BRAVO, CRUZ STAR IN MIDLANTIC STAKES
Laurel Park hosted four stakes on Saturday, and while Monmouth Park had just one, it was the Grade 3, $150,000 Red Bank.
Here’s what happened:
- Maryland Million draws 281 pre-entriesA bevy of defending champions and local stars headline the pre-entries for Jim McKay Maryland Million, which will take place at Laurel Park on Oct. 14.
GRADE 3 RED BANK STAKES
Jersey Joe Bravo won his seventh stake – three of them graded – of this year’s Monmouth meet as he guided heavily favored Analyze It (1-2 at post time) to a 1 3/4-length score in the one-mile turf test for three-year-olds and up.
Running time for the mile on firm turf was 1:35.54, with Analyze It getting the last half-mile in under 47 seconds. Trained by Chad Brown, Analyze It, a five-year-old by Point of Entry, now has four wins and $849,400 in earnings from nine career starts.
“It’s so nice when you deal with the best of the best,” said Bravo. “He came over to the track with so much professionalism, so relaxed. Just by his demeanor you can tell he’s a good one.
“He broke alertly and what makes him such a professional is he has been taught to turn it off and relax. Good horses make creases. He made his. He has run against the best of the best. This was a good spot for him to come back. He should get some confidence from this.”
LAUREL PARK STAKES
Jockey Angel Cruz and trainer Claudio Gonzalez teamed up to take two of four stakes on the Laurel Park card.
The duo were a dominant winner of the $100,000 Deputed Testamony for three-year-olds and up going 1 1/16 miles, when Harpers First Ride won by three lengths; and a late-running winner of the six-furlong, $100,000 Polynesian, when Eastern Bay slipped through inside to overhaul favored Laki.
The win snapped a two-race losing streak for Harpers First Ride, who’d been a well-beaten fifth in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup before finishing second in an allowance at Parx Racing. Cordmaker was second, and Awesome D. J. was third.
“You can see how much he likes it here,” Gonzalez said. “I can’t complain about the trip. He had a perfect trip. He broke good and Angel let the two horses go in front and moved at the right time. He did an excellent job.”
In the Polynesian, Eastern Bay, fourth with a furlong to go, came flying late to win by a length over Laki, the 8-5 favorite who was game in defeat. Running time for six furlongs was 1:08.72. It was the first stakes win for Eastern Bay, a $35,000 claim back in February who is now a 10-time winner in 33 career starts with earnings of $419,184.
“Claudio told me to get a good position because the outside horses have a lot of speed,” Cruz said, “and I was able to put him in a good position and waited for the hole, and it opened for him.”
In the six-furlong, $100,000 Alma North Stakes, Never Enough Time and rider Julian Pimentel were in the speed mix from the jump and held off a late rally from hard-hitting Chalon to win by a length. Running time was 1:10.70 on a fast main track.
“Honestly, we were just hoping to run and get a decent performance. I think the owner [R. Larry Johnson] would have been tickled to death to hit the board in the race,” winning trainer Mike Trombetta said. “To win it, it’s just a hell of a lot better.”
It was the first stakes win for four-year-old Never Enough Time. The Maryland-bred has four wins from eight career starts and earnings of $177,983.
Wicked Awesome took the 1 1/16-mile Twixt Stakes easily to kick off the day’s stakes action. Under rider Horacio Karamanos, she rallied from last of five to win by four lengths in 1:43.33.
The four-year-old Awesome Again filly, who was an RNA for just $18,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic two-year-old sale, now has six wins in 19 career starts with earnings of $202,960 for trainer Ferris Allen’s Warwick Stable operation. The win was her first in stakes company after fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the Obeah Stakes and Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, respectively.
“We had her in a couple of ambitious spots and in both of those spots she got in a lot of trouble and we thought she should have fared better,” Allen said. “This is the easiest spot she’s been in in three races. She had some trouble today, but she was full of run. This filly is terrific when she’s fresh. She’s a filly that just gets one inch better every time she runs. Not many horses are like that.”