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Young And Old Star In Maywood Stakes

Published: July 2, 2011 3:14 pm ET

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Friday was a night for both the young and old to shine at Maywood Park as seven of the state’s top aged horses battled in the $30,000 Cook County Stake while a total of 14 Illinois conceived and foaled two-year-old colt and gelding pacers met in a pair of $7,000 Enzo The Baker Stake splits to kick off the 4th of July festivities on the Chicago racing circuit.

With a classy field of seven gathered for the Cook County Stake James Gorman’s Well To Do Guru showed once again why he’s been one of the most feared pacers in the state over the past few seasons as he rolled to an easy four-length victory in 1:52.3 for driver Casey Leonard.

Hustled right to the front from post position three by Leonard, the seven-year-old son of Richess Hanover, who is the current U.S. national season's leader for an aged gelding on a half-mile track with a mark of 1:50.4, was in complete control of the proceedings as he cruised by an opening quarter in :28.2.

With a first over bid coming from Sports Fanatic (John Roberts) as the field headed for the half, Well To Guru seemed to be well within himself as kept that rival parked through middle splits of :57.1 and 1:25.1.

After putting that challenge away heading into the final turn, Leonard then braced for a three-wide bid from a hard charging Big Daddy Woo Woo (Brian Carpenter) who was circling around horses on the bend.

Pacing hard around the turn, the Terry Leonard trainee quickly opened up a two and a half length advantage over his rivals as he began to kick away from the field. In high gear the rest of the way, the pride of the Leonard barn finished things off with a :27.2 final quarter easily pacing to his fifth win in 12 starts this year. Big Daddy Woo Woo finished second while My Boy Luke (Robert Smolin) turned a ground saving trip into a third place finish.

With the win Well To Do Guru now boasts 11 victories over the past two seasons and is showing no signs of slowing down with age. The winner’s share of $15,000 also pushed the gelding’s career earnings up to $378,793.

In the first of two Enzo The Baker Stake divisions, Sawgrass Farms' Uncle Smoothie shook off a very difficult trip to win by a widening three and three-quarter lengths in 1:57.2 for driver Ridge Warren.

The homebred son of Sportsmaster-Kan Commute floated away from post position five and wound up parked in third as Art Genta (Ronnie Gillespie) led the field through an opening quarter in :28.2.

Continuing on his overland journey, Uncle Smoothie remained outside of Art Genta as the two battled through splits of :59.2 and 1:28.2.

After drawing right alongside his rival as the field headed into the final turn Uncle Smoothie finally wore down the pacesetter and then went on to make his debut a winning one the Sawgrass Farms and trainer Nelson Willis. Art Genta held on gamely to finish second while Fox Valley Hotstuf (Brian Carpenter) was third.

In the second division Robert Phillips' Als Hammered got back on the winning track as he completely overwhelmed six rivals in route to a six and a quarter length victory in a career best of 1:56 for driver Marcus Miller. The time was also a U.S. national season's best for two-year-old gelding on a half-mile oval.

After coming away from the gate in fourth as Ice Scraper (Brian Carpenter) peeled off a :29.3 final quarter, Miller sent the Bob Phillips charge on his way. Quickly circling rivals as the field headed towards the half-mile mark, Als Hammered was comfortably in front as the youngsters reached the halfway point in :59.3. Continuing to roll along in high gear, Als Hammered easily opened up a three-length advantage as he cruised by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:27.3.

The issue was never in doubt from that point on as Als Hammered left his rivals in his wake charging home in :28.2 to record his third win in four starts. Cuatro Cinco (Ridge Warren), who followed the early move of Als Hammered, worked his way into the pocket behind the eventual winner and turned that trip into a second place check while Ice Scraper was a distant third some 12 and three-quarter lengths behind the winner.

The altered son of Droppinthehammer-Alberts Magic who opened his career with back to back scores before finishing second in his last outing now boasts $10,250 in earnings for his owner-trainer.

(Maywood Park)

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