LAUREL, MD – Euro Stable’s Lebda ran uncontested for much of the running, then held sway late over a fast-closing foe to win Saturday’s $100,000 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park.
Breaking cleanly from the rail under Alex Cintron as the 7/2 second betting choice, Lebda immediately assumed command by at least a length as the field exited the chute onto the main track. Kept under a snug hold, Lebda posted opening fractions of :22.96, :45.57, and 1:11.16.
Heading into the far turn, Lebda remained restrained as the began field falling apart behind him. Put to task at the 3/16 pole, he withstood a late charge from a rallying Mine Not Mine to cross victorious by 3/4 of a length.
The Claudio Gonzalez trainee finished the mile-long event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:38.38.
“That was the plan – to go to the lead,” Cintron said. “He was doing it very comfortable. I just dropped in right close to the fence and he was relaxed. I was just waiting for the 5/16 (pole) to see how much horse I still have. I just tested him a little bit and he was still there. I waited a little bit longer, and at the 1/4 pole, I let him go and he just kept going. He’s a really nice horse.”
Mine Not Mine’s last-to-first attempt came up just short, though he gave a good account of himself in his first start for trainer Brittany Russell after running for Gonzalez in his two prior appearances. Romanoff was a distant third, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Amen Corner.
Dreams Untold, the 3/5 favorite, couldn’t have had much worse luck. After acting fractious in the gate throughout the loading process, he dropped to his knees at the start and spotted the field over 15 lengths. After running last early, he ranged all the way up to second in the far turn, but he ran out of gas and faded steadily to finish fifth.
New Commission, Bernie’s On Fire, and an eased Albert Park completed the order of finish. Gray Gary was scratched.
Lebda’s win was his first at the stakes level and improved his overall record to 7-3-1-2 with $154,525 earned. The 3-year-old son of Raison d’Etat was purchased for $100,000 in December, but Euro Stable opted to keep him under Gonzalez’s care.
“I’m very happy,” Gonzalez said. “My horse ran big. I told Alex that, with the (rail post position), we had to go early, and he did a very good job.”
Lebda returned $9.80 to win, $6.20 to place, and $4.80 to show. Mine Not Mine brought back $10.40 to place and $6.60 to show, while Romanoff paid $10 to show.