LAUREL -- Rebuff caught Baron de Vaux in the final strides of the $75,000 Find Handicap at Laurel Race Course yesterday, and afterward connections for both horses said their goals had been met.
For Rebuff, it was another step toward asserting himself as a top Maryland-bred turf runner. For Baron de Vaux, it was a terrific effort after a layoff of more than nine months, one that should prove beneficial in the coming weeks.
Baron de Vaux, the 2.20-1 favorite in a field of eight, led from the start in the 1 1/8 -mile turf event. He drew off to his biggest margin in mid-stretch before Rebuff, ridden by Calixto Juarez, rallied from mid-pack to win by a head.
While Rebuff is a turf specialist, the Find could serve as an excellent tuneup for Baron de Vaux for the $200,000 Maryland Classic, headliner of the Sept. 8 Maryland Million program at Pimlico Race Course.
Baron de Vaux, a 4-year-old colt who won more than $600,000 last year, has proven equally adept on dirt and turf; the Classic is 1 1/4 miles on dirt. "The other horse just had a little more seasoning on him today," said Joe Rocco, who rode Baron de Vaux.
NOTES: Rebuff gave trainer Frances Miller her first victory as a newlywed -- she married the owner's son, John B. Merryman Jr., on June 29 -- but she said that despite how the track program and other publications are addressing her, she has retained her maiden name. . . . Gala Gold Digger should rule an odds-on favorite over 6 other Maryland-bred 2-year-old fillies in today's $50,000 Smart Angle Stakes at Laurel. . . . Jockey Mario Pino won 1 race yesterday, leaving him 1 winner shy of hitting the 2,500 mark. . . . Edgar Prado, still smarting from a sore back after being spilled 5 days ago, took off all mounts yesterday and will not ride today. "That way he'll have a few days off in a row and can come back riding Tuesday," said his agent, Steve Rushing. . . . Sticks and Bricks became the first foal of Broad Brush to compete in Maryland when finishing second in the third race yesterday. . . . Laurel/Pimlico has expanded its program format to include 4 lines of past performances from Daily Racing Form. The program had been using 2 lines; it still costs $1. . . . Mane Minister, third in all 3 Triple Crown events this year, makes his first start since the Belmont Stakes in today's La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar Race Course in California.