Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: July 21
Hot Rod Charlie, on the outside, battles with Mandaloun in the stretch of the TVG.com Haskell Stakes. Photo: Taylor Ejdys/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: WONDRWHERECRAIGIS. Sunday’s feature was an upper-level allowance sprint, featuring five stakes-quality sprinters on the dirt. Wondrwherecraigis bounced back from a dull showing at Delaware Park last out with a very impressive 5 3/4-length win. He set the tempo early on, while being hounded all the way by Arthur’s Hope. As the field rounded the turn, Wondrwherecraigis dismissed the challenge of his rival, and drew away to win easily, covering six furlongs in 1:09.64. Along with Whereshetoldmetogo and Hello Beautiful, Brittany Russell looks like she has a powerful pair of male sprinters in her stable. The winning owners are Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, and Bethlehem Stables LLC.
- SECOND STAR: BECKON. The second race at Pimlico on June 13 has proven to be a key race. The top two finishers, Out of Sorts and Adelaide Miss, came back to win their next starts, both for Brittany Russell. The third-place finisher, Beckon, made her first start since that race on Friday. Armed with that key-race information, she was the 9-5 favorite, and lived up to the hype. She went gate-to-wire in a starter optional claiming race on the grass, holding on for a half-length win under Jevian Toledo. She covered a mile in 1:38.42, for Five M Stable and Ann Merryman.
- THIRD STAR: OLIVE KAT. Earlier on Sunday’s card, this mare improved to 2-for-2 on the year with a neck win in a starter optional claiming race. Fast Lani lived up to her name early on, zooming out and setting the pace in the five-furlong contest. Although Fast Lani was still clear in the stretch, Olive Kat continued to surge, and got up in the last few jumps for the win. Raul Mena had the winning mount for Old Coach Farm and Michael Gorham.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: COLLEGE KID. This filly picked up her third win of the year, and her first since March 31, on Friday, with an allowance win. She broke on top in the 4 1/2-furlong affair, and did not relinquish control, holding on for a 2 1/2-length win. She’s hit the board in six of eight this year, and was second in the Fancy Buckles Stakes against West Virginia-breds in May. She’s owned by Taylor Mountain Farm LLC, trained by James Casey, and ridden by Reshawn Latchman.
- SECOND STAR: CREEKMORE. He made it three on a row on Friday, winning an open first-level allowance by 6 1/2 emphatic lengths. Breaking from post seven in the seven-furlong race, he contested the pace with News Flash on his inside in the early stages. As they moved towards the half-mile point, Creekmore began to pull away, and was well-clear turning for home. Two of the wins in his streak have come at Charles Town, with the other one taking place at Penn National. He’s owned by Yadier Racing Inc, trained by Irving Velez, and ridden by Gerald Almodovar.
- THIRD STAR: PRIVATELY. On Saturday night, Privately went off as the 2-5 favorite in a West Virginia-bred allowance, on the strength of two runner-up finishes in her last two races. It wasn’t easy, but she managed to wear down early leader Got Your Number in the stretch, prevailing for a neck win, covering 4 1/2 furlongs over a sloppy track in 52.50 seconds. Javier Contreras is the winning owner and trainer, while Sunday Diaz Jr was the winning pilot.
- FIRST STAR: MANDALOUN. Saturday’s TVG.com Haskell Stakes featured a controversial stretch run. As they turned for home, Kentucky Derby runner-up Mandaloun and Belmont Stakes runner-up Hot Rod Charlie were engaged in a pitched battle. Right in behind them, Preakness Stakes runner-up Midnight Bourbon loomed a serious presence in third. At about the eighth pole, Hot Rod Charlie swerved in and cut off Midnight Bourbon, causing him to unseat Paco Lopez. As a result, even though Hot Rod Charlie crossed the wire first by a nose, he was disqualified and placed seventh. Mandaloun was placed first, for his first career grade 1 win. He’s owned by Juddmonte Farm, trained by Brad Cox, and ridden by Florent Geroux. He covered 1 1/8 miles in an impressive 1:47.38.
