YESTERDAY’S NEWS: UPS AND DOWNS
Trainer John Servis experienced the highs and lows of racing this weekend.
On Friday, Cathryn Sophia, a Maryland-bred filly he trains for Cash Is King, romped home best to win the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.
And on Saturday, his Miss Inclusive, another sophomore filly, overcame the talented Eighth Wonder in the late stages to win the $100,000 Parx Oaks and gain her first stakes win and third victory overall, in six tries.
In between, however, Servis experienced the other side of the coin. In the sixth race, a $54,000 allowance contest, Nasa, a four-year-old Smarty Jones colt Servis trained for Patricia Chapman’s Someday Farm — the owner and breeder of Smarty Jones — broke down and had to be euthanized.
Nasa’s career started with great promise. He won the 2014 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes impressively, and in January 2015, he gave a good accounting of himself when second to the talented El Kabeir in the Grade 3 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct. Injury forced him to the sidelines after that, and he did not return to racing until October of 2015.
Since his return, he had finished in the money in five of six starts, including two wins and two seconds in his four prior to yesterday. He was the 4-5 favorite in yesterday’s event.
- Private Terms Stakes winner Abiding Star (3-5) led throughout to win the $100,000 Parx Derby Saturday at Parx Racing, holding off the challenge of Discreet Lover. Ridden by J.D. Acosta, Abiding Star set solid fractions of 46 seconds flat for the half-mile and 1:10.80 for three-quarters before completing 1 mile 70 yards in 1:41.22. Abiding Star, trained by Ned Allard, lost the first sxi starts of his career but now has won five straight and has earnings of $202,385.
- Disco Chick (2.80-1) went straight to the front and held off the stern test of Servis’ Four Inch Heels to win the $100,000 My Juliet Stakes by three parts of a length. Disco Chick, ridden by Hector Caballero, completed the six furlong trip over a track rated good in 1:09.88. It was the first stakes win for the Pennsylvania-bred Jump Start mare, trained by Mario Serey, Jr. She recently had been second in a pair of stakes at Laurel Park.
- Four different jocks won twice each at Laurel Park yesterday. Feargal Lynch took the early double on a pair of well-bet runners, followed by Kevin Gomez, who take the third and fourth races, also on short-priced horses. Jevian Toledo steered a pair of longshots home with Race and Shine paying $21 to win in the sixth and Channel Regatta paying $22.80 to take the eighth (and topping a $930 exacta with 68-1 Great Starlene in second). Finally, Trevor McCarthy took the 10th and 11th races. Trainer Hamilton Smith also won two.
LOOKING AHEAD: TODAY’S RACING
- Promising turf sprinter Pool Winner (6-5) makes his season debut in Laurel Park’s eight race, a 5 1/2 furlong grass allowance with a $45,000 purse. Since put on the lawn following two middling dirt tries to start his career, the son of Broken Vow has never been worse than second in nine tries. The Alan Goldberg trainee won his final ’15 start by seven lengths but has been away since that November 6 win, but trainer Alan Goldberg has a 24 percent strike rate off similar layoffs in the last five years with a postive ROI. Trevor McCarthy will ride.
- Here’s something you don’t see every day: a Medaglia d’Oro colt out of a mare bred in Zimbabwe. Bad Call (10-1) — coincidentally, another Alan Goldberg trainee — makes his debut in today’s third at Laurel Park, a $40,000 maiden special weight event — after a somewhat sporadic work tab. His dam, Ipi Tombe, was a terrific racehorse, winning 12 of her 14 career starts, with two second-place finishes and wins in the Group 1 Dubai Duty Free and the Grade 3 Locust Grove, at Churchill Downs. But her offspring haven’t shown much, with none of four to race posting more than one victory. Simon Kenton (9-2), recently second against similar but winless in eight tries, is the lukewarm favorite.
- Ramon Preciado trainee Graybignbadlikedad (9-5) makes his first start of 2016 — and just his fourth since the end of 2014 — in today’s seventh at Parx Racing, a $52,000 allowance test. The son of Macho Uno has won eight times in his career and earned more than $300,000 and is favored in the 1 mile 70 yard event. But others might have something to say about the outcome, including Lawyer Dave (5-2), a recent winner against similar; Caliparty (7-2), who’s been third in three straight against similar; and the entry (9-2), which includes stakes-placed Zipped Code and 10-time winner Pleiadian.