With his stakes-winning stablemate, Joe, staying in the barn, Sonata Stable’s Conclusive will get the opportunity to follow up on an impressive stake victory last time out and earn a win of his own in the $100,000 Miracle Wood Saturday, Feb. 19, at Laurel Park in Maryland.
The 27th running of the one-mile Miracle Wood for 3-year-olds and the 29th renewal of the $100,000 Wide Country for 3-year-old fillies are among six stakes, two graded, worth $900,000 in purses on a 10-race program .
Serving as co-headliners are the $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (G3) for fillies and mares 4 and up and the $250,000 General George (G3) for 4-year-olds and up, both sprinting seven furlongs. Older horses will also go about 1 1/16 miles in the $100,000 John B. Campbell and $100,000 Nellie Morse for females.
First race post time is 12:25 pm The Wide Country will kick off the stakes action in Race 4 (1:52 pm).
The Miracle Wood is the second of Maryland’s stakes series for 3-year-olds, preceded by the seven-furlong Spectacular Bid Jan. 29 and followed by the Private Terms at about 1 1/16 miles March 19 and 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio April 16, a ‘Win and In’ qualifier for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1) May 21 at historic Pimlico Race Course.
Sonata’s Marc Tacher made Conclusive, a chestnut son of 2016 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner and Preakness show finisher Nyquist, one of the 312 early nominations to the 2022 Triple Crown. The Elkstone Group’s homebred stakes winner Joe, also trained by Mike Trombetta and nominated to the Miracle Wood, was not among the initial Triple Crown nominees.
Sonata has ranked second among North American owners by wins in 2020 and 2021 and has reached triple figures in wins each year since 2018, averaging 111. Tacher purchased Conclusive for $155,000 at Keeneland’s September 2020 yearling sale.
“I’m in the pinhooking business and I tried to sell him, but if I don’t get the correct amount I’ll keep the horse because I also race. We didn’t get what I thought was a fair amount, so I decided to keep him and he’s done well,” Tacher said. “He’s a talented horse. Mike Trombetta likes him a lot and we feel like he’s going to be in a good spot this Saturday.”
Conclusive was third sprinting six furlongs in debut last summer at Colonial Downs. He graduated two starts later in a 1 1/8-mile maiden special weight at Laurel that came off the grass, and after a poor showing in his first try against winners to cap his juvenile season, he rebounded with a popular 5 ¾-length optional claiming allowance victory in front-running fashion Jan. 2.
Each of his last three races have come at Laurel and the most recent, also going two turns at 1 1/16 miles, came with the addition of blinkers.
“We feel the blinkers made a difference. He liked them a lot, so I guess that was something that was missing,” Tacher said. “He ran a very impressive race. We liked that race very much. He’s highly regarded right now. We think he can do well.”
Conclusive drew outside Post 9 with Victor Carrasco named to ride for the first time.
“He has a versatility to him. We don’t have to be on the lead,” Tacher said. “It’s not necessary for him but if it does happen, fine. We’re not going to look for the lead. We’ll let the race develop and whatever is better for him we’ll take it. He’s a nice colt. We really like him.”
At the opposite end of the starting gate will be Vintage Thoroughbreds and Ben Lynch’s Perfect Day, undefeated in two starts for Parx-based trainer Tyler Servis. The Ontario-bred will be making just his third start and first outside of Pennsylvania following a 5 ¼-length maiden special weight triumph Dec. 8 at Penn National and an 8 ¾-length optional claiming allowance score Jan. 18 at Parx.
Abner Adorno, aboard for both races, gets the return call.
Coastal Mission, Local Motive and Alottahope each exit the Spectacular Bid, having respectively run a distant second, third and fourth to Witty, a 7 ¾-length winner. Though he calls Charles Town home, Coleswood Farm Inc.’s homebred Coastal Mission has made each of his last three starts in Laurel stakes, having second run to Buff Hello in the Maryland Million Nursery and third behind Joe and Alottahope in the Maryland Juvenile.
Bird Mobberley’s Local Motive is a two-time stakes winner for trainer John Salzman Jr., taking the five-furlong Hickory Tree over the Colonial Downs turf and the six-furlong James F. Lewis III on Laurel’s main track as a 2-year- old. He encountered trouble in the Spectacular Bid and trailed the field early but was able to make up ground late for the show.
No Guts No Glory Farm’s Maryland-bred Alottahope is a younger half-brother to eight-time stakes-winning filly Street Lute, both trained by Jerry Robb. By Editorial out of the Midnight Lute mare Alottalute, Alottahope won two of his first three starts, each by 2 ¼ lengths, and was second by 1 ½ lengths to Joe in the Maryland Juvenile.
Robb also entered Gerald Grabcheski and Renate Jackson’s New York homebred Majestic Frontier. Moved to Robb for his final start of 2021, when he ran second in a maiden claimer at Laurel, Majestic Frontier has kicked off 2022 with back-to-back victories by 14 combined lengths, both around two turns, the most recent an optional claiming allowance Feb. 10 at Laurel.
Joseph Colgain’s Heffner was third to Alottahope Jan. 1 at Laurel in his first race off the claim for trainer Mike Geralis, and will be trying stakes company for the first time. A pair of Midwestern shippers complete the field – Andrew Warren’s Friar Laurence, who suffered his first career loss when eighth in the one-mile Leonatus Jan. 22 over Turfway Park’s all-weather surface; and Built Wright Stables’ Maximum Impact, a one-mile maiden winner Jan. 21 at Mahoning Valley who ran fourth to Majestic Frontier Feb. 10.