Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: March 10
Arnaldo Bocachica, shown here winning on Penguin Power in 2019, won his 2,000th race at Charles Town on Saturday. Photo: Coady Photography
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: PRESS MY BETS. Coming off an impressive allowance win at Parx last out, Press My Bets made his 2021 debut in a tough n/w3x allowance optional claiming race on Friday. He went off at 6.90-1, with some bettors showing concern about him coming off a brief layoff. However, he rewarded those who kept the faith, as he got up late for a half-length win. He rated off early leader Speightsford, then moved after that tiring leader, and held off the closers. He’s now won four times from ten lifetime starts. He’s owned by Richard Malouf, trained by Scott Lake, and was ridden by Carol Cedeno.
- SECOND STAR: SHELDON RUSSELL. Russell had a riding hat trick on Saturday’s card. He bookended the day with wins, taking race 1 on Anthony Farrior-trained Commanding General, and race 9 aboard Fole’s Notion, for trainer Shaun Morrow. In between, he won race 6 on Swirrlie Shirlie, for trainer Michael Gorham. With only three weeks left in the winter/spring meet, Russell is in second place in the rider standings with 25 wins, eight behind the currently idle Alex Crispin.
- THIRD STAR: MONEY RIDE. Saturday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race, was won by Money Ride in a gate-to-wire score. Horacio Karamanos put him on the early lead, opening up by two lengths by the time they hit the half-mile point. From there, no one was able to gain any ground, and he cruised under the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front despite drifting out in the stretch. He’s owned by Cal-Ram Racing LLC and trained by Michael Miceli.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: ARNALDO BOCACHICA. Heading into the racing week, Bocachica needed ten wins to get to the 2,000-win mark. He got going quickly, winning three races on Wednesday, one on Thursday, and four on Friday. He got win 1,999 on Saturday night in race 6 on Cheese Louise, for trainer Lela Hanagan. In the following race, he got win 2,000, guiding home Needs Supervision for trainer Jeff Runco. Bocachica began his riding career in 2006, and has become a dominant force at Charles Town. He’s been the leading riding there each of the last three years,
- SECOND STAR: FLATTER HYMN. A stakes winner in his native Indiana last year, Flatter Hymn made his season debut on Wednesday night in a competitive allowance optional claiming race. Bocachica rated the 8/5 favorite off the leaders early on, then moved towards them as they passed the half-mile point. Rounding the final turn, Flatter Hymn had opened up a 1 1/2-length lead, and pulled clear late for a two-length score over My Friends Beer. With that win, Flatter Hymn improved to 4-for-5 lifetime, with total earnings of over $119,000. He’s owned by New Farm and trained by Jeff Runco.
- THIRD STAR: HERO’S MAN. A Saturday night allowance saw a showdown between two top West Virginia-breds: Hero’s Man and Fancy Concho. Fancy Concho was the favorite at 6/5, but 4/1 Hero’s Man went out and set the early pace. As they rounded the final turn, Fancy Concho put a half-length in front of his rivals, and it looked like he would pull clear. However, Hero’s Man refused to give in, and re-rallied for a half-length victory. Hero’s Man has now won eight times from eighteen starts, with earnings of $176,859. He’s owned by Taylor Mountain Farm LLC, trained by James Casey, and ridden by Reshawn Latchman.
- FIRST STAR: CHUB WAGON. Although she didn’t debut until late in her 3-year-old season, Chub Wagon has quickly made up for lost time. She improved her career record to a perfect 3-for-3 last Tuesday, crushing a Pennsylvania-bred allowance field by ten lengths. In the first few strides, she opened up by three lengths, and never looked back. She covered 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.66. Jomar Torres had the winning ride, for owners Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut and trainer Guadalupe Preciado.
- SECOND STAR: DEXTER HADDOCK. Haddock won three races on the card last Monday. He got his party started in race 2, as Stepping Forward held on for a nose victory for trainer Alexander Martinez. In the next race, he scored on another Martinez trainee, Big City Ralph. He completed the hat trick in the seventh race, as Bow Town Cat, for trainer Penny Pearce, won going away. Through this Tuesday’s races, Haddock has won 13 races from 115 mounts.
- THIRD STAR: JAIME RODRIGUEZ. Not to be outdone, Rodriguez also turned a hat trick on Wednesday. Rodriguez won race 1 on Catch by Vibe, for trainer Ney Pessanha, the 3rd race on Tomarie, trained by Susan Crowell, and race 5 on Jeffrey Englehart trainee Mucho Mas Grande. After this Tuesday’s card, Rodriguez was in a four-way tie for third place in the standings, with 17 victories.
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