News and STORIES

Alwaysmining Returns In Native Dancer Stakes

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Wednesday December 25, 2019
Last December, Runnymede Racing's Alwaysmining was on the path to becoming a multiple stakes winner and earning a berth in the Preakness Stakes (G1).

The Maryland-bred gelding now will look to score his first victory since breaking a six-race win streak in the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. He will run in Saturday's $100,000 Native Dancer at Laurel Park.

The Native Dancer, ran at 1 1/8 mile, is for 3-year-olds and up. It is one of the five $100,000 stakes on a nine-race Christmastide Day program. 

That program includes the Dave's Friend for 3-year-olds and up, and Willa On the Move for fillies and mares 3 and older. Both of those are run at six furlongs. 

Alwaysmining's Career

Alwaysmining took the 2018 Maryland Juvenile Futurity and Heft Stakes to finish out his juvenile season, and he opened this year by sweeping Laurel's 3-year-old stakes, which included the Miracle Wood, Private Terms and Federico Tesio. The Tesio victory earned him an automatic berth in the Preakness, a race where he ended up finishing 11th after threatening at the top of the stretch.

After that, Alwaysmining placed third in the June 8 Easy Goer at Belmont Park, and he finished ninth in the July 13 Indiana Derby (G3). He then took a break at the owner's farm in Pennsylvania. 

"He looks great. I'm very happy with how he's come off of his break, and he came back from the sprint race in great shape," trainer Kelly Rubley said. "He had a nice breeze this weekend, and we're looking forward to Saturday."

Almost five months went by between races, and Alwaysmining returned in the six-furlong Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial for state-bred/sired horses Dec. 7 at Laurel. There, he pressed the pace and passed late to finish fifth. 

The next horse was two lengths ahead of him, and the top four places included fellow stakes winners Lewisfield, Still Having Fun, Clubman and Taco Supream. 

"He came out of the race in great shape. We used that race as a little bit of a prep for the Native Dancer," Rubley said. "I thought he ran a great race. He was only beaten by two lengths. I don't think six furlongs has ever been his distance, but it was a good spot to get a little prep in."

Alwaysmining is based at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., and he is 7-for-10 lifetime at Laurel. He will break from the far outside post 7 under jockey Julian Pimentel, aboard for the third straight race, and he will carry topweight of 123 pounds. 

"I think the sprint race will put us somewhat forwardly placed in this race, and hopefully, we'll hold off the closers," Rubley said. "We're hoping to get back to that (winning) form."

Major Cabbie and Others

Sareen Family Trust's Major Cabbie, trained by California-based Peter Miller, will come into the Native Dancer a week after he lost his rider due to a stumble in the Queens County Stakes at Aqueduct. The race will be his third straight shot at a stakes victory, after he finished fifth in the Clark (G1) Nov. 29.

"He didn't do much running in New York, so we're going to wheel him back," Miller said. "He's always shown a lot of talent. He doesn't need the lead; he can sit off the pace if need be. On his best day, he's a very nice horse."

Major Cabbie is a 4-year-old bay son of Into Mischief. He pressed the pace for a half-mile in the Clark, where he was a 24-1 long shot. The Clark, won by Tom's d'Etat, also runs at 1 1/8 mile. 

Before that race, he took back-to-back 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance races at Keeneland in October. Those came 19 days apart. 

"He ran better than it looked in the Clark. He kind of had a weird trip, in between horses the whole way," Miller said. "He didn't really send, didn't really take back; he was kind of in an uncomfortable spot, but he ran well."

The rest of the field will be completed by 2017 Maryland Million Classic winner Bonus Points; Iselin (G3) winner Monongahela; Roanoke Stakes winner and Swatare runner-up Someday Jones; Honor the Fleet and Stadium.