Updated on 12/17/2011 6:14PM

Laurel: Bargain claim King and Crusader upsets Maryland Juvenile Championship

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
King and Crusader, ridden for the first time by Victor Santiago, pays $34.60 for upsetting the Maryland Juvenile Championship.

King and Crusader, whose only previous win came against $25,000 maiden claimers, outdueled even-money favorite Glib in deep stretch to pull a 16-1 upset in the $75,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship, the closing-day co-feature at Laurel Park.

Claimed for $35,000 out of a fifth-place finish at Saratoga in August by trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. on behalf of James Riccio, King and Crusader ($34.60) won a six-furlong maiden claiming event in his first start for his new connections on Oct. 7. He rallied mildly to get third in his first start against winners in a $50,000 starter allowance, but did improve his Beyer Speed Figure seven points to a 60.

In the Maryland Juvenile Championship, jockey Victor Santiago sent King and Crusader to the lead through a half-mile in 46.89 seconds. He quickly came under pressure from Glib, the winner of the Maryland Million Nursery and stakes-placed in two other events for open company.  It appeared as if King and Crusader might fold when Glib put a head in front with a furlong remaining, but he responded to Santiago’s left-handed urging and drew clear by 1 1/4 lengths despite drifting slightly toward the finish. He completed 7 1/2 furlongs on a fast track in 1:32.09.

“The assistant trainer told me now he was going from three-quarters to seven eighths so you might be in front, be second, be third,” said Santiago, who recently re-located to Maryland from the New York-New Jersey circuit. “He broke sharp and I settled him down, made a little slow pace. My horse was not cooperating with me, he was lugging in a little bit. I had to grab the reins. As soon as I hit him he straightened up and came back again. From there on, it was ride him to the wire.”

Glib was two lengths clear of the third-place finisher, Jack’s in the Deck, winner of the restricted First State Dash at Delaware Park two starts ago.

Plum prevails as favorite in Juvenile Filly Championship

The favored Plum was all out to reach the wire a head in front of More Than a Cruise in the co-featured $75,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.

It was the third straight win for Plum ($5.20) since she finished second in her career debut and gave trainer Rodney Jenkins his second consecutive victory in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship. He won last year’s running with Love’s Reason.

Plum, ridden by Travis Dunkelberger, managed to prevail despite brushing with Jazzy Idea, the eventual fourth-place finisher, in midstretch and drifting out during the stretch run. She completed the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:33.95.

“I thought I got there,” said Dunkelberger. “They were getting away from me on the turn. I hit her right-handed; she kind of sulked a little. I hit her left-handed, she exploded. Amazing filly.”

More Than a Cruise, stretching out following a 9 1/4-length maiden win in her fourth start, put her head in front at the eighth pole, but was just outgamed to the finish line. She was two lengths clear of third-place Bluegrass Atatude.

“This filly as done everything we’ve asked her,” said Jenkins of Plum, a daughter of Pure Prize owned by Dark Hollow Farm. “It gives you confidence when breeders like their own horses and care about them. We haven’t seen the best of this filly. Wait until she goes a mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter.

“I ran her long three times with her coming into the race so I didn’t have the speed but I noticed Travis out broke them,” he added. “She is a nice filly and is dead honest. She has such a natural stride. The rest of them looked like they were running their eye-balls out and she is galloping along. She has a good mind, good size, and will grow into a better filly than she is now.”

Russell, Kobiskie finish 2011 atop standings

Jockey Sheldon Russell and trainer Dane Kobiskie wrapped up year-end titles for the Maryland circuit in 2011.

Russell, 24, captured the riding title at all three meets at Laurel Park and Pimlico this year, finishing with 126 victories, 24 more than Julian Pimentel, including 55 during the Laurel fall meeting. He also led the Maryland jockey colony with 10 stakes wins in the state, with three victories aboard Eighttofasttocatch and two with Red’s Round Table and Concealed Identity.

Former jockey Kobiskie, 32, saddled 58 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the year, 21 more than Dale Capuano. He won races at a 28 percent rate and won the Laurel Futurity and Selima Stakes for 2-year-olds with Lemon Juice and Softly Lit.

Kobiskie finished runner-up in the fall standings with 29 wins, five fewer than Jamie Ness.