Strike a Deal, Street Sounds showcase talent during Fall Festival
Laurel Park's De Francis Dash Day saw a new record of $5,518,830 wagered on the 10-race card Saturday. The highlight of the day was THOR'S ECHO (Swiss Yodeler) scoring a three-quarter of a length victory in the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G1), but there was plenty of other stakes to keep the action going.
While the De Francis Dash was the feature on the day, seven other stakes were also included in the Fall Festival of Racing. Headlining the rest of the card were two juvenile stakes, with STRIKE A DEAL (Smart Strike) taking the $100,000 Laurel Futurity by 1 1/4 lengths after a stalking run. With Ramon Dominguez holding the reins, the Alan Goldberg trainee had to be patient and wait for some room to open up nearing the three-eighths pole. Finally getting in the clear, the Jayeff B Stables colorbearer rallied on the outside to get the victory after running 1 1/16 miles on the yielding turf in 1:45 4/5.
Strike a Deal was making his second stakes start in the Futurity after running second in the Pilgrim S. He broke his maiden by a length in his second career start and now boasts a 4-2-1-0 career mark with $97,945 in lifetime earnings.
Earlier on the card, Hidden Creek Farm's STREET SOUNDS (Street Cry [Ire]) had an easier time of it, stalking the pace in the $100,000 Selima S. before moving to the outside leaving the turn and powering home a 3 3/4-length winner. With Ramon Dominguez aboard, the Michael Matz charge stopped the clock on the green in 1:46 1/5 to earn her first stakes score. The dark bay miss, last seen finishing third in the Jessamine S. at Keeneland, captured her maiden by 6 3/4 lengths in her third try and now owns a 5-2-0-2 record with $103,400 in earnings.
Three-year-old fillies got their turn in the spotlight in the $101,500 Anne Arundel S., and it was LEAH'S SECRET (Tiger Ridge) who got her picture taken in the winner's circle. The Helen Pitts charge, running in the colors of First Klass Stable, saved ground on the rail before angling out under Mark Guidry to score by three parts of a length. Leah's Secret ran a mile on the fast dirt in 1:36 3/5 to push her record to 9-5-0-1, $342,252. She's also won the Raven Run S. (G2) and Lazer Show H. this year.
Two heads and two necks were all that separated the top five finishers in the $76,500 Laurel Turf Cup S. and when the dust had settled, FISHY ADVICE (Woodman) proved to be the head on the line first. Trained by David Donk and ridden by Mario Pino, the four-year-old rallied from last early to take the nine-furlong turf test in 1:51 3/5. Racing for owners C.K. Marquis, J.T. Behrendt, W. Bloom and B. Cornell, the chestnut colt added a third stakes win to his line, which now reads 15-6-3-2, $381,110.
ART FAN (Lear Fan) avenged her runner-up finish in last year's April Run S. by taking this season's $80,000 edition by a length under Jeremy Rose. The Hamilton Smith-conditioned five-year-old, third in the All Along Breeders' Cup S. (G3) and Gallorette H. (G3) so far this year, stopped the teletimer for nine furlongs on the grass in 1:51 4/5. Bred and raced by William Backer, the bay mare now owns a 27-7-4-5 career line with $379,349 in earnings.
In the other two stakes on the card, PLATA (Skip Away) was a neck victress in the $75,000 Stefanita S. while BUSY PROSPECT (Allen's Prospect) posted an easy 4 1/4-length front-running score in the $50,000 Maryland Million Starter H.
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