Unbridled Juan Steps Up In Richard W. Small

Stronach Stables’ Unbridled Juan, stepping up in place of his multiple graded-stakes winning stablemate Something Awesome, sat a stalking trip before pouncing in the stretch and holding off a resurgent Dalmore to win Saturday’s $100,000 Richard W. Small at Laurel Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Small, named for the successful and colorful longtime Maryland trainer and ex-Green Beret who died of cancer at age 68 in April 2014, anchored five stakes worth $500,000 in purses on a 10-race Salute the Troops Day program.

It was joined by the $100,000 City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, both at seven furlongs, and a pair of six-furlong sprints for juveniles, the $100,000 James F. Lewis III and $100,000 Smart Halo, the latter for fillies.

Unbridled Juan ($10) went the distance in 1:50.56 to win his second career stakes in as many starts. The pacesetting Dalmore was a stubborn second, 1 ½ lengths ahead of Small Bear. It was a nose back to recent BWI Turf Cup (G3) winner Doctor Mounty in fourth, with 9-5 favorite Zanotti checking in sixth.

Something Awesome, unraced since finishing last as the favorite in the Pimlico Special (G3) May 18 at legendary Pimlico Race Course, was one of seven scratches from an overflow field. Also among them was the quartet of 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points, Belfour, Douglas Road and Adulator – all entered in a $47,000 optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles on Sunday’s nine-race program.

Dalmore, exiting three straight graded-stakes including a runner-up finish in the 1 1/8-mile Cornhusker (G3) July 6, was hustled to the front by jockey Jose Ferrer and looked comfortable going the first quarter-mile in 24.41 secondsunder modest pressure from Tour de Force.

Jockey Alex Cintron gave Unbridled Juan a clear run in third outside of Tour de Force before taking second after a half in 47.71. Cintron set his sights on the leader after straightening for home and put him in a drive to the wire as Dalmore dug in late before grudgingly giving way.

“This horse, he gets along with this track pretty good I think because of the wide turns,” Cintron said. “He got into the race early, and he just gave me everything in the end.”

Unbridled Juan is now 2-for-2 at Laurel, rallying to win a one-mile off-the-turf allowance by a head Aug. 3. In his previous start, the gelded 6-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song won the 1 1/16-mile Grover ‘Bud’ Delp Memorial Oct. 17 at Delaware Park.

“I think Unbridled Juan got the chance to show himself. He ran very well. This horse is improving. I’m just blessed to be part of this,” trainer Jose Corrales said. “I think they like the Maryland crabs or something, these horses. It must have something to do with it, because Maryland makes these horses get better.”

Kathleen Willier’s Scrap Copper, overlooked in the wagering at 9-1, came with a steady drive down the stretch to catch front-running Follow the Dog and edge past for a three-quarter-length win in the $100,000 James F. Lewis III.

Beaten as the favorite in the Maryland Million Nursery Oct. 20 following a bad stumble out of the gate, Scrap Copper ($21.40) completed the distance in 1:10.87 in beating Nursery winner Follow the Dog to the line. Fayette Warrior was third while 7-5 favorite Passcode finished sixth.

The win completed a sweep of the juvenile stakes for jockey Trevor McCarthy, who also captured the $100,000 Smart Halo aboard Congrats Gal as part of a four-win afternoon.

“Turning for home, I was like if he’s got his stride like he shows in the morning, he’s going to mow them down,” McCarthy said. “I’m a little bummed because I loved him Maryland Million Day and I was looking to really get a win that day. The way he broke today, I knew he was going to be tough to beat.”

Fayette Warrior, making his dirt debut, broke running and took the field through an opening quarter-mile in 22.71 seconds. Follow the Dog assumed command after a half-mile in 46.44 and remained in control into the stretch following a 58.61 five-furlong split, but couldn’t hold off the winner.

Trained by Hamilton Smith, Scrap Copper won his first stake in his fourth start. He won in debut July 22 and rallied to be beaten a nose in the Laurel Futurity over a yielding grass course Sept. 22.

“The last time he stumbled real bad leaving there and we lost all chance. It’s a shame, but he made up for it today,” Smith said. “He’s a very versatile colt. We’re looking forward to running him longer next year. Maybe we’ll come back on the 8th of December and try him again.”

The $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Futurity going seven furlongs is one of three stakes for Maryland-bred/sired horses scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8 at Laurel.

Charles L. Biggs’ Congrats Gal, Grade 3-placed in her second start, became a stakes winner for the first time with a commanding 6 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 Smart Halo to open Saturday’s stakes action.

Favored at 1-5 in the field of seven off a 14-length romp in her previous start, Congrats Gal ($2.60) hit the wire in 1:10.94 for her second straight win and third in five starts. Our Super Freak came on late to edge Ma Never No by a half-length for second.

It was the first stakes win for Biggs, who purchased the Congrats filly for $57,000 as a 2-year-old in training in April. All three of her wins have come at Laurel, including her June 10 debut and most recent Sept. 14 victory.

“She’s something special,” Biggs said. “We’ll see how she comes back and decide what we’re going to do with her, look for another race or give her the winter off. It’s good stuff.”

McCarthy kept Conrats Gal in the clear three wide behind 24-1 pacesetter Music of Life and 50-1 long shot Questionoftheday, who went the opening quarter-mile in 22.56 seconds. Congrats Gal swept to the lead on the turn after a half in 46.11 and opened up through the stretch.

“Very impressed. Very professional filly that’s done everything right from Day 1. Just happy to get the first stakes winner for Charlie Biggs here. We’re very pleased for him. We were with him when he bought her down in Ocala and we all liked her a lot,” trainer Cal Lynch said. “I’m going to give this one to my uncle Kevin, who died on Thursday. We’ll dedicate this win to him. He was my godfather and they buried him today. We had a little bit of an angel on our shoulder.”

The post Unbridled Juan Steps Up In Richard W. Small appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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