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LAUREL, MD – Juveniles took center stage on the turf Saturday at Laurel Park with Ready to Purrform winning the Laurel Futurity and Consumer Spending defeating fillies in the Selima, both 1 1/16-mile stakes routes carrying $150,000 purses.
Joining them on the 10-race card were a trio of $100,000 purses: the All Along, the Laurel Dash, and the Japan Turf Cup.
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Donegal Racing’s Ready to Purrform, in just his second career start and first in a stakes, lived up to his name and will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup following a powerful 3 1/4-length victory in the Laurel Futurity.
Ready to Purrform came into the Futurity off a nose maiden special weight victory going the distance September 3 on the Ellis Park turf. Using a similar stalking trip under Jevian Toledo, Ready to Purrform ($8.80) was unhurried in the early going as previously undefeated stakes winner Epic Luck led through fractions of 22.71 and 46.70 seconds.
Determined Kingdom, winner of the 5 1/2-furlong Jamestown in his previous start, took over the top spot turning for home and went 6 furlongs in 1:11.84 as Toledo took Ready to Purrform outside to launch their bid.
“He seemed to settle in nicely and wasn’t in any hurry. I didn’t think that he would be,” Crawford said. “There was a lot of speed in this race today, and when Mr. Toledo asked him to move, he moved.”
Given his cue, Ready to Purrform opened up and rolled through the stretch to hit the wire in 1:43.03 over a firm All Along turf course. Stride held on for second by a neck over late-running 25/1 long shot Wish Me Home.
It was 1 1/2 lengths back to Wow Whata Summer in fourth followed by High Stock, 7/5 favorite City At Night, Determined Kingdom, King of Hollywood, and Epic Luck.
“They were going pretty quick in front, so I just sat right off them and saved ground. When I took him to the outside, I just tapped him on the shoulder and he started running right away,” Toledo said. “He was waiting for horses really. He opened up and I could feel I had a ton of horse under me and he was just like waiting for other horses, so that was good.”
Donegal racing manager Jerry Crawford, one of several members of the partnership that celebrated in the Laurel winner’s circle, said Brad Cox-trained Ready to Purrform would make his next start November 5 at Del Mar. Among that day’s races for 2-year-olds are the Juvenile (G1) at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, the one-mile Juvenile Turf (G1) and five-furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2).
“We thought he was sitting on a big effort. Brad Cox has done a great job with him. I can’t say that we’re surprised, but we are certainly pleased,” Crawford said. “Spirits are high. Donegal travels well. I’m guessing that every Donegal partner that’s here today will be at the Breeders’ Cup, because that’s where Ready will perform next. We’ve already sold 80 tickets to the Breeders’ Cup, so I expect this will shove us past 100.”
Klaravich Stables Inc.’s Consumer Spending made her stakes debut a winning one, surging past horses late and drawing away by 2 1/2 lengths while under wraps in the Selima.
Ridden by Victor Carrasco for trainer Chad Brown, Consumer Spending ($2.80) was the 2/5 favorite in a field of eight and completed the distance in 1:43.21 over a firm All Along layout for her second consecutive win.
The gray or roan daughter of More Than Ready, a $200,000 yearling purchase last fall, exited a 4 1/2-length triumph at the Selima distance over yielding ground in a September 6 maiden special weight at Saratoga, where she ran second in debut August 8.
Carrasco settled Consumer Spending in fifth along the rail as 80/1 longshot Evangeline Allons went the opening 1/4-mile in 23.22 seconds under pressure from Consumer Spending’s stablemate, Hedy Lamarr. The 1/2 went in 47.83 with Consumer Spending trailing all but one horse, She’s Like Thunder.
Consumer Spending began to roll leaving the backstretch but still lacked room on the turn until straightening for home while Evangeline Allons stubbornly held the front after 6 furlongs in 1:12.27. Carrasco tipped Consumer Spending to the middle of the track, where she passed Hedy Lamarr to the inside and outran She’s Like Thunder making a move on the far outside.
She’s Like Thunder, off at 80/1, was 2 lengths ahead of Evangeline Allons in third with Sparkle Blue another length back in fourth. Hedy Lamarr, Petition Prayer, Determined Charm, and Luna Antonia completed the order of finish.
“She’s a superstar. The instructions were, ‘You’re going to be sitting on the best horse in the race. Just be patient and whenever you’re able to get her clear down the lane she’s going to explode,’ and she did it,” Carrrasco said. “She got the job done. I felt like I had enough horse and I was going to be able to work my way out. I didn’t even hit her. I just showed her the stick and she was gone.”
