Hayes Strike scores in private terms * The Racing Biz

Dixiana Farms’ Grade 2 home bred Hayes Strike, back on the dirt after a failed attempt on the synthetic material, drove to leader Coffeewithchris at the top of the course and passed the multiple stakes winner to the wire, around 100,000 Dollar private terms to win at Laurel Park on Saturday.

The 34thth Executing the Private Terms at 1 1/16 miles anchored five stakes worth $450,000 in purses as the final step in Laurel’s string of 3-year-old stakes that led to the 148th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, May 20 at Pimlico Circuit.

Hayes Strike ($18.20), who was dismissed at 8-1 odds, completed the distance in 1:45.46 over a fast main course to end a six-race losing streak that ended on his first win of the past August at Ellis Park. It was the first victory in the private terms for both Kentucky-based trainer Ken McPeek and veteran Maryland jockey Horacio Karamanos.

“We couldn’t be happier,” McPeek said. “He had a few races that were thrown and the last race was thrown. He couldn’t handle the plastic and the travel and in this case we were able to regroup. He really wanted to run over the dirt. The jock did a great job just stalking out there so we’re really happy.”

Hayes Strike, last of nine in the Leonatus a mile on January 21 at Turfway Park, a race that produced next Gotham (G3) winner Raise Cain, found himself fourth in the clear as the New York shipper registers jumped onto the track in front, going the first quarter in 24.95 seconds, chased by February 18 Miracle Wood winner Coffeewithchris, both attempting two laps for the first time.

Howgreatisnate, who stumbled in Gotham on March 4 and lost driver JD Acosta out of the gate after winning each of his first four races, two of them on stakes, was driving along the track in third place and had to maneuver around the track in traffic Stabilizing around clubhouse curve but moving up to second after one half in 49.16.

Coffeewithchris was the first to go after Register, edging alongside on the extreme corner and taking the lead as he entered the track. Karamanos had tipped Hayes Strike further out for a run and set him down once he had straightened out on his way home, coming on a steady run to pass a brave Coffeewithchris in the eighth pole and settle in 1 Remove ¾ length lead.

Hayes Strike
Hayes Strike proved to be the best in the Private Terms Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo by Allison Janezic.

Crucial second place went to Coffeewithchris, who was 3 ¾ lengths ahead of late starting Circling the Drain and making his stakes debut. It was three quarters as long as Howgreatisnate in fourth place, followed by Feeling Woozy, Riccio, Register and Marty’s Magic.

“This horse likes to sit in the back wherever it feels comfortable. Today I was able to sit out of the gate and put him right behind the speed,” said Karamanos. “The speed really wasn’t much. I saw [Howgreatisnate] in trouble and [Coffeewithchris] walked nice and comfortably in front of me. I had a good position out there and at the 3/8 bar my horse wanted to go so I let him pick it up a bit.

“On the straight, we fought a neck-and-neck race [Coffeewithchris] and he drifted out, but my horse paid no attention. He took the lead and gave me a nice, steady kick to the wire,” he added. “He galloped through the wire. If they had another sixteenth of a mile, he would win again.”

Hayes Strike finished second in the Street Sense (G3), third in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2), and fourth in the Iroquois (G3) and Gun Runner as a two-year-old. With Connect out of the Deputy Commander mare Plaid, he is a half brother to Senior Investment, whom McPeek trained in 2017 to a victory in the Lexington (G3) and a third victory in the Preakness. Senior Investment later came back to win the 2020 Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel for coach Scott Lake.

Laurel’s next entry as a three-year-old is the $125,000 Federico Tesio, which runs 1 1/8 miles on April 15, a “Win and In” qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the Preakness. McPeek said it was likely the Triple Crown nominee Hayes Strike would stay closer to home.

“We’ll probably take him back to the Blue Grass [G1 April 8 at Keeneland],” he said. “He has an owner from Kentucky. Dixiana will probably give him a chance at home.”

REMARKS In the filly escort race, the final course preparation for the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan to be held the day before Preakness, Lady Lowery made a similar journey from Turfway Park to win the Beyond the Wire by three lengths. Trained by Will Walden for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable, Lady Lowery made her first start in the dirt a triumphant one, leading on every call. She now has two wins from three career starts and could be back in action May 5th in the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs… The Nimitz class had three straight wins with a dominant 6 1/4 long score in the $100,000 Harrison Johnson Memorial stakes reaching mile in sharp 1:36.43. Coached by Bruce Kravets for Tom Coulter, Nimitz Class, the 3-5 favorite, could soon be trying his hand at Graded Company…


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