Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: August 11
Sacred Life. Photo by Bill Denver/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:
- FIRST STAR: ANGEL CRUZ. Cruz continued his hot streak on Friday afternoon, registering three victories. He first scored in race 3 aboard 2/1 Awesome Pal, for trainer Kenneth Cox. Next, he got a win in race 5 with 27/1 first-timer Commanding General, winning by a half-length for Crystal Pickett. He completed his triple in the 6th race on 15/1 Ain’t Da Beer Cold, who went into the books as the first 2-year-old winner at Laurel Park in 2020. That was also the second training win of the day for Cox. After an 1-for-71 start to the meet, Cruz has been improving, going 11-for-48 since then.
- SECOND STAR: TIZ FERGUSON. Laurel held its first 2-year-old race for fillies on Saturday, and it was won by Tiz Ferguson, in very impressive style. She broke on top, dismissed some early pace pressure, and drew off to win by five lengths. She covered five furlongs in 57 seconds, 1.11 seconds faster than Ain’t Da Beer Cold ran the same distance the day before. This filly is owned by Hope Jones, trained by Cathal Lynch, and ridden by Lauralea Glaser.
- THIRD STAR: BYE BYE BERTIE. Saturday’s feature saw an upset, as Bye Bye Bertie won a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race by half a length at 8/1. She was well off the pace early on in the 5 1/2 furlong affair, and was still far back as they passed the eighth pole. As early leaders Never Enough Time and Gigging began to give way, Bye Bye Bertie began to surge. Bye Bye Bertie got up in the last few strides, while Never Enough Time got up for second in a photo. The winner went the distance in 1:02.84, for owners Romans, Spiring, and Zoom and Fish Stable, trainer Hamilton Smith, and jockey Xavier Perez.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: DUBAI WAS LIT. This West Virginia-bred filly has been a paragon of consistency all year, never finishing worse than third in eight starts. She absolutely dominated the competition in Friday night’s feature, winning against open n/w1x allowance company at 1 1/16 miles. In the early stages, she was far behind, but began to advance as they went up the backstretch for the final time. She inhaled her tired rivals, and drew off to win by 13 3/4 lengths. Sunday Diaz was in the saddle, for owner O’Sullivan Farms and trainer Javier Contreras.
- SECOND STAR: CHARTIABLE SPENNY. Another hard-knocking West Virginia-bred, he improved his mark at Charles Town this year to 4-for-6 on Saturday night. He was sent right to the lead in a starter allowance contest at seven furlongs, and never looked back, winning by 2 3/4 lengths. Regular rider Javier Rivera was aboard, for owner T.W. Stables and trainer Linda Dollinger-Stehr.
- THIRD STAR: STOWE ANGEL. The trainer/jockey combo of Jeff Runco and Arnaldo Bocachica have a good young filly on their hands. She improved her lifetime mark to 3-for-4 on Saturday, with a win in a West Virginia-bred allowance race. Sent off as the 2/5 favorite, she broke swiftly from post one, opened up a clear lead in the seven furlong contest, and didn’t look back. The winning margin was 5 3/4 lengths, as she covered the distance in 1:27.63 over a wet track. David Raim owns the winner.
- FIRST STAR: BEN PERKINS JR. Perkins, a Monmouth Park training veteran, had a remarkable weekend. He won two races on Saturday, scoring in the third race with Moose Lodge and the eleventh race with Jester’s Honor. As it turned out, he was just getting warmed up. On Sunday, he won the second race with Amatteroftime, while also sending out third-place finisher Evil Monkey. Following that, he took race 4 with Heir Port, the 6th race with Miss Wild, and race 7 with Reconvene. That hot streak improved Perkins’ mark on the meet to 9-for-19, good for second in the trainer standings behind Kelly Breen.
- SECOND STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Paco has been tearing it up at the Monmouth meet, winning at a 31% clip. He also had a big day on Sunday afternoon, with four wins of his own. He teamed up with Perkins on Heir Port, and got two wins for Chad Brown as well, on Sacred Life in race 9 and Pricing Exercise in race 11. In between, he won the tenth race with Awesome Anywhere, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer. Lopez now has 35 wins from 114 mounts on the season.