Sharing won the Selima as a prep for her upset victory in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). Consumer Spending could follow a similar path to a race Brown has won 5 times in 12 runnings with Maram (2009), Lady Eli (2014), New Money Honey (2016), Rushing Fall (2017), and Newspaperofrecord (2018).
“She’s a really nice filly. We wanted to give her a race to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup, for the big races,” Brown’s assistant trainer Luis Cabrera said. “We know she’s got a lot of class. When he asked her to go, she responded. She’s a very talented filly.”
Al Shaqab Racing’s Tuned, a 5-year-old daughter of Toronado, has in trainer Graham Motion’s words “turned it around,” running away from stablemate Oyster Box down the stretch to win the All Along by 3 1/4 lengths for her third consecutive victory. It was another 2 lengths behind Oyster Box to Sweet Sami D in third.
Tuned ($3.80), who broke her maiden in her debut in France in 2018, went 7 races and 21 months before starting this 3-race win streak July 20 in an allowance event at Colonial. The mare came back 5 weeks later to win the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Old Nelson Stakes.
Tuned’s victory Saturday was done with relative ease, stalking a :24.62, :49.39, and 1:13.76 pace set by Scatrattleandroll before being guided by jockey Feargal Lynch three-wide entering the stretch and pulling away to win in 1:49.43 over the Dahlia turf course.
“We’ve had her for quite a while and I’m so glad to see her turn it around and win some stakes because we always thought she was that caliber,” Motion said. “I think Colonial was a big difference maker. When Feargal rode her down there in the allowance race, it kind of helped turn her around. She came back and won again, and Feargal gave her a great ride again today.”
Lynch, who rode Tuned to her fifth victory 14 starts, said, “We broke and settled to the outside where she was comfortable. We started to pick it up around the far turn and she took off to the wire.”
Motion was also pleased with the performance of Oyster Box, a 3-year-old filly facing older horses for the first time after finishing second August 14 in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington Park.
“I thought that was pretty courageous, 3-year-olds against older horses,” Motion said. “We don’t do it too much until this time of year but she ran a good race, too.”
Three Diamonds Farm’s 5-year-old gelding Tide of the Sea, winless since taking the W. L. McKnight (G3) January 23, ended his drought by turning back Hierarchy to capture the Japan Turf Cup by 1 3/4 lengths.
Favored at 6/5 over six rivals, Tide of the Sea ($4.60) hit the wire in 2:28.19 over a firm All Along turf course to give jockey Horacio Karamanos his second win of the afternoon and first in the Japan Turf Cup for he and trainer Mike Maker.
“My trainer told me try to go on the lead. Send him out of the gate and try to take the lead. I tried to go in front but I couldn’t. [A Thread of Blue] went next to me and [Real Factor], so I didn’t want to rush the whole time,” Karamanos said. “I let my horse go wherever he was comfortable.”
A Thread of Blue, winner of the Palm Beach (G3) and Saratoga Derby Invitational in 2019, was eager for the lead and held it through a 1/4-mile in 23.81 seconds tracked by 45/1 longshot Real Factor, who took over the top spot after a 1/2 in 48.18.
Tide of the Sea was unhurried in third but began to inch up to the leaders and ran a mile in 1:37.58 to assume command. Hierarchy got up to be second by 1 1/4 lengths with Gunnison third.
“In the turn after the first wire, my horse started to pick it up. I let him go himself in the backstretch, and at the 5/8 pole, he passed to the lead,” Karamanos said. “I knew he was going to love going on the lead. I felt like I got a lot of horse, so I let him pick it up at the 3/8 pole and he gave me a kick. I feel like my horse can win at the top of the stretch and he got it done.”
Xy Speed, claimed for $32,000 out of his last start by trainer Gerald Bennett for Winning Stables, Inc., drove between horses entering the stretch to win the $100,000 Laurel Dash by a neck over a late-closing Battle Station. It was another neck to Cannon’s Roar in third.
A 5-year-old gelded son of First Samurai, Xy Speed covered a firm 5 1/2-furlong turf course in 1:02.45. The gelding has now won 7 of 9 starts over the distance on turf.
Ridden by Jorge Ruiz, Xy Speed raced just off the pace of Francatelli, who went the opening 1/4 in :21.95 and was pressed through a :44.75 1/2 by Valued Notion.
Racing between horses around the turn and entering the stretch, Xy Speed drove to the front 1/8 of a mile from the finish and had enough left to hold off Battle Station.
“I had good position, and in the last 1/4, he went,” Ruiz said. “This horse is nice.”
Xy Speed returned $18.80.
“When he made the lead, I knew he was a fighter just off of his form,” Bennett said. “He came out of the race good when we claimed him, so we took our best shot. You can’t win them if you’re not in them. You can’t be afraid to run them.”
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