YESTERDAY’S NEWS: EVENTFUL DAY FOR FOREST BOYCE
Journeyman jock Forest Boyce had an eventful day at Laurel Park yesterday.
She had one win from four starters — but the numbers don’t tell the tale in this case.
In the fourth, she got a leg up from trainer Alexandra White on first starter Straightaway, a sophomore Colonel John gelding, in a maiden claiming race on the turf. Straightaway rated off the pace while saving ground before Boyce tipped him four wide entering the lane, and he closed nicely to take command inside the sixteenth pole.
That’s when it got a little hairy. Under left-handed urging, Straightaway suddenly ducked out just as the closing Major Anthem, in second, was drifting in under Taylor Hole, forcing him to take up. After a lengthy review, the stewards determined that no action was necessary, leaving Straightaway and Boyce the winners.
Unfortunately, during the gallop-out following the race, Straightaway appeared to be off and, after an examination by the state vet, the horse was vanned off.
Five races later, Boyce had the mount on another maiden, Aine, a Susan Cooney trainee who had run fifth on debut. Aine was worked up from the get-go and dumped Boyce during the post parade. When the Artie Schiller filly wouldn’t let her rider back up, the gate crew made the decision to take her on the turf course towards the gate to see if she might settle. In fact, though, the opposite happened: several times Aine reared back on her hind legs, pawing at the air in front of her. Finally, after a long delay, the stewards made the decision to scratch her.
Boyce has 14 wins from 140 starters so far in 2016.
- A day after Trevor McCarthy won four times to put some daylight between himself and his nearest pursuer in the Laurel Park jockey standings, Victor Carrasco, Carrasco returned the favor with a three-win day. Among those three were a score aboard maiden-no-more Jump Jive An Wail, a half-brother to stakes winners Power of Snunner and Spring Dance.
- A pair of maidens impressed with easy wins at Parx Racing yesterday. The challengingly named Extrasexyexotkminx, a three-year-old Silver Train filly, romped to an eight-length win for trainer Marcos Zulueta in her second career start; running time for six furlongs was a zippy 1:11.51. Three races later, Greg Sacco trainee Big Zip made his debut a winning one, cruising to a five length win in 1:11.60 for six furlongs.
- Gimmeaclue looks to have a couple more allowance wins in her. The four-year-old, Pennsylvania-bred Gimmeawink filly trounced state-bred allowance fillies by four lengths at Penn National last night, giving her six wins from 14 career starts. The Stephen Mick trainee’s time, 1:11.68, was considerably faster than the 1:12.35 that Frosty Girl needed one race later to beat open allowance rivals.
LOOKING AHEAD: TODAY’S RACING
- Fan favorite Ben’s Cat (8-5) makes his 2016 debut in the fourth race at Laurel Park, a $52,000 allowance going 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Away since a dismal seventh place finish in the Fabulous Strike at Penn National on Thanksgiving eve, the 10-year-old will look to emulate his octogenarian Hall of Fame trainer King Leatherbury and continue to outrun Father Time. It won’t be easy, though: the field also includes speedy Aztec Brave (9-5), hard-hitting Night Officer (7-2), and multiple stakes winner Two Notch Road (10-1).
- Race nine at Laurel Park is an intriguing $45,000 allowance sprint on the turf. Seaside Schiller (3-1) is the morning line favorite for trainer Michael Matz and brings a spotless two-for-two turf sprinting record to the event — but the sophomore is making her first start since October. Other contenders include Awake the Day (7-2), recently beaten a half-length by the very good Monster Sleeping, 2015 Lyphard Stakes winner Royal Renege (6-1) for trainer Elizabeth Merryman, and Sandpiper Stakes winner Hidden Treat (5-1).
- Bird of Trey (9-5), who won the 2015 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes by seven lengths, returns to race at Parx Racing for the first time since in race five, a six-furlong, $51,000 allowance. The sophomore Birdstone colt, trained by John Servis, has been thrashed in three subsequent starts, two against Grade 3 foes, and will have Joshua Navarro in the irons. His main rivals here look to include Atizapan (5-2), who’s won two of three and two back was a decent third against similar; and Saratoga Jack (7-2), who won at first asking and has been third and fourth in allowance company.