Nominations For The August 5th Virginia Day At Laurel Park Are In

This Saturday, August 5th, is the second special Virginia-bred day of racing at Laurel Park this year! A four-pack of $75,000 stakes will make their debut — the William M. Backer, Meadow Stable, Hansel and Camptown Stakes. Nominations closed this past Thursday with 20, 17, 27 and 21 horses respectively in the quartet. A pair of $30,000 one mile maiden events will also be featured — one for males and one for fillies/mares.

The third event — Commonwealth Stakes Day — is slated for September 30th and includes the Bert Allen, Brookmeade, Punch Line, Oakley and Jamestown Stakes. A pair of open Grade 3 stakes will also be carded — the $200,000 Commonwealth Derby and $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks. Here is a recap of action from the first Virginia-Bred stakes day at Laurel on June 24th when the Edward Evans, Nellie Mae Cox, White Oak Farm and Tyson Gilpin Stakes were contested

In the $75,000 Edward Evans Stakes, Special Envoy edged Rose Brier in a thrilling rematch from the same event a year ago when Rose Brier got the best of Special Envoy. The 6 year old Stroll gelding remained a close second to Rose Brier through most of the one mile race until deep in the stretch. Jockey Daniel Centeno led the late charge atop Special Envoy, who edged his nemesis by a nose in 1:34.88. Trained by Arnaud Delacour and bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone, Special Envoy won for the first time since March, 2016. He is out of the Cozzene mare, Diplomacy. The victory boosted his bankroll to $207,010. Rose Brier had been undefeated in his last four Virginia-bred stakes. Speed Gracer finished third.

Special Envoy (outside) battles with Rose Brier (inside) in the $75,000 Edward Evans Stakes. photo by Jim McCue.

Queen Caroline successfully defended her title the $75,000 Nellie Mae Cox Stakes. The 4 year old Blame filly, bred by the Morgan’s Ford Farm, went gate to wire and held off Armoire by 1 1/4 lengths to capture her first win in three starts this year. She most recently finished third in the Grade 3 Gallorette Stakes on Preakness Day at Pimlico. Queen Caroline completed the one mile turf event in 1:36.24. The winner is out of the Forestry mare, Queens Plaza, and is owned by Amy Moore. With five wins now from twelve starts, her career bankroll stands at $312,730. Complete St. finished third.

Queen Caroline won the Nellie Mae Cox Stales for the second straight year at Laurel June 24th. Photo by Jim McCue.

Tiz Our Time, bred Sam English, also engineered a gate to wire performance in the 5 1/2 furlong, $75,000 White Oak Farm Stakes. The 5 year old daughter of Tiz Wonderful was best in a field of eight which included ’16 White Oak Farm winner Two Notch Road. The victor, who was never really challenged, took a five length lead into the head of the stretch and crossed by four over runner-up Lawyer Dave in 1:02.09. Tiz Our Time now  has 10 “in the money” finishes from 15 starts, good for $109,709.  Lime House Louie, the 2016 Virginia-Bred Champion 2-Year-Old Male, finished third. Two Notch Road was fifth.

Tiz Our Time won the second annual White Oak Farm Stakes June 24th at Laurel. photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Do What I Say, winner of the inaugural $75,000 Tyson Gilpin Stakes, rebounded nicely after breaking awkwardly in the 5 1/2 furlong test. The Larry Johnson bred and owned filly steadied herself in traffic shortly after the start, settled into fifth at three-eighths, then powered home for a one length triumph over Sister Says in 1:01.80. The 4 year old daughter of Street Magician earned her first win of the year and third overall. She is out of Not What I Do by Parfaitement. Ring Knocker was third.

Do What I Say captured the inaugural Tyson Gilpin Stakes June 24th at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Trustifarian, bred by the Run Aweigh Stable and trained by Patrick Neusch, beat ten other horses in the day’s final race — a 5 1/2 furlong, $30,000 maiden special weight sprint for Virginia-breds. The 3 year old Albert The Great colt gained the lead outside in mid-stretch and crossed 1 1/4 lengths in front of Holiday Hopes in 1:03.26. The winner, out of Heypenny  by Storm Broker, was making his first lifetime start. Early Grey, who won the same race a year ago but was placed ninth through disqualification, finished third.