Doctor Mounty Returns to Favorite Track for $100,000 Prince George’s County Rubley Seeking ‘Right Spot’ for Multiple Stakes Winner Alwaysmining
LAUREL, MD – Larry Pratt and Dave Alden’s Doctor Mounty, a multiple Grade 3 winner who has earned four of his seven career victories at Laurel Park, will take a step back from graded company for the first time since last fall in Sunday’s $100,000 Prince George’s County Stakes.
The 1 1/16-mile Prince George’s County for 3-year-olds and up over Laurel’s world-class turf course is the third of four $100,000 stakes on a special Father’s Day program of nine races, starting with a 1:10 p.m. first post. The day also features Cars, Cigars & Barbecue, one of the most unique Father’s Day celebrations in the Mid-Atlantic, from noon to 7 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
Doctor Mounty, a 6-year-old son of 2006 champion juvenile and 2007 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense, earned his first career graded-stakes triumph last fall at Laurel in the Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).
Since running third by two lengths in the Richard W. Small Stakes over Laurel’s main track Nov. 10, Doctor Mounty has contested five straight graded-stakes on the grass, most recently finishing sixth over a soft Belmont Park course in the Fort Marcy (G3) May 4.
Overall, Doctor Mounty is four-for-seven at Laurel with one second and one third. In addition to the BWI Turf Cup, he won optional claiming allowances in July of 2016 at 1 1/16 miles on dirt and July and October of 2017. The former race came at 1 1/8 miles on dirt while the latter was rained off the grass to a mile on the main track.
“I don’t’ think it matters. He’s won at Laurel when it was really soft, but personally I think he’d rather have it firm,” Robbie Medina, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, said Friday.
“He’s doing well and he’s run very well over that track,” he added. “Not that it’s an easy spot, but he’s been running against some pretty salty horses.”
This year, Doctor Mounty won the Tropical Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park to open his season and was third in the Appleton (G3) and fifth in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1), by 2 ½ and two lengths, respectively. Listed at 8-1 on the morning line, he will break from Post 8 in a field of nine under Forest Boyce.
Rubley Seeking ‘Right Spot’ for Multiple Stakes Winner Alwaysmining Runnymede Racing’s multiple stakes winner Alwaysmining, promoted from fourth to third in the Easy Goer Stakes June 8 at Belmont Park following the disqualification of Still Dreaming for interference, emerged from the race with some scrapes but in otherwise good shape.
The 3-year-old Alwaysmining is back at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., where trainer Kelly Rubley said the Stay Thirsty colt is doing well.
“He’s good. He’s got some superficial cuts where they definitely clipped heels there,” she said. “But, thankfully he’s athletic enough that he managed to save it and he’ll live to fight another day.”
Alwaysmining had his six-race win streak, the last five in stakes, snapped when 11th in the 144th Preakness (G1) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, his graded debut. He was wheeled back in three weeks and cut back from 1 3/16 miles to 1 1/16 miles for the Easy Goer, on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes (G1).
Sent off the even-money favorite in a field that scratched down to five sophomores and ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Alwaysmining settled in second behind pacesetting winner Majid into the far turn, then found himself between Grumps Little Tots to the outside and Still Dreaming along the rail as the three came down the stretch together.
Still Dreaming drifted off the inside and brushed with Alwaysmining approaching the wire, causing him to stumble and end up three-quarters of a length behind Grumps Little Tots, who was a neck behind runner-up Still Dreaming. Castellano claimed foul against both horses, with Still Dreaming disqualified to fourth.
“I thought had the incident not happened he was still closing,” Rubley said. “It was unfortunate how the race played out, but I was proud of him. He never gave up and kept trying, so we’ll find the right spot for his next start.”
Among the upcoming stakes for 3-year-olds are the $250,000 Iowa Derby July 5 at Prairie Meadows and $500,000 Indiana Derby (G3) July 13 at Indiana Grand, both at 1 1/16 miles; the one-mile Dwyer (G3) July 6 at Belmont Park and the seven-furlong Concern July 14 at Laurel Park.
“We turned him around in three weeks [for the Easy Goer] and I don’t know that that was necessarily a negative but I’d like to give him the time to catch his breath now,” Rubley said. “He’s had a solid campaign here and so we’re going to take our time and pick the next spot wisely.”
Parisian Diva Takes Five-Race Win Streak into $100,000 Alma North
Melinda Golden’s West Virginia homebred Parisian Diva, whose five-race win streak includes a pair of state-bred stakes races, ventures away from home for the first time looking to make it six straight in Sunday’s $100,000 Alma North.
