Morgans Ford Farm's Crabcakes made a triumphant return to the races Thursday, outrunning fellow multiple stakes winning-filly Shimmering Aspen for a 13/4-length victory in the featured eighth race at Laurel Park . Making her first start in eight months with regular rider Forest Boyce aboard, Crabcakes ($4.20) ran 6 furlongs in 1:08.84.
It was the sixth career win at Laurel and seventh overall for Crabcakes, a 4-year-old daughter of Great Notion bred in Maryland and previously owned by the late Binnie Houghton's Buckingham Farm and trained by her nephew, Parx-based Bernie Houghton.
"I'm driving now, but I pulled off the side of the rode and watched the race," Houghton, who was unable to be at Laurel Thursday, said by cell phone. "Man, that filly can really run."
Shimmering Aspen, also exiting a layoff of more than six months, broke running and went straight to the lead, sailing through a quarter-mile in 22.97 seconds tracked intently to her outside by Crabcakes. Boyce moved Crabcakes to even terms around the far turn, stuck a head in front after a half in 45.55, straightened for home in command and steadily edged clear.
Shimmering Aspen, based at Laurel with trainer Rodney Jenkins and the slight even-money favorite over Crabcakes, began to tire in mid-stretch. Unable to hold off a late run from Hailey's Flip, she wound up 1 ¼ lengths behind the runner-up with Moon Virginia completing the order of finish.
"I was thinking down the backside that Forest was in a perfect spot. I sent down specific instructions to take a hold of her a little bit and save her just in case she is a little tired her first race back," Houghton said. "When she made the move around the turn I thought she might have moved to soon, but you could see Rodney's horse was getting a little tired and Forest said she could have turned her loose any time she wanted to."
Laurel fundraiser: Laurel Park will join racetracks from around the country in helping to raise money and awareness as part of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund Day Across America Saturday, July 28. PDJF hats and T-shirts will be available for a $15 donation. The fourth race, a $45,000 optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Fort Marcy turf course, has been named for the PDJF. Following the race, officials from the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association will each present a check for $1,000 to the PDJF. Saturday will also mark the return of Laurel's annual Crab Feast from 1-5 p.m. on the grandstand apron with a DJ and various food and drink options. Tickets for the feast, sponsored by Jailbreak Brewing Company, are $71 per person. To purchase tickets, call 877-206-8042 or visit www.laurelpark.com/events/2018-07-28/crab-feast. The 11-race live program begins at 1:10 p.m. Saturday and features the 36th running of the $75,000 Twixt Stakes in Race 5.
Laurel jackpots: There will be carryovers in both the 20-cent Rainbow 6 and $1 Super Hi-5 for Friday's nine-race program that begins at 1:10 p.m. No single bettor solved the Rainbow 6 on Thursday, growing the jackpot carryover to $16,923.27 for Friday's sequence which spans Races 5-9. Multiple tickets with all six winners were worth $2,088. Friday's opener, a maiden claiming event for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the Kelso turf course, will offer a carryover of $1,293.46.
College field hockey: Ann Andrews was named the coach at Hood. Andrews coached Severna Park for the past six years, leading the Falcons to three straight Class 4A state championships from 2013-15.
Women's college lacrosse: Kate Fowler was named coach at Washington College .
— From Sun staff and news services