Hawksmoor Among Big Names Entered Saturday at Laurel

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

April 19th, 2018

On a quiet Saturday with relatively few graded stakes races on the agenda, racing fans are advised to turn their attention to a quality card at Laurel Park that includes five stakes races.

The day’s feature events are the $125,000 Federico Tesio Stakes and the $125,000 Weber City Miss Stakes, which serve as preps for the upcoming Preakness Stakes (gr. I) and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico. But the other three stakes races—worth $100,000 apiece—are also shaping up to be noteworthy events.

First and foremost is the Henry S. Clark Stakes, a one-mile turf event for older horses. A huge field of fourteen will contest the race, including the seven-year-old veteran Ring Weekend, who won the 2015 Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita. Trained by Graham Motion, Ring Weekend has won only an allowance race since the start of 2017, but he remains a capable competitor in graded stakes company and did finish a close third in the Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (gr. II) over this course and distance last September.

Other prominent names in the Henry S. Clark include El Areeb, a multiple graded stakes winner making his turf debut; Ghost Hunter, winner of the Arlington Handicap (gr. III) last summer; and Phlash Phelps, winner of numerous stakes races against Maryland-breds.

The most likely winner on the card might be Hawksmoor in the Dahlia Stakes going a mile on turf. Trained by Arnaud Delacour, who is winning at a striking 36% rate at the current Laurel Park meet, Hawksmoor won the New York Stakes (gr. II) and Beaugay Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont last summer during a productive season that also saw her run second in the First Lady Stakes (gr. I) and Matriarch Stakes (gr. I). That kind of form stamps her as the clear favorite in the Dahlia, with I’m Betty G—never out of the superfecta in her last nine starts—looming as the most likely runner-up.

Delacour will also have a big chance to win the Primonetta Stakes with Chalon, runner-up in both the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II) and the Raven Run Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland last fall. The speedy daughter of Dialed In should be tough to beat over the six-furlong distance of the Primonetta, though if she’s short of her best in her first start of the season, then Short Kakes—winner of the Xtra Heat Stakes at Aqueduct last month—could be capable of posting an upset.

Post time for the first race of the day is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.