Hillwood Stables LLC’s Cordmaker made his presence known in the $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up, as he powered down the stretch to win by one and three-quarter lengths at Laurel Park on Saturday, Nov. 27.
Making his eighth stakes start this season, Cordmaker settled to the outside of Tappin Cat as they followed early leader Workin On a Dream, with favorite Shackqueenking just a neck behind on his outside, through an opening quarter-mile in :24.58 and half in :47.59. Cordmaker began to move up around the far turn, gaining on the leading pair, before catching them on the turn for home and moving ahead down the stretch. Workin On a Dream made one last effort in the final furlong but couldn’t catch the Rodney Jenkins trainee, who hit the wire in 1:50.48 for the one and one-eighth miles.
“I wanted him to stay closer. We’ve been taking him, not way out of it, but pretty far and that’s a lot of ground to make up in a stakes race,” Jenkins said. “I told Victor, ‘Keep him up in there and make them run,’ and he did. Victor gave him a great ride.”
The win made up for his previous start in the Polynesian Stakes at Laurel in September, where the 6-year-old gelding had originally finished second behind Captain Bombtastic before he was disqualified and placed sixth, following a stewards’ inquiry and objection by the rider of Alwaysmining, who had initially finished last in the field of six.
Cordmaker has won or placed in six of his eight starts this year, including a length victory in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes, going one and one-eighth miles in March, and a two and a quarter-length score in the Victory Gallop Stakes, going a mile and a sixteenth at Colonial Downs in August. He also finished third in the Jennings, John B. Campbell and Deputed Testamony.
From 33 starts made over five seasons, the gelded son of Curlin has improved his overall record to 11 wins, four seconds and seven thirds while surpassing the $700,000 in earnings mark thanks to his most recent win, with his bankroll now sitting at $734,640.
A winner at 2, Cordmaker took the Jennings Stakes at 3, and was Maryland-bred champion older male at 4 after picking up wins in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes, Polynesian Stakes and DTHA Governors Day Handicap, along with a third in the Pimlico Special-G3. He returned last year after a nine-month break and proceeded to make eight starts in six months. Though he didn’t make any trips to the winner’s circle, he was second in the Deputed Testamony and Richard W. Small Stakes and third in the Pimlico Special-G3 and Native Dancer, the latter his final start of the year.
Bred by Robert T. Manfuso and Katharine M. Voss, Cordmaker was purchased by Ellen Charles’ Hillwood Stable as a yearling for $150,000 out of the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Eastern fall sale. The seventh foal out of the Polish Numbers mare Tanca, he is her third stakes winner, along with Corvus (Dance With Ravens) and 2019 Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old filly Las Setas (Seville-Ger). Tanca is the dam of seven starters, all winners, from nine named foals of racing age. Her 2019 colt by Street Sense, a $240,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall sales yearling, isn’t named; she has a yearling colt by Madefromlucky who failed to reach his reserve at this fall’s Midlantic sale. This year Tanca delivered a filly by Honor Code in March, and was bred back to Vino Rosso for 2022.