12/26/2015 3:40PM

Always Sunshine comes from off the pace to win Dave's Friend


Always Sunshine appeared to be a fast learner when he won his career debut at Parx Racing in July, but a string of seconds and thirds followed until he won his second career race in his seventh start.

Always Sunshine built on that 13 1/4-length allowance win by rallying from just off the pace to win the $100,000 Dave’s Friend at Laurel Park on Saturday for trainer Ned Allard and owner-breeder Gilbert Campbell.

“He’s a big, good-looking horse, but he may have been a little bit on the dumb side at the beginning,” Allard said after the Dave’s Friend.

Always Sunshine was forwardly placed inside horses by jockey Frankie Pennington as Beach Hut set the pace in the six-furlong stakes while being pressed by Majestic Hussar. Entering the stretch, a large gap opened between the leaders, and Pennington sat down Always Sunshine. He took the lead inside Majestic Hussar in midstretch and pulled away to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Always Sunshine paid $8.80 as the third choice in the eight-horse field. He was timed in 1:10.02. The early splits were 22.76 seconds, 45, and 57.78.

“I just got him in good position,” Pennington said. “Ned told me to keep his mind focused. He was a little hesitant at first, but he did fine.”

Majestic Hussar, who had finished second in the $200,000 Fabulous Strike Stakes at Penn National at 87-1 in his last start, finished second. Beach Hut was third, three-quarters of a length farther back.

Always Sunshine is a 3-year-old son of West Acre. Allard said he and Campbell would consider the $250,000 General George Stakes, a seven-furlong race Feb. 15 at Laurel Park, as a possible next start.

Heaven’s Runway, the 2-1 favorite in the Dave’s Friend, raced forwardly throughout but lacked the needed response. Rainbow Heir, the 2-1 second choice, backed off from between horses after a quarter-mile and finished last.

Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship: Look Who’s Talking upsets

Look Who’s Talking got the jump on the 1-5 favorite Lexington Street and then had plenty left in the stretch to score by 1 1/2 lengths.

Lexintgton Street, who had won her previous three races, was second best, three lengths clear of the third-place Jump for Love.

Look Who’s Talking paid $13.40 and covered seven furlongs in 1:25.50 over a good track.

Look Who’s Talking stalked the pace three wide, then took the lead under jockey Forest Boyce on the stretch turn. Lexington Street, three wide in the second flight, finished willingly but could make up little ground on the winner.

Look Who’s Talking, trained by Robin Graham, came into the race off a fifth-place finish in the Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel.

“She finally got everything together,” Graham said. “She’s had little issues. She lost a shoe in her last race.”

Look Who’s Talking, owned and bred by Skeedattle Associates, now is 2 for 5 with $89,646 in earnings.