The 2024 Maryland-bred or Maryland-sired stakes schedule was originally scheduled to kick off on Jan. 20 at Laurel Park with the Geisha Stakes and the Jennings Stakes. However, Mother Nature had other plans, and the card was cancelled due to the after-effects of the previous day's snowfall. Both races have been rescheduled for Sunday, Jan. 28.
Of the eleven fillies and mares originally entered in the Geisha, nine have returned for the rescheduled contest, with no new entrants. Meanwhile, seven of the eight originally entered in the Jennings will come back, with Dolice Vita taking the place of Coffeewithchris. Both races will be contested at one mile for a purse of $75,000 each.
A pair of stakes winners will contest the Geisha. Malibu Moonshine, bred by Dr. Ronald Harris Parker, will break from post position two for owner Happy Face Racing Stable, trainer Charlton Baker, and jockey Angel Cruz. The 4-year-old chestnut daughter of Anchor & Hope Farm stallion Bourbon Courage was named champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old filly of 2022 following a pair of stakes wins at Laurel. In her most recent start, she was fourth in a second-level allowance optional claiming race at Aqueduct on Nov. 24.
Kevin Morgan-bred Mavilus, the winner of last March's Conniver Stakes at Laurel in a 26-1 upset, drew post position three. She rallied from fourteen lengths off the pace to win that race by a half-length, and finished fourth in the Maryland Million Distaff on Oct 14. Jevian Toledo has the mount for owner Michael Scheffres and trainer Carlos Mancilla.
Northern Glow, a homebred for Sycamore Hall Thoroughbreds LLC, and Circle Home, a Dark Hollow Farm homebred, were the two morning line favorites in last Saturday's scuttled affair, and both are sure to take money once again. Northern Glow won a Maryland-bred/sired allowance affair on Dec. 8, and most recently finished second behind Gold Digging Broad on Jan. 6, closing well from off the pace. She'll break from post position six for trainer Brittany Russell and jockey Sheldon Russell.
Circle Home won twice in eight starts last year, with both victories off-the-pace triumphs on grass. She finished fourth in the Carousel on Dec. 23 in her most recent start. Jaime Rodriguez has the call from the rail for trainer Miguel Vera.
The field is rounded out by, from the rail out, Brooklyn Girl (a Rolling Meadows Farm homebred), Bella Bettina (bred by Daniel Marconi), I'm Gittin There (a homebred for Hamilton Smith), Royal Whisper (bred by Barak Farm), and Champagne Toast (bred by Robert Manfuso and Katharine Voss).
The Geisha is scheduled as the 8th race on the card, with a listed post time of 4:02 p.m.
One race later, a pair of Maryland-bred stars will make their respective 4-year-old debuts in the Jennings. Seven's Eleven, a homebred for the Cottonwood Stable LLC trained by Mancilla, will break from post position one for the third consecutive race. The son of the late Northview stallion Bandbox has won four of his last five starts, including a pair of stakes wins at Laurel. He dominated the Maryland Million Sprint on Oct. 14 by five lengths, then followed up a few weeks later with a 2 3/4-length score in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Stakes on Nov. 24. Most recently, he won a second-level allowance optional claiming race on Dec. 22 at Laurel by 4 3/4 lengths. Regular rider Angel Cruz has the mount.
Post Time, the champion Maryland-bred 2-year-old male of 2022, drew the outside post position eight, just like he did in the originally scheduled contest. Bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Dr. Brooke Bowman, & Milton P. Higgins III, he was a perfect 3-for-3 as a 2-year-old, including a season-capping win in the Maryland Juvenile Stakes. He won his 2023 debut by 4 1/2 lengths at Pimlico on Sept. 22, before finishing third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths, in the Oct. 21 Perryville Stakes at Keeneland, his first start outside of Maryland. Most recently, he won the Nov. 25 City of Laurel Stakes by a head, for his first open company stakes win. Sheldon Russell will ride for owner Hillwood Stable LLC and trainer Brittany Russell.
Other notable names in the Jennings include Joe, a homebred for the Elkstone Group LLC and a two-time Maryland-bred champion, and Double Crown, bred by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman & Rebecca Davis, who won the Dec. 23 Robert T. Manfuso Stakes in his last start. Joe drew post position three for trainer Mike Trombetta and jockey Victor Carrasco, while Double Crown will break from post position two with Jeiron Barbosa aboard for trainer Ray Ginter Jr.
Holy Synchronicity (bred by Lady Olivia at North Cliff LLC), Dee Jay (a Pennsylvania-bred by the late Anchor & Hope stallion Imagining), All Threes (bred by Walter Vieser), and Dolice Vita (bred by Dominick Juno & Grandview Stable Inc.) round out the Jennings field.
The Jennings will be the ninth race on the card, with a scheduled post time of 4:33 p.m.