Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: September 1

by | Sep 1, 2021 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

Art Collector

 Art Collector won the Charles Town Classic on Saturday. Photo: Allison Janezic/The Racing Biz

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: CYNERGY’S STAR. The first running of the Timonium Juvenile was held on Sunday, as six three-year-olds traveled 6 1/2 furlongs on the Timonium bullring. The winner was 6-1 Cynergy’s Star, for trainer Kenneth Cox and jockey Jevian Toledo. He rated off the leaders early, then moved to engage with Up for the Chance as they moved up the backstretch. Despite lugging in in the stretch, Cynergy’s Star worked his way by Up for the Chance, and won by two lengths. This Maryland-bred broke his maiden at Pimlico on August 14, and maintained his good form with this win to push his earnings past $100,000. He’s owned by Bonuccelli Racing. 
  • SECOND STAR: JUSTALITTLEVIOLENT. Earlier on the Sunday, sprinting fillies and mares took the stage in an open allowance. Madam Meena, a Jamie Ness trainee making her first start off a long layoff, was the odds-on choice, but flattened out to finish fourth. Justalittleviolent, with Angel Cruz in the saddle, broke alertly, crossed over to the lead, and held on to win by 2 3/4 lengths. She covered four furlongs in 46.63 seconds, for her third win in a row at three different tracks, for owner Joseph Besecker and trainer Hugh McMahon.
  •  THIRD STAR: TORCH OF TRUTH. The opening feature was a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs, and saw a dramatic three-horse photo finish. Torch of Truth rated off leaders Youngest of Five and Ziggy Mon, then moved to engage as they rounded the final turn. The three of them hit the line together, but Torch of Truth prevailed by a nose, with Youngest of Five a neck clear of Ziggy Mon. Torch of Truth got his first win of the year in this race, scoring a mild 7-1 upset. He’s owned by Marie Trombetta, trained by Mike Trombetta, and ridden by Julian Pimentel. 


  • FIRST STAR: ART COLLECTOR. The feature of the Charles Town season, the Charles Town Classic, was held on Friday night. Art Collector was sent off as the favorite, and he did not disappoint, winning by 1 1/2 lengths. Luis Saez, who flew down for the mount after riding at Saratoga earlier in the day, kept his mount right on the heels of last year’s winner, Sleepy Eyes Todd, who set the early pace. As they entered the stretch, Art Collector put his head in front, and forged clear to cross the wire a winner. He’s now won two stakes this year, having taken the Alydar Stakes at Saratoga earlier this month. He’s owned by Bruce Lunsford and trained by Bill Mott.
  • SECOND STAR: R ADIOS JERSEY. One race prior, R Adios Jersey took them gate-to-wire to win the Charles Town Oaks. Paco Lopez aggressively sent his filly to the lead from post eight, and secured the rail and the front by the time they hit the backstretch in the seven-furlong race. From there, no one was able to seriously challenge her, and she won by 3 1/4 lengths. She improved to a perfect 5-for-5 in her career, with all four of her prior wins in her home state of Florida. She’s owned by Averill Racing LLC and ATM Racing and trained by Georgina Baxter. 
  • THIRD STARS: ARNALDO BOCACHICA AND JEFF RUNCO. Charles Town’s leading jockey/trainer combo won five races on Friday night, including a natural grand slam and three stakes races. They won the Robert G. Leavitt Stakes with Social Chic and the Frank Gall Memorial Stakes with undefeated Muad’dib, who is now a perfect 7-for-7. They also scored in the Sadie Hawkins Stakes with Star of Night, who has now won seven straight races. In addition to their stakes wins, they won race 3 with Heretodaygonmanana and race 5 with Aaron’s Tap.


