02/13/2016 12:56PM

Plenty of potential in Miracle Wood, Wide Country

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Never Gone South cones into the Miracle Wood Stakes off this 7 1/4-length win in the Frank Whiteley Jr.

LAUREL, Md. - The General George undercard at Laurel Park on Monday includes a pair of $75,000 stakes for 3-years-olds, the Miracle Wood and the Wide Country. Both offer nice matchups.

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In the Miracle Wood, a one-turn mile, all eyes will be on Never Gone South, the easy winner of the seven-furlong Frank Whiteley Jr. at Laurel. Trained by Cal Lynch, Never Gone South is 3 for 5. He was second by three-quarters of a length in each of his losses, to Awesome Speed in the James Lewis III and to Vorticity in the Marylander Stakes.

Awesome Speed came back to win the Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream Park and is being pointed to the Fountain of Youth. Vorticity has since finished second in the Grade 3 Jerome and Grade 3 Withers.

In the Whiteley, Never Gone South set an easy pace and then drew off effortlessly to win by 7 1/4 lengths. The 87 Beyer Speed Figure he earned is by far the highest in this field.

Charmed Victory, the $260,000 sales-topper at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling sale, has been freaky good while winning both of his starts. Trained by Rodney Jenkins, he came from seven lengths back at the furlong pole of his six-furlong debut to win by an eased-up length. In his second start, he rallied from well back while going a mile to win by six lengths.

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The contrasting styles of Never Gone South and Charmed Victory will make for an interesting race in the Miracle Wood.

Also in the field are two last-out Aqueduct maiden winners. Street Heat, trained by Chad Brown, won a mile-and-70-yard race by a head, while the Linda Rice-trained Hard Hitter held off his stablemate Tipit to score by a nose at six furlongs.

The Wide Country, a seven-furlong race for fillies, matches Karen’s Silk, who has won three races in a row for trainer Mike Dilger, against the impressive Laurel maiden winner Great Soul, trained by Tim Keefe.

Karen’s Silk, the expected favorite, has won a Delaware Park maiden race, a first-level optional race at Aqueduct, and the six-furlong Marshua Stakes at Laurel.

Great Soul was second in her debut after racing in traffic for much of the race. In her second start, she opened up a lengthy lead in midstretch, then held off the late-running In the Navy Now by a comfortable 2 1/2 lengths. In the Navy Now came back to win by 6 3/4 lengths.

Aye a Song, the top 2-year-old filly at Charles Town last year, dueled on the lead with the Todd Pletcher-trained stakes winner Lost Raven to the final sixteenth of the Marshua before flattening out to finish third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Karen’s Silk.

Aye a Song’s training was compromised the week before the Marshua when the Charles Town track was closed for training due to a drainage pipe problem. She missed her normal blowout for the Marshua but on Friday worked a half-mile for the Wide Country.