Spectacular Bid, Xtra Heat Stakes Highlight Laurel Park’s Winter Carnival Program

Louis J. Ulman and H. Neil Glasser’s multiple stakes winner Kenny Had a Notion, beaten a neck in his most recent start, looks to snap a two-race losing streak when he takes on eight rivals in Saturday’s $100,000 Spectacular Bid at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.

The inaugural Spectacular Bid for 3-year-olds and return of the $100,000 Xtra Heat for 3-year-old fillies, both sprinting seven furlongs, are among six stakes worth $550,000 in purses on a Winter Carnival program that kicks off Maryland’s 2021 stakes calendar.

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

The defection of undefeated Jaxon Traveler with a minor foot bruise leaves Kenny Had a Notion and Shackqueenking, respectively trained by Laurel-based brothers Dale and Gary Capuano, as the lone stakes winners in the field.

Kenny Had a Notion won the 5 ½-furlong Jamestown against fellow Virginia-breds over Laurel’s world-class turf course and the six-furlong Maryland Million Nursery on dirt in successive starts 15 days apart in October.

In his most recent start, the Great Notion gelding set a demanding pace in the seven-furlong Heft Stakes Dec. 26, fought on gamely along the inside and just missed by a neck behind winner No Cents. He has breezed twice since, including a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.60 Jan. 6.

“He’s been doing pretty well since that last race. He ran a pretty game race that day,” Dale Capuano said. “He ran pretty hard, so hopefully he’ll improve for it a little bit this time. We’ll see. Hopefully, everything goes well.”

Kenny Had a Notion will be racing for the second time after having a minor procedure performed following an atypical effort in the six-furlong James F. Lewis III Nov. 14 where he raced in contention for a half-mile before flattening out to be sixth, again behind No Cents.

“He displaced his palate and then we did the surgery on him, so [the Heft] was his first race after having the surgery,” Capuano said. “I thought he would have run better if he didn’t displace his palate. That really seemed to help. He’s been good since then.”

Jorge Ruiz, aboard for both stakes wins as well as the Heft, gets a return call from Post 6 at co-topweight of 122 pounds.

“You have to strike when the iron’s hot with some of them. He’ll probably get a break after this race,” Capuano said. “There’s not a whole lot coming up so we’ll probably give him a little rest after this one, I’m thinking. But we’ll see.”

Pocket 3’s Racing’s Shackqueenking alternated finishing first and second through four starts last year, breaking his maiden second time out and emerging from an extended stretch duel a nose in front in the Dec. 26 Howard County, both races going 1 1/16 miles over Laurel’s main track. Victor Rosales, up in both wins, rides back at 122 pounds from Post 7.

Michael Dubb and Bethlehem Stables’ Maythehorsebwithu beat Kenny Had a Notion when second in the First State Dash Sept. 26 at Delaware Park. A first-out maiden winner last summer at Delaware, the gelded son of 2009 Whitney (G1) winner Bullsbay made his Laurel debut Dec. 11 with a popular front-running 1 ¼-length triumph.

“It was nice that we actually got to keep him home last time. He’s Pennsylvania-bred and we considered taking him up there for a stake. He’s also Delaware certified and he ran second in the stake they have there,” trainer Brittany Russell said. “He ran well on this track and I think it means a lot walking out of his own stall so I think he deserves a shot on Saturday. He’s been doing really well. No complaints with that guy.”

Maythehorsebwithu will be trying stakes company for the second time and first with Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, who was up for the last race. Russell was also named for Maythehorsebewithu’s unveiling but broke his wrist in a starting gate mishap three races prior.

“It was kind of nice last time to see Sheldon get on him because he’s done so much work with him in the morning. When he finally got to ride him in the afternoon the horse broke well and he ran like a good horse. Sheldon has said all along that he thinks the horse is pretty decent,” Brittany Russell said.

“This horse has some gas to him and he’s just had a little bit of bad racing luck as far as getting away right,” she added. “It’s nice to move forward into deeper waters coming off a win. It gives you a bit more confidence.”

