Under confident handling, Marc Ferrell's Called to Serve waited behind the leaders, tipped to the outside and pounced, winning the $125,000 Broad Brush Stakes, the co-feature on New Year's Eve at Laurel Park.
Joel Rosario was at the controls as the Nick Canani trainee covered the nine furlongs in 1 minute 50.75 seconds. Eighttofasttocatch, who has six stakes victories at Laurel Park, set the pace and was racing comfortably on the lead but could offer no resistance when Called to Serve ranged up to his outside. He finished second, 53/4 lengths behind the leader and five lengths ahead of Hughes Next, who surged to beat Thunder Lord at the finish line to take third.
"This horse is doing real good right now," Rosario said. "I just wanted to keep him out of trouble. He was doing it really easy. I passed the horse inside me really quick and got the job done. I think he is a nice horse. This is the third time I have ridden him and he has been better each time."
Called to Serve, an Afleet Alex offspring who won the Grade III Discovery Handicap in his previous start, paid $3.
"He's really only getting better. He's really growing up and he's learning how to be a real racehorse," Canani added.
Canani said his star would run next in one of three graded races: the Grade I Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park , the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap or the Grade II Strub Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Walkwithapurpose is tops
Sagamore Farm's Walkwithapurpose took the lead when no other filly wanted it and was on cruise control the rest of the way to win the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship.
Jeremy Rose is now 3-for-3 at Laurel on the daughter of Candy Ride. Co-favorite Hot Fun rallied from fourth to try and catch the winner but had to settle for second, eight lengths behind.
"She is starting to get it now," Rose said. "When I broke her maiden [Oct. 3], you could tell she had talent but she was all over the track. Every race she is getting better and better. I felt Forest [Boyce on Hot Fun] coming to us, but when I asked she just exploded."
Ignacio Correas trains Walkwithapurpose, who completed the 71/2 furlongs in 1:32.67.
"She's incredible," Correas said. "She does things very easily and is starting to mature. I hope she keeps improving. My ultimate goal is to have her run in the Black-Eyed Susan" on May 17 at Pimlico.
Walkwithapurpose paid $4.20.
Castellano, Ness hailed
Abel Castellano and Jamie Ness wrapped up titles for the calendar year in the jockey and trainer divisions, respectively, at the major Maryland tracks after the final card of the season.
The duo ranked atop the standings during the Pimlico Race Course spring and Laurel Park fall meetings.
Castellano, 29, finished the year with 132 victories, 11 more than 2011 champion Sheldon Russell, including 59 in the fall. He also tied for the top spot in the colony with eight stakes wins in the state, including five aboard Bold Affair.
Castellano teamed up with Ness for 69 victories.
Castellano finished 2012 ranked 25th nationally in wins (192) and 50th in earnings ($4.4 million). Statistically, the only better year he had was 2004, when he established careerhighs in wins (201) and earnings ($5million).
Ness, 38, had 83 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the campaign, 16 ahead of Dane Kobiskie. Overall, Ness was the nation's winningest conditioner, with 396 victories.