01/20/2016 12:00PM

Golden Years resumes career in Friday sprint

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Golden Years wins the Marylander Stakes at Laurel, one of his two stakes wins at 2.

Golden Years, one of the top 3-year-olds in Maryland at the beginning of the 2015 season, will make his first start in 11 months in the eighth race at Laurel Park on Friday.

Golden Years went 3 for 4 as a 2-year-old at Laurel, winning the Marylander Stakes by more than seven lengths and the restricted Maryland Million Nursery by 1 1/2 lengths for trainer Rodney Jenkins and the Hillwood Stable of Ellen Charles.

In his lone start at 3, Golden Years finished third, beaten a neck, following a long stretch battle in the Miracle Wood Stakes. The Miracle Wood was part of the General George Stakes card, which was contested in single-degree temperatures. Golden Years raced along the inside that day over a difficult track that was clearly favoring outside horses. He came out of the race with a slab fracture to his knee.

“We put a screw in, and he’s come back 100 percent sound,” Jenkins said. “He looks beautiful.”

Friday’s six-furlong sprint is a second-level optional race for 4-year-olds and up. Victor Carrasco, who has been aboard Golden Years for all of his races, has the mount.

Jenkins has worked Golden Years seven times since Nov. 17. His last three drills have been the fastest of the day at the distance.

“It’s possible he might test that leg a little bit first time back, but he’s fit enough, and he’s had some very good recent works,” Jenkins said.

Golden Years is a son of Not for Love who was purchased as a yearling for $120,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale. He is 2 for 3 at six furlongs, but before going to the sidelines, he gave the impression that he would be more than capable at longer distances.

“I ran him six furlongs in his first start, and he ran about as good as he ever did,” Jenkins said. “He should be laying just off the pace, I would think.”

With Golden Years returning from a long layoff, Demon Buster, owned by the Stronach Stable and trained by Jose Corrales, is the horse to beat Friday. He won a Woodbine maiden race and a Laurel allowance before finishing fifth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, while making his stakes debut in the Dave’s Friend Stakes at Laurel on Dec. 26. Trevor McCarthy will ride.

◗ Jenkins and Hillwood Stable again have one of the top 3-year-olds in Maryland in Charmed Victory, a son of Flatter who topped the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale at $260,000. He has rallied from far off the pace to win his first two starts. Jenkins plans to run him back in the one-mile Miracle Wood on Feb. 15.

“He’s a pretty nice horse, and that should be a good race to test him,” Jenkins said. “If he does well, then we’ll come up with a plan for him.”