Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: June 23
Vigilantes Way won the Eatontown Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park. Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-Photo
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. Toledo had a big day in the saddle on Saturday. He won four races on the eight-race card, with all of his wins coming in the big rainbow pick 6 sequence. He started his dominance in race 4, winning with Band on Tour for trainer Gary Capuano. He then won the fifth race aboard Golden Can, trained by Hassan Elamri. In race 7, Toledo completed the hat trick on Madison Myers trainee Grateful Bred. He completed the grand slam in race 8, on Tam Char, for trainer Charles Frock. Toledo’s big day moved him to third in the standings, with 21 wins on the meet.
- SECOND STAR: KING’S HONOR. Saturday’s feature race was a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles on grass. King’s Honor, in his first race of the year, got up to win by a neck. Forest Boyce kept him in third place early on, as Broker’s Reward set the pace. Turning for home, Broker’s Reward began to tire, and King’s Honor wrestled control in the last eighth. Although stretch-running Gunnison surged late, the wire came in time for King’s Honor. The winner is owned by Michael Ryan and trained by Brittany Russell.
- THIRD STAR: FEARGAL LYNCH. Lynch had three mounts on the Sunday card, and he won with all three of them. His first ride of the day came in race 2, when he guided Dancingwithpaynter to victory for trainer Michael Merryman. In race 6, he won going away on Perfume River, trained by Tim Woolley. In race 7, he completed the hat trick on Wicked Hot, for trainer Graham Motion. On the season, Lynch has seven wins from 48 mounts.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: HERO’S MAN. This West Virginia-bred veteran improved to 3-for-4 on the year on Saturday, when he won an unconditioned West Virginia-bred allowance by 7 3/4 lengths. Breaking from post position two in the seven-furlong contest, he encountered some pace pressure early on, but easily dismissed it and pulled away for an emphatic score. He covered the distance over a FAST track in 1:26.79, for owner Taylor Mountain Farm LLC, trainer James Casey, and jockey Reshawn Latchman.
- SECOND STAR: BUMMA GRUMP. Not to be outdone, Bubba Grump is another 5-year-old West Virginia-bred in the midst of an impressive season. He won for the third time this year on Thursday, taking a West Virginia-bred allowance by 4 1/2 lengths. He went gate-to-wire under Antonio Lopez, cruising all the way around while covering seven furlongs in 1:27.89. In his career, he’s finished in the top two six times from eight starts. He’s owned by O’Sullivan Farms LLC and trained by Javier Contreras.
- THIRD STAR: GOLD AND STRIKE. In a dramatic finish, Gold and Strike took a starter optional claiming race on Saturday night by a neck, for her second win of the year. She rated in second off early leader Dark Tricks, who looked clear turning for home. However, after opening up a three-length lead, Dark Tricks began to wilt, and the field swarmed in behind her. Gold and Strike had the jump on her rivals, and held off the surge of 24-1 Gandari for the win. The winner is owned by Exacta BS LLC, trained by Kristy Gazzier, and ridden by Keimar Trotman.
- FIRST STAR: VIGILANTES WAY. Sunday’s Eatontown Stakes attracted a full field of twelve fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Under perfect handling from Paco Lopez, Vigilantes Way stalked the early pace and kicked by longshot pacesetter Valletta for a 2 1/4-length win. This was her second career stakes win, and her first win of the year from four starts. She had improved in every race this year, and enjoyed some class relief in this spot. Last out, she was second in the Gallorette Stakes behind Mean Mary. Vigilantes Way is owned by the Phipps Stable and trained by Shug McGaughey.
- SECOND STAR: THE CRITICAL WAY. Saturday’s feature race, the Get Serious Stakes, featured a field of seven racing five furlongs on the grass. The Critical Way earned his second stakes win of the year, with a three-length victory. He rated in the two-path just off the pace in the early stages, then moved two-wide for the lead in the stretch and wrestled control at the sixteenth pole. He covered the distance in a sharp 55.19 seconds, for owner Monster Racing Stable and trainer Jose Delgado.
