Florida-bred Royal Currier is among the favorites in the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at six furlongs Saturday at Laurel Park in Baltimore. Third choice in the morning line at 9-2, Royal Currier will be joined by fellow Florida-bred Immortal Eyes and nine others in the prestigious sprint race.
The Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash is part of Laurel Park’s Fall Festival of Racing that also features five $150,000 stakes races on the turf: The Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds, the Selima Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, the six-furlong Laurel Dash, the Lady Baltimore Stakes for fillies and mares and the 1 ½ mile Laurel Turf Cup. The six stakes attracted 82 entries of which 12 are Florida-breds.
Trained by Patricia Farro for MAT Stables of South Plainfield, NJ., Royal Currier has won four of his last six starts going back to winning a $25,000 starter handicap at Aqueduct in March. Since then the son of Red Bullet and the Lite the Fuse mare Top of the League has competed exclusively in stakes company winning the $83,000 Diablo Stakes at Belmont Park in May, and the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes and $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes, both at Monmouth Park in July.
Royal Currier will be trying to return to his winning ways in the De Francis having finished third in his last start behind winner Sean Avery, the 5-2 morning line favorite in the De Francis, in the Sept. 29, $76,000 Affiliate Stakes at Belmont.
Royal Currier will break from post five with jockey Luis Garcia aboard for the first time. While not the favorite, the 4-year-gelding is not one to leave out of one’s exotic wagers having run worse than third in only six of his 27 career starts to go with his 12-6-3 record. He was bred by Adena Springs in Florida.
Like Royal Currier, Sean Avery will by trying to get back to the winners’ circle having finished fifth, beaten just more than six lengths by winner The Lumber Guy, in the Sept. 29 Vosburgh Invitational at Belmont Park. Before that was his victory in the aforementioned Affiliated in which he was coming off a lay-off of more than 13 months.
Bettors will be contemplating whether Sean Avery will come close to returning to his most prestigious win when he took the Grade 1 A.G. Vanderbuilt Handicap at Saratoga in August of 2011. That was his last race before the long vacation.
Trained by Allen Iwinski for Black Swan Stable, Sean Avery will be ridden by Joe Bravo and will break just to the outside of Royal Currier in post six.
Breaking from just inside Royal Currier in post four is fellow Florida-bred Immortal Eyes, a long shot in the program at 20-1. Trained by Damon Dilodovico for Robert Abbo Racing Stable of Key Biscane, Fla., Immortal Eyes has eight career stakes wins to his credit including his last out when taking the $50,000 Jefferson County Handicap at Charles Town Race Course on Oct. 19. A son of Stonewall Farm Ocala stallion Greatness and out of the Private Terms mare Private Eyes, the 7-year-old gelding has been the king of the West Virginia track sprinters for some time where he has won the Charles Town Dash for the last three years—the last time coming on Jun. 30.
Dilodovico will again give a leg up on Immortal Eyes to the gelding’s regular rider Travis L. Dunkleberger.
Another sure to garner support at the mutual windows is Pacific Ocean, who is 7-2 in the morning line. Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. for Dennis Narlinger of San Juan Capistrano, Ca., Pacific Ocean was last seen finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Forego Handicap at Saratoga on Sept. 1 behind winner Emcee. Before that however, Pacific Ocean won the Grade 3 James Marvin Handicap at Saratoga on Jul. 20.
Ramon Dominguez will be in the irons aboard Pacific Ocean and they will break from post seven.
Photo by Bill Denver