Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: September 8

by | Sep 8, 2021 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

 The Critical Way held on to win the Parx Dash. Photo: Barbara Weidl/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: CROUCHELLI. Friday’s feature race, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race going 1 1/16 miles on dirt, ended up in a three-horse photo finish. In the end, the photo finish camera disclosed that 19-1 shot Crouchelli got his nose on the wire in time. He came from more than 14 lengths out of it to surge up the inside late and win it just in time. That’s his second win of the year from five starts. He’s owned and trained by Robert Vukelic and ridden by Leonardo Corujo.
  • SECOND STAR: J.D. ACOSTA. Fresh off a strong Pimlico meet, Acosta had a big day at Timonium last Saturday, with three victories. He won race 5 with Above the Limit, for trainer Cal Lynch, race 7 aboard John Salzman Sr trainee Gallant Gold, and race 8 on Buff My Boots, trained by John Salzman Jr. Thanks in part to this hat trick, Acosta won the Timonium riding title this year, taking 10 races from 47 mounts. 
  •  THIRD STAR: BUFF MY BOOTS. The aforementioned Maryland-bred 2-year-old was impressive on Saturday, as she won for the second time. She took a first-level allowance optional claiming race by half a length, opening up a clear lead early and holding on. Bird Mobberley LLC are the winning owners. 


  • FIRST STAR: GRACE ELIZABETH. A West Virginia-bred optional claiming race for fillies and mares served as the headliner of Thursday’s card. With a three-wide move on the final turn, favored Grace Elizabeth drew away to win the seven-furlong contest by three lengths. That’s her first win of the year from four starts, and snaps a streak of four consecutive fourth-place finishes. Arnaldo Bocachica and Jeff Runco teamed up with this one, for owners Tri-State Stable.
  • SECOND STAR: GAB’S LIL LEAGUER. West Virginia-bred fillies and mares once again took center stage again on Saturday night. 4-5 favorite Suzysellsseashells came up empty, and 5-1 Gab’s Lil Leaguer surged from behind to get up over Imagoodchatterbug for the victory. It was her first win of the year, and her seventh victory lifetime. Jason Simpson had the mount for owner/trainer Tim Collins.
  • THIRD STAR: HOBE SOUND. Later on Saturday’s card, a competitive starter allowance field lined up to battle over seven furlongs. Hobe Sound, one of the favorites at 3.40-1, surged four-wide in the stretch to win by 2 1/4 lengths under Jose Montano. He’s owned and trained by Crystal Pickett. 


  • FIRST STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Fresh off a seven-win day last Saturday, Lopez kept his hot streak going this Saturday, with a six-win afternoon. He won the first three races of the day, prevailing in race 1 with Larger than Life, trained by James Frangella, race 2 aboard Jose Sanchez-trained Ellie Be Dancing, and race 3 with Wayne Potts trainee Taino. Lopez got back on track in race 6 with Sailor Speed, another Potts horse. Lopez and Potts teamed up again in race 7 with Greatest Love. He missed in his next four races, but rebounded in the 12th and final race on the day, as he won the Red Bank Stakes with Value Proposition, for trainer Chad Brown. 
  • SECOND STAR: DOUBLE THUNDER. Todd Pletcher trainee Double Thunder, who won the Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs earlier in the year, loomed large in Sunday’s Sapling Stakes. He had to work for his win, as American Sanctuary opened up a clear lead in the stretch and threatened to pull off the upset. However, Double Thunder chased him down late for a half-length victory. Paco Lopez had the winning mount for Phoenix Thoroughbred III. 
  • THIRD STAR: VALUE PROPOSITION. Value Proposition was the overwhelming 1-5 public choice in the four-horse Red Bank field on Saturday. Much like Double Thunder in the Sapling, Value Proposition had to work a bit for his win, but he eliminated all doubt at the eighth pole when he began to scoot clear, ultimately crossing the line 2 3/4 lengths in front. The horse is owned by Klaravich Stables Inc.  


  • FIRST STAR: TAPPIN CAT. Last Monday’s feature at Delaware was a tough allowance optional claiming contest going long on dirt. Maryland-bred gelding Tappin Cat took charge early and never relented, crossing the line a half-length in front despite a late bid from Mischief Afoot. He’s now won twice on the year, with that win pushing his seasonal earnings over the $100,000 mark. He’s owned by Non Stop Stable, trained by Gary Capuano, and ridden by Jaime Rodriguez. 
  • SECOND STAR: DECOUPAGE. Two races ago, Decoupage stumbled at the start and lost the jockey as the 1-2 favorite. There were no such shenanigans here, as she cruised to win a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race on Saturday by 2 3/4 lengths. The 1-1 choice rated off a speed duel, then rolled by the embattled leaders in the stretch and won handily. Rodriguez had the winning mount on this one as well, for Madison Avenue Racing Stable Inc and Jagger Inc and trainer Jamie Ness.
  • THIRD STAR: OHIO CLASS. Later on the Saturday card, Rodriguez picked up another win, as Ohio Class won a n/w1x allowance optional claiming race by two lengths. He pressed Nashvegas almost the whole way, then moved by him in the stretch and won in 1:10.32 for six furlongs. He’s now won twice in his four-race career. Jeremiah Kane is the winning owner, Ben Perkins the winning trainer. 


  • FIRST STAR: THE CRITICAL WAY. The rescheduled Parx Dash Stakes was held last Tuesday, and featuring an overwhelming favorite in The Critical Way. As the 1-5 choice, he wrestled with the leaders throughout, and held on to win by a nose for his third stakes win of the year. Paco Lopez was in the saddle on this Pennsylvania-bred, for Monster Racing Stables and Jose Delgado. 
  • SECOND STAR: SHE’SALITTLEEDGY. One race prior on the Tuesday card, She’salittleedgy won her fourth race of the year in an absolute rout. She pressed the pace on the inside early, then drew off turning for home and won by 7 1/2 lengths. She’s owned by Gumpster Stable LLC, trained by Scott Lake, and ridden by Frankie Pennington. 
  • THIRD STAR: LOUIS LINDER JR. Linder had a three-win week, including back-to-back victories last Tuesday. He won the last race on Monday with Monday’s With Mike, then took two on Tuesday with The Big Buff in race 3 and Abhaile in race 4. Linder’s 44 wins on the meet have him in a clear-cut second in the trainer standings. 


About The Author

John Piassek

John Piassek has written about mid-Atlantic racing for The Racing Biz, Danonymous Racing, and his current website, the Daily Gallop. 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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