Midlantic racing roundup: Week ending March 4

by | Mar 5, 2018 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide

Raging Smoke grabbed the lead early en route to 2016 Sugar Maple win at Charles Town. Photo by The Racing Biz.

At Charles Town…

  • The partnership between trainer Jeff Runco and owner-breeder O’Sullivan Farms LLC looks to be a productive one. On March 1, they sent out My Sister Mary, a three-year-old, West Virginia-bred Successful Appeal filly, to cruise to a four-length victory in a state-bred maiden special weight event. Though it was the first race of her career, she went off the 1-5 favorite under Arnaldo Bocachica. Two days later, the same owner-trainer combo sent out Atreyu, a Limehouse colt, for his second start; also off at 1-5 under Bocachica, he dusted state-bred maidens by a couple lengths to graduate.
  • Follow the Notion rallied from last to win a March 1 allowance at Charles Town as the 4-5 favorite under jockey Jose Montano. It was the seven-year-old Great Notion gelding’s first official win — he was disqualified from three subsequent allowance victories — since he took the 2016 West Virginia Breeders Classic Onion Juice. In between, the horse bred, owned, and trained by Gary Williams, Jr. had lost 10 straight. He now has a record of six wins and $161,530 in purse earnings from 24 starts.
  • Mattyice, an 11-1 outsider, won a maiden special weight race at Charles Town March 3, pressing the pace of favored Castle Five before overhauling that one in the stretch under Ramon Maldonado and going on to win by three lengths. It was the career debut for the three-year-old, Maryland-bred Street Magician filly, who is owned and trained by Donald Shuler.
  • High winds led Charles Town to cancel its March 2 card.

At Laurel Park…

  • Keep Your Distance lost the first eight races of her career, dropping all the way to $16,000 maiden claiming company. She looks to have figured things out since, however, and on March 3 she won for the sixth time in 11 starts since, taking a second-level allowance by 1 1/2 lengths as the 6-5 favorite under jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr. after leading throughout. The Concord Point filly, trained by Kieron Magee for owner Jim Wolf, now has six wins and $156,290 in purse earnings from 19 starts.
  • It took Blue Union Rags six tries to break her maiden. But the three-year-old Union Rags filly didn’t waste any time winning her first allowance race. Scratched out of the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct, she instead tackled first-level allowance foes at Laurel and, sent off as the 9-5 favorite, posted a victory by three parts of a length. Under jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr., Blue Union Rags rallied from fifth and well off the early pace to win. The John Servis trainee, a $335,000 auction purchase for D J Stable LLC, now has two wins and over $62,000 in earnings from seven career starts.
  • Laurel Park canceled March 2 as a result of dangerously high winds from winter storm Riley.


  • Cancellations were the order of the day. Penn National canceled March 2 in the face of high winds from the winter storm Riley. The next day, Parx Racing was forced to cancel because of a fire in the jockeys’ room and flooding in the grandstand.

Jockeys and trainers

  • At Charles Town, trainer Elizabeth Meehan won with two of three starters during the racing week. Love Is Love took a $10,000 claiming event, and Fairweather Friend won an allowance contest. Her two wins so fair in 2018 nearly equal the three she had — from 42 starts — in 2017.
  • Jockey JD Acosta won with three of six starters over this weekend at Laurel Park, getting maiden-breaking scores with Homer Haps (trainer Scott Lake) and Align the Numbers (Donna Lockard), as well as winning a claiming race for trainer Gerry Brooks with Cooking Up a Storm. For good measure, he also won with one of his two Charles Town starters over the weekend.
  • Jocks and trainers were sharing the wealth at Parx Racing. No jockey won more than two races during the week, and no trainer won more than one.
  • At Penn National, jockeys Julio Hernandez and Andrew Wolfsont won three races each to pace the colony. Hernandez is second overall in the colony with 19 wins, while Wolfsont, with 14, is fourth.