Rodney Jenkins-trained Cordmaker
Hillwood Stable’s Cordmaker, a 7-year-old fan favorite approaching the $1 million mark in career earnings and the defending champion, and fellow Grade 3 winner Ridin With Biden head a list of 29 nominees in the $100,000 Richard W. Small Saturday, Nov. 26 at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.
The 1 1/8-mile Small for 3-year-olds and up joins the $100,000 City of Laurel for 3-year-olds and $100,000 Safely Kept for 3-year-old fillies, each sprinting seven furlongs, on the second of back-to-back stakes days over Thanksgiving weekend.
Laurel will host a pair of $75,000 stakes restricted to Maryland-bred/sired horses Friday, Nov. 25 – the seven-furlong Howard & Sondra Bender Memorial for 3-year-olds and up and six-furlong Politely for fillies and mares 3 and older.
Also nominated to the Bender, Cordmaker is based with trainer Rodney Jenkins at Laurel where the son of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin has earned 11 of his 14 lifetime wins including the biggest of his career, the Feb. 19 General George (G3).
Cordmaker went unraced from the General George until launching his comeback in a one-mile optional claiming allowance Nov. 4 at Laurel. Sent off as the favorite, he raced near the lead early before tiring to be sixth and pushing his bankroll to $990,880 in 37 career starts, with 10 stakes wins including a 1 ¾-length triumph in last year’s Small.
Cash is King and LC Racing’s Ridin With Biden became a stakes winner in the 1 1/8-mile Deputed Testamony July 30 at Laurel, then stretched out to 1 ½ miles two starts later to capture the Greenwood Cup (G3). Last out he set the pace before finishing fifth in the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile, also at Parx.
Happy Got Lucky Stable, Inc.’s Ournationparade, another co-Bender nominee, won the Maryland Million Classic by 5 ¾ lengths Oct. 22 in his first start since being claimed by trainer Jamie Ness for $50,000 in September. The 5-year-old Cal Nation gelding also won the Maryland Million Nursery as a 2-year-old in 2019.
Lynch Racing’s Flat Out Flying is a 15-time career winner with victories in four of his last five starts who is 0-for-3 lifetime at Laurel. Charles Town-based Muad’dib has won 12 of his 13 career starts, five of them in stakes, the only loss coming when second to Art Collector in the Charles Town Classic (G2) Aug. 26.
Also prominent among Small nominees are stakes winners Armando R, Forewarned, Galerio, Shackqueenking, Tappin Cat, Vance Scholars and Jalen Journey, the latter promoted to victory via disqualification in the 2021 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel.
The City of Laurel attracted 26 nominees including West Point Thoroughbreds and Joseph Besecker’s B Dawk, a chestnut son of Gormley that ran second to Ethereal Road in the May 21 Sir Barton at historic Pimlico Race Course in his stakes debut. The Doug O’Neill trainee ran third in the seven-furlong Perryville Oct. 22 at Keeneland and came back to dead heat for first in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance on the undercard of the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup day program.
Stakes winners Cynergy’s Star, Local Motive, Nimitz Class and Undercover Kitty; Red Danger, a two-time stakes winner on the grass; and stakes-placed Al Loves Josie, Coastal Mission and Uncle Buddy are also among the nominees.
Most popular among horsemen was the Safely Kept, named for the Maryland-bred Hall of Fame mare that won 24 of 31 starts and nearly $2.2 million in purses from 1988-91. Leading the 34 nominations are graded-stakes winning shippers Girl With a Dream and Hot Peppers.
Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Girl With a Dream has not raced since having a three-race win streak snapped when sixth in the one-mile Davona Dale (G2) March 5 at Gulfstream Park off back-to-back stakes wins including Gulfstream’s seven-furlong Forward Gal (G3). Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso’s Hot Peppers owns five career wins topped by the 6 ½-furlong Victory Ride (G3) and six-furlong Jersey Girl this summer at Belmont Park.
Other notable nominees include stakes winners Bazinga C, Buy the Best, Cashing Big Checks, Disco Ebo, Divine Huntress, Half Is Enough, Last Leaf, Murph, November Rain, Stand Up Comic, Swayin to and Fro and The Sky Is Falling and Grade 3-placed Beguine, scratched from Laurel’s Thirty Eight Go Go Nov. 12.
Notes: Jockey Grant Whitacre and owner-trainer Mario Serey Jr. teamed up for a pair of winners Monday, One Two Kid ($31.80) in Race 4 and Red Queen ($13.40) in Race 8 … The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot carryover swelled to $36,421.01 after going unsolved for the 20th consecutive racing day. Tickets with five of six winners Monday returned $263.16 … Laurel will next host a live, nine-race program Friday, Nov. 18 starting at 12:15 p.m.