- THIRD STAR: SOSUA. This Arnaud Delacour-trained filly improved to a perfect 3-for-3 lifetime on Saturday, as she won a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race by 1 1/4 lengths. She went right to the lead in the early stages of this one-mile contest, and didn’t look back, never relinquishing control and drawing off in the lane under Hector Diaz. Stakes company will very likely be next for this promising 4-year-old filly, who did not debut until March 31 of this year. Mark Grier is the winning owner.
- FIRST STAR: BEANTOWN BABY. Last Monday, Beantown Baby impressively won a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race to improve to 2-for-2 on the year. Sent off as the 1-2 favorite, she rocketed out of the gate and quickly put 1 1/2 lengths on the rest of the field. She never looked back as she cruised under the wire 2 3/4 lengths in front, stopping the clock in 57.46 seconds for five furlongs on the grass. Lifetime, she’s now 5-for-11, with earnings of more than $129,000. She’s owned by Team Valor International LLC, trained by Arnaud Delacour, and ridden by Mychel Sanchez.
- SECOND STAR: FACTOR IT IN. He bounced back off a seventh-place finish in the Frank Whiteley Stakes last out with a sharp 2 3/4-length win in a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs last Saturday. He was dismissed at 32-1, the longest odds of anyone in the seven-horse field. Alex Crispin rated him in mid-pack early on, while favored Wondrwherecraigis set the early tempo. As they turned for home, Wondrwherecraigis began to fade, ultimately finishing fifth. Meanwhile, Factor It In made a big, wide move from the back, and drew off late. He’s owned by Michael Scheffres and trained by Carlos Mancilla.
- THIRD STAR: HONOR THE FLEET. Earlier on last Monday’s card, Honor the Fleet easily defeated a n/w2x allowance optional claiming field by 4 1/2 lengths in a 13-1 upset. After rating in last in the early stages of the four-horse contest, J.D. Acosta moved him four-wide towards the front. From there, he pulled away easily, while favorites Golden Brown and Still Having Fun proved no match. The winner is owned by Frank DeMarco and trained by Louis Albertrani.
- FIRST STAR: MAGIC MICHAEL. Last Tuesday, Magic Michael won an open allowance by 1 1/4 lengths, for his third consecutive victory. As the 4-5 favorite, he rated right off the pace early on in the one-mile race, then got by them late and pulled clear in the last sixteenth. On the year, he’s won four times from six starts, with all four of those wins coming at Parx. He’s owned by Morris Kernan Jr, trained by Jamie Ness, and ridden by Frankie Pennington.
- SECOND STAR: VIOLENT TURBULENCE. Earlier on Tuesday, Violent Turbulence rallied down the stretch to win a n/w2x allowance optional claiming sprint at 11-1. After rating in fourth early on, he closed wide down the stretch and got up in the last few jumps for a 3/4-length victory. That marked his second win of the year, and his third one lifetime. Silvestre Gonzalez was up, for owners Pewter Stable and Spendale Family Racing LLC and trainer Kathleen Demasi.
- THIRD STAR: JAMMINWITHBRANDON. This Harold Wyner trainee won his third race in a row last Tuesday, winning a starter optional claiming race by 8 1/2 lengths. Wyner claimed him from Jamie Ness on June 2, and the claim paid instant dividends. Ted Hoover is the owner; Frankie Pennington the winning jockey.
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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…
Taiba bounced back from a narrow defeat in the Haskell to win the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby Saturday at Parx Racing.
Grateful Bred, winner of last fall’s Maryland Million Sprint, looks to snap a five-race losing streak in Saturday’s Laurel Dash at Pimlico.
In what could be her career swan song, Grade 3 winner Robin Sparkles will look to bounce back and win the Sensible Lady Turf Dash at Pimlico.