10/22/2016 5:15PM

Nicaradalic Rocks upsets Maryland Million Sprint as Ben's Cat finishes last

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Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Nicardalic Rocks, ridden by Angel Serpa, pays $15 for winning the Maryland Million Sprint by a length.

LAUREL, Md. - Nicaradalic Rocks, a $20,000 claim by owner Tom Freed in June at Santa Anita, won his first career stakes in the $100,000 Maryland Million Sprint at Laurel Park on Saturday.

Freed, who grew up in nearby Bowie, Md., is a handicapper and businessman. He picked out Nicaradalic Rocks, claimed him, and ran him once out west. He then brought Nicaradalic Rocks to Maryland and turned him over to trainer Kieron Magee.

Nicaradalic Rocks, a son of Rock Slide, was narrowly beaten in his first two starts for Magee, who then closed up the horses blinkers. The equipment adjustment, according to Magee, has him "more focused early."

Nicaradalic Rocks ($15), ridden by Angel Serpa, won his first start with his new blinkers and then was impressive in the Sprint, reeling in front-running Morning Fire and then pulling away to win by one length in a good final time of 1:09.89.

Freed said he owns 10 horses and has 10 yearlings. He dedicated the win to his father, brother, and son, who are all deceased.

Morning Fire, the even-money favorite, finished second, a neck ahead of Easy River in third.

Ben's Cat, the 2-1 second choice ridden by jockey Trevor McCarthy and trained by King Leatherbury, lacked the needed response when asked and flattened out to finish last in the six-horse field.

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"What can I say? He didn’t run a lick," Leatherbury said."He broke good and McCarthy wanted to get him back a little bit and relaxed and then make a big run, which he couldn’t do. I don’t know what’s next. We’ll take a look and evaluate it later. It's disappointing."

Ladies: Head bob to Devilish Love

Devilish Love tracked pacesetter Pauline's Pride early in the $125,000 Maryland Million Ladies, took the lead nearing the stretch, and then battled to the wire with Complete St. and won a head bob in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares.

Complete St. was unlucky to lose in the Ladies. She attempted to split the winner and Northern Smile, who had lodged a three-wide bid, in upper stretch but could not get through. She then altered course to the inside, tried to come up the rail on the winner, but ended up a nose short.

Devilish Love, a 6-year-old daughter of Not For Love, was ridden by Alex Cintron.

"She never quit," Cintron said.

Devilish Love was transferred to the barn of Tony Dutrow following her race prior to the Ladies. Dutrow trained her earlier in her career.
"She was game," Dutrow said. "It was wonderful to get her back. I had a little time to get her ready for this race."

Devilish Love paid $11.20 in the eight-horse field. She was timed in 1:47.67 over firm turf.

Northern Smile finished third, a length behind Complete St. Monster Sleeping, who won the Ladies last year and in 2013, finished fourth.

Lassie: Penn shipper stays perfect

Item improved her record to 2 for 2 with a determined stretch run and turned back She's Achance Too by a head.

Based at Penn National with trainer Rodrigo Madrigal, Item had won her career debut at Penn by 1 1/4 lengths Oct. 8. She sprinted to the lead in the Lassie, was headed from the inside by She's Achance Too in upper stretch but kept fighting to the finish.

Item, a daughter of Orientate, paid $15 in the field of 10 Maryland-sired 2-year-old fillies. She covered six furlongs in 1:12.45 with jockey Tyler Conner aboard.

She's Achance Too raced outside horses early after breaking from post 9, was taken to the rail on the far turn, then just missed in the stretch. Small Batch, who finished third, looked like she was going to run by the top pair in upper stretch but flattened out and was beaten neck for second.

Nursery: Greatbullsoffire comes on again

Greatbullsoffire looked beaten in midstretch of the $100,000 Maryland Million Nursery after the maiden Dancing With Maude ran by him to take the lead, but jockey Victor Carrasco never stopped riding and they came back on to win the six-furlong race for Maryland-sired 2-year-olds by a head.

Trained by Hamilton Smith, Greatbullsoffire paid $4 and was timed in 1:11.48. He is now 3 for 4 in his career. The Nursery was his second stakes win.

"I thought we were beat when that other horse opened up a length and a half on us," Smith said. "But the kid didn't give up and neither did the horse."

Smith said a likely next spot for Greatbullsoffire could be either the $75,000 Christopher Elser Memorial at Parx Racing on Nov. 12 or the $100,000 James Lewis at Laurel on Nov. 19. The Elser is a South Carolina residency stakes, for which Greatbullsoffire is eligible.

"I want to run him two more times, maybe three at the most, this year," Smith said.

Greatbullsoffire, a son of Bullsbay, rated off the early pace in the Nursery, bid for the lead on the far turn, was passed by 60-1 Dancing With Maude but came on resolutely for the win.

Maryland's Best finished third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Dancing With Maude.

Starter Handicap: Big upset for Who Stole My Sock

Who Stole My Sock turned a wide trip into a 40-1 upset in the $50,000 Starter Handicap.

Who Stole My Sock, far back early in the 14-horse field, rallied extremely wide into the stretch to win the one-turn mile by a neck over another wide runner, Worthy Lion. It was a half-length farther back to Stolen Love in third.

Eight horses were within 2 1/4 lengths of the front at the finish

Who Stole My Sock, trained by Carlos Mancilla, paid $83.60. Yomar Ortiz was aboard. Who Stole My Sock was timed in 1:38.57.

Worthy Lion raced near the winner early but was forced to steady entering the far turn.

Stolen Love raced four wide on the pace on the far turn, took the lead in upper stretch but was outfinished. The fourth-place finisher, I Stand Alone, raced on the pace three wide.

Distaff Starter Handicap: A prompt favorite

Penn National-based Chapel of Chimes, the 1-2 favorite, pulled away to win the $50,000 Maryland Million Distaff Starter Handicap by 12 lengths. The race was for fillies and mares who had raced for a $12,500 claiming price since Oct. 17, 2015.

Trainer by Eduardo Rojas and ridden by Andrew Wolfsont, Chapel of Chimes had won a second-level optional-claiming race at Penn National in her prior start while in for the $25,000 tag. Chapel of Chimes sat off the early pace and then easily took the lead in upper stretch of the mile race.

Chapel of Chimes paid $3 and was timed in 1:39.45 for the mile.