Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: October 6

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

Swiss Skydiver

Swiss Skydiver wins the Preakness. Photo: Allison Janezic. 

Plenty of racing action took place throughout the Mid-Atlantic this past week.

Here’s a look at the “three stars” of each track:


  • FIRST STAR: SWISS SKYDIVER. This year’s Preakness was one of the most dramatic in history. Kentucky Oaks runner-up Swiss Skydiver battled down the stretch with Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in a stirring duel. The filly prevailed by a neck, becoming the first filly to win the Preakness since Rachel Alexandra in 2009. You can find more of the Racing Biz’s coverage here.
  • SECOND STAR: HARPERS FIRST RIDE. Although Swiss Skydiver got most of the headlines Preakness weekend, Maryland-breds also got their piece of the spotlight. Friday afternoon, Harpers First Ride won the Pimlico Special, for locally based Claudio Gonzalez and Angel Cruz. Cruz put his mount on the pace on the speed-favoring track, in a race without much speed on paper. The maneuver paid off, as Harpers First Ride dismissed the challenge of favored Owendale and drew off to win by two lengths. Although his people did not mention a possible next race, it’s worth noting that Harpers First Ride is Breeders’ Cup eligible. Read more about his big win here.
  • THIRD STAR: LAKI. Preakness day saw another locally based horse get a big win, with Laki winning the DeFrancis Dash. He came from off the pace, then charged on to win by a nose, for another locally based trainer/jockey combo: Damon Dilodovico and Horacio Karamanos. Another Maryland-bred, Eastern Bay, finished second. More coverage of the race can be found here


  • FIRST STAR: WILLMAKEYOUHAPPY. Shipping from Laurel Park, this gelding crushed the field in Friday night’s feature. He went off as the 1/5 favorite in a n/w1x allowance at seven furlongs, and was immediately sent to the lead by Arnaldo Bocachica. He never looked back, coasting under the line 4 3/4 lengths in front for his fourth win of the year. He’s owned by John Fanelli and trained by Anthony Farrior.
  • SECOND STARS: NOT A TRICK. He won for the third time in his past four races on Saturday. Sent off as the favorite in a West Virginia-bred allowance at 4 1/2 furlongs, he went to the front right out of the gate and held on easily. He’s owned by Robert Cole, trained by Kevin Patterson, and was ridden by Gerald Almodovar. 
  • THIRD STAR: COLLEGE KID. Thursday’s feature also saw a winning favorite. College Kid took a n/w2L West Virginia-bred allowance, going gate-to-wire in the 4 1/2 furlong contest. She crossed the line 1 1/4 lengths in front in 52.59 seconds, for owner Taylor Mountain Farm, trainer James Casey, and Gerald Almodovar.


  • FIRST STAR: IT CAN BE DONE. It was done indeed, in Sunday’s Nownownow Stakes. It Can Be Done opened up a big early lead in the one-mile grass affair, leading by six lengths while setting a slow pace. No one was able to catch him, and he cruised to the line 2 1/2 lengths in front. That’s his second career win, and his first one on grass. He is Breeders’ Cup eligible; it remains to be seen if he’ll tackle the Juvenile Turf. He’s owned by Red Oak Stable, trained by Greg Sacco, and was ridden by Jose Ferrer.
  • SECOND STAR: JOSE FERRER. Ferrer had quite the day on Sunday. In addition to his win on It Can Be Done, he won three other races on the 12-race program. He won another race for Sacco, scoring in race 3 with Psychic Ability. He teamed up with Patricia Farro in the 4th race on Radiantrithym, and won on Wayne Potts trainee The Queens Jules in race 5. 
  • THIRD STAR: BELGRANO. Saturday’s feature, the Buddy Raines Stakes, saw a mild upset. 1/1 favorite The Queens Jules set the pace early on in the 5 1/2 furlong grass contest, and looked clear turning for home. However, Belgrano sat mid-pack early on, and nailed him on the money at the wire. The winner’s now won three times on the year from ten starts, while earning more than $105,000. He’s owned by Peace Sign Stable, trained by Frank Russo, and was ridden by Jorge Vargas. 


  • FIRST STAR: MILITIAMAN. Monday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race at a mile on the dirt, saw a win by disqualification. Super John crossed the wire a neck in front after setting the early pace. However, he drifted out in the stretch, interfering with the rally of Militiaman. As a result, the 6/5 favorite was put up as the winner. Militiaman has now won three times from six starts, including wins in two races in a row. Brian Pedroza was in the saddle on the winner, for owner DARRS Inc. and trainer Mike Stidham. 
  • SECOND STAR: CAROL CEDENO. Delaware’s top jockey got a natural hat trick on Thursday. SHe won race 3 on Muhlenberg, for trainer Anthony Pecoraro, race 4 with Kieron Magee’s Warm, and the 5th race on Scott Lake trainee Otis Otis Otis. Cedeno has 68 wins on the meet at Delaware, and has all but sewn up the riding title with two weeks to go.
  • THIRD STAR: PHISH FAN. He’s still going strong at age 10, winning his third race in a row on Wednesday afternoon. He took a starter allowance field gate-to-wire, cruising to win the 5 1/2 furlong race by 3 1/2 lengths. In his career, he’s won sixteen times from 70 starts, and has finished second sixteen more times. He’s owned and trained by Daniel Velazquez, and was ridden by Abner Adorno.


  • FIRST STAR: I’M THE TALENT. A wet Tuesday card saw a n/w2x allowance for fillies and mares go as the feature. I’m the Talent won in gate-to-wire style. She encountered early pressure on the inside from Doctorsofmischief, then brushed off her rival on the turn and pulled clear. She won by two lengths, going the six furlongs in 1:11.04. Angel Rodriguez was in the saddle, for owner Aurora Vista LLC and trainer Scott Lake. 
  • SECOND STAR: JUMP FOR ALEX. Compound It was the favorite in Monday’s feature, a n/w3x allowance at one mile on the dirt. While he set the pace, he tired late, and 9/1 Jump For Alex rallied for the win. That’s the first win of the year for this Pennsylvania-bred gelding, who was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Storm Cat Stakes. He’s owned by Robert Stone, trained by Guadalupe Preciado, and ridden by Jeremy Laprida. 
  • THIRD STAR: MYCHEL SANCHEZ. Parx’s top jockey had a big day on Tuesday, with three victories. He won the third race on Slingin Sammy B, for trainer Joseph Taylor. He got the double with Michael Pino’s Penance in the seventh race, and completed the hat trick with Sail at Sunrise in race 9, for trainer Guadalupe Preciado. Sanchez now has 93 wins on the year at Parx, 24 more than runner-up Frankie Pennington. 


About The Author

John Piassek

John Piassek is currently the communications manager for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. He's written for Thee Racing Biz since 2015, and has also written about mid-Atlantic racing for Danonymous Racing and the Daily Gallop. In the past, he's worked for America's Best Racing, Freehold Raceway, Tioga Downs, Saratoga Race Course, and Monmouth Park. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2018 with a degree in marketing, and is a member of the inaugural Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program class of 2017. Find John on twitter: @theyreoff.

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