Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes

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Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash
Grade III race
Location Laurel Park Racecourse,
Laurel, Maryland, Maryland
United StatesUnited States
Inaugurated 1990
Race type Thoroughbred - Flat racing
Race information
Distance 6 furlong sprint
Surface Dirt
Track left-handed
Qualification Three-year-olds & up
Weight Assigned
Purse $250,000[1]

The Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race run annually at Laurel Park Racecourse in Laurel, Maryland. Open to horses aged three and older, it is competed on dirt over a distance of six furlongs. It is currently run in late November and offers a purse of $250,000. It became a grade I race in 1999, but was not run in 2008 and 2010. The race lost its graded status when restored in 2011, then became a Grade III event in 2016.[1]0

Race history[edit]

The Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash is one of the elite sprints in the country. Until 2010, it was one of the only two six-furlong contests with Grade I status, and was second only to the Breeders' Cup Sprint in purse money and prestige. After the race was not run in 2008 and 2010, the race was not eligible for grading in 2011.[2] On December 3, 2015, the Maryland Jockey Club announced that the race has been upgraded to grade III for 2016 by the American Graded Stakes Committee.[3]

The De Francis, first contested in 1990, has played host to champions Housebuster, Safely Kept, and Cherokee Run.

The inaugural De Francis Dash attracted the nation's finest sprinters to Pimlico Race Course in the summer of 1990. Included in the spectacular field were 1989 Sprint Champion Safely Kept and top sprinters Glitterman and Sewickley. But at the wire, in a fitting tribute to the late Mr. De Francis, it was Maryland-bred, Maryland-based Northern Wolf in a track record-setting time of 1:09.

The Dash moved to Laurel for its second running. The distinguished field included two champions; Safely Kept and Housebuster as well as leading sprinters Clever Trevor and Sunny Blossom. Housebuster captured the winner's share of the lucrative purse with a five length victory. He was named Eclipse Award Sprint Champion for the second year in a row.

During the next nine years while the Dash reigned as Laurel Park's signature summer event, it was captured by two additional Sprint Champions: Cherokee Run (1994) and Smoke Glacken (1997).

The race was moved to the fall by Maryland Jockey Club Chief Operating Officer Lou Raffetto in 2001 with instant success. Taking advantage of a deep sprinting field three weeks after the Breeders' Cup Sprint, the De Francis Dash attracted a strong field of seven, including four of the top Breeder's Cup finishers with visions of an Eclipse Award.

The De Francis Dash was given Graded stakes status in 1992 and became a Grade I event in 1998. On August 7, 2008 it was announced that the race would be on hiatus for 2008, the Maryland Jockey Club cited financial distress as the reason for the races' cancellation.


Speed record:

Most wins:

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Most wins by an owner:


2016 Ivan Fallunovalot - 6 Calvin Borel W. Howard Lewis Matthews 6 fur. 1:10.07 $250,000 III
2015 Gentlemen's Bet 6 Daniel Centeno Ron Moquett Harry T. Rosenblum 6 fur. 1:09.34 $350,000
2014 Zee Bros 4 Jose Ortiz D. Wayne Lukas Zayat Stables 6 fur. 1:08.77 $350,000
2013 Immortal Eyes 9 Travis Dunkelberger Damon Dilodovico Robert Abbo Racing Stable 6 fur. 1:08.47 $350,000
2012 Action Andy 5 Horacio Karamanos Carlos Garcia Robert Gerczak 6 fur. 1:10.61 $350,000
2011 Candyman E 4 Joe Bravo Anthony Dutrow Kuehne Racing 6 fur. 1:09.43 $150,000
2010 No Race - No Race No Race No Race no race 0:00.00 no race II
2009 Vineyard Haven 3 Alan Garcia Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin Racing 6 fur 1:09.62 $300,000 I
2008 No Race - No Race No Race No Race no race 0:00.00 no race I
2007 Benny the Bull 4 Edgar Prado Richard Dutrow IEAH Stables 6 fur 1:09.86 $250,000 I
2006 Thor's Echo 4 Corey Nakatani Doug O'Neill Pablo Suarez/Royce Jaime 6 fur 1:08.71 $300,000 I
2005 I'm The Tiger 5 Jerry Bailey Robert J. Frankel Stronach Stable 6 fur 1:09.06 $300,000 I
2004 Wildcat Heir 4 Stewart Elliot Ben Perkins Cloverleaf Farms II et al. 6 fur 1:09.45 $300,000 I
2003 A Huevo 7 Ramon Dominguez Michael Dickinson Mark S. Hopkins 6 fur 1:08.92 $300,000 I
2002 D'Wildcat 4 Jorge Chavez Robert B. Hess Fog City Stable 6 fur 1:10.80 $300,000 I
2001 Delaware Township 5 Jerry Bailey Ben W. Perkins New Farm 6 fur 1:09.00 $300,000 I
2000 Richter Scale 6 Richard Migliore William I. Mott N. Fox/N.R. Kaster et al. 6 fur 1:07.80 $300,000 I
1999 Yes Its True 3 Jerry Bailey Michael Simone Padua Stables 6 fur 1:08.60 $300,000 I
1998 Kelly Kip 4 Jean-Luc Samyn H. Allen Jerkens Hobeau Farm 6 fur 1:08.40 $300,000 I
1997 Smoke Glacken 3 Craig Perret Henry L. Carroll Roberts/Karkenny/Levy 6 fur 1:09.40 $300,000 I
1996 Lite The Fuse 5 Julie Krone Richard Dutrow Richard Dutrow, Sr. 6 fur 1:08.80 $300,000 II
1995 Lite The Fuse 4 Julie Krone Richard Dutrow Richard Dutrow, Sr. 6 fur 1:08.80 $300,000 II
1994 Cherokee Run 4 Craig Perret Frank A. Alexander Jill E. Robinson 6 fur 1:08.80 $300,000 II
1993 Montbrook 3 Clarence Ladner Dean Gaudet Israel Cohen 6 fur 1:08.60 $300,000 II
1992 Superstrike 3 Danny Sorenson Bruce L. Jackson David R. Kruse 6 fur 1:09.80 $300,000 II
1991 Housebuster 4 Craig Perret Warren A. Croll, Jr. Robert P. Levy 6 fur 1:08.60 $350,000
1990 Northern Wolf 4 Mike Luzzi Harold A. Allen Deep Silver Stable 6 fur 1:09.00 $350,000

See also[edit]