09/30/2015 12:06PM

Stidham starts strong with Laurel string

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Trainer Mike Stidham is branching out and has set up a stable at Laurel Park.

Stidham has been based at Arlington Park since 2000 and has wintered at Fair Grounds since 1995. Since Sept. 13, he has gone 3 for 8 at Laurel.

“Over the summer, our numbers got pumped up, and I was looking for a place to send some horses,” Stidham said. “I’ve got 40 stalls at Laurel. We’re going to consider leaving some there all winter.”

Stidham credits Tim Ritvo, the chief operating officer of The Stronach Group, which owns the Maryland Jockey Club, for helping with the transition.

“He found us some room,” Stidham said. “We like the way they’ve been treating us.”

Stidham, 57, has won 1,572 races since 1979 and has a career win average of 18 percent. Through Wednesday, he had sent out 65 winners this year.

“So far, our Arlington horses have been fitting at Laurel pretty well, except they’re running for about double the money,” Stidham said.

Some of Stidham’s best horses over the years are millionaire Willcox Inn; Grade 1 winner Two Altazano; Grade 2 winners Istanford, Tizaqueena, and Workin for Hops; and multiple Grade 3 winner Upperline.