Midlantic racing roundup through Jan. 28
At Charles Town…
- Veteran trainer Ronney Brown had a banner Friday, winning four times to give him nine wins thus far in 2018, and 2,499 in his career. Brown scored with Deciding Factor (Jose Montano up), Dynafleet (Christian Hiraldo), Charitable Ellie (Hiraldo), and Katman Quick (Montano) and now leads the Charles Town colony with nine wins, four clear of James Casey in second. His 2,499 career wins have come in 14,740 starts, and his runners have earned almost $28 million. Brown’s next opportunity to hit the 2,500 milestone will come Wednesday, when he sends out four runners.
- Jockey Darius Thorpe doubled his 2018 win total Saturday evening, when he won three races. He’s now 6-for-24 in 2018. Thorpe scored aboard Let’s Dance Jack for trainer James Price, Jr., Vaughn (Jose Corrales), and Top Hat Tango (Wayne Potts). Thorpe’s six wins to date place him fourth in the colony, two behind meet leader Christian Hiraldo.
- Charles Town was forced to cancel January 25 after two races because of track conditions.
At Laurel Park…
- West Virginia-bred, Maryland-sired Anna’s Bandit is making short work of her conditions. The Jerry Robb trainee won for the fourth time in nine starts Friday at Laurel, taking a second-level allowance as the 3.20-1 third choice in the field of seven. With Xavier Perez in the irons, Anna’s Bandit stalked the pace of She Rolls from third through the early going before bidding inside that rival and inching away to a one-length victory in 1:10.86 for six furlongs. Four-year-old Anna’s Bandit now has purse earnings of $144,780.
- Trainer Kenny Decker is off to a fast start this year, with five wins from 20 starters. Those include two of the four highest-earning horses he’s trained, Awesome Banner, who won the Fire Plug Stakes last weekend, and Fellowship, who scored in a third-level allowance Sunday at Laurel. Under Steve Hamilton, Fellowship broke a step slowly and then bided his time before surging to a length-and-a-half win in 1:10.72 for six furlongs. The graded stakes-placed Fellowship now has five wins and $684,855 in purse earnings from 25 career starts.
- Trainer Claudio Gonzalez won six times over the weekend — from 16 starters — to move into first place in the colony with nine wins. That puts him two ahead of Kieron Magee, who was two-for-six.
- Couple of bombs away! moments this week in Pennsylvania. On January 23, Backyard Boogie scored at Parx Racing to snap her 25-race losing streak. Backyard Boogie, ridden by Adam Bowman for trainer Farrel Mann, went off at 70-1 and returned a healthy $143.20 to win. And on January 27 at Penn National, facing allowance foes, Bowtie Diva closed nine lengths in the last eighth of a mile to win by a head under jockey Cassidy Burg for trainer Fernando Ferreira. Bowtie Diva, off at 47-1, returned $97.20 to win.
- Win machine Guns of Steel has picked up right where he left off, The six-year-old First Defence gelding won eight times 2017 — sixth most of any horse in the country — and began his 2018 campaign the same way, winning a second-level allowance/optional claimer at Penn National January 26 by four lengths as the 1.70-1 favorite. The Tim Kreiser trainee has won 16 times from 41 starts and is creeping up on $300,000 in purse earnings.
- Though the year is young, Kreiser has already established a commanding lead in the Penn National trainer standings, with 14 wins from 33 starts. That gives him a nine-win cushion over Kimberly Graci. Over at Parx Racing, trainer John Servis is also off to a fast start, with seven wins from 14 starts to date; that gives him a three-win advantage over his nearest pursuers, Patricia Farro and Edward Coletti.