Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: August 25
H P Moon won impressively at Pimlico Saturday. Photo: Jim McCue/MJC
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. Both Maryland-bred stakes for 3-year-olds, the Star de Naskra Stakes for the boys and the Miss Disco Stakes for the fillies, were won by horses ridden by Sheldon Russell. Jaxon Traveler was impressive in victory in the Star de Naskra, albeit over only two rivals. He dueled with Cry No More through very fast fractions, including a half-mile in a supersonic 44.94 seconds, then pulled away in the stretch and won by three lengths. He went six furlongs in 1:10.21, for his second stakes win this year. The winner is owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner, and trained by Steve Asmussen. In the four-horse Miss Disco, Malibu Beauty took a slight early lead as the odds-on favorite and did not look back, winning by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:11.48. Russell won that race for owners Z W P Stable and Non Stop Stable and trainer Gary Capuano. Russell finished fifth in the Pimlico jockey standings, with 26 wins from 164 mounts.
- SECOND STAR: H P MOON. This Lacey Gaudet-trained 2-year-old made waves with a very impressive maiden special weight score on Saturday. He made headlines a few weeks ago when he was scratched at Saratoga because he could not be identified. He was brought back to the mid-Atlantic and was dismissed as the 2-5 favorite in his career debut. He crushed the field by 9 3/4 lengths, going six furlongs in 1:10.76. That’s faster than Malibu Beauty went a few races later, and just a few ticks slower than Jaxon Traveler’s time. Jevian Toledo had the winning mount, for K E M Racing Stable and Five Hellions Farm.
- THIRD STARS: KISS THE GIRL AND SOMEKINDOFMAIGICIAN. There were a pair of grass stakes for Maryland-breds on Saturday, the All Brandy Stakes for the girls and the Find Stakes for the boys. Trombetta swept them both. In the All Brandy, 16-1 longshot Awesome Jazz opened up a clear lead at the top of the stretch, and looked like she would pull off the upset. However, Kiss the Girl closed powerfully on the outside, despite not changing leads, surged for a neck victory. She’s owned by Three Diamonds Farm, trained by Mike Trombetta, and ridden by Victor Carrasco. In the Find, Somekindofmagician, under Angel Cruz, rallied wide in the stretch and won going away by 1 3/4 lengths at 9-1. He’s owned by Bell Gable Stable LLC and trained by Gary Contessa.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: CHARITABLE SPENNY. On Thursday night, Charitable Spenny won his second race of the year, taking a West Virginia-bred allowance optional claiming race by 2 3/4 lengths. Javier Rivera put his mount on the lead early in the 1 1/16-mile affair, and he never looked back. Turning for home, he led by 4 1/2 lengths, and although Moonlit Night cut into his advantage late, he held on for the win. It’s his second win of the year from six starts, with earnings of more than $34,000. He’s owned by T.W. Stables LLC, trained by Linda Dollinger-Stehr, and was ridden by Javier Rivera.
- SECOND STAR: BLACK CANDY. Saturday night featured a West Virginia-bred allowance optional claiming race at 4 1/2 furlongs. Black Candy won for the fourth time this year, and continued his streak of not missing the board in eight races this year. He dueled on the lead with He’s on the Line, then held off Be Be Bop late to win by half a length. Gerald Almodovar had the winning mount, for owners Diamond Oak Farm and Jessica Williams and trainer Kevin Patterson.
- THIRD STAR: FIRE DOWN BELOW. To compensate for the cancelled August 14 card, Charles Town held a special card on Sunday the 22nd. On that program, recent Penn National invader Fire Down Below lasted on the lead and prevailed in a starter allowance contest by 2 3/4 lengths. He briefly battled with Prota on the lead, then shook that rival off and pulled clear at the wire. He won three in a row at Penn National, then saw that win streak snapped when he came here last out. However, he rebounded well here. He’s owned and trained by Amy Albright, and was ridden by Gerald Almodovar.
- FIRST STAR: CODE OF HONOR. Heading into Saturday’s Iselin Stakes, there was no doubt multiple grade 1 winner Code of Honor was the classiest member of the field. The only question was if he could shake off the rust of a long layoff, having not raced since January. He silenced the doubters with a professional 2 1/4-length win. Paco Lopez angled him wide in the stretch, and he wore down West Will Power and Phat Man late, pulling clear in the last few strides. He’s now earned more than $2.8 million in his career, for owner William Farish and trainer Shug McGaughey.
- SECOND STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Monmouth’s leading jockey had a big day on Saturday beyond Code of Honor, with four victories. In addition to his Iselin win, Lopez won race 3 on Baby Ice, trained by Scott Lake, the 5th race on Saffie Joseph-trained Daria’s Angel, and race 10 on VIP Nation, for trainer Wayne Potts. Lopez had three chances to get five wins, but came up empty. Nonetheless, he holds a commanding lead in the rider standings, with 66 wins total.
- THIRD STAR: ISAAC CASTILLO. Another one of Monmouth’s top jockeys had a solid day Saturday, winning three races. Castillo won race 7 on Awesome Launch, for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and went back-to-back with a race 8 win aboard Magic Moonstar, for Leopoldo Ortega. He completed the hat trick in race 13, as Nova Supersport got the job done for trainer Pat McBurney. That big day moved Castillo into second place in the rider standings. He now has 39 wins.
- FIRST STAR: OCEANS MAP. The Cape Henlopen Stakes, originally scheduled for August 11, was rescheduled for last Monday due to excessive heat. Oceans Map rebounded off a disappointing United Nations Stakes to win the 1 1/2-mile grass contest by 1 1/2 lengths. Despite racing wide on the turns, he took charge in the last sixteenth and drew away under Isaac Castillo, covering the twelve furlongs in 2:26.53. He’s owned and trained by Greg Sacco.
- SECOND STARS: ALWAYS SUNSHINE. One race prior, a stakes-quality allowance optional claiming field lined up to do battle in a dirt sprint. Always Sunshine, a multiple stakes winner in his career, stalked the leader, Hopeful Treasure, in the early stages. As they rounded the turn, he moved to engage that rival, and they were heads apart entering the stretch. In the end, Always Sunshine pulled clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths as the 9-5 favorite. He’s owned by Stonehedge LLC, trained by Ned Allard, and ridden by Carol Cedeno.
- THIRD STAR: LE WEEKEND. Wednesday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares, went to Le Weekend, a Jamie Ness trainee who won her third straight race. She dueled with Take Charge Erica most of the way, but pulled clear in the stretch. She then held off the closing rally of longshot Tara’s Talent to win by a neck. Favored We Miss Susie raced wide throughout and came up empty. The winner is owned by Madison Avenue Racing Stables and Jagger Inc and ridden by Jaime Rodriguez.
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