The weekend’s mid-Atlantic stakes winners…
Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks, Monmouth Park
- Delightful Joy
- trained by Chad Brown
- ridden by Paco Lopez
- owned by Sheep Pond Partners, Robert V. LaPenta, and Bradley Thoroughbreds
- Storyline: Delightful Joy came home fastest of all to win the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks for three-year-old fillies Saturday by nearly two lengths. It was the first graded stakes victory for the daughter of Tapit, who has now won three of five career starts. Favored Eskenformoney was second, and White Clover held third. Delightful Joy was ninth in the early going, as the field motored through a half-mile in 46.91 seconds and three-quarters in 1:11.51. Jockey Paco Lopez moved her forward on the turn, tipped her outside in the lane, and won going away. “I just started to get her going and was looking for a hole,” Lopez said. “When I asked her, she gave me everything she had. She is a really nice filly.” Running time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.74.
Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes, Charles Town Races
- Candy Man’s Girl
- trained by James W. Casey
- ridden by Antonio Lopez
- owned by Taylor Mountain Farm LLC
- bred in West Virginia by James W. Casey
- Storyline: Candy Man’s Girl rallied from last to win an accident-marred running of the Sylvia Bishop Memorial Stakes for West Virginia-bred three-year-old fillies Saturday at Charles Town. It was the fourth victory overall, from seven starts, and first in stakes company for the daughter of Charitable Man. She has now earned $90,643. In the seven-furlong Bishop, which scratched down to just five starters, Candy Man’s Girl was 5 1/2 lengths behind leader My Sister Caro after a half-mile in 46.66 seconds. Under Antonio Lopez, she launched a bid leaving the three-eighths pole, made the lead at the head of the lane, and went on to win by two lengths over Nay’s Back, with My Sister Caro holding third. Get the Sensation, the 3-10 favorite and ranked third among three-year-olds in the latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll, broke down on the final turn.
Robellino Stakes, Penn National
- Page McKenney
- trained by Mary Eppler
- ridden by Horacio Karamanos
- owned by Adam Staple
- bred in Pennsylvania by Dr. James E. Bryant & Linda P. Davis
- Storyline: The Page McKenney Show appeared at Penn National Saturday, and it continued to receive rave reviews. Page McKenney, the five-year-old Pennsylvania-bred claimed by trainer Mary Eppler for owner Adam Staple back in 2013, continued to pay major dividends, tracking the early pace before taking control at the quarter pole and holding off the challenge of longshot Will D’Rocket to win the Robellino Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds. The winning margin was a measured half-length, and running time for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf was 1:43.43. It was the first stakes win on the turf for Page McKenney, who has now finished in the top three in 18 consecutive races. Overall, he has won 12 of 38 career starts, with earnings of $835,178; three of those wins and more than $440,000 in earnings have come in 2015. Page McKenney is rated third among older horses in the latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll.
G3 Cliff Hanger Stakes,Monmouth Park
- trained by Christophe Clement
- ridden by Joe Bravo
- owned by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone
- bred in Virginia by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone
- Storyline: There were some anxious moments for backers of even money favorite Middleburg in Sunday’s Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park, but the five-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid rallied late to nip stablemate Special Envoy by a neck. It was his first graded stakes victory after having placed in three consecutive graded events. Middleburg was never far off the modest early pace set by Inchcape, split rivals in upper stretch, and closed strongly for the win. Special Envoy was second, and it was another neck back to Lochte in third. “I was able to sit patient and just wait for a seam to open and when it did he ran past those other horses in three or four jumps,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo. Running time for the 1 1/8 miles on firm turf was 1:48.52. Middleburg has been out of the money just once in 16 career starts, that in his career debut; he’s won five times and now has earnings of $349,360.