Pricey Autonomous looks for first stakes score in Blue Mtn.
2019 Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies winner Please Flatter Me (here at Laurel Park). Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.
The Pennsylvania-bred Autonomous cost $300,000 as a yearling last September, and if she’s going to make that money back, Wednesday’s $100,000 Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies Stakes for state-breds would be a good place to start.
The Blue Mountain is one of two undercard stakes supporting the $200,000 Fabulous Strike.
Autonomous, a daughter of Quality Road who was bred by Blackstone Farm LLC, made her debut a winning one November 3 at Aqueduct. The Chad Brown trainee led virtually throughout en route to a four-length triumph in 1:10 4/5 for six furlongs.
Since that win, she has posted two half-mile breezes at Brown’s Belmont base. Kendrick Carmouche will have the mount on Autonomous, who is the 6-5 morning line favorite.
Autonomous’ major competition looks to come from three horses.
The Ed Coletti-trained Lula’s Roadrunner (7-2 morning line) won at first asking in June at Parx Racing. While she hasn’t won since, she did place in a state-bred stake at Presque Isle and last out was fourth in the Parx Juvenile Fillies. Roberto Rosado will ride.
Ebo Special (4-1) has a win from four starts for trainer Butch Reid and last out was second in a Laurel allowance behind the talented Bella Aurora. Frankie Pennington will ride.
And Precious (9-2), from the hard-hitting John Servis barn, was a 14-length winner on debut, a race from which the show horse returned to graduate. Trevor McCarthy has the mount.
If the Blue Mountain seems to run through one major player, the 1 1/16-mile Swatara, for older runners, which goes as the second race, is the opposite: a wide-open affair where many runners have legit claims to contention.
The morning line favorite is Name Changer. Now trained by Jorge Duarte, Jr., the six-year-old son of Uncle Mo enjoyed a productive 2018 under the tutelage of Alan Goldberg in which he won four times, including a score in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup. He has not raced since a win last December, which could make this one a challenge, but has attracted the services of Irad Ortiz, Jr. to ride.
If he’s not all the way back, there are other ways to go. Penn lover Monongahela (6-1) returns to a track at which he owns four wins. The Jason Servis trainee won the Grade 3 Iselin at Monmouth over the summer and, after recent tries in Grade 1 and Grade 2 company, should appreciate the class relief today. Jorge Vargas, Jr. will ride.
Jason Servis’ brother John will send out Someday Jones (4-1), a son of Smarty Jones who last out went over $500,000 in earnings. He’s finished in the exacta in his last four main-track starts, including a win in the Roanoke Stakes for state-breds, and will have Frankie Pennington in the irons.
Wait for It (9-2) ran second last out in a Parx allowance in his first start in over five months. The stakes-placed Ed Coletti trainee ran an up-close fourth in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special prior to his break and had won two of three starts before that. Kendrick Carmouche will ride.
Finally, Forewarned (6-1), from the often-tilting-at-windmills barn of Uriah St. Lewis, enters off a win in a 1 ¼-mile stake for Ohio-breds at Mahoning Valley. Prior to that, he’d been a well-beaten third – behind next-out Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run – in the M. P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes at Parx.
The Swatara is the second race on the nine-race card, and the Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies is the third. Post time for the card is 6:00 p.m.
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