Il Villano runs away with Dave's Friend Stakes at Laurel

Chuck Russo's Il Villano had it all his own way in the six-furlong, $100,000 Dave's Friend Stakes, the co-feature Saturday afternoon at Laurel Park.

Sent out to spar for the lead under Kendrick Carmouche for trainer Susan Crowell, the 3-year-old quickly emerged with the lead and went on to beat five of his elders by three lengths in 1 minute, 11.20 seconds over the sloppy track. Immortal Eyes nipped Wolfcamp to finish second.

"He seemed to like the slop," Carmouche said. "He broke well and wanted to go."

In his only other start at Laurel, Il Villano missed winning the Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash on Oct. 27 by a nose to multiple stakes winner Action Andy. Earlier this year, he captured the Chick Lang Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.

"He is amazing," Crowell said. "I thought we would be sitting off the pace like we did in the De Francis but he had other plans. Speed had not been holding today but it worked out well for us."

Crowell indicated she could return to Laurel for the $200,000 General George Handicap (G3) on Feb. 18.

Il Villano paid $6.40 as the second betting choice. The son of Pollard's Vision improves to 5-of-13 lifetime, with 11 in-the-money finishes, for earnings of $509,620.

'Foxtrot' rallies in Juvenile

Larry Knight Jr.'s Alpha Mike Foxtrot appeared to be a certain loser as the field raced down the backstretch in the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Championship, but around the turn and going to the finish line it was another story as he rallied over the sloppy track to win going away.

Forest Boyce (Garrison Forest) was riding the son of Two Punch and was forced to check her mount four times to keep the gelding from running up on horses. When she finally let Alpha Mike Foxtrot fall back off the leaders and steered him to the outside, the Richard Small trainee was able to set his sights on front-runners Awesome Devine and Lunar Rock and shift into high gear.

Boyce and her mount were four-wide racing down the stretch but closed fastest of all and won by 21/4 lengths in 1:34.51. Handy Doodle finished second, and Peeds in a Pod was third.

"The whole way down the backside he was getting out pretty bad," Boyce said. "I just tried to keep him on all fours. He is lovely to ride, you always know you are going to be right there. He runs hard and if he gets there, he gets there."

The win was the 100th of the year for the 28-year-old rider.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot paid $21.40. His previous best stakes finishes were a second in the Maryland Million Nursery and a third in the James Lewis, both at Laurel Park.

"He is just like his mother [Shashobegon]," Small said. "He isn't really talented but is gritty and as honest as they come."

Small won two previous Maryland Juvenile Championships, with Legal Control (2004) and Roaring Lion (2006), respectively.

This was the first stakes win for owner Knight, who is married to former jockey Andrea Seefeldt.

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