Bodhisattva drives to stakes win

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Bodhisattva is like some streets – one way. And there’s no sense changing direction.

The 5-year-old proved it again Saturday at Laurel Park when he came from far back in a field of nine to win the $75,000 John B. Campbell over heavy favorite Page McKenney as part of the track’s annual Winter Carnival headlined by the General George and Barbara Fritchie stakes. Owned and trained by Jose Corrales, Bodhisattva needs the right race flow and got it in the 1 1/8-mile Campbell – a race dating to 1954 and counting among its previous winners all-timers Kelso, Mongo, In Reality, Broad Brush and Little Bold John.

They would have been proud of the 2017 winner, who lagged 16 or more lengths off the lead in last before looping past everyone to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Page McKenney settled for second after leading briefly at the top of the stretch with Charitable Annuity third.

“Some horses are just like that,” said Corrales of the one-run style. “I used to have horses back in Panama kind of do the same thing. They don’t usually do it here anymore. This horse can really run for one-sixteenth of a mile. He can fly at the end. At the beginning you don’t worry about it.”

Corrales credited jockey Carlos Quinones with following instructions to help produce the victory, Bodhisattva’s sixth in 28 starts.

“If you listen, you’ll ride this horse,” Corrales told Quinones before January’s Native Dancer, where Bodhisattva finished second to Page McKenney with a late run that came up a little short. Going a sixteenth of a mile more Saturday, the closing kick worked to perfection after fractions of :24.37, :47.75 and 1:12.73.

“I just don’t want to see him close to another horse because it’s not going to benefit the horse at all,” Corrales said. “I think this horse has got a big future and I think he’s as good as any horse if you ride him the right way.”

Page McKenney – first or second in 10 consecutive starts now – made an inside move to the front on the far turn, but flattened out late in his second start off a nine-month layoff.

“He tried hard,” said jockey Horacio Karamanos. “The pace was a little weird today. I couldn’t get a good position out of the gate. I don’t like to stay between horses bumping a little bit because this turn is very sharp. If you’re not in a good position, somebody touches into you and you can go out. I found the rail opening for me and he came through. Top of the stretch, I said ‘I got it.’ He took a little bit extra time to switch leads and gave me a kick, but the other horse was coming.”



• Trainer Gary Capuano stood in the winner’s circle and talked about O Dionysus after a 3-length win in the $75,000 Miracle Wood, but also thought about how different things might be for his 3-year-old colt. In December’s Marylander Stakes, the son of Bodemeister lost by a nose to Irish War Cry who won the Grade 2 Holy Bull in his next start to become a major player on the Kentucky Derby trail. In January’s Frank Whiteley, O Dionysus found more traffic than a Beltway commuter behind a hay wagon when second to High Roller.

“Killer, that hurts,” Capuano said of the Marylander loss.

“I can still picture that in my mind,” the trainer said of the Whiteley. “It was just a brutal trip.”

Saturday, O Dionysus put both losses behind him and aimed squarely at bigger things. The Maryland-bred waited while sixth of eight early, then pounced on High Roller after 6 furlongs in 1:13.68 before kicking away late under Jevian Toledo. The 4-5 favorite ran the last quarter in :23.38 to get his third win in eight starts. Everybodyluvsrudy finished second with No More Talk third.

Capuano has yet to run his horse around two turns, somewhat by design but also a result of following the stakes schedule at Laurel.

“He was a big handful early on, his first couple races, and now the more racing he does the more settled he is,” said the trainer. “He’s been pretty professional lately as far as in the paddock, in the gate. We’ve been nursing this seven-eighths, the mile, stuff. It’s what’s here. Otherwise, I’d have to ship to New York or someplace like that and I wasn’t quite ready to ship him, just to get his mind on his task more. He did go to Parx and ran a good race there (a November win in the Christopher Elser for South Carolina-prepped horses). He was pretty good about that, but we’ll tackle those races when we have to.”

Laurel’s $100,000 Private Terms Stakes, at 1 1/16 miles around two turns, beckons March 18, then perhaps the Federico Tesio at 1 1/8 miles April 22.

Peter Angelos’ Marathon Farm bought the winner for $190,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic’s fall yearling sale in 2015 and has thus far seen a return of $171,272 off three wins, three seconds and a third in seven starts. Bred in Maryland by Dark Hollow Farm, O Dionysus is a half-brother to stakes horses Joy and Combat Driver and from the family of Hall of Famer Safely Kept.

“I know they were excited about this horse form the start and he’s paying off,” said Capuano. “It’s a shame he didn’t get those last two, because you need all the wins you can get from these horses. You like to get that investment back.”


ChinaGrove• Maryland’s favorite 3-year-old filly (in name and form) Crabcakes settled for second in the Wide Country Stakes, her first defeat in four starts, as the more-experienced China Grove kicked past in the stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Making her ninth start, and seventh in a stakes, the winner came from just off the pace while angling outside off the turn to catch Crabcakes with a furlong to go. Trained in Kentucky by Ben Colebrook for owner/breeder Katherine Ball, China Grove won her debut last April at Keeneland and placed in two stakes last year. The Wide Country was her first start since November.

Jockey Kendrick Carmouche followed instructions to keep his filly covered up early and it paid off.

“I had pretty much a perfect trip,” the jockey said. “I was just wanting the two horse (Crabcakes) to maintain her position and get out in front of me where I could have a target. That was the only horse I was considering the last quarter-of-a-mile who could run with me. I just knew my horse had run against better horses.”


• In the stakes opener, the Maryland Racing Media, owner Matt Schera’s Winter won for the fourth time in five starts since switching to trainer Cal Lynch’s barn last fall. The gray 4-year-old filly let Bawlmer Hon set the early pace before taking over late in the 1 1/16-mile race to win by 4 1/4 lengths.

The 3-1 second choice combined with 24-1 Bawlmer Hon and 42-1 Love Came To Town to complete the exacta ($118) and trifecta ($959.60) as favorite Wait Your Turn finished fifth.

Bred by Adena Springs, Winter is by Awesome Again out of the Mr. Greeley mare Down. Trevor McCarthy was aboard for the win.