- SECOND STAR: JOEL ROSARIO. Although Rosario did not win the Haskell, he still had a huge day on Saturday. He won three graded stakes. He came from behind to win the WinStar Matchmaker Stakes aboard Great Island, for trainer Chad Brown. In the next race, he won the Monmouth Cup with Dr. Post, who made a wide rally in the stretch and drew off to a 1 1/4-length win for trainer Todd Pletcher. Pletcher and Lopez teamed up again in the Molly Pitcher Stakes, when Graceful Princess battled for a game 3/4-length win at 14-1.
- THIRD STARS: CHAD BROWN AND TODD PLETCHER. Both trainers had big days on Saturday. In addition to his win with Great Island, Brown also won the United Nations Stakes with Tribhuvan, who received a masterful front-running ride from Flavien Prat and crossed the line two lengths in front. Pletcher won his two stakes with the help of Rosario’s riding. Brown did not have a starter in the Haskell, with Pletcher and Rosario teamed up with Following Sea. They crossed the wire third, and were placed second by disqualification.
- FIRST STAR: MALIBU BEAUTY. This 3-year-old Maryland-bred filly defeated older horses on Saturday, winning a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race by four lengths. She effortlessly made it to the lead from the outside post in the four-horse field, and drew off from there to win easily, going six furlongs in 1:11.57. On the year, she’s now won three times from eight starts. Jaime Rodriguez had the winning mount, for owners Z W P Stable Inc and Non Stop Stable and trainer Gary Capuano.
- SECOND STARS: SUIKO. Last Wednesday, Suiko improved to 3-for-6 lifetime with a gutsy win in a n/w1x allowance on the grass. She was hustled to the lead early by Roberto Alvarado, and established firm control of the pace. Chick’s Shadow moved to engage Suiko as they rounded the turn, and poked a head in front. However, Suiko rebuffed her, and held on to win by 3/4 of a length. Tim Ritchey is the winning owner and trainer, owning under Tim Ritchey Racing Stables Inc.
- THIRD STAR: SEANOW. Later on Wednesday’s card, Seanow sat the trip and drew off to win a n/w1x allowance optional claiming affair by two lengths. After rating in fourth early on, Jaime Rodriguez moved him wide on the turn, and engulfed the leaders in the last sixteenth, covering six furlongs in 1:11.76. He’s owned by Charles Lo and Jagger Inc and trained by Jamie Ness.
- FIRST STAR: RUBEN SILVERA. Not only did Parx’s leading jockey win four races last Monday, he won them all in a row. He won race 4 in gate-to-wire style on Mustn’t Grumble, for trainer Louis Linder Jr. In race 5, he once again scored on the front end, as Evil Woman held them off for trainer Harold Wyner. Silvera teamed up with Jamie Ness in race 6, as Love In Her Eyes rallied from behind to win going away. In the 7th race, Silvera completed the natural grand slam, teaming up with Linder again aboard Sheer Flattery. Heading into this Wednesday’s card, Silvera has 129 wins, to pace all Parx jockeys by a comfortable margin.
- SECOND STAR: HOCKEY PUCK. He was game in victory in last Wednesday’s feature, taking a Pennsylvania-bred n/w2x allowance optional claiming race by a nose. He set the pace early on in the 1 1/16-mile race, then was collared and passed by Chilly in Charge in the stretch. That rival drew clear in the stretch, but Hockey Puck wasn’t done yet. He came back at his rival late, and surged to victory in the last few jumps. That’s his first win of the year from four starts, and his fifth one lifetime. He’s owned by Wagon Wheel Farm, trained by Erin McClelland, and ridden by Tyler Conner.
- THIRD STAR: FORTHELUVOFBOURBON. This Pennsylvania-bred challenged open company on Tuesday, in a n/w2x allowance optional claiming sprint. As the 6-5 second choice, he battled for the lead on the inside and had enough in the tank late, winning by 1 1/2 lengths in a sharp time of 1:09.20 for six furlongs. He’s owned by Smart Angle LLP, trained by Michael Pino, and ridden by Paco Lopez.
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