Talented, albeit winless colt Laoban (3c Uncle Mo x Chattertown, by Speightstown) started the weekend a maiden but finished it as a Grade II winner after scoring a surprise victory in the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga.
Placed in three of his previous seven starts, which included five attempts at graded company, the Eric Guillot trained colt led throughout and denied all challengers to win the 1 and 1/8th mile contest by a length and a quarter.
“I’ve always known the horse had talent, from Day 1,” Guillot said.
“And he was very, very physically immature. He’s a monster, he’s 17.1 hands. I’ve been shipping him across the country the last six, seven races, and when he got to the Preakness, he really didn’t like the mud, he stumbled in the gate, and didn’t like it in his face. That was kind of a throw out. I freshened him up, but he was too fresh for the Dywer. Running him out of his stall [here], like in the Blue Grass, made all the difference in the world.”
Winning rider Jose Ortiz was impressed with Laoban.
“The trainer had a lot of faith in the horse,” he said.
“I’d never previously ridden the horse, but he broke great and they let me go easy enough. He was relaxed, pulling me a little bit with his ears pricked and when I asked him to go by the quarter-pole he really took off. I was really confident by the half-mile pole.”
A $260,000 Keenelans September Yearling purchase, Laoban runs for -McCormick Racing LLC & Southern Equine Stable LLC and has won $526,250 from his eight starts to date.
The 17th stakes-winner for Champion Sire Uncle Mo, Laoban is from stakes-placed Chattertown, who comes from the family of this year’s Grade I winner I’m a Chatterbox.