Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: October 14
Clear Vision wins at Laurel on Sunday. Photo: Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
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: JEVIAN TOLEDO. One of Maryland’s top jockeys had a big opening day on Thursday. Not only did he win three races, one of them was his 1,000th win in the mainland United States. He won his 1,000th overall race in July, but 33 of those wins came in Puerto Rico. The milestone win came in race 2, on Anthony Farrior-trained Instigated. He won the first race of the season on Tauber, for trainer Hugh McMahon, and completed the hat trick in the 4th race on Nobody Knew, for trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer.
- SECOND STAR: CLEAR VISION. A small but select field competed in Laurel’s Sunday feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race on the grass. Clear Vision got the victory by 1 1/4 lengths. He rated mid-pack early on in the six-horse field, battled down the stretch with early leader Dundalk, and pulled clear late for the 9/2 win. Jorge Ruiz was in the saddle, for owner Cheyenne Stables and trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer.
- THIRD STAR: HIP HOP. Shippy looked like a lock in Thursday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming sprint on the grass for fillies and mares. Unfortunately for her many backers, the 2/5 favorite never lifted a hoof, and finished last. Hip Hop pulled off the 11/1 upset, angling out in the last eighth of a mile and outkicking her rivals in the stretch. Jorge Ruiz picked up the win here as well on this mare, who got her first win of the year in this spot. She’s owned by Tracy Makin and Alan Kron, and trained by John Salzman.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: DR. FEELGOOD. Perhaps the brightest of all West Virginia-bred stars shone brightly on West Virginia Breeders’ Classic night on Saturday. He won the night’s first race, the Dash for Cash Stakes, as the 1/9 favorite. With his 2 1/4 length win, he extended his season mark to 5-for-15, and his lifetime record to 13-for-15. He went the 4 1/2 furlongs in 50.91 seconds for Jill Daniel, Crystal Pickett, and Darius Thorpe.
- SECOND STARS: JOHN MCKEE. This West Virginia-based stalwart had a hand in five of the nine winners on Saturday. He owns and trains Vincent Moscarelli Stakes winner Youthinkthatsfunny and Cavada Stakes winner Bridging the Gap, and bred three more winners. Read more about his exploits here.
- THIRD STAR: JEFF RUNCO. Charles Town’s leading trainer had them surrounded on Saturday, entering fifteen horses between the nine races. He came home with plenty of hardware, winning three stakes. His first stakes win came in the West Virginia Tourism Office Stakes, scoring with 1/5 favorite Song of Night. In the Triple Crown Nutrition Stakes, he got another triumph with That Kenney Kid. The hat trick was completed in the Onion Juice Stakes, as local favorite Penguin Power added another stakes win to his resume. Runco’s go-to rider, Arnaldo Bocachica, was on all three horses.
- FIRST STAR: ALMANAAR. You don’t often see a horse win the same stakes race two starts in a row, but Almanaar pulled it off in Saturday’s Monmouth Stakes. Making his first start in 17 1/2 months, he won the grade 3 grass affair by 1 1/4 lengths, after closing sharply into a slow pace. This 8-year-old has won almost $900,000 in his career, including a win in the 2017 Gulfstream Park Turf. He’s owned by Shadwell Stable, trained by Chad Brown, and ridden by Joe Bravo.
- SECOND STAR: NONNA MADELINE. The bettors saw Wednesday’s feature, the Lady’s Secret Stakes, as a two-horse race, between 4/5 favorite Royal Flag and 7/5 second choice Nonna Madeline. The race lived up to the hype, with the two favorites engaging in a dramatic stretch duel. Ultimately, Nonna Madeline defeated the favorite, winning by a desperate nose. She’s now won two stakes on the year, having also won the Summer Colony at Saratoga earlier in the year. Nik Juarez was the winning jockey, for Teresa Viola Racing Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Todd Pletcher.
- THIRD STAR: MUZZLE TOUGH. Single Broad went off as the favorite in a Jersey-bred allowance on Saturday, but was no factor, finishing sixth. Muzzle Tough turned in a big effort to win, battling on the pace, disposing of her dueling partner, falling back on the turn, and rerallying to win by two lengths. Postino’s Champion enjoyed a great trip rating off the duel, and got clear in the stretch. However, she wilted late and enabled her rival to reclaim the lead. Muzzle Tough has now won twice on the meet from five starts, for owner Rock Talk Farm, trainer Greg Sacco, and jockey Joe Bravo.
- FIRST STAR: ROBERTO ALVARADO. This mid-Atlantic veteran had quite the day last Monday. He won the first three races on the card, taking the first race on Uno Tigress, for trainer McLean Robertson, race 2 on Andrew Simoff-trained Breeze off the Bay, and the third race aboard Celestial Cheetah, trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer. Alvarado improved to 4-for-4 on the afternoon, winning race 6 on Lovely Brown, for trainer Steve Klesaris. He narrowly missed a five-bagger in race 7, finishing second by a neck with Ego Man.
- SECOND STAR: DREAMER’S MOON. A tough n/w3x allowance optional claiming field met Saturday afternoon, to do battle at one mile and seventy yards on the dirt. The biggest longshot in the field got the job done, as 8/1 Dreamer’s Moon battled on the lead to win gate-to-wire. In the stretch, favored Shyza loomed large, and looked to give Dreamer’s Moon a stiff challenge. The longshot repelled him, and crossed the line 1 3/4 lengths in front. He’s owned by MCA Racing Stable, trained by Claudio Gonzalez, and was ridden by Raul Mena.
- THIRD STAR: SANDY LANE KITTEN. Thursday’s feature race was a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Sandy Lane Kitten, shipping from Mountaineer, won gate-to-wire in a 10/1 upset. He’s now won four times on the year, at three different tracks. Angel Suarez was in the saddle, for owner Debra Kachel and trainer Richard Hendriks.
- FIRST STAR: JAMIE NESS. He’s asserted himself as Parx’s leading trainer, and continued his dominant streak last Wednesday. He won three races from five starters on the card, scoring in race 3 with Mr. Classical, race 4 with Discreetly Tough, and the 7th race with Two Carat. Ness is way out in front in the training race, with 72 victories.
- SECOND STAR: APPEALING FUTURE. He got his third win in a row last Monday, winning a starter allowance as the big favorite. He battled for the lead on the rail with Baptize the Boy in the early stages of the six-furlong contest. As they turned for home, Appealing Future drew off and won by four lengths, going the distance in a sharp 1:10.38. Jamie Ness and Ruben Silvera teamed up on this one, for owners Charles Lo and Jagger Inc.
- THIRD STAR: PORTAL CREEK. Tuesday’s feature, a n/w1x allowance for fillies and mares, was won impressively by Portal Creek. She went right to the lead and set a fast opening quarter of 22.05 seconds. No one else made a serious rally, and she drew off to a 8 1/2 length win, covering the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.76. She’s now won three times on the year, from nine starts. Silvera was in the saddle on this one, for owner Ten Strike Racing and trainer Juan Guerrero.
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Your five-minute read to catch up on all the Mid-Atlantic racing action you may have missed over the weekend…