The ever-prolific Double Crown earned his second stakes win of the year on Saturday, Dec. 23, taking the Robert T. Manfuso at Laurel Park by a nose in the 18th start of his 6-year-old season.
The gelded son of Anchor & Hope Farm's Bourbon Courage was making his third start in a four-week stretch. The last time he ran at Laurel he finished second in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Stakes for state-breds on Nov. 24. Following that performance, he shipped to Oaklawn Park for the Dec. 16 Tinsel Stakes and was well-beaten. He went off as a 10-1 outsider in the six-horse Manfuso field.
Double Crown broke well from the inside post, but was taken back early by Jeiron Barbosa, who let odds-on choice Offaly Cool cross to the rail and the lead. The favorite encountered light pressure through an opening quarter of :24.45 and a first half of :49.12, while Double Crown sat about two lengths off the lead towards the inside.
As they rounded the final turn and entered the stretch, Barbosa switched Double Crown off the rail and took aim at the leader. He stuck his head in front as they passed the eighth pole, but Offaly Cool refused to give in and fought back while drifting out. The two raced towards the wire together, with neither giving an inch, but Double Crown stuck his nose down at the right moment and earned the victory. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:44.65.
The Manfuso was the fifth career stakes victory for the Raymond Ginter Jr. trainee. As a 3-year-old in the Kathy Ritvo barn, he won a pair of stakes at Gulfstream Park, taking the Roar and Carry Back, and placed in two graded races. Since being claimed for $40,000 at Churchill Downs on June 5, 2022, by Built Wright Stables LLC, the nom de course of Lynn and Lola Cash, he's won the Kelso Handicap-G2 at the 2022 Belmont at the Big A meet in a 42-1 upset, the 2023 Polynesian Stakes on Sept. 10, in addition to the Manfuso. His career record stands at 9-10-5 from 44 starts, for earnings of $838,185.
Double Crown was bred by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Bowman and Rebecca Davis, and is out of the winning Two Punch mare Two Columbus. From six foals of racing age, Two Columbus has produced five starters and three winners, including six-figure earners Great Go Go (Great Notion) and One Two Three Go (Hunters Bay). She produced a colt by Divining Rod on April 2 of last year and was bred to Frosted for 2024.