Mid-Atlantic racing roundup, September 18
Oak Bluffs and Paco Lopez took the Joey P Handicap at Monmouth. Photo By Nicole Dankanich/EQUI-PHOTO.
Plenty of racing action took place throughout the Mid-Atlantic this past week.
Here’s your five-minute read to get caught up on all of it:
- Three second-level allowance optional claiming races served as the co-features on Saturday’s card. Under Alex Cintron, Threes Over Deuces prevailed in race 3, sitting a perfect trip off a speed duel and rolling by in the stretch to win by 2 ¼ lengths at 5/2. The Gary Capuano trainee has now finished in the top two in his last six races.
- Birdsnest Party took race 6, going one mile on the grass. He stalked front-running Tempt Me Twice in the early stages, then drew close to him up the backstretch and continued his pursuit turning for home. The two battled it out down the lane, with Birdsnest Party and Sheldon Russell ultimately prevailing by a neck. This was the first win on the year in eight starts for the Phil Schoenthal trainee.
- Ellyb won the seventh race, going six furlongs on the grass. She, too, had a great trip, rating just off the pace and angling three-wide in the stretch. She coasted to a 1 ¾ length win for trainer Arnaud Delacour and jockey Daniel Centeno.
- Bustoff has been on a hot streak all spring and summer long at Laurel, and he continued it on Sunday. Sent off as the slight 5/2 favorite in a one-mile first-level allowance race, he rated in second in the early stages, off loose leader Marco Island. On the turn, Marco Island faded, and Bustoff took charge. He held off the late challenge of Absolve to win by a head. It was the fifth straight win for the Maryland-bred gelding, who is trained by Hugh McMahon and was ridden by Sheldon Russell.
- Julio Correa has the lead in the jockey standings, with seven victories, while Claudio Gonzalez is on top in the trainer race, with six wins. Gonzalez had a big weekend elsewhere as well, finishing third in the G3 Iroquios Stakes at Churchill Downs with 2-year-old Lebda.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- Laurel shipper Bring Me Answers won the week’s feature, taking an open first-level allowance on Friday night. With Kevin Gomez coming in from Maryland for the mount, Bring Me Answers was well off the pace in the early stages of the 1 1/16 mile affair. At about the three-quarters point, Gomez made his move, drawing to within a length and a half going up the backstretch the final time. Turning for home, she drew even with another Maryland invader, Turkmenistan, but Bring Me Answers ended up pulling clear to win by a length. She’s owned by Greg Wood and trained by Richard Sillaman.
- West Virginia-bred Last Print continued his successful season when winning an open never-won-three allowance race on Thursday. Under Fredy Peltroche, the Javier Contreras trainee sped to the early lead and never looked back en route to a four-length triumph at odds of 2-5. The Fiber Sonde colt stopped the timer in 51.10 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs. Last Print now has six wins from nine career starts and has finished in the money all nine tries; he’s earned $102,200.
- Arnaldo Bocachica and Jeff Runco maintain their leads atop the jockey and trainer standings, with 112 and 83 wins, respectively.
- Oak Bluffs is no stranger to victory at Monmouth, and he added another win to his resume on Saturday, with a win in the Joey P. Handicap for New Jersey-breds. Sent off as the 1/1 favorite under jockey Paco Lopez, Oak Bluffs was well off the early pace before embarking on a five-wide rally on the turn. He got up in the last few jumps to win by half a length, edging out Pnutbutter Special and Like What I See. It was the 19th lifetime win for the 9-year-old gelding, and his second of the Monmouth season. He’s owned and trained by Mary Eppler.
- Phat Man showed a lot of heart in pulling off the upset in Sunday’s Good Magic Mile Stakes. He rated two-wide just off the pace, then made a strong four-wide rally around the turn. In the stretch, favored No Dozing, just to his inside, battled on, and for a moment, it looked like the favorite would get the better of it. However, Phat Man came right back at him on the outside, and as they came to the finish, Phat Man dug in and held on by a head. This was Phat Man’s first win of the year, from six tries. He’s owned by Marianne Stribling, Force Five Racing LLC and Two Rivers Racing Stable LLC, trained by Kent Sweezey, and ridden by Angel Suarez.
- Nik Juarez retained the lead in the jockey standings, with 96 wins, but Paco Lopez continues to keep it interesting, sitting in second place with 88 victories.
- Jorge Navarro has just about wrapped up the training title, with 63 wins. Kelly Breen and Jason Servis continue their dogfight for second, with 35 and 34 victories, respectively.
- Parx hosted a pair of starter handicaps on Saturday. Cuddle Kitten, shipping in from Saratoga, won the filly and mare division by a large margin. She broke on top in the 1 1/16 mile race, then drew away from the field steadily. Although she was under urging throughout the stretch run, she was never seriously challenged and won by five lengths. She’s owned by Flying P Stable, trained by Jorge Navarro, and was ridden by Ruben Silvera.
- Deal Driven continued his excellent campaign with a win in the male division. Sent off as the 4/1 second favorite, he rated off longshot leader Dirt in Your Face, then inherited the lead when the pacesetter flattened out. Dirt in Your Face held on for second, but Deal Driven ultimately won by two lengths. This was his fifth win of the year, from eight starts. He’s owned by Troy Johnson and Charles Lo, trained by Robert Mosco, and ridden by Roberto Rosado.
- Mychel Sanchez won two races over the racing week, while Frankie Pennington won seven. This enabled Pennington and Sanchez to tie each other in the standings, with 99 wins apiece.
- Joseph Taylor maintained a clear-cut lead atop the trainer standings, with 68 victories. He won two races this week.
LATEST RACING NEWS
This weekend’s Met Mile winner Vekoma has won three straight and is on the rise in the latest NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for older horses.
Prendimi was up the track in a Grade 3 last out, but if all goes to plan, that sets him up for Sunday’s Reilly Handicap for NJ-breds at Monmouth Park.
Threes Over Deuces surged late along the rail to win Laurel Park’s Independence Day featured allowance and push his earnings past $350,000.
Heavily favored Gufo had to work for it but rallied to win the Grade 3 Kent Stakes at Delaware Park and set a track record in the process.
Project Whiskey, a Butch Reid trainee, pulled a 38-1 upset in Saturday’s Grade 3 Delaware Oaks, earning 50 points towards the Kentucky Oaks.
Returning from an eight-month layoff, Laki took advantage of a speed duel to rally to victory in Monmouth Park’s opening day feature.