From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Adam Staple and Jalin Stable’s Page McKenney overwhelmed his seven rivals with a devastating stretch kick to win the $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths.
Claimed for $16,000 in July 2013, the 5-year-old gelding has gone on to win 12 races, including five stakes, and more than $800,000 since joining trainer Mary Eppler’s Maryland-based stable.
Page McKenney broke cleanly from the starting gate to get stalking position under jockey Horacio Karamanos around the first turn, rating a few lengths behind early pacesetter Service for Ten along the backstretch through first half-mile in a moderate 49.18 seconds. When asked for his run, the Pennsylvania-bred son of Eavesdropper made a three-wide sweep on the final turn to take the lead turning for home. Page McKenney drew off to a comfortable victory over late-running Strong Stipulation, who finished a length ahead of Catholic Cowboy.
The reformed claimer ran1 1/8 miles in 1:50.26.
“I tried to relax him and get him in a tactical position,” Karamanos said. “When I asked him at the 5/16ths-pole he gave me a kick in the stretch. He ran like a machine today. I love this horse. He’s one of my favorite horses to ride.”
The multiple graded stakes-placed winner, who has finished no worse than third in nine starts this year, was given a two-month freshening after being nosed out of a victory by Duff in the Roanoke Stakes at Parx on Sept. 5.
“I think he was a tired horse after his last race,” Eppler said. “I am just going to see how he comes out of this race.”
Jalin Stable’s Dr. James E. Bryant, who bred and owned Page McKenney pre-claim and bought back into the horse after Adam Staple claimed him, was happy for the opportunity visit the winner’s circle with the resilient gelding.
“Everybody gets lucky once in a while. I know everybody says this, but we felt that he was something special from the beginning. Fortunately, Adam Staple was gracious enough to let us back in for a piece,” Bryant said. “Page is a good one, and we have got several other family members coming along.”