Mid-Atlantic racing roundup, October 1
O Dionysus won the Japan Turf Cup. Photo by Dottie Miller.
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:
- O Dionysus, once a Maryland-bred Preakness prospect, has reinvented himself as a long-distance grass horse in the Mid-Atlantic. He solidified his status on Saturday, with a game victory in the Japan Turf Cup. Although he was near the back of the pack early on, he took his usual place near the front by the time they got to the half-mile point. Despite a cavalry charge down the stretch, O Dionysus held on for the victory by a head over the filly Lemon Zip, going the twelve furlongs in 2:28.42. He’s owned by Marathon Farms, trained by Gary Capuano, and was ridden by Jevian Toledo. This was O Dionysus’s fourth career stakes win, and his second one on the lawn.
- Trevor McCarthy won every other stake on the card at Laurel on Saturday, except one. Jorge Ruiz guided Notapradaprice to victory in the All Along Stakes, putting her on the front end and holding on to win by half a length. The five-year-old mare went 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:41.27. It was her second stakes win of the year. She’s owned by Main Line Racing Stable and trained by John Servis.
- Top Line Growth continued a strong campaign on Friday afternoon, taking a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race by almost four lengths. He was near the back of the pack early on in the one-mile affair, before making a six-wide move entering the stretch and drawing off to victory. The 2-5 shot went the mile in 1:37.30. A winner of the Iowa Derby earlier in the year, he was coming off two placings in graded stakes. He’s owned by the Elkstone Group, trained by Kelly Rubley, and ridden by Julian Pimentel.
- McCarthy’s big day on Saturday helped him wrest control of the jockey’s race, with 11 victories through the first month of the season. Julio Correa is hot on his heels in second, with nine wins.
- Despite only one win on the weekend, Claudio Gonzalez holds strong in the trainer standings, leading with eight victories. Cal Lynch is in second, with five wins.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- Whoisaprettygirl began the racing week with a sharp debut victory, winning the first race on Thursday by 5 ½ lengths. Ridden by leading jockey Arnaldo Bocachica, she broke out of the gate on top from the inside post, then drew off from there, going 4 ½ furlongs in a sharp 52.82 seconds. Bet down to 3-5 in her first race, she’s owned by Kozak Racing LLC and trained by Anthony Farrior.
- Castleinthemeadow won a West Virginia-bred allowance race for fillies and mares on Saturday night. Looking for her first win since June, she was off the pace early in the 1 ⅛-mile affair. On the third turn, she drew even with fellow closer Gab’s Little Leaguer, then drove past her and opened up to a 1 ¼ length win. She’s owned by Victor Espinosa and Terri Hebert, trained by Espinosa, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.
- Boca has a long lead in the jockey standings, with 120 wins and a 30% strike rate. His nearest pursuer, Christian Hiraldo, has 72. Among trainers, there’s a similarly yawning gap, with Jeff Runco posting 87 wins, nearly 50% more than his nearest rival, Ronney Brown (60).
- Monmouth hosted a quartet of stakes on Saturday, the final one of the season before action switches over to the Meadowlands. The MATCH series concluded in the dirt sprints, the Regret Stakes and the Mr. Prospector Stakes. Paco Lopez swept both, taking the Regret with Bronx Beauty, and the Mr. Prospector with Lasting Legacy.
- Justaholic blew away the competition in the Rainbow Heir Stakes on the grass, winning by almost five lengths. Jose Ferrer sent his mount right to the lead, and he was pressed in the early stages by Fig Jelly. Justaholic brushed off his rival on the turn, and kicked away to a big win. Fig Jelly held on for a clear-cut second. This was the winner’s third triumph of the Monmouth season, including a victory in the Wolf Hill Stakes. He’s owned by Lucky Man Racing LLC and trained by Tom Clark.
- The Violet Stakes resulted in a thrilling three-horse stretch battle. Saratoga shipper Andina del Sur got up to win by a nose over Theodora B, who in turn was just a neck ahead of Barkaa. The eventual winner rallied five-wide at the three-eighths point to make what proved to be the winning move. This was her first win of the year, and her first stakes victory in eighteen months. Hector Diaz rode the winner for owner Don Alberto Stable and trainer Tom Albertrani.
- Nik Juarez ended the primary portion of the Monmouth meet with 103 wins, aided by two victories on Sunday. Paco Lopez had a solid weekend himself, and has 99 wins heading into the Meadowlands.
- The top three trainers at Monmouth remained largely unchanged over the course of the season: Jorge Navarro was the winner of the trainer race, with 65 wins. Jason Servis was second with 38 victories, and Kelly Breen was third with 34 scores.
- With Frank Mirahmadi returning to Santa Anita Park, Jason Beem was back on the microphone at Monmouth. He’ll handle announcing duties through the end of the season.
- Hey Mamaluke won the Monday feature, taking a $47,000 n/w2x allowance sprint. He was sent right to the early lead and then held on. Turning for home, he opened up a clear 2 ½ length lead, and although he got leg-weary late, he had enough to hold on for a neck victory in 1:25.47 in seven furlongs. He’s trained by Patrician Farro and was ridden by Emmanuel Esquivez..
- The late double on Tuesday was full of drama. In race 8, Missin the Big Dog was interfered with by Forest Fire, and unseated jockey Wilmer Garcia. Garcia was still on the track as the field turned for home, and the jockeys were forced to pull up their mounts. As a result, the race was declared a no-contest.
- One race later, there was a rare double disqualification. Star Player, the 1-20 favorite, came in on Cloudy Saturday at the start, causing that rival to unseat his jockey. Although Star Player won handily, he was disqualified to fifth for the interference. Also leaving the gate, Captain Bober came out sharply, causing Spider Jorgensen to check. That resulted in Captain Bober’s disqualification from fourth to sixth. That all left Bill’s Mafia, 12-1, the winner with 62-1 outsider Proudmiamicitizen in second. The exacta returned $573.80 for two bucks.
- Usual announcer Keith Jones was off this week. Mike Bozich, the announcer at Harrah’s Philadelphia, filled in on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday. John Hernan, the race caller at Yonkers Raceway, called on Sunday.
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.