  • FIRST STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Lopez tied his own record on Saturday, when he won seven races on the card. He won five consecutive races at one point, sweeping races 5 through 9. He missed the board with his next two mounts, but bounced back in race 12 with Dontlosemymoney, for trainer Pat McBurney, and the 13th race, the Miss Liberty Stakes, aboard Shug McGaughey-trained Vigilantes Way. It marked the third time in his career he’s won seven in a day, the first two times came in 2014 at Monmouth. 
  • SECOND STAR: PICKIN TIME. Sunday was Jersey-bred day, featuring a bevy of races spotlighting horses from the Garden State. Off a fourth-place finish in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes, Pickin’ Time bounced back with a 1 3/4-length win in the New Jersey Breeders’ Handicap. He made a four-wide move on the turn, and got by odds-on favorite Golden Brown for his first win of the season. Nik Juarez had the mount, for owner Roseland Farm Stable and trainer Kelly Breen. 
  • THIRD STAR: VIGILANTES WAY. Already a stakes winner at Monmouth this year, Vigilantes Way on the Miss Liberty on Saturday by half a length. Lopez rated her on the rail early on, then angled three-wide and wore down the leaders to win as the 3-5 choice. She won the Eatontown Stakes here back in June. Phipps Stable are the winning owners.


  • FIRST STAR: CASHING BIG CHECKS. Last Wednesday’s feature, the Blue Hen Stakes, saw an exciting stretch battle between Cashing Big Checks and Mama G’s Wish. Cashing Big Checks went for the lead, and battled with favored My Boss, who backed up around the turn. Cashing Big Checks held sway, but Mama G’s Wish moved to engage in the stretch. The two dueled through the wire, with Cashing Big Checks getting the nod by a nose in her maiden-breaking score. She’s owned by Troy Johnson and Jagger Inc, trained by Jamie Ness, and ridden by Jaime Rodriguez. 
  • SECOND STAR: REBEL EMPIRE. In the Dover Stakes on Thursday, Rebel Empire pulled off a 16-1 upset. He stalked a speed duel between Stevethevandriver and Stormy Bonnie, then moved past those tired rivals on the turn and drew away to win by four lengths. He improved to 2-for-3 in his career. In the only race he lost, he lost the jockey at the start. Aubrie Green was in the saddle for owner Ronald Sapp and trainer Lynn Ashby. 
  • THIRD STAR: CONFESSOR. Earlier on Wednesday’s card, Confessor cruised to a n/w2x allowance optional claiming win in gate-to-wire style. This Maryland-bred gelding opened up a clear early lead in the opening stages of the 1 1/16-mile race, and never looked back, as he won by four lengths for his second win of the year. He’s owned by Robert Corsini, trained by Scott Lake, and ridden by Daniel Centeno. 


  • FIRST STAR: FULSOME. Brad Cox has had no shortage of top 3-year-olds this year, and he brought one of them to Parx last Tuesday. As the favorite, Fulsome won the Smarty Jones Stakes by two lengths. Florent Geroux kept him towards the back of the six-horse field early on, then moved him wide in the stretch. Under strong handling from Geroux, Fulsome wore down the early leaders for a two-length win. This marks Fulsome’s third stakes win of the year; he previously won the Oaklawn Stakes and the Matt Winn Stakes. Juddmonte are the winning owners. 
  • SECOND STAR: LOVELY RIDE. She had to fight for it, but Lovely Ride won the Cathryn Sophia Stakes at Parx last Monday in gate-to-wire style. Reylu Gutierrez put her on the lead early, and she continued to set the tempo as they entered the stretch. Despite stiff challenges from several of the closers, including favored Leader of the Band, Lovely Ride dug in and held on to win by half a length. She’s owned by Allied Racing Stable LLC and trained by Bret Calhoun. 
  • THIRD STAR: BEREN. This Pennsylvania-bred 3-year-old won his sixth race of the year last Tuesday, and his fourth stake, when he won the Parx Summer Sprint by 6 1/2 lengths. With a comfortable advantage throughout, he drew away in the stretch for a commanding win, covering the distance in 1:10.19. It’s likely that he’ll appear in the Gallant Bob Stakes over this track on September 25, where he’ll bid for his first graded stakes win. Frankie Pennington had the mount for St Olmer’s Farm and Christopher Feifarek and trainer Robert Reid. 


About The Author

John Piassek

John Piassek is currently the communications manager for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. He's written for Thee Racing Biz since 2015, and has also written about mid-Atlantic racing for Danonymous Racing and the Daily Gallop. In the past, he's worked for America's Best Racing, Freehold Raceway, Tioga Downs, Saratoga Race Course, and Monmouth Park. He graduated from Loyola University Maryland in 2018 with a degree in marketing, and is a member of the inaugural Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program class of 2017. Find John on twitter: @theyreoff.

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