Laoban breaks maiden with 27-1 upset in Jim Dandy

Profile Picture: Jen Caldwell

Jen Caldwell

July 31st, 2016

McCormick Racing LLC and Southern Equine Stable LLC’s Laoban is no stranger to facing stakes company, having done so in his past five starts, but had never visited the winner’s circle in seven total career starts.

That changed on Saturday when the Uncle Mo colt led from gate-to-wire in the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) as the 27-1 longest shot on the board at Saratoga.

Laoban shot out of the gate under jockey Jose Ortiz while 7-5 favorite Mohaymen stumbled badly and went to his knees. That gray runner quickly recovered but Laoban had firm control by this point while chased by Destin onto the backstretch.

The Eric Guillot trainee proceeded to set splits of :24.56, :49.07 and 1:12.46, all the while chased by Destin to his outside and Governor Malibu, Mohaymen and Race Me Home just behind. Laoban never let up, continuing motoring rounding the turn and into the stretch while getting a mile in 1:36.10.

No one was catching the dark bay on this day and Laoban crossed under the wire 1 1/4 lengths the best while finishing 1 1/8 miles on the fast main track in 1:48.39.

Governor Malibu and Destin battled it out in the lane for second while no match for the winner. Destin just missed the runner-up spot by a neck to his rival, but was 4 1/4 lengths in front of fourth-place finisher Mohaymen. Race Me Home and last-out Belmont Stakes (G1) hero Creator, who raced in last throughout, completed the order under the wire.

Laoban sent Ortiz tumbling to the track in the gallop out after the race, and paid $56 for earning his first career victory. He now shows a line of 8-1-2-1 to go along with a $526,250 bankroll.

After dropping his initial two starts at Del Mar and Los Alamitos last year, the dark bay colt proceeded against graded rivals throughout his sophomore campaign.

He ran third in the Sham Stakes (G3) to open 2016, nearly led all the way home before being caught and forced to settle for second in the Gotham Stakes (G3) and faded to fourth after once again leading early in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1).

Laoban then tried classic company and found himself a one-paced sixth in the Preakness Stakes (G1) two back. He entered the Jim Dandy off a fifth-placing in the Dwyer Stakes (G3) on July 9 at Belmont Park.

Bred in Kentucky by Respite Farm, Laoban was a $40,000 Keeneland November weanling and a $260,000 Keeneland September yearling. He is the first registered winner out of the stakes-placed Speightstown mare Chattertown, who is a full sister to stakes heroine That’s How I Roll as well as a half-sister to listed victor Obruchev and Grade 3-placed Bluegrass Chatter.

Laoban’s second dam is dual stakes queen Chatter Chatter, who is a full sister to the dam of multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire I’m a Chatterbox.

Laoban photo courtesy of Ronnie Betor/


Jose Ortiz, jockey Laoban, winner: "The trainer had a lot of faith in the horse. I'd never previously ridden the horse, but he broke great and they let me go easy enough. He was relaxed, pulling me a little bit with his ears prickling and when I asked him to go by the quarter-pole he really took off.

"We were coming into the turn on the gallop out, and when he switched to the right lead he stumbled and I came off. I'm OK though."

Eric Guillot, trainer Laoban, winner: "I've always known the horse had talent, from Day 1. And he was very, very physically immature. He's a monster, he's 17.1 hands. I've been shipping him across the country the last six, seven races, and when he got to the Preakness, he really didn't like the mud, he stumbled in the gate, and didn't like it in his face.

"I freshened him up, but he was too fresh for the Dwyer. I thought, 'All the speed's across town tomorrow, in the Haskell. I'm going to take a shot,'

"We don't dance to elevator music. We dance to Zydeco. Who wants to run in a maiden?"