Draw for Saturday’s Virginia-Bred Stakes Day at Laurel is Wednesday, Sept. 23

The draw for Saturday’s (Sept. 26) Virginia-bred Stakes Day at Laurel is Wednesday September 23rd. A total of five $60,000 stakes will be contested for a combined $300,000 in purses, along with the $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (Gr. III), presented by the Virginia Equine Alliance. This is the second straight year the state-bred stakes bonanza has been held at Laurel.

A total of 149 horses have nominated for the five and another 43 have done so for the Oaks. Heading the count is the Bert Allen Stakes with 34 noms, including the top three finishers from the 2014 race. Jane Cibellie’s Rose Brier won that edition while Luis Duco’s Hard Enough was runner-up and Kathleen O’Connell’s Dannhauser was third. In what looks to be a strong showing Saturday, 15 of the 34 nominees have won over $100,000.


The Oakley and Brookemeade Stakes have drawn 33 and 32 nominations respectively. The Oakey, a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint for females, is headlined by Michael Maker’s Thank You Marylou, who was third in last fall’s $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Filly/Mare Sprint. The 4 year old Birdstone filly also nominated to the Brookemeade, a 1 1/16th miles turf stakes which also attracted Reid Nagle’s Leda’s Swan, who lost by a neck in the 2014 edition.

The Punch Line Stakes,  a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint for males, drew interest from 27 candidates including 2014 champ Two Notch Road, who has bankrolled $309,601 in grass earnings. The Jamestown, contested at the same distance but restricted to two year olds, has 23 nominations. A pair of hopefuls is fresh off maiden special weight victories on dirt at Saratoga — Barclay Tagg’s Realm, who scored on July 25th and Kiaran McLaughlin’s Sticksstatelydude (shown below) who connected on August 1st.


The Grade III Oaks drew an impressive 43 nominations including 8 from Graham Motion, 6 from Chad Brown, and 3 each from Todd Pletcher, Christophe Clement and Michael Maker. Play The Break, a 3 year old Pleasantly Perfect filly bred in Virginia by Carol Holden, will try to follow last Saturday’s feat when Virginia-bred One Go All Go captured the Grade II Commonwealth Derby.