El Areeb impresses in sharp James Lewis score

by | Nov 19, 2016 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing, Triple Crown Trail

El Areeb impressed in winning the James F. Lewis, III Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.

From a Maryland Jockey Club release

Testing stakes waters for the first time, M M G Stables’ El Areeb broke running and never looked back, powering to a front-running 5 ¼-length victory in the fifth running of the $100,000 James F. Lewis III presented by Ourisman of Bowie Saturday at Laurel Park.

El Areeb ($6.40), whose name is taken from the Arabic word for “skillful,” cruised through an opening quarter-mile in 22.43 seconds and a half in 45.48 while chased by 60-1 long shot The Great Ronaldo. Regular rider Trevor McCarthy urged the Exchange Rate colt after rounding the far turn and they opened up down the stretch, hitting the wire in 1:09.96.

Cal Lynch-trained stablemate Two Charley’s closed late for second, 3 ½ lengths ahead of High Roller, the Dale Capuano trainee bet down to 9-5 favoritism off his impressive maiden victory Sept. 11 under McCarthy. Rockshaw finished fourth.

“I had to pick, and I chose this one,” McCarthy said. “I knew this horse would run well today and he didn’t let me down. The race went perfectly for us, and when he changed leads he just took off. I took a glance at the big screen and saw that we had a pretty good lead on them in the stretch, which made me feel good. I am looking forward to his next race.”

El Areeb was purchased for $340,000 as a 2-year-old in training in March and debuted running fourth in a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight June 11 at Parx. He was second by four lengths over a sloppy, sealed track at Laurel Sept. 30 at Laurel going 5 ½ furlongs before stretching out to three-quarters to graduate by 8 ¾ lengths Oct. 15.

“The performance didn’t really surprise me that much. We expected the horse to do this first time out,” Lynch said. “He had a couple little issues that slowed him down but the horse is very talented. Physically he’s getting bigger and stronger and he may want to go farther. We’re very excited.”