- THIRD STAR: SACRED LIFE. One of Lopez’s winners came in Sunday’s feature, the Oceanport Stakes. Making his first start since a fourth-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Turf, he was the 6/5 second choice in the field of nine. He was mid-pack in the early stages, and began to roll in the stretch. Early leader Irish Strait began to tire, and Sacred Life rolled by him to win by four lengths. Hawkish closed well to win a photo for second with Irish Strait. The winner is owned by Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Bethlehem Stables.
- DELAWARE PARK
- FIRST STAR: DANCER’S MELODY. Off a fourth-place finish in the Molly Pitcher Stakes last out, bettors made Sweet Sami D the 1/2 favorite in Thursday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance for fillies and mares going long on the dirt. She had to come from behind and ended up a non-threatening third, while Dancer’s Melody pulled off a 5/1 upset. While Squan’s Kingdom set the early pace, Dancer’s Melody say right off it in second, then made her move on the turn. She pulled clear for a 1 1/2 length victory, while Wildcat Cartridge rallied for second. The winner is owned and trained by Tim Ritchey, and ridden by Carol Cedeno.
- SECOND STAR: AMY’S CHALLENGE. The brilliantly fast midwest-based sprinter made her way to Delaware Park on Saturday, going off as the 2/5 choice in a n/w3x allowance optional claiming contest at six furlongs on dirt. She lived up to the hype, lasting on a pace battle with Decoupage, before drawing off to a strong 5 3/4 length win. She went the distance in 1:10.60, for her first win since a score in the 2019 Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Angel Suarez was the winning pilot, for owner Novogratz Racing Stable and trainer McLean Robertson.
- THIRD STAR: VENTRILOQUISM. Monday’s feature also saw an upset. 13/1 Ventriloquism won a n/w1x allowance at five furlongs on the grass, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths after a front-running trip. Making his first start since September 6 at Penn National, he was hustled to the lead by Roberto Alvarado, then encountered a challenge from favored Hide the Ransom on the turn. In the last eighth of a mile, Ventriloquism pulled clear. He’s owned by Pewter Stable and LDJ Stable, and trained by Kathleen DeMasi.
- PARX RACING
- FIRST STAR: DUBINI. This grass sprint veteran scored in last Monday’s feature, taking an allowance race at five furlongs by 3/4 of a length. Off an eighth-place finish in the Wolf Hill Stakes at Monmouth, he was the 7/2 second choice, while recent Delaware allowance winner Battle Station was the 4/5 favorite. That rival was a flat third, while Dubini closed wide down the stretch and got up late. In his career, he’s now won six times from 23 starts, while earning $379,000. He’s owned by Pewter Stable, trained by Kathleen Demasi, and ridden by Frankie Pennington.
- SECOND STAR: FRANKIE PENNINGTON. Speaking of Pennington, he’s doing his best to cut the deficit against leading rider Mychel Sanchez. He turned a hat trick on Monday’s card. In addition to Dubini, he won the fourth race aboard Ahsad and the seventh race with Bet the Pot. After a cancellation on Tuesday, he bounced back with two more winners on Wednesday. With Mychel Sanchez blanked on the week, he’s on top of Pennington 62-44.
- THIRD STAR: PORTAL CREEK. Shipping from Indiana Grand, she dominated a starter allowance field on Wednesday, winning by fourteen lengths. She went out to the lead early on in the seven furlong contest, and pulled away on the far turn for a dominant victory. She spent most of her career in California, and had been racing in the midwest earlier in the year. Jann Hernandez was aboard for Ten Strike Racing and Juan Guerrero.
LATEST RACING NEWS
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will ride Saturday at Laurel for the first time in 14 years, with three mounts, including Roadster in the Polynesian.
Familiar foes – Golden Key, Aaron’s Tap and Hypothesis – meet in Saturday’s Last Enchantment S. at Charles Town, and juveniles meet in two other stakes.
Laki gave trainer Damon Dilodovico his first graded win in last year’s G3 De Francis Dash. He’ll try to defend that crown Saturday.
Roadster, winner of the 2019 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, hasn’t won since and will try to get back on track in Saturday’s Polynesian S. at Laurel Park.
Fresh off a stakes win at Saratoga, Laurel-based Wondrwherecraigis will hunt bigger game in Saturday’s G3 De Francis Dash on his home track.
Your five-minute read to catch up on all the Mid-Atlantic racing action you may have missed over the weekend…