Hillwood Stable’s hard-knocking stable star Cordmaker pushed his stakes win streak to four as a strong run down the stretch propelled him to his first graded stakes victory in the $250,000 General George-G3, for 4-year-olds and up, three-quarters of a length ahead of War Tocsin at Laurel Park on Saturday, Feb. 19.
Making a second attempt in the General George – his first resulted in an eighth in 2019 – Cordmaker found his place along the rail and settled into fourth, just behind Threes Over Deuces, as they headed up the backstretch with 48-1 longshot War Tocsin leading through an opening quarter-mile in :22.77. Moving into second as they made their way into the final turn, through a half in :45.33, Cordmaker worked his way up the inside and pulled ahead of War Tocsin down the stretch. He drifted out to the center of the track as War Tocsin cut inside for one final attempt, but to no avail, as Cordmaker crossed the wire first. Final time for seven furlongs was 1:23.58.
The excitement was delayed by an objection filed by the rider of War Tocsin, concerning the stretch run, which was ultimately dismissed.
“When I came back and they showed the replay, I said, ‘There’s not going to be a change,’ because I was pretty much in front of him. The jockey on [War Tocsin], he never steadied or stopped riding or anything. He just kept running with me, and then he decided to duck in,” jockey Victor Carrasco said.
Now 7, Cordmaker picked up his fourth straight stakes win (second this year), following victories in the Richard W. Small (by one and three-quarters lengths) in late November, the Robert T. Manfuso (by three and a half lengths) in late December and the Jennings Stakes (by a neck) in late January. Trained by Rodney Jenkins, the Curlin gelding is just on the cusp of becoming a millionaire, with $989,640 in earnings from his record of 36-14-4-7. He is now a 10-time stakes winner.
“It’s very special, very special. We did it once before with Bandbox in this very race, and it was a cold day just like today,” Hillwood’s Ellen Charles said. “He’s a horse that, with age, he doesn’t seem to want to stop doing this. He gets better with age.”
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.
His January win avenged his loss in last year’s Jennings, where he finished third behind Tattooed and Galerio, part of a 10-race losing streak that encompassed eight starts of his 5-year-old season and first two of his 6-year-old season, seven of which were stakes. Despite that, Cordmaker placed in six of the stakes, with second-place finishes in the 2020 Deputed Testamony and Richard W. Small, and third-place finishes in the 2020 Pimlico Special-G3, Native Dancer and 2021 John B. Campbell.
Following a victory in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial last March, Cordmaker finished third in the Deputed Testamony Stakes last July at Pimlico before heading south to Colonial Downs to secure a two and a quarter lengths victory in the Victory Gallop Stakes, going one and one-sixteenth miles in 1:40.45. That win, along with the Richard W. Small and Robert T. Manfuso at the end of the year, helped him seal the overall title in the 2021 Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH Series), after being the only horse to have had competed in all six races in his division (3-Year-Olds and Up Long-Dirt) that year.
Bred by the late 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 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 10 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 2-year-old colt by Madefromlucky, Lucked In, who failed to reach his reserve as a yearling at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall sale; and last March, Tanca delivered a filly by Honor Code. She is expecting a foal by Vino Rosso this year.