[boxify cols_use =”1″ cols =”3″ position =”right” order =”none” box_spacing =”5″ padding =”3″ border_width =”1″ border_color =”blue” border_style =”solid” height =”560″ ]Weekend Stakes Winners

  • Frank Whiteley, Jr. S. (LRL) — Germaniac, trainer Tim Tullock, owner Germania Farms Inc.
  • Marshua S. (LRL) — Gracer, trainer Tony Dutrow, owner Three Chimneys Racing Partnership and Team D, bred in Pennsylvania by Russell B. Jones, Jr.
  • Nellie Morse S. (LRL) — Firenze Feeling, trainer Rudy Rodriguez, owners Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables LLC, Elkstone Group, and David A. Ross, bred in Virginia by Audley Farm
  • Fire Plug S. (LRL) — Broad Rule, trainer Richard W. Small, owner Fitzhugh LLC, bred in Maryland by Fitzhugh LLC[/boxify]

News and notes from 2014’s mid-Atlantic racing kickoff…

  • Can any of the three year-old runners in the two Laurel sophomore stakes stamp themselves as contenders for bigger prizes down the road?
    • Hard to say.  Gracer ran a terrific race in winning the Marshua, dueling through very fast fractions with Jonesin for Jerry before dispatching that one and pulling away to a comfortable victory.  But her connections think she fits best sprinting and is likely to remain in that division.  Given an ideal, loose-on-the-lead setup, Germaniac responded with a big effort to win the Whiteley, pulling away from heavy favorite Jessethemarine for an easy win.  He looks like he’ll stretch out, but how he’ll do in a tougher environment remains to be seen.
  • Can Tony Dutrow bag a twofer?
    • No.  The aforementioned Gracer won for the Fair Hill-based conditioner in impressive style, but Welcome Guest, his 3-2 favorite in the Nellie Morse, had no answers when the running started.  She finished fifth of six, 16 lengths behind winner Firenze Feeling.
  • Will weather win again?
    • Yes and no.  Several regional tracks canceled on Friday, but all of them ran on Saturday, and Parx, the only one scheduled to do so, ran on Sunday.
  • Can the region’s two Penn National Gaming Inc. tracks — Charles Town and Penn National — hit the ground running?
    • At Charles Town, handle was pretty healthy for a January Saturday — more than $1.1 million on the live product — and claiming activity was brisk, with six horses changing hands.  Handle was similar at Penn National, slightly more than $1.1 million, and three horses were claimed.

(Featured image, of Broad Rule winning the Fire Plug, by Laurie Asseo.)

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