G3 Winner Just Call Kenny Pointed to $100,000 Richard Small Nov. 11 Unbeaten Margie’s Money Headed for Maryland Million Lassie
Contested at 1 1/8 miles, the Small is one of six stakes worth $575,000 in purses on a Saturday, Nov. 11 program that will also pay tribute to late Mid-Atlantic legend Ben’s Cat, featuring autographs from his connections and a bobblehead giveaway.
The Small would be the 10th start this year for Just Call Kenny, bred in Virginia and owned by ABL Stable, Dominic Bossone, James Cahill and Peter Donnelly. He is no stranger to Laurel having raced over the surface three times this year, most recently winning a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance April 21.
Among the horses in the field that day were Blu Moon Ace, subsequent winner of the Coalition at Timonium and second in the De Francis Dash (G3), multiple stakes winner Grande Shores and stakes winner Stolen Love.
“We’re looking at the Richard Small,” trainer Pat McBurney said. “It might be a little bit further spaced apart than we’d like, but we like the distance. Last winter when we ran him at Laurel and Parx, the longer races wouldn’t go so we were going six and seven furlongs and he was running good and finishing third, second, fourth and getting checked the whole way. He really does like the mile or further. We like the fact that it’s a distance race. Anything a mile or longer up to a mile and a quarter, he loves it.”
Just Call Kenny is coming off a runner-up finish behind claimer-turned-multimillionaire Page McKenney in the 1 1/16-mile Pa Derby Champion Stakes Sept. 23 at Parx, beaten a half-length. In his prior start, the 6-year-old son of Jump Start strolled to a four-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Iselin (G3) Aug. 26 at Monmouth Park.
“The partners all live in New Jersey and that was their home track basically so that was a huge win for us,” McBurney said. “I kind of thought we had Page McKenney leaving the eighth pole last time and the kid who rode for us said, ‘Boy when he got alongside Page, he just dug in and put his head down and held us off by a long neck.’ It was a very good race.”
Following some injury problems that plagued his last two seasons, Just Call Kenny has finished in the top three in each of his last seven starts. Winner of the 2014 Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park in his 3-year-old debut, he placed in four graded stakes prior to his breakthrough win in the Iselin.
“When he won his first race as a 3-year-old he got a condylar fracture in his right foreleg and then subsequently had a chip in that leg and then had another chip in that leg,” McBurney said. “So we had done arthroscopic surgery the last couple years and now, finally, it looks like everything’s behind us, thank goodness.
“The owners have been very patient with him and let us train him on his own kind of schedule,” he added. “He’s back to racing as fast, if not faster, than his 3-year-old year.”
Unbeaten Margie’s Money Headed for Maryland Million Lassie
M. Terry Shane’s Maryland homebred Margie’s Money, undefeated through two career starts, will wheel back in three weeks for her stakes debut in the $100,000 Maryland Million Lassie Oct. 21.
The six-furlong Lassie for 2-year-old fillies is among 11 stakes and starter handicaps in the lineup for the Jim McKay Maryland Million program, ‘Maryland’s Day at the Races’ celebrating its 32nd year.
Margie’s Money kept her perfect record intact with a gutsy half-length victory over stakes-tested Zensational Kiss in a six-furlong optional claiming allowance Sunday at Laurel. It came six weeks following her sensational front-running debut win by six lengths at odds of 8-1 going five furlongs, both under Katie Davis.
“She had that five-furlong race, but it was just raw speed last time. She really didn’t get much out of it,” trainer Hugh McMahon said. “Now, she’s running against winners. We’re looking at the Maryland Million sprint for juveniles and I’m like, ‘We need to get a race into her.’ She got a race [Sunday]. She had to dig in.”
Margie’s Money disputed the pace for a quarter-mile before taking command through a half in 45.96 seconds, coming wide into the stretch and drifting in toward the rail while fighting off Zensational Kiss, winning in 1:11.62.
“The three-way speed duel frightened me, and she being on the outside of that I thought, ‘Hmmm.’ I was like, ‘Hold on, hold on, please,’” McMahon said. “I think it sets her up perfectly because it got into her. She switched leads at the end. I know she needed the race.”
Among the horses also expected for the Lassie is well-regarded Limited View, two-for-three lifetime with a six-furlong optional claiming allowance win Sept. 8 in 1:12.37 over a field that included the McMahon-trained Contrarity.
“We’ve had a taste for her,” McMahon said. “We went in 11 and change and they went 12 and change that day, but I’m biased. She’s got this race. We’ll give it a go and hopefully it’ll prevail.”
Carryovers, First Monday Card Ahead on Revamped Fall Schedule
There will be carryovers in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and $1 Super Hi-5 when live racing resumes at Laurel with a nine-race card Friday. Post time is 1:10 p.m.
This weekend marks the first of Laurel’s newly revamped fall calendar that saw racing moved to Friday through Monday from the original Thursday to Sunday schedule to take advantage of a primary presence on the TVG Network.
Other than the third week of November, when racing reverts back to Thursday to Sunday starting with Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, the Friday to Monday schedule will remain in play through the final Monday, Dec. 18. Monday’s Columbus Day holiday card will be drawn Friday.
Friday’s Rainbow 6 spans Races 4-9 and includes featured Race 8, a 1 1/16-mile allowance for Maryland-bred/sired horses over Laurel’s world-class turf course. The popular multi-race wager begins with a jackpot carryover of $6,043 from Sunday.
There will be a carryover of $540.47 in the Super Hi-5 for Friday’s opener, a 5 ½-furlong claiming turf sprint for 3-year-olds and up that drew a field of 10.