Timonium meet closes with a rush
by Frank Vespe
Trainer Kieron Magee had a one-word answer when asked this afternoon how it felt to have had a good meet at Timonium — but to have missed a spectacular meet by the slimmest of margins.
“Awful,” the Irish native said.
The seven-day Timonium stand ended today with a nine-race card that attracted an enthusiastic crown to the old grandstand.
And, on a picture perfect September day, it couldn’t have been too awful. Magee finished the stand with four wins and finished with the most points of any trainer, based on the 10-5-3-1 system established here for the trainers’ awards. Magee’s 116 points led all trainers, and his nearly $115,000 in earnings placed him second, behind Claudio Gonzalez with almost $130,000.
It could have better, at least from Magee’s perspective. On the meet’s first Saturday, his runner Struth ran second in the $75,000 Coalition Stakes. On Monday, closing day, his Line of Best Fit ran a fast-closing second in an open $50,000 allowance test — beaten, as he put it, “a dirty nose.”
Gonzales finished the seven-day stand with a flourish, winning three times to surge past Magee in earnings. Among those wins were scores by Miss Nosy in a $36,000 allowance test and My Magician, defeating Line of Best Fit for the score in the day’s feature.
Also finishing well was leading rider J. D. Acosta. He won the day’s first race and, fittingly enough, closed the meeting with a win aboard the Magee-trained former maiden Ogeechee, who held off the popular but winless Creepy the Crab to win by a neck. It was Acosta’s second straight Timonium meet title.
“I have fun,” Acosta said after the eighth today. “My whole family’s right here.” Then he stooped down to kiss his two young daughters.
Acosta’s two wins gave him 14 for the Timonium stand, seven more than Gerald Almodovar. His earnings of more than $253,000 were well past Almodovar’s $201,000.
Two horses shared leading winner honors, winning two apiece. Both scored today. Kinahora, who broke her maiden August 26, came right back to take a $5,000 lifetime claiming race today, winning easily under Jomar Torres for Claudio Gonzalez.
Later, Greeley’s Bustnout, for the Charlie “Snake” Frock barn, became the second two-race winner of the Big stand, zipping to a front-running score under seven-pound bug Luis Rodriguez. Her prior win had come August 27 — Frock’s 74th birthday.
Closing day handle was $557,662 — up 16 percent from last year. That meant that every one of the meet’s seven days had higher handle than its 2016 analog.