The seven-furlong Alma North for 3-year-old fillies kicks off Sunday’s stakes action, carded as Race 4. Three consecutive stakes follow with the $100,000 Polynesian in Race 5, $100,000 Prince George’s County in Race 6 and $100,000 Big Dreyfus in Race 7.
Parisian Diva, a bay daughter of Freedom Child based at Charles Town with trainer Stacey Viands, is a perfect 4-0 this year, her victories coming at distances from 4 ½ to seven furlongs by a combined 23 ½ lengths.
“She’s doing really well. She’s been training astronomical,” Viands said. “It’s just unbelievable how she’s doing and how she came back from her 2-year-old year. We gave her a little vacation and she grew up a little bit and matured really nicely and she’s doing really well. Couldn’t ask for anything better.”
She capped her juvenile season with a five-length victory in the seven-furlong Eleanor Casey Memorial and returned from a winter break to capture a third-level state-bred allowance April 3 by 6 ¾ lengths. After taking the Its Binn Too Long Stakes April 20, she won back-to-back races against open company older horses, one at seven furlongs, making her 2-0 at the distance.
“Seven-eighths I believe is really her distance. My jock, J.D. Acosta, says she can go further, so we hope that’s the way it comes out to be. So far she’s just doing her thing up here,” Viands said.
“We decided to take a shot at this race out of town because there’s nothing here for a couple months, and since she’s doing so well we figured we’d try the straight 3-year-old fillies,” he added. “It’s been a dream come true for an owner and a trainer. I guess we’ll see what she is and take a shot and see what we really got, because there’s some nice horses in there.”
Parisian Diva drew Post 6 in a field of seven and is listed at 10-1 on the morning line with Acosta at co-topweight of 122 pounds. The 6-5 program favorite is Pimlico-based stakes winner Please Flatter Me.
“She’s done things pretty easily. I’m anxious to see her. She’s going to have to do some running, and I can’t wait because I really haven’t seen the bottom of this filly in any of these races that we’ve run in,” Viands said. “If you watch any of the replays, I’ll tell you, she’s done it just with ease, gearing down at the end and everything. But when you get out of town and come in there with the big girls, I don’t think she’ll be gearing down.
“She’s been really good to us and we’ve been having some fun,” he added. “We just decided while she’s on this one track mind, we’ll try her. Hopefully it stays like that, but you’ve got to run against them to find out what you got.”
Stakes Winner Scrap Copper Works Friday, Awaits Sophomore Debut
Kathleen Willier’s juvenile stakes winner Scrap Copper returned to the work tab Friday morning at Laurel Park for the first time this year as he continues to progress toward his 3-year-old debut.
Scrap Copper, trained by Hamilton Smith, breezed three furlongs in 36.60 seconds over a fast main track, the fastest of nine horses at the distance. It was his first timed work since finishing third as the favorite behind Alwaysmining and Our Braintrust in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 8 at Laurel.
“He’s coming off of jogging for a month or two and galloping. He needs to get a little more acclimated,” Smith said. “We’ll pick it up as we go now. So far, leg-wise and all, he’s doing fine. It’ll be a question of getting the trip and that’s it.”
Smith had planned to give Scrap Copper the winter off but the break was extended when it was discovered the Maryland-bred son of Great Notion emerged from his 2-year-old finale with a leg fracture that required surgery.
Scrap Copper raced five times last year, all at Laurel, capturing his July 22 debut and finishing second by a nose to Order and Law in the Laurel Futurity on turf, a race where Alwaysmining ran seventh. A poor break compromised his chances in the Maryland Million Nursery, but Scrap Copper bounced back with a three-quarter-length triumph in the six-furlong James F. Lewis III Stakes Nov. 10.
“He’s a nice colt; he can run,” Smith said. “He missed his one race on the grass by a nose and then won and then ran into Alwaysmining. He ran good. I only ran him five times but we were pleased with what he did, we sure were.”
Smith will continue to take his time with Scrap Copper, a $15,000 purchase out of Fasig-Tipton’s Midlantic Winter Mixed Sale in December 2017 that has banked $121,640 in purse earnings.
“He’ll tell us when he’s ready. I don’t want to rush him back. We’ll get him ready to run and then we’ll look for a spot,” Smith said. “He’s still a young horse, and he’s got all the Maryland-bred stuff to look forward to this fall, too. We’re trying to make sure we get him right and get him ready for those races if we can.”