won the 2015 Fire Plug at Laurel and 2016 Maryland Sprint (G3) at Pimlico Race Course, where he is currently in training. Laki won the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) last October at Pimlico and has since run behind Whereshetoldmetogo in the Frank Whiteley and Dave’s Friend and Wendell Fong in the Jan. 16 Fire Plug. Both Whereshetoldmetogo and Wendell Fong are also nominated.

Majestic Dunhill won the 2018 City of Laurel and became a graded winner in the 2020 Bold Ruler (G3) at Belmont. After finishing off the board in the 2019 Laurel Futurity, his only career try on turf, Mischevious Alex reeled off three consecutive stakes wins including the Swale (G2) and Gotham (G3) to open 2020. Share the Ride won the 2020 Fall Highweight (G3), was beaten a neck by Wendell Fong in the Fire Plug, then came back to be third as the favorite in the seven-furlong Toboggan (G3) Jan. 30 at Aqueduct.

Shotski broke his maiden at Laurel Park in October 2019 for trainer Jerry O’Dwyer then won the 1 1/8-mile Remsen (G2) to cap his juvenile season and ran second in the Withers (G3) and fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) last winter before going to the sidelines, returning in a one-mile optional claiming allowance Jan. 15 at Aqueduct. Sunny Ridge, stablemate of Pacific Gale, won the 2019 Richard Small at Laurel and has not raced since finishing third by a head in the 2020 Toboggan last January.

Also among the nominees are multiple stakes winners Cordmaker, third in the 2019 and 2020 Pimlico Special (G3); Funny Guy and Lebda, and Tattooed, an upset neck winner of the one-mile Jennings Jan. 16 at Laurel.

Sophomores will be in the spotlight in the $100,000 Miracle Wood going one mile and the $100,000 Wide Country for fillies sprinting seven furlongs. Multiple stakes winner Kenny Had a Notion; 2020 Nashua (G3) winner Pickin’ Time; Shackqueenking, Ain’t Da Beer Cold and Erawan, respectively 1-2-3 in the Howard County Dec. 26 at Laurel; multiple stakes-placed Maythehorsebwithu and stablemate Hello Hot Rod, a winner of two straight are prominent among 24 Miracle Wood nominees.

Five-time stakes winner Street Lute, on a four-race win streak and a neck shy of being undefeated through seven career starts, tops 25 nominations to the Wide Country. She is joined by fellow stakes winners Gulf Coast and Miss Leslie; Fraudulent Charge, beaten a nose when second in the seven-furlong Gin Talking Dec. 26 at Laurel; and Little Huntress, a 14-length maiden special weight winner Dec. 27 at Laurel.

Older horses will travel about 1 1/16 miles in the $100,000 John B. Campbell, where Cordmaker, Shotski and Tattooed join multiple stakes winner and defending champion Alwaysmining among 24 nominees, and the $100,000 Nellie Morse for females, whose 18 nominations include Eres Tu and stakes winners Artful Splatter, Estilo Talentoso, Gibberish, Lucky Move, Lucky Stride, Pat’s No Fool, Queen Nekia, Saguaro Row, Thankful and Wicked Awesome.

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