Weekend wrap: April 17
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Our weekend wrap: news and notes from the weekend’s mid-Atlantic racing action.
- Midlantic-breds made good Stellar Wind, the Virginia-bred Curlin mare who took Eclipse honors as the champion three-year-old filly of 2015 and twice defeated Beholder in 2016, made her seasonal debut Friday at Oaklawn Park in winning fashion. Under jockey Victor Espinoza, the John Sadler trainee, sent off at 2-5, surged to a 1 1/4-length win over Terra Promessa in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom. “I think she’s better than before,” Espinoza said. “I always believed in her. As she’s gotten older, she’s more mature, more professional. But it seems like this year, she’s coming back great, and maybe even a little better than last year.”
- Honorable Honor the Fleet, a three-year-old To Honor and Serve colt trained by Louis Albertrani, more than lived up to his 9-10 odds in a Friday allowance at Laurel Park. Under jockey Steve Hamilton, Honor the Fleet stalked the early pace of Coach Pat before exploding to a 7 1/2-length win. Running time for the one-turn mile was a sharp 1:36.45. Honor the Fleet, a $40,000 auction purchase at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training sale, now has two wins and a second from three career starts.
- Cat is back (sorta) Ben’s Cat, the fan favorite who’s earned over $2.6 million for trainer-owner-breeder King Leatherbury, made his season debut Sunday at Laurel Park. Under jockey Trevor McCarthy, Ben’s Cat dived down to the inside for running room in the lane but could not muster a rally, finishing fifth though beaten less than one length in the $50,000 over the turf. Virginia-bred Made Bail earned the victory, paying $49.80 in the process. Click here for more.
- A jolly good Fellow(ship) Making his first start since the 2016 Preakness, Fellowship rallied from fifth place to win a $45,000 allowance test on the dirt at Laurel Park Sunday. With Steve Hamilton up, the Kenneth Decker trainee surged to a 2 1/2-length win in 1:22.30 for seven furlongs. With the win, Fellowship snapped the four-race winning streak of Laki, who was second. Fellowship now has three wins, and $600,365 in earnings from 14 career starts.
- Odds off Friday was a tough night for odds-on favorites at Charles Town. In four different races, the favorite was less than even money; all four times, the favorite lost. Among them: 1-9 Ramsey Branch, second by a neck in the finale, and 2-5 Super Causeway, second by five lengths — while 14 lengths clear of the show horse — in a maiden special weight event.
- Stat watch Everybody knows Arrogate, the horse leading the nation with $7 million in purse earnings this year. Not so many are aware of Moon Vision, but the five-year-old Maryland-bred mare is leading the nation in wins. She’s five-for-five this year, with one win at Laurel Park and four more at Penn National. She has $74,062 in purse earnings this year for trainer Scott Lake and his Home Team Stables operation.