December 26 promises to be one of the most important days in the history of 1/ST Racing. It’s opening day of the Classic Meet at Santa Anita, opening day of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park and host date of the Christmastide Day stakes card at Laurel Park. All month, 1/ST BET will prepare you for a 26th of December to Remember with special content.
Entries are set for Laurel’s 11-race program that includes 6 stakes races. The 1-1/16 miles $100,000 Robert Manfuso Stakes matches top older horses on the main track in Race 10. Let’s meet the contenders for the Manfuso.
1-Ournationonparade: Maryland-bred shrewdly claimed in Kentucky for a next-out Maryland Million Classic score and followed that up with a determined runner-up in the Richard W. Small vs. open company. Split Manfuso rivals Armando R and Cordmaker in that one. Big advantage with rail draw given short run to first turn over 1-1/8 miles oval.
2-Workin On a Dream: Off since June, note this one scored a victory off a similar layoff in 2021. Runner-up in this race last year behind Cordmaker has an advantageous draw and longshot look for the exotics.
3-Ridin With Biden: Deputy Testamony winner at Laurel in July has added versatile stakes wins at Parx since going 1 mile and 70 yards as well as a mile and one-half in the Grade 3 Greenwood Cup. Rarely pairs up victories, but 11 of 19 in the exacta lifetime and drawn nicely.
4-Southern District: Deep closer has dropped 4 straight, but one-time Chad Brown trainee makes first local stakes appearance now with Lynn Cash. May need a fast pace to factor.
5-Armando R: 10-1 upset winner of the Richard W. Small vs. Ournationonparade and Cordmaker, he’ll try to make lightning strike twice. Four wins this year after being claimed for $16,000 near the end of 2021, he’s made nearly $200,000 more than that on the campaign.
6-Cordmaker (pictured above): Dominated this race last year as 6-5 favorite and has been the top local handicap division stakes star of recent years. But he’s lost 2 straight since winning February’s Grade 3 General George in a stop-and-go 2022 campaign.
7-American d’Oro: Primary turf performer found a new niche on dirt with consecutive allowance wins, but came back to earth when overbet in the Richard W. Small. Late runner needs a hot pace and a wake-up call off of last effort.
8-Plot the Dots: Inconsistent sort exits a strong allowance win for trainer Lynn Cash, who also sends out Southern District in this race. No match second to Ridin With Biden in the Deputed Testamony earlier this year.
9-Eloquist: Parx-based runner has won 3 straight and 4 of his last 5, but a road warrior with recent wins at Saratoga, Delaware, Aqueduct and Parx. Grade 3 Discovery victory at the Big A most recently puts the Butch Reid trainee in contention for favoritism.
10-Nimitz Class: Predominantly a sprinter, he’s gained checks locally around 1 turn in the Concern and City of Laurel stakes this year. Wide draw with short run to clubhouse turn is a tough task, especially for a stretch-out sprinter not used to quick turns.
11-Ain’t Da Beer Cold: Also-eligible needs some luck to draw in, and would offer early pace from the wide draw if fortunate enough to compete. Inconsistent form adds to the challenge.
12-Monday Morning QB: The 2021 Maryland Million Classic winner has backed up readily in recent starts and the wide draw, if able to get in off the also-eligible list, provides a big hurdle based on current form. A potential third Lynn Cash trainee in the lineup.
The 26th of December to Remember Stakes Lineup
Gulfstream Park | Championship Meet | Opening Day
$100K Tropical Park Derby
$100K Tropical Park Oaks
Santa Anita | Classic Meet | Opening Day
$300K G1 Malibu
$300K G1 American Oaks
$300K G1 La Brea
$200K G2 Mathis Mile
$200K G2 San Antonio
$200K G2 San Gabriel
Laurel Park | Christmastide Day Stakes
$100K Dave’s Friend
$100K Gin Talking
$100K Robert Manfuso
$100K Willa On the Move