Midlantic racing roundup: Week ending April 1

by | Apr 2, 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…

  • Five-year-old North Atlantic ran a tough luck second to Charitable Annuity in the 2017 West Virginia Breeders Classic and then bested that rival in the A Huevo Stakes in November. Both runners made their season debuts March 31 at Charles Town, this time going seven furlongs, and at the shorter distance, North Atlantic, ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica for trainer Jeff Runco, figured to have the jump on his rival. That’s how it played out, too, with North Atlantic stalking the pace before drawing off to a 1 3/4 length victory while Charitable Annuity rallied from seventh for the place spot in the $29,000 allowance test. North Atlantic, a Ghostzapper gelding, now has nine wins from 24 starts and earnings of $270,240.
  • Three-year-old Mattyice ran her record to two-for-two March 31 when she ran down 4-5 favorite Nellysford to win a $24,000 allowance test by a length in 53.56 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs. The Street Magician filly, trained and owned by Donald Shuler, was fourth early under Ramon Maldonado after getting bumped at the gate before tipping outside to wear down Nellsyford late. Mattyice was bred in Maryland by Dr. & Mrs. Thomas Bowman, Quin Bowman & Rebecca Davis & Larry Johnson.
  • Four-year-old Court Date is making quick work of his West Virginia-bred conditions. The Fiber Sonde gelding, bred, owned, and trained by Lela Hanagan, took a 4 1/2 furlong state-bred allowance test by two lengths March 29 to run his record to 5-3-1-1. Under Gerald Almodovar, Court Date stalked the early pace before powering to the win in 53.16 seconds. He’s now earned $49,610.

At Laurel Park…

  • Making his first start in four months — and just the 12th of his career — five-year-old Winning Road lived up to his name March 31, taking a one-mile allowance test by 1 1/2 lengths in 1:36.81. Under Feargal Lynch, Winning Road stalked the early pace from third while wide, took over in mid-stretch and went clear inside the final sixteenth. It was his third win from a dozen starts and pushed his career earnings to $155,362. The Maryland-bred Quality Road gelding is trained by Michael Dilger for GRD Two Racing and was bred by Legacy Farm.
  • In a rugged $50,000 allowance test on March 30, Grasshoppin, a seven-year-old Pennsylvania-bred gelding by Cat Thief, took a slim lead into the lane and then fought off the challenge of Irish Colonel to win by a neck. It was Grasshoppin’s eighth career win from 41 starts and gives him $449,930 in lifetime earnings. He is trained by Claudio Gonzalez for owner-breeder Michael Jester.


  • Three-year-old Keuka Roller won like the 7-10 favorite he was in a March 29 Pennsylvania-bred allowance at Penn National. Under jockey Jorge Vargas, Jr., the Shackleford gelding powered to a 1 1/4-length victory in 1:05.45 for 5 1/2 furlongs, with the show horse nearly five lengths farther back. Keuka Roller, now two-for-two in his brief career, is trained by Cal Lynch for breeder Emcee Stable and his own Lynch Racing.
  • Three-year-old Wentzylvania, a Pennsylvania-bred Afleet Alex colt, turned some heads in his debut March 26 at Parx Racing. Under Joshua Navarro, Wentzylvania dueled for the early lead before drawing away to a six-length victory while ridden out. Running time for the six furlongs was 1:13.08. Wentzylvania is trained by John Servis for Cash Is King LLC and was bred by Carol Zacney.

Jockeys and trainers

  • Trainer Jeff Runco continues to be red-hot at Charles Town. The conditioner won with five of nine starters during the racing week and now has a five-win lead over Ronney Brown in the trainer standings, 26-21. During March, Runco won 18 races from 61 starts at Charles Town — 11 more wins than any other trainer.
  • Also at Charles Town, Arnaldo Bocachica won with four of 10 mounts during the week to draw even with Christian Hiraldo in the jockey win column with 28. They are both six behind first-place rider Gerald Almodovar, while Hiraldo leads in the money chase.
  • At Penn National, trainer Tim Kreiser won with five of 10 starters. He has now won with 40 of 113 starters in Grantville; no other trainer there has more than 14 scores so far this year.
  • Jockey Frankie Pennington won with five of 16 mounts at Parx Racing during the week, giving him 30 wins at the oval this year. That’s eight more than second-place Mychel Sanchez.