Weekend wrap: April 10
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Our weekend wrap: news and notes from the weekend’s mid-Atlantic racing action.
- Midlantic-breds made good, pt. 1 New Jersey-bred Irish War Cry got back on track Saturday and in the process earned himself a berth in the Kentucky Derby. The son of Curlin, trained by Graham Motion for owner-breeder Isabelle de Tomaso, cruised to an impressive 3 1/2-length victory in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, earning his owner $400,000 and gaining 100 points on the Derby leaderboard. With Rajiv Maragh in the irons for the first time, Irish War Cry ran just off the lead in the early going, bid to near even terms with favored Battalion Runner entering the lane, and gradually wore that rival down. “He settled beautifully,” Maragh said. “By getting on him in the mornings, I didn’t think I’d have a hard time getting to settle because he goes so easy and comfortable. We ran good together today.”
- Midlantic-breds made good, pt. 2 One race prior to the Wood, another Garden State-bred runner, Green Gratto, did the honors in scoring a colossal upset in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. Sent off at 54-1, Green Gratto, with jockey Chris DeCarlo up, jetted to the early lead and never looked back, holding off the late runs of Unified and Tommy Macho in a rugged stretch run to win by a neck. He now has nine wins from 53 starts, and the winner’s share pushed him past $1.1 million in earnings. Green Gratto, a son of Here’s Zealous bred by Kaz Hill Farm, is trained by Gaston Grant for himself and Anthony Grant.
- Grass is always greener… Turf racing returned to Laurel Park with a vengeance over the weekend. Though Friday’s grass races were moved to the main track, Saturday and Sunday saw eight races over the green stuff. Daylight Ahead took Sunday’s top grass event, a second-level allowance sprint. The Hugh McMahon-trained Mineshaft filly — foiled by bad trips in two prior grass starts — turned a rail run into a 2 1/2-length score at 15-1 odds. “She does have a lot of natural talent,” McMahon said. “I’ve just got to get out of the way. That’s my job.”
- Nice day Trainer Rodney Jenkins won just one of his first 18 starts in 2017 but put an end to that slump by scoring twice on Saturday. In the second race, Metallic, a Medaglia d’Oro colt, earned a half-length score to break his maiden in just his second career start. Two races later, Shimmering Aspen made her season bow a winning one in allowance company, running her record to two wins from three career starts. Steve Hamilton had the mount on both runners.
- Money Money’soncharlotte — third in the 2015 edition of the Grade 2 Gazelle — made her season debut Saturday at Parx Racing in promising fashion. In a race that looked pretty even on paper — the favorite in the five-horse field was 9-5, and the longest shot on the board was 5.50-1.with Money’soncharlotte at 3.10-1 — the Kelly Breen trainee laid waste to her rivals, cruising to a 5 1/2-length win under Frankie Pennington. She now has four wins and $233,395 in earnings from 18 career starts.
- Gone fishing The improving Poseidon’s Prize consigned his five rivals to a watery grave Saturday at Charles Town, romping to a 7 1/2-length victory. The West Virginia-bred son of Pure Prize, ridden by Wesley Ho, zipped seven furlongs in a sharp 1:26.25 for the easy allowance score. The Ollie Figgins-trained sophomore now has three wins from six career starts.