Mid-Atlantic racing roundup, January 2, 2020
Jockey Trevor McCarthy and trainer Claudio Gonzalez. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.
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:
- Churchill Downs shipper Musical America got the job done in Friday’s feature race, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race at a mile. He got engaged in an early speed duel with Tappin Cat, then shook away and drew off to a two-length win. This was his twelfth start of the year, but his first win. It was also his first start for the Rob Atras barn, after previously being under the care of Jason Barkley. Victor Carrasco had the winning mount.
- Warm capped off a five-win season on Saturday, taking a n/w2x allowance optional claiming affair by 1 ¾ lengths. Tyler Conner rode her to victory in come-from-behind style. She won four in a row earlier in the year, before seeing her streak snapped two starts back. However, she bounced back nicely here, propelling her earnings on the year to $114,700. All five of those wins have come at Laurel. She’s owned by Neal Berch and trained by Kieron Magee.
- Although he entered the racing week in a battle with Sheldon Russell and Alex Cintron for the leading jockey title, Trevor McCarthy slammed the door shut with a huge final week. He turned a natural hat trick on Thursday, winning with Sweet Home Dixie in race 5, Case Dismissed in race 6, and Candygramformongo in race 7. McCarthy put the exclamation point on his season on Saturday, winning five races, including three stakes. In all, McCarthy recovered strongly from his slow start to end the meet with 52 wins. Russell finished second, with 45, and Cintron was third, with 44. McCarthy earned more than $2.3 million with his mounts at the fall stand.
- There was not nearly as much drama with the training race: Claudio Gonzalez won his eighth training title in the last nine Laurel meets. He won 48 races, almost doubling Mike Trombetta’s second place total of 25. Gonzalez’s horses earned more than $1.3 million.
- In the owner race, Robert Bone won that title, with 16 victories. He clinched the top spot in Saturday’s first race, with Buddy’s Run. Joseph Besecker, who led in earnings, was third in wins, with 12.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- Charles Town concluded its 2019 season December 21. The track’s next scheduled day of live racing is January 8.
- After battling neck and neck all year long, Frankie Pennington and Mychel Sanchez ended the season in a tie atop the jockey standings, with 146 wins each. Pennington entered the final day of the meet two wins ahead, but Sanchez turned in a riding double, scoring with Tapete Claire in race 5 and Krissys Manicure in the 8th race. Sanchez had a chance to win the title outright in the season finale, with Stayinsidethecircle, but could do no better than sixth. Pennington held the advantage in winning percentage (22% to 20%) and total earnings ($5 million to $4.56 million).
- Johnny Ritt scored a mild upset in Monday’s feature race, winning a n/w1x allowance optional claiming race for 2-year-olds by 3 ¾ lengths. He went out to a clear early lead, met pressure from Ain’t Wasting Time turning for home, dismissed the competition and drew off to a an easy win. Favored Hopeful Treasure stalked the pace, but came up empty and settled for second. The winner broke his maiden at Parx in September, and was dropping to allowance company after three failed tries in stakes company. He’s owned by Cash is King Stable and LC Racing LLC, trained by Robert Reid, and was ridden by Frankie Pennington.
LATEST RACING NEWS
Still Having Fun, a Grade 2 winner, will make the second start of his comeback in Saturday’s Fire Plug Stakes at Laurel Park.
Eight-year-old John Jones will aim for his third Jennings Stakes title Saturday at Laurel Park against a field including 2019 Preakness runner Alwaysmining.
Anna’s Bandit, winner of six straight, will look to run her streak to seven as the odds-on choice in Saturday’s Geisha Stakes at Laurel Park.
When Hamilton Smith won his 2,000th recently, we wondered: which Maryland trainers have the most wins, and which are closest to career milestones?
Your five-minute read to catch up on all the Mid-Atlantic racing action you may have missed over the weekend…
The MATCH Series returns for 2020 with two new tracks — Charles Town and Colonial Downs — included in the mix.