Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: January 20
Street Lute, shown winning at Delaware Park in September, won at Laurel this past Saturday. Photo: Hoofprints.
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: SHELDON RUSSELL. One of Maryland’s top jockeys, Russell is no stranger to big days on stakes-packed card. Last Saturday was no different, as he won three of the six stakes races on the program. He cruised to victory in the Geisha Stakes on odds-on favorite Gale, for trainer Jonathan Thomas. He got his second win of the day in a come-from-behind effort with Wendell Fong in the Fire Plug Stakes, before completing the hat trick on Hello Beautiful in the What a Summer Stakes. His wife, Brittany, trained Hello Beautiful to victory. Russell’s nine wins at the meet are second to Alex Crispin’s sixteen victories.
- SECOND STAR: STREET LUTE. This speedy Maryland-bred filly continued her dominating run on Saturday, with an impressive win in the Xtra Heat Stakes. She drew off to win by five lengths, covering six furlongs in an impressive 1:10.85. That’s her fifth stakes win, the most of any member of her crop. Xavier Perez was in the saddle, for owner Lucky 7 Stable and trainer John Robb.
- THIRD STAR: NATALIA LYNCH. When Wendell Fong crossed the wire first in the Fire Plug, it gave Natalia Lynch her first training win, in grand style. A Maryland native, Lynch has worked for trainers such as Brittany Russell, Ray Handal, and Jeremiah Englehart. She went out on her own last fall, and won the Fire Plug with her nineteenth career starter.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: DAVID WALTERS. A Charles Town mainstay, Walters achieved a milestone on Wednesday night. He sent our Urkillingmebeth to victory in the eighth race, for his 1,500th career victory. Walters won his first race in 1979, and his horses have earned more than $14.4 million while racing predominantly at Charles Town. Darius Thorpe had the mount on the milestone winner, for owners Prostar 10 Racing Stables and The Four Horsemen Racing Stable.
- SECOND STAR: GUSTAVO LARROSA. He had a big night on Friday, pulling off a natural riding hat trick. He got his first win of the night on a 7/1 shot, guiding Anthony Lucas trainee Run on Energy to victory in race 2. In race 3, he went gate-to-wire on Unrideabull, for owner/trainer Michael Sterling. The 4th race saw him complete the hat trick, guiding Twobitsaride to an 18/1 upset win, for trainer Jacob Dillon. So far at the young meet, Larrosa has nine wins, good for second place in the standings.
- THIRD STAR: TAKE ME HOME. She was impressive in Thursday night’s feature, smashing a starter optional claiming field by 7 3/4 lengths. Sent off as the 4/5 favorite, Arnaldo Bocachica put her in a good stalking spot early on, just off the pace. She moved four-wide as they turned for home, and drew off to a strong win. Bush Racing Stable is the winning owner, Anthony Farrior the winning trainer.
- FIRST STAR: MYCHEL SANCHEZ. After a bit of a slow start to his 2021 season, Sanchez picked up the first of what is sure to be many riding hat tricks on Wednesday’s card. He won race 2 on Tally Mo, for trainer Joseph Taylor, and immediately followed in race 3 aboard Philip Aristone trainee Robin’s Destiny. In race 5, he completed the hat trick on Polpis, for trainer Guadalupe Preciado. He’s in a four-way tie for second in the jockey standings right now, with seven wins.
- SECOND STAR: MANOLETE. He made it three in a row last Monday, holding on to win a starter allowance contest by 1 3/4 lengths. He got a perfect trip in the early stages of the six-furlong affair, rating off a free-wheeling loose leader. On the turn, that rival began to tire, and Manolete took full advantage as he opened up three lengths in the stretch. He stopped the clock in 1:11.93, for owner Andy Hawthorne and trainer Bobbi Hawthorne.
- THIRD STAR: SILVESTRE GONZALEZ. Manolete was one of five winners on the week for jockey Silvestre Gonzalez. He won Tuesday’s 3rd race on Thorny Tale, for trainer Mertkan Kantarmaci, and race 8 with Handle With Care, trained by James Noble. On Wednesday, he added two more winners. He scored on Haleem Lee trainee Jump Shot in race 4, then won race 7 on Blue Paint, again for Kantarmaci.
LATEST RACING NEWS
Bold Leader had a troubled trip and ran into a buzzsaw at first asking. That set the Mike Trombetta up to graduate Sunday in his second start.
With her score in Saturday’s Weathervane Stakes, Hello Beautiful also moved to the top of the MATCH Series standings, one of four top contenders in action.
Fancy Her Up dominated the Rachel’s Turn Stakes in fast time on a Charles Town card where veteran Hypothesis and Run to Daylight also won stakes.
Steve Asmussen and Feargal Lynch teamed up to win Saturday’s G3 De Francis Dash, their second win in the race in four years.
Hello Beautiful is odds-on to win for the eighth time in nine starts at Laurel Park in Saturday’s $100,000 Weathervane Stakes.
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.