LAUREL — The opening races Saturday at two tracks that often have little in common would prove to have something familiar to one local breeding couple — although one runner scored in a two-turn route race on the grass while the other prevailed in a one-turn sprint on dirt six hours later.
At Laurel Park, Up Against It (Horacio Karamanos) benefited from a stalking trip behind 3-5 choice Tauber (Jevian Toledo) for the first four calls and then overhauled that one in the lane to post a 15-1 upset in a two-turn event for starter handicap runners that kicked off the card.
A 4-year-old Despite The Odds gelding owned and trained by Robin Graham, Up Against It recorded his first win in five starts this year and second tally in 13 career outings.
Up Against It — bred by veterinarian Tom Bowman and his wife Chris Bowman of Dance Forth Farm near Chestertown and R. Larry Johnson — got the one-mile and one-sixteenth event on the grass in 1 minute, 46.43 seconds.
This was the first time in five starts this year that Up Against It had finished in the money for Graham, and this was his first tally since he garnered his diploma Dec. 15 at Laurel Park in a maiden claiming event.
Saturday evening at Charles Town in West Virginia, Unrequited Love (Wesley Ho) displayed plenty of speed early and eventually wore down 6-5 favorite Flash Town for a neck victory in a one-turn maiden special weight event for 2-year-old fillies that kicked off the program at the Jefferson County oval.
A juvenile daughter of Despite The Odds bred by the Bowmans, Unrequited Love rebounded from a third-place effort against maiden claimers at Delaware Park to graduate at second asking for trainer Milan Milosevic by getting the 4½ furlongs in 53.06 over a fast main track.
Unrequited Love had been a good third in her debut against maiden $40,000 claimers at Delaware Park in her debut.
Saturday she was the 2-1 second choice in the one-turn maiden special weight dash at Charles Town. She broke well to press Flash Town down the backside and through the far turn, continued to duel with that one through the lane, and prevailed in determined fashion late for a neck score in 53.06.
Youthinkthatsfunny later won a maiden special weight for state-bred male runners in 53.43, a little slower than the Bowman-bred filly.
Two weeks earlier, Flash Town had been second to another Maryland-bred, Merchant of Hope, in a similar event at Charles Town.