GQ’S HORSES TO WATCH
- Raspberry Swirl: Nice debut for this Gary Capuano-trained Twirling Candy filly, overcoming trouble — steadied while approaching the turn, forced wide then wider in the drive — and, when finally free, running on strongly to win by a half-length in a 5 1/2 furlong sprint over yielding turf. She was a half-dozen back with a furlong to go before coming home strongly to win at 5-1.
- Chauncey: Runner-up to Raspberry Swirl, she put forth a game effort on the front end, falling a length behind In Jail before battling back to overcome that rival only to be caught late. It was a big step forward for the Ham Smith trainee.
- Gowith Theterrain: Three-year-old Scat Daddy gelding — a half to graded stakes-placed runner Tell a Great Story — was ultra-impressive in his debut, winning by five lengths in a 5 1/2 furlong turf sprint over “good” turf that played more like yielding ground.
- It’s the Journey: This Mike Trombetta-trained Mineshaft gelding made short work of the field in the Challedon Stakes, winning by four in 1:22 4/5 for seven furlongs while ridden out. It was the fourth straight win for the suddenly very good four-year-old.
- Unspoken: Overcame a difficult trip to win a $7,500 claiming event on Sunday. The Howard Wolfendale trainee was pinched back at the break, raced towards the rear of the pack, had to steady back for several jumps nearing the far turn, then briefly again to avoid a fallen rider, and finally surged through on the inside to win by a length. She was tons the best in here.
- Shes Trickey: Game effort in a second-level allowance on the turf against a solid field on Sunday. Breaking from the far outside, she was floated wide into the first turn, recovered to save a bit of ground, steadied near the five-sixteenths pole, and then finished gamely to earn the place by a length over favored Freudie Anne. The sophomore trained by Tom Proctor has been worse than second just twice — and worse than third only once — in her nine-race career.
- It’s the Journey, Line of Best Fit seize Laurel Park stakes
- Third time the charm for pricey Special Intention
- Jockey Cintron bolts to lead with six-win weekend, including stakes score
- Trainer Trombetta enjoys three-win weekend
JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS
Among jockeys, Alex Cintron had the top weekend, leading the colony in mounts with 23 and wins, six. That was two more wins than any other rider. Among his half-dozen strikes were an easy score in the Challedon Stakes aboard It’s the Journey and an astute ride that enabled Hell of Afire to take a state-bred allowance Sunday. Cintron is also a friend to bettors; he’s one of five riders among the busiest to have a positive wagering return on investment.
In terms of return on investment, Cintron and Steve Hamilton are tied, each returning $2.52 for each $2 win wager. Hamilton’s mark is the result of a strong four-for-10 showing during the weekend. Others with positive ROIs include J. D. Acosta (two wins, $2.32 ROI), Kevin Gomez ($2.30), and Katie Davis ($2.02).
Following Cintron and Hamilton in wins are Katie Davis (3), with four riders — Acosta, Gomez, Victor Carrasco, and Jevian Toledo at two each.
Among trainers with at least five starters during opening weekend, Mike Trombetta enjoyed the best weekend. The veteran conditioner won three times, including in the Challedon Stakes with It’s the Journey. He enjoyed a 27 percent strike rate, earnings per start above $8,700 — and returned bettors $2.84 for each $2 win wager.
Trombetta was followed among the busiest trainers by Hugh McMahon and Ham Smith, with two wins each. Four trainers with more limited action — Dove Houghton, Rodney Jenkins, Horacio DePaz, and Tim Kreiser — all won with two of three starters.
Among the busiest trainers, just two besides Trombetta posted a positive ROI for bettors. Ham Smith’s horses were two-for-five with an ROI of $3.44 per two-dollar wager, and Howard Wolfendale’s one winner, in five starts, returned $20.80, for a $2 return of $4.16.