Virginia-Certified Horse Follow The Dog Captures $101,000 Maryland Million Nursery Stakes

Follow The Dog because the latest Virginia Certified horse to collect multiple bonus checks courtesy of a pair of recent victories at Laurel Park. The two-year-old Maryland-bred colt connected in a $40,000 maiden special weight race September 14th, then captured the $101,000 Maryland Million Nursery Stakes this past weekend.

Prior to that first win, Follow The Dog finished second in his career bow on August 12th and again actually in that September 14th maiden race. Passcode, winner of that second race,  interfered with Follow The Dog early on and was disqualified and placed second instead. As a result, Follow The Dog got bumped up a notch to win and bagged a $6,000 Certified bonus as well.

“For his third lifetime race, we chose a two year old allowance race at Parx just to get him some experience against other winners,” said owner David Wright of Waldorf Racing Stables, LLC. “We thought a race would be better than breezing and the fact that the race was going to be at our home track made sense.  He ran fourth and got some dirt in his face and some more experience.  That set us up for the Nursery,” added Wright.

Follow The Dog wins the Maryland Million Nursery Stakes October 20th. Photo by Jim McCue.

Follow The Dog faced eight other horses in the six furlong Nursery stakes test October 20th at Maryland’s annual showcase event. The Bandbox colt prevailed by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:01.14 and earned Wright a maximum $10,000 Certified bonus as well. The winner was ridden Julian Pimentel and trained by Marya Montoya. Follow The Dog, out of the Cozzene mare, Two’s Cozy, and has bankrolled $98,320 now from a four-pack of starts.

Wright was a believer in the Virginia Certified Residency program before he even got his first bonus award. “I live and race in the Mid-Atlantic,” he said.  “Both Maryland and Pennsylvania have good state-bred programs that provide owners with enhanced purses.  When I heard about the Virginia-Certified program, I wanted to participate.  When you put the Virginia certification on a Maryland or Pennsylvania-bred horse, the total purse opportunity is very attractive for an owner.”

The process to acquire a horse and find a qualifying farm from that point on was pretty straightforward. “I contacted Debbie Easter and she guided me to the list of certifying farms on the VTA website,” said Wright. “I ran some of the names on that list by several mid-Atlantic horse people for recommendations.  I called Woodberry Payne (Ingleside Farm in Charlottesville) and he said he had room and could help me out.  When I learned that he also had a bloodstock business, I asked him to help me find a horse at the 2017 Timonium yearling sale.  That horse turned out to be Follow the Dog.”

Three weeks after Wright bought the horse, Follow The Dog’s half-brother, Clever Mind, won the Maryland Million Nursery. “That was a great update for my horse,” he noted. “As the months went by and Woodberry worked with the horse, he told me he might be early and I got the sense that my colt might make it to this year’s Nursery and have a shot at replicating Clever Mind’s success. I was at Laurel Park for the race and feel very blessed that my horse did what he did and won. It was really special.”

Wright credits the connections involved for his initial success. “It wouldn’t have happened without the breeder, David Wade, to plan the horse.  And full credit has to go to Woodberry, for picking the horse out and then breaking him, and to Marya for getting him to the races and bringing him along to win the Nursery.  I am really lucky to be able to work with good, serious horse people”.