2017 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Preview, Entries & Odds

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Dave Bond | OTB Writer

OffTrackBetting.com - The G3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash comes our way this Saturday, September 16 at Laurel Park in Laurel, Maryland. Horses three years old and upward will be featured when they take to Laurel Park's dirt track and dash six furlongs for the winner's share of the $250,000 purse.

A field of seven will take to the track in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial - race 9 on Laurel Park's Saturday schedule. Post time is 5:10 PM. Let's take a brief glance into the past performances of all seven entries for this competitive G3 stakes.

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2017 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Entries at Laurel Park


Impressive Ron Moquett trained gelding has placed in 11 of 13 career starts - seven wins, two seconds and two third-place finishes. His only off-the-board finishes were a fifth in the 2015 $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot and a nineteenth in the 2016 Kentucky Derby. After the Derby, he reeled off five straight wins and was third last time out in the G2 True North Stakes at Belmont Park June 9. The wins include the G3 Maryland Sprint Stakes by a half-length over multiple G1 winner AP Indian at Pimlico May 20, the G3 Count Fleet Stakes at Oaklawn Park April 15, the minor Hot Springs Stakes on that track March 11 and two Allowance Optional Claiming races this past winter. Whitmore had four recent terrific works at Churchill Downs including a bullet five-furlong breeze in 1:00.60 Aug. 27, has been a factor every time out and is expected to be again Saturday. Feargal Lynch gets the call on the 122-pound highweight from gate 4.

Awesome Banner

Kenneth Decker trained colt has placed in 13 of 18 career starts - six wins (five stakes), five seconds and two third place finishes. He won his first three career starts including the G3 Hutcheson Stakes in January, 2016 and the G2 Swale Stakes in February of last year and struggled in his next two graded stakes starts. He picked up his game after that - three wins and three seconds in six starts since including a second in the minor Steel Valley Sprint Stakes at Mahoning Valley November 21, wins in the Foolish Pleasure Stakes and the minor Prized Stakes (both at Gulfstream) and consecutive seconds including the G3 Carry Back Stakes at Gulfstream last July. He enters on the heels of consecutive close seconds - the G1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap last time out at Saratoga July 29 and the G3 Smile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream July 1. Before that was a third in the G3 Maryland Sprint at Pimlico May 20. Awesome Banner searches for his first graded stakes score in 20 months and arrives having placed in his last three starts overall. Tyler Gaffalione will be in the saddle from post 3.

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Keiron Magee trained gelding has seven wins and six second-place finishes in 19 career starts. He makes his graded stakes debut Saturday off an OK second in the minor Coalition Stakes at Timonium August 26, a sixth in the listed Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes at Mountaineer August 5 and a good win in the minor Hockessin Stakes at Delaware Park July 15. He won three of his previous four starts against lesser competition as well. Struth has finished first or second in seven of 11 lifetime tries at Laurel, steps up in decent form and will have JD Acosta guiding him from the rail.

Blue Moon Ace

Has six wins, two seconds and three third-place finishes in 19 career starts for trainer Kevin Patterson. He steps into graded stakes company for the first time on a nice two-race win streak - over Struth in the minor Coalition Stakes last time out at Timonium August 26 and an Allowance Optional Claiming at Delaware Park July 20. He failed to place in his previous three. Blue Moon Ace arrives in career-best form and will be out to keep an impressive run going from post 5. Gerald Almovodar rides from post 5.

Mr. Jordan

Edward Plesa trained gelding has seven wins, four seconds and six third-place finishes in his 22 career starts. He won the 2015 G3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park and has been OK since. In 2016, he placed in three straight graded stakes races and won the minor Millions Classic Preview Stakes at Gulfstream Park West. He enters off an OK third in the G3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park August 26 after an Allowance score at Parx and three off-the-board finishes in stakes action to start his year. Mr. Jordan has been competitive in the past and enters in decent form. Edgar Prado has been tabbed to ride from gate 2.


Claudio Gonzalez trained gelding has 22 career starts with nine wins, four seconds and two third-place finishes. Last time out was an OK second in the minor Charles Hesse III Handicap at Monmouth Park August 27 which followed a good win in the minor John J. Reilly Handicap on that track July 20, a fourth in an Allowance May 29 and a second in the minor Fire Plug Stakes on this track in January. He also won the minor New Jersey Breeders Handicap at Monmouth Park in August, 2016 and posted two more minor stakes wins last year. Chubilicious shoots for a first graded stakes score in his second try when he leaves from gate 6 with Victor Carrasco aboard.

Favorite Tale

Guadalupe Preciado trained gelding has hit the board in 16 of 20 career starts - eight wins, four seconds and four third-place finishes. He won the G3 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx in 2014, won the G2 Smile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream in 2015 and the listed Fabulous Strike Stakes at Penn National in November. He also finished a decent third in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Sprint. Favorite Tale has just two starts in 2017 - a second last time out in the minor Banjo Picker Sprint Stakes September 2 followed a third in an Allowance in March - both at Parx. Favorite Tale will chase a first graded stakes score in 26 months from the outside post 7 and does so in so-so form. Paco Lopez has the mount.

2017 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Odds & Entries

Race 9 on Laurel Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:10 PM.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Struth 12-1 J. Acosta Kieron Magee
2 Mr. Jordan 12-1 Edgar Prado Edward Plesa, Jr.
3 Awesome Banner 7-2 Tyler Gaffalione Kenneth Decker
4 Whitmore 7-5 Feargal Lynch Ron Moquett
5 Blu Moon Ace 9-2 Gerald Almodovar Kevin Patterson
6 Chublicious 8-1 Victor Carrasco Claudio Gonzalez
7 Favorite Tale 5-1 Paco Lopez Guadalupe Preciado

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