T Rex Express romps to My Sister Pearl score
by Frank Vespe
T Rex Express spent the early part of the fall chasing Moonlit Song around the track at Charles Town Races, and while that didn’t go badly — she ran second in both the Sadie Hawkins and the West Virginia Breeders Classics Cavada — there wasn’t much evidence to suggest she was likely to turn the tables, either.
But Saturday night at Charles Town, out from under the shadow of that rival and stretched out for the first time to 1 1/8 miles, T Rex Express was able to strut her stuff. The result was a flashy nine-length victory in the $50,000 My Sister Pearl Stakes over West Virginia-bred fillies and mares.
A seven-time winner in her first 18 starts, T Rex Express, trained by Jeff Runco for owner David Raim, had faced stakes company five previous times. In all five, she had run second.
Against a field that included both the winner and runner-up from the WVBC Distaff last month, she ended that streak with authority.
Under regular pilot Gerald Almodovar, T Rex Express cleared the field in the race’s very first jumps and had a two-length lead as the field passed the stands for the first time.
She took the field through an opening half-mile in 48.59 seconds, and though Rock n’ Gold, runner-up in last month’s Distaff, turned up the heat in the third quarter, T Rex Express still held a half-length advantage after three panels were up in 1:14.28.
As it turned out, that was about as close as Rock n’ Gold — or any other runner, for that matter — would get. With a furlong to go, T Rex Express was clear by four lengths and kept widening that gap to the wire. Running time was a solid 1:52.65.
Rock n’ Gold and jockey Christian Hiraldo stuck with it to be a clear second, three lengths clear of the rest. The Tim Grams trainee also was second in the Distaff.
It was a big evening for trainer Runco. He saddled three of the seven runners in the field and filled out the first, third, and fourth spots in the end. March Wind (Arnaldo Bocachica) and Spa Creek (Erik Ramirez) were heads apart for much of the event and finished third and fourth, respectively.
The evening’s disappointment was the performance of Romantic Cork. The John Casey trainee, who won the Distaff and went off at 2-1 here, was never really involved in the race, ultimately coming in fifth. She was almost 19 lengths behind the winner.
T Rex Express went off as the 8-5 favorite in the event and paid $5.20 to win. She topped an exacta worth $22.80.
T Rex Express, who was bred by Mr. and Mrs. John Link, now has eight wins from 19 career starts. She has $216,095 in earnings.