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Hillwood Stable’s Maryland champion Post Time, riding a two-stakes win streak, wheels back in three weeks against a lineup that includes Grade 3 hero Greeley and Ben and three other multiple stakes winners in the $200,000 General George (G3) Saturday, Feb.17 at Laurel Park.
The 49th running of the General George (G3) for 4-year-olds and up and 70th renewal of the $200,000 Barbara Fritchie for fillies and mares 4 and older, both sprinting seven furlongs, co-headline a Winter Carnival program featuring four stakes worth $600,000 in purses.
Post time for the first of 10 races is 12:25 p.m.
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Named Maryland’s top juvenile of 2022, Post Time capped his sophomore season with a head victory in the seven-furlong City of Laurel over Thanksgiving weekend, getting plenty of time before romping by 6 ½ lengths in the one-mile Jennings for Maryland-bred/sired horses Jan. 28, his 4-year-old debut.
Winner of the 2022 Maryland Juvenile, Post Time is making his graded debut in the General George over a Laurel Park track where he is undefeated in five starts.
He has won six of seven career races, the exception being a third behind Grade 3 winner Raise Cain in Keeneland’s seven-furlong Perryville last fall.
“He’s doing so well right now. It’s at home, on a racetrack that he’s been very successful on, so it’s the perfect time to do it,” trainer Brittany Russell said. “He came bouncing out of his last race. I’m looking forward to it. This is a horse that I’m always very excited to walk over.”
The Frosted colt, part of the trainer’s Fair Hill string, tuned up for the General George with a bullet half-mile breeze in 48.20 seconds over Laurel’s main track Sunday, fastest of 58 horses.
“I brought him down to Laurel to get his mind on his business,” Brittany Russell said. “He breezed this morning and it was a very good work. It’s all systems go.”
Russell’s husband, jockey Sheldon Russell, is named to ride Post Time from Post 3 in a field of seven.
DEA Thoroughbred Racing’s Greeley and Ben, winner of the 2022 Fall Highweight (G3) at Aqueduct, is entered to make the second start of his 10-year-old season just two weeks after running fourth in an open six-furlong allowance at Laurel Park under jockey Jevian Toledo.
“It was obviously a smaller field, so pace and trip played a big factor. He was still closing and didn’t get beat far for third, but just left himself with too much to do,” trainer Horacio DePaz said. “For whatever reason, he’s just decided to break and keep himself back and become a closing sprinter now. It looked like he was running through the wire. After talking with Toledo, he said considering the way he’s closing this race could be a consideration for him.”
Greeley and Ben owns 25 career wins and is less than $10,000 away from the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings after 44 starts.
Only one of those has come at seven furlongs, when he was second in an optional claiming allowance Aug. 2, 2019 at Ellis Park for previous connections.
“He’s happy and on his toes. I actually got on him last week and jogged him around the track and he came off the track trying to put his head between his legs, just feeling good,” DePaz said. “Physically he’s handling everything fine.”
Jaime Rodriguez gets the call on Greeley and Ben from Post 6.
Nimitz Class returns to the Mid-Atlantic for the first time since being purchased privately last fall by the partnership of Qatar Racing, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Swinbank Stables, Steve Addison and Campeche Stables.
The 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred owns six stakes wins, four of them at Laurel Park, and was beaten a half-length when second in last summer’s Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park.
Eighth in the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup (G1) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park last out, he cuts back to a sprint for the first time since running fourth in the 2022 City of Laurel, also at seven furlongs.
The Cottonwood Stable’s 4-year-old Maryland homebred Seven’s Eleven closed to be second behind Post Time in the Jennings.
The 4-year-old Bandbox gelding has earned all six of his wins from 13 tries at Laurel, including the six-furlong Maryland Million Sprint and seven-furlong Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial last fall. The General George will be his graded-stakes debut.
Isabelle de Tomaso and Hope Jones’ No Cents, 6, has never been worse than third in five lifetime tries at Laurel with wins in the 2020 James F. Lewis III and Heft as a 2-year-old.
Trained by Cal Lynch, who earned his 1,000th career victory Feb. 10 at Laurel, the Goldencents gelding has placed in five other stakes and has been second or third in five straight races including the six-furlong Dave’s Friend Dec. 23 at Laurel, beaten a half-length by Greeley and Ben.
Built Wright Stables’ Cowan also exits the open allowance Feb. 3 at Laurel where he ran third, beaten 2 ½ lengths but a length ahead of Greeley and Ben.
The 6-year-old gelding is chasing his first stakes win but has placed seven times including a second in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).
Completing the field is Thoroneck Corp and Floresta’s Tenebris, supplemented into what will be his stakes debut by trainer Bruno Tessore.
The 6-year-old gelding extended his win streak to four races with a popular optional claiming allowance triumph Sunday at Laurel.
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