Angel At War, Centeno win third straight
by Frank Vespe
It’d be hard to criticize any of the work that Daniel Centeno and three-year-old Angel At War have done together.
After a dominating 3 3/4 length win Thursday at Delaware Park, the duo are a gaudy three-for-three. What’s more, while facing progressively tougher company, the daughter of Shackleford continues to look like there’s more in the tank.
“It looks like she’s going to be a nice filly,” Centeno said. “Hopefully, she’s going to be all right. Take it step by step.”
Angel At War was away alertly today in the six-furlong test under starter allowance conditions. She grabbed the lead immediately out of the gate and held a three-length bulge after an opening quarter-mile in 22.83 seconds.
The lead was down to 1 1/2 lengths after a half-mile in 45.95 seconds, but soon thereafter, Angel At War pulled clear to leave her nearest pursuer, Fillupcohensapiker, in her dust. Running time for the six furlongs was 1:10.81.
“I looked over my shoulder, and it looked like the five (Fillupcohensapiker) was coming,” Centeno said. “When I asked her, she broke again.”
Angel At War, out of the winning Awesome Again mare Down by Law, was a $15,000 auction purchase as a yearling. She made her career debut July 27 in the barn of trainer Abel Castellano, winning by 11 lengths as the 6-5 favorite.
In her follow-up, in claiming race for horses that had never won twice, she repeated, winning by five lengths. Trainer Mike Gorham claimed her out of that race for $40,000 for Old Coach Farm.
The constant in all three of her races: Centeno in the irons.
With two-third of her three-year-old season already in the books, Angel At War is along too late to take advantage of many of the good sophomore opportunities.
But Centeno said her versatility should stand her in good stead.
“I think she’ll go two turns,” the veteran jock said. “She’s galloping out so good. She’s got a long stride.”
And there’s the way she finishes. In all three of her races, her advantage at the finish line was greater than her lead at the second call.
Angel At War now has three wins from three starts. The winner’s share today pushed her bankroll to a still-modest $42,000. That should go up, and soon, and Centeno hopes to be a part of it.
“I rode her the first two times,” he said after today’s race. “Hopefully, they keep me riding.”