10/08/2011 5:07PM

Laurel: Lemon Juice switches surfaces, shortens up to take Laurel Futurity

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Lemon Juice, under Travis Dunkelberger, surges late to capture the Laurel Futurity.

Trainer Dan Kobiskie made the right move by staying close to home rather than shipping out of state.

Kobiskie, who is based at Bowie Training Center,  had cross-entered his 2-year-old colt Lemon Juice in two stakes Saturday, the $75,000 Dover at a mile and 70 yards on Delaware Park’s main track and the $53,500 Laurel Futurity at six furlongs on turf. Even though Lemon Juice was coming  off a one-length victory going two turns on dirt in the Charles Town Juvenile, Kobiskie elected to run on grass in the Laurel Futurity. He was rewarded when Lemon Juice ($4.20) rallied between horses in deep stretch to score by a half-length.

To get the win, Lemon Juice had to make up a 1 1/2-length deficit in the final furlong. Just Sayin, still a maiden after seven starts, held a half-length lead at the furlong pole, followed by 27-1 outsider Play Eighteen and Lemon Juice’s coupled stablemate, Oil Rig, who was fading.  Lemon Juice bravely split horses and managed to hold off Magical Season, who came from fifth in the final eighth of a mile to get second at 63-1. Just Sayin was another half-length back in third.

“At the three-sixteenths pole I thought the entrymate was going to run away but he kind of gets lost on the front end sometimes,” said Kobiskie. “Lemon Juice is game and Travis rode him perfect, let him settle into stride and then relaxed around the turn and not feel rushed and let him make that one run.”

It was the fourth win in seven starts overall for Lemon Juice, a son of Johannesburg owned by PTK LLC. Lemon Juice, ridden for the first time by Travis Dunkelberger, has now won back-to-back stakes after running for a $40,000 claiming tag as recently as August.

Lemon Juice covered the six furlongs on good  turf in 1:11.38.