Maythehorsebwithu drew Post 8 outside both stakes winners and will carry 118 pounds.

Erawan, third in the Howard County; recent Laurel maiden winners Golden Gulley and Wicked Prankster; Scotch Rock’s, who graduated by a neck going 6 ½ furlongs Dec. 23 at Parx; Tiz Mandate, fifth in the Heft in his second career start; and Nobody Knew complete the field.

Four-Time Stakes Winner Street Lute Launches Season in $100,000 Xtra Heat
Lucky 7 Stables’ Street Lute, a winner of three consecutive stakes to cap her juvenile campaign, will get the chance to make it four straight and get her sophomore season off to a successful start in the $100,000 Xtra Heat.

Last run at Pimlico in 2007, the Xtra Heat honors the Maryland-based Hall of Fame mare and champion 3-year-old filly of 2001 that won 26 of 35 career starts, captured 25 stakes including the Prioress (G1), and was second against the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), both during her championship season.

Street Lute was a neck shy of being undefeated through six starts at 2, losing the six-furlong Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 24 by a neck to Miss Nondescript. She followed with wins in the Nov. 14 Smart Halo going six furlongs and the Dec. 5 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship and Dec. 26 Gin Talking sprinting seven furlongs, the latter by a desperate nose after taking a four-length lead into the stretch.

“In the Maryland Million that day, the only reason she got beat is because she never saw that horse coming,” trainer Jerry Robb said. “She was trying to get by the one on the inside of her, which she did, but she never saw the one on the outside of her until it was too late.

“I think she’s definitely a better sprinter. I think seven-eighths is pushing it. She did seven-eighths easy against Maryland-breds but almost got beat in open company,” he added. “I’ll keep her sprinting and try to pick some easy spots for her where she belongs.”

Robb said Street Lute gave an indication early on that the connections were in for a special season, overcoming a serious eye injury that required surgery and meticulous follow-up care to win her unveiling last fall at Delaware Park.

“During that time she had lost a lot of training. I had been pointing her toward the Delaware-certified stake and I knew I wasn’t going to make it,” Robb said. “The only way I could make it was to maybe run her once at Delaware and use that race as a workout, so I ran her not expecting her to do anything and she won.

“I knew right then and there that there was something special about her, because she beat some nice horses that day when she was nowhere near ready to win,” he added. “She was good enough to go over there and get a race over the track and that was about it. From that point on, I knew she would just keep improving and that’s what she’s done.”

Xavier Perez, up for each of her last three wins, rides back from Post 3 in a field of eight.

“She’s been the same as always. She’s always been a handful. She’s ready to go,” Robb said. “You try to give her a little break and just jog her and she goes crazy. You have to train her just to keep her on the ground.”

Street Lute will face another stakes winner in BB Horses’ Miss Leslie, who will be cutting back to six furlongs off her thrilling come-from-behind head triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Anne Arundel County Dec. 26.

It was the third straight win for the daughter of Grade 1 winner Paynter and second since being claimed for $25,000 by Maryland’s four-time leading trainer Claudio Gonzalez. Roimes Chirinos gets the return call from Post 2.

“I wish we had a race that was going longer because I think longer is going to be better for her, but we’re going to give it a try,” Gonzalez said. “Last time she ran big. She ran right back in two weeks after running six furlongs to running a mile and a sixteenth and it’s not easy, especially for 2-year-olds. She had to run between horses and she still won. Everything we ask her, she does it.”

Also entered are Plane Drunk, winner of the Shamrock Rose Nov. 6 at Penn National; Trip to Freedom, third in the Maryland Million Lassie; Whiskey and Rye, fourth in the Gin Talking; It Can, unbeaten in two starts at 2 making her stakes debut; Breeze Off the Bay and Incomparable.

The post Spectacular Bid, Xtra Heat Stakes Highlight Laurel Park’s Winter Carnival Program appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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