Richest Race of Laurel Summer One of Three Turf Stakes Saturday July 15 G3 Pimlico Special Winner Shaman Ghost Returns Saturday at Belmont
LAUREL, MD – Multiple turf stakes winner Morticia and Madam Dancealot, a Group 3 grass winner in England last fall, are among 10 stakes winners from 25 horses nominated to the $100,000 Stormy Blues Saturday, July 15 at Laurel Park.
The 5 ½-furlong Stormy Blues for 3-year-old fillies is the richest event on Laurel’s summer stakes calendar and one of three stakes on the day to be run over its world-class turf course. It is joined by the $75,000 Caveat for 3-year-olds and the $75,000 Pearl Necklace for 3-year-old fillies, both at 1 1/16 miles and restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses.
Morticia, owned by G. Watts Humphrey and co-bred by Humphrey and trainer Rusty Arnold, has won three of four starts this year sprinting on the turf. She captured the Melody of Colors Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park and the Soaring Softly May 20 at Belmont Park in her most recent effort. In between she was second at odds of nearly 35-1 despite a troubled start in the one-mile Appalachian (G3) at Keeneland.
Based in California with trainer Richard Baltas, Slam Dunk Racing’s Irish-bred Madam Dancealot won the six-furlong Bathwick Tyres Dick Poole Stakes (G3) Sept. 1 in England, her last start before making her U.S. debut in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) to cap her 2-year-old campaign. She owns a Santa Anita allowance win at 6 ½ furlongs among four starts this year.
Buckingham Farm’s Maryland homebred Crabcakes is nominated to make her first start on turf. She has finished first or second in six of her seven lifetime races, all on dirt, with three wins led by the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship Dec. 10 at Laurel, where she was second in the Wide Country Feb. 18 and Alma North June 17.
Other stakes winners nominated to the Stormy Blues are Bode’s Dream, a multiple stakes winner on dirt at 2 yet to race on grass; Deer Valley, coming off a victory in the five-furlong Crank It Up June 10 at Monmouth Park; Delphinia, Grade 3-placed Let It Ride Mom, R Naja, Red Lodge and Super Marina.
Panic Stable’s Sylphide is nominated off back-to-back wins including her maiden victory May 28 at historic Pimlico Race Course. Smiling Causeway broke her maiden for Fair Hill-based trainer Arnaud Delacour on the Laurel turf June 23; Lucky in Malibu has placed in three Laurel stakes; and Linda Rice-trained Downtown Mama is unbeaten in two career tries this year, both on dirt.
Three Diamonds Farm’s Bonus Points, winner of the Parx Derby May 6, tops nominees to the Caveat. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Grade 3-placed colt was second in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 10 at Laurel. Also nominated are undefeated Expedited Vision and No More Talk, third in Laurel’s Miracle Wood Feb. 18.
Lucky in Malibu is also among the Pearl Necklace nominees along with Sagamore Farm homebreds Riley’s Choice, unraced this year since finishing fifth by less than three lengths to Grade 2 winner Tequilita in the Nov. 19 Smart Halo at Laurel, and Chubby Star, runner-up James W. Murphy May 20 at Pimlico most recently fourth in the Regret (G3) June 17 at Churchill Downs.
G3 Pimlico Special Winner Shaman Ghost Returns Saturday at Belmont
Stronach Stables’ Shaman Ghost, a multiple Grade 1 winner, earner of more than $3.7 million in purses and determined Pimlico Special (G3) victor last time out, returns as the 4-5 program favorite in Saturday’s Suburban (G2) for 4-year-olds and up at Belmont Park.
Also entered in the 1 ¼-mile Suburban are Matt King Coal, a two-time winner over the winter at Laurel including the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial March 18, and Watershed, most recently fifth in the Pimlico Special.
Yoshida, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for WinStar Farm and Head of Plains Partners, is entered in the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles on turf. Yoshida won the James W. Murphy in her third career start and stakes debut. Also entered is Preakness (G1) third-place finisher Senior Investment.
Sam-Son Farm’s Grade 3 winner Journey Home, based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md. with trainer Graham Motion, is entered in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1) for 3-year-old fillies. Journey Home broke her maiden in her career debut Nov. 4 at Laurel.
Calumet Farm’s True Timber, third in the Sir Barton May 20 at Pimlico, is entered in the one-mile Dwyer (G3) for 3-year-olds. Among horses in the six-furlong Belmont Sprint Championship (G2) are multiple stakes winner Stallwalkin’ Dude, runner up in the General George (G3) Feb. 18 at Laurel, and Jacks or Better Farm’s multiple stakes-placed Fellowship, based at Laurel with trainer Ken Decker.