Midlantic racing roundup: Week ending March 11

by | Mar 12, 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…

  • You don’t see too many Indiana-breds running at Charles Town, but one of those, Strong Like Bull, won for the third consecutive time on March when he took a second-level allowance by 3 1/2 lengths as the 3-2 post-time favorite. Under Luis Rodriguez, Strong Like Bull led by open lengths throughout en route to the victory, zipping the 4 1/2 furlongs in a sharp 51.47 seconds. The six-year-old Benny the Bull gelding, trained by Jeff Runco for Rockinham Ranch, now has eight wins from 15 career starts, and the winner’s share pushed him just north of the $100,000 mark. Strong Like Bull was one of seven favorites to win on the eight-race program.
  • Trainer James Casey sent out the longest shot on the board and the shortest in the third race on March 9. Ellie’s Cork was 49-1 at post time, while Charitable Bound was the favorite at 3-5. They ran one-two, too, but not in the expected order; Ellie’s Cork closed fast under Christian Hiraldo to score the $100 upset, running down her stablemate to prevail by a half-length in the West Virginia-bred allowance test. Both ran in the name of Casey’s Taylor Mountain Farm, and he bred both. Ellie’s Cork, a four-year-old Denis of Cork filly, won for the second straight time and now has two career wins from five starts.
  • Last October, Dionysus’ Chalice finished third behind Owen’s Mo in the WVBC Vincent Moscarelli Memorial. On March 10, those two hoooked up again, this time with Dionysus’ Chalice prevailing by a hard-fought head in a West Virginia-bred allowance. Under Arnaldo Bocachica, Dionysus’ Chalice led throughout while pressured by Owen’s Mo the whole way, getting the 4 1/2 furlongs in 53.36 seconds. Dionysus’ Chalice, trained by Ollie Figgins, III for Clinton Lowry, has three wins and over $62,000 in earnings from nine starts.

At Laurel Park…

  • Three-year-old Threes Over Deuces laid waste to a three-year-old allowance/optional claiming field March 10 at Laurel Park. The Flat Out gelding, a tepid 5-2 favorite in the field of 10, bobbled at the start under bug boy Weston Hamilton, stalked the early pace from second and third, gained command along the inside mid-turn, and drew away to win by over six lengths in 1:44.37 for 1 1/16 miles. Threes Over Deuces, trained by Gary Capuano for Pocket 3’s Racing LLC, now has two wins and $52,535 in purse earnings from six starts.
  • Brighton Lane had similar success, also as a lukewarm 5-2 favorite, on March 10 at Laurel Park in an entry-level allowance for older runners. Under JD Acosta, Brighton Lane controlled the pace throughout before drawing away to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Trained by Kenny Decker for Jacks or Better Farm, Brighton Lane won for just the third time in 26 career starts — but it was his second win in three tries and eighth start race in the trifecta. Brighton Lane has earned over $150,000.


  • He may have begun his career in maiden claiming company, but Midnight Poker seems to be getting the hang of this racing thing pretty quickly. The sophomore, a Pennsylvania-bred Smarty Jones gelding, ran his career record to three-for-three with a dominating five-length win in a first-level allowance at Parx Racing March 5. Under Kendrick Carmouche, the John Servis trainee stalked the pace before drawing even at the furlong marker and drawing away from there to cover the seven furlongs in 1:28.41 for his third straight easy score. Midnight Poker is owned by Main Line Racing and was bred by Four Bucks Racing.
  • Quasante, a five-year-old Hard Spun mare, looks to the be in the best form of her career, and on March 9 at Penn National she won an allowance test by almost three lengths for her third win in four starts in 2018. She led throughout under jockey Ruben Silvera en route to the win. Trained by Miguel Penaloza for Jaime Bravo-Estrada, Quasante now has seven wins and over $171,000 in earnings from 26 starts.
  • Parx Racing was forced to cancel its March 10 card.

Jockeys and trainers

  • At Charles Town, trainer Jeff Runco won four times from 11 starters to close to within five wins of current meet leader Ronney Brown. Trainers John Carlisle and Lela Hanagan both went three-for-three during the week’s racing.
  • Meanwhile, jockyes Arnaldo Bocachica and Fredy Peltroche won five races each; the former is now in third among all jockeys at the track with 18 wins, the latter in fourth with 14.
  • Jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr. continues to tear it up at Laurel Park, and he won with seven of 20 starters during the week. Vargas has a commanding 14-win advantage over his nearest competitor for the meet leader title and also has a huge advantage in the money chase.
  • Trainer Scott Lake won with four of eight starters at Laurel Park and now has 11 wins at the meet, good for fifth overall.
  • Jockey Julio Hernandez won with five of 15 starters at Penn National during the week to solidify his hold on second by wins at the meet and creep up on meet leader Angel Rodriguez. Hernandez has 24 wins, four shy of Rodriguez but seven ahead of Maicol Inirio in third. Hernandez is also second at the meet in purse earnings.