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Updated on 11/14/2012 10:51AM
Laurel: Jazzy Idea's course-record effort in Laurel Dash dethrones Ben's Cat
By Joe DeVivo
It took a course-record performance by 3-year-old filly Jazzy Idea to dethrone Ben’s Cat in the Laurel Dash.
The Laurel Dash was one of five turf stakes on a Fall Festival of Racing program at Laurel Park that was topped by the $350,000 Frank De Francis Memorial Dash on the main track.
The millionaire Ben’s Cat, a Grade 3 winner this season who came into Saturday’s race with a 5-for-5 record on Laurel’s turf course, looked like a winner when he took over from tiring pacesetter Ju Jitsu Jax and opened up a two-length advantage in midstretch. But Jazzy Idea and jockey Elvis Trujillo came roaring past to take the lead inside the sixteenth pole and the filly was drawing clear of the 3-2 favorite at the finish, prevailing by three-quarters of a length.
In the process, Jazzy Idea ($6.80) lowered the course record of 1:07.45 for six furlongs that she established winning the Jameela on Sept. 3. Rallying strongly over a firm course, Jazzy Idea ran the distance in 1:07.29 on Saturday.
“I’m speechless,” said Edwin Merryman, who owns and trains Jazzy Idea, a homebred daughter of Great Notion. “Maybe I should have run her next week," referring to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. "Her style of just sitting off the pace suited this race perfect today. I left it up to Elvis to go whenever he wanted. She’s 3 for 3 on Laurel turf now and before today Ben’s Cat was 5 for 5. She is far and above the best horse I have ever had my hands on.”
It was the sixth win in eight lifetime starts on grass for Jazzy Idea, who is based at the Fair Hill Training Center with trainer Edwin Merryman. She is 8 for 18 overall with earnings of $449,000.
Jazzy Idea was switching surfaces and cutting back in distance after winning the one-mile Maryland Million Oaks on the main track three weeks ago.
Ben’s Cat, who won last year’s Laurel Dash when it was transferred to the main track, came into the race with 4 wins in 7 starts this season, including the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx two races ago. His last loss in Maryland came in May, when he was fifth as the 2-1 favorite in the Turf Sprint at Pimlico. He is now 18 of 28 lifetime with earnings of $1,246,090.
“He ran his race,” said Ben Cat’s owner and trainer, King Leatherbury. “He got a great trip and ran the best he could. It figures a closer would win it and she established a new track record and beat me.”
Merryman said Jazzy Idea could make her final start of the season in the Safely Kept Stakes at Laurel on Nov. 17.
Silver Screamer takes Lady Baltimore
Silver Screamer, who burned herself out setting fast fractions in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel six weeks ago in New York, proved far more effective coming from slightly off the pace in the $150,000 Lady Baltimore Stakes for fillies and mares at Laurel Park.
Similar to the scenario in which she stalked the pacesetter to win the Grade 3 Eatontown at Monmouth Park in late June, Silver Screamer ($10.40) was kept in third by jockey Jose Espinoza behind Laughing, who set fractions of 45.51 seconds and 1:11.73. In early stretch, the 4-year-old Silver Screamer came three-wide to challenge for the lead and outdueled Laughing to reach the wire a neck in front. Federation rallied to miss second by a neck, nosing our Embarr for third. Naples Bay was seventh as the 2-1 favorite.
“She is very professional and very relaxed,” said Espinoza, whose mount completed 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:40.63 for her third win in six starts this season and seventh in 15 starts overall. “She broke well and she just relaxed into stride. I didn’t have any trouble at all during the race and at the end of the race she could tell they were coming and she kicked in when I asked her to.”
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said he felt giving Silver Screamer some time off following her third-place finish in the Sept. 15 Noble Damsel was beneficial.
“She looked very comfortable,” said Rodriquez, who trains Silver Streaker for Michael Imperio and Donald Olson. “I think the time we gave her really made the difference as she came in fresh.”
Rodriguez is now 9 for 17 at Laurel during the fall meeting.
In other supporting stakes, worth $150,000 apiece:
* Four horses, separated by a neck and a pair of noses, hit the wire nearly together in the 1 1/2-mile Laurel Turf Cup with Dannhauser ($46.20), ridden by Sheldon Russell getting up by a neck over See Tobe, Manchurian High, and Slip and Drive. The winning time was 2:27.17.
* Tate’s Landing ($48.60), whose first three career starts were dirt sprints, came from off the pace to spring an upset in the Laurel Futurity. Ridden by Alex Cintron for Delaware Park-based trainer Mike Pino, Tate’s Landing finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of recent maiden winner Star Maneuver. The winning time for 5 1/2 furlongs on turf was 1:02.208.
* Mystic Love ($11.20), fifth as the 6-5 favorite three weeks ago in the Maryland Million Lassie on dirt, responded to the switch back to turf to take the Selmina for 2-year-old fillies by three-quarters of a length. Under jockey Elvis Trujillo, Mystic Love ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.23.
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