Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: February 9
Claudio Gonzalez (left), shown here in 2018, won four races on Friday at Laurel Park. 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: CLAUDIO GONZALEZ. Maryland’s leading trainer had a huge day last Friday, winning four races. He saddled his first winner of the day in race 4 with Stretch the Truth, as Alex Crispin took that one gate-to-wire. Following that, he took the sixth race with Mineshaft Magic, ridden by Angel Cruz. Cruz guided home another winner in race 7, as Conjecture got up for the score. Gonzalez wrapped up the grand slam in the ninth race, as Alex Cintron guided Extra Medium home. Friday’s big day helped Gonzalez establish firm control in the training race; his sixteen wins so far are the most by five victories.
- SECOND STAR: OXIDE. Dropping in class after a try in the Jennings Handicap, Oxide prevailed in a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race on Sunday. Charlie Marquez put him on the lead in the early stages of the seven-furlong contest, and opened him up to a clear lead as they entered the stretch. Although Bybee rallied well and made things mildly interesting, Oxide had enough to hold on for a 3/4-length victory. He’s now won three times in his last four starts, for owner Now or Never Stable and trainer Lacey Gaudet.
- THIRD STAR: ALEX CRISPIN. Crispin continued a strong winter meet on Saturday, with three victories. He took race 2 on Bring Me Answers, for trainer Richard Sillaman, then cruised home in the sixth race on Dale Capuano-trained Keepyourskateson. Crispin completed the hat trick in race 9, prevailing with Bananas on Fire in a stretch duel, for trainer Jose Corrales. His 27 wins so far are almost double the total of runner-up Sheldon Russell.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: ARNALDO BOCACHICA. Bocachica had a huge weekend, winning seven races in two days. On Friday night, he won four races, three of them on horses trained by Anthony Farrior. He continued the hot streak on Saturday, winning three races, including two for trainer Jeff Runco. Bocachica leads the way among Charles Town jockeys, with 32 wins through the meet’s first few weeks.
- SECOND STAR: MEAN BEAN. This West Virginia-bred veteran had won a race at Charles Town every year for the past five years. Going into Wednesday night’s feature, he hadn’t raced since March 21, and was given a 4/1 chance to win the 6 1/2 furlong allowance optional claiming contest. With a perfectly-timed ride from Jason Simpson, Mean Bean got up to win his 9-year-old debut by a nose. He’s now won 11 times from 40 starts, with earnings of more than $275,000. He’s owned trained by Glenn Harrison.
- THIRD STAR: SOCIAL CHIC. Another West Virginia-bred, he won his third in a row on Thursday night. Sent off at 1/5 in the six-horse field, Arnaldo Bocachica rated him just off the leaders, then effortlessly moved him to the lead and took control. He drew off in the stretch for a 4 1/4-length win, stopping the clock for 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:20.82. Smart Angle LLC is the winning owner, Jeff Runco the winning trainer.
- Racing at Parx was cancelled last week, due to the effects of last Sunday’s winter storm.
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