Well, that was a good day.
Jockey Nik Juarez entered Monday’s racing at Laurel Park with just a single win from 40 starts in 2016. But by the time the day ended, he’d added a remarkable six wins to that total. Three of those wins came for trainer Hugh McMahon.
“When you look at the overnight. you always got to think you’re going to win, but today was a great day,” said Juarez after the final victory, aboard favored Escrow Kid in the ninth, for McMahon. “God blessed us both.”
The festivities commenced in the second race for Juarez. He rode Start Swinging to an easy 2 3/4 length victory in a $5,000 claiming race for trainer John Hartsell and JSJ Stable. After bumping rivals at the break, Start Swinging stalked the pace before taking over three wide at the head of the lane and drawing off to win.
Juarez also scored in each of the next two races, both in front-running fashion. He guided 4-1 Closure to a 1 3/4 length win in a maiden claiming event for trainer Hugh McMahon and owners WinStar Farm LLC and All In Line Stables LLC. He followed that up with a dominant score with even money choice Bioterp in the fourth, another maiden claiming race, for trainer Dale Capuano and trainer Steven Newby.
By that time, it had already been a great day, but Juarez was still just revving up.
After finishing third in the fifth race, Juarez found the range again in the sixth, winning a third maiden claiming event, this time aboard first-time starter Sneaky Fair for trainer Graham Motion and owners Wertheimer and Frere, rallying from the back of the pack to win by over five lengths at odds of 4.80-1.
Finally, in the seventh, Juarez and McMahon teamed up again, this time for owner Joe Besecker, to take Bustin to Win to a front-running victory in a first-level allowance.
Both Juarez and McMahon had been scuffling a bit in 2016, with McMahon was winless prior to today. But both said they were not frustrated, and it was fitting to share such a big day.
“Hugh started me off riding, so for me to win this many races for Hugh, it’s been a great day,” said Juarez.
Juarez has one mount at Penn National on the 14th before racing returns to Laurel Park, and his schedule picks up. He has six mounts on Friday the 15th and four more, including one in the Frank Whiteley, Jr. Stakes, on Saturday.