LAUREL -- Two young runners put their speed on display when notching career firsts in Laurel Race Course stakes events yesterday.
Coolin It, ridden by Luis Rivera Jr., quickly recovered from a half-step-slow beginning to lead virtually all the way in the $50,000 Rollicking Stakes for Maryland-bred 2-year-olds. He finished two lengths ahead of Stu's Own, with favored Delray David another three-quarter-length back in third.
Less than an hour later, Woodsy led from the start to win the $43,700 Groovy Handicap, a six-furlong turf race for 3-year-olds and up.
Coolin It, by North Pole out of the mare Seven Valleys, is a half-brother to Fappavalley, a stakes winner in Maryland in the mid-1980s. The colt also led to gate-to-wire in his only prior start, that coming in a maiden race at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.
"Big, strong colt," said his trainer, Sonny Hine. "He takes a lot of training. It's hard to keep him fit."
The victory should make Coolin It a strong favorite in the $100,000 Maryland Nursery on the Maryland Million program, to be run Sept. 8 at Pimlico Race Course. The top two finishers are eligible to the program while Delray David, by Naskra, is not.
Woodsy, a 3-year-old, received 14 pounds (123-109) from the top-weighted favorite, 6-year-old My Frenchman. Mike Luzzi rode the Tri Jet colt for trainer Vinnie Blengs.
"The directions were to go to the lead," said Luzzi. "He looked like the fastest horse in the race. Once he got there he relaxed well and just skipped over the grass."
Edgar Prado, on My Frenchman, said, "When my horse gets to the lead he waits for horses. So I followed him [Woodsy] and just couldn't catch him."
Blengs recaptured the lead in a tight trainers' race over Dale Capuano, with whom he had been tied, 13-13, going into the day.
Coolin It and Woodsy, both second choices, returned $6.20 and $5.80, respectively.