Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: September 15
Chub Wagon bounced back to win the Roamin Rachel Stakes at Parx. 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: MATTA. Off a win at Saratoga in a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race, Matta was the odds-on choice in Saturday’s feature at the same level. He needed to call on all of his class, but he got there in the end, winning by half a length in a long stretch drive. He rated in third early on, off early leaders Ziggy Mon and Noble Commander. Those three battled down the stretch together in the last eighth racing heads apart, but Matta edged clear late and prevailed, covering 5 1/2 furlongs on grass in 1:02.57. Julian Pimentel had the winning ride on this Maryland-bred gelding, for owners Larry Johnson and RDM Racing Stable and trainer Mike Trombetta. He’s now won twice on the year from three starts.
- SECOND STAR MS HEADLEY. Sunday’s feature was a n/w1x allowance for sprinting fillies and mares. Ms Headley was impressive in victory, going gate-to-wire for her third win in a row. She broke on top under Denis Araujo, and established a comfortable advantage. From there, she never looked back, winning by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:11.31 for six furlongs. She’s owned by Roger Sterling and trained by Crystal Pickett.
- THIRD STARS: MIKE TROMBETTA AND JAMIE NESS. These two share the early lead in the trainer standings. They each won three races on opening week. Trombetta won three from thirteen starters, while Ness got his trio of wins from just four starters. His other horse finished second.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: CHRISTIAN HIRALDO. Hiraldo had a great day on Thursday. He won three races, winning with all three of his mounts. He prevailed in race 3 on Addy’s Love, for trainer Mike Butts, the 5th race on Happy Champ, for trainer Ronney Brown, and race 6 aboard Michael Atkins trainee Hillbilly Rock. Hiraldo added another win for Atkins on Saturday, giving him a total of four on the week. Hiraldo is fifth in the rider standings, with 58 wins.
- SECOND STAR: BLACK CANDY. He made it five wins on the year on Thursday night, as he took a 4 1/2-furlong allowance race in gate-to-wire style. He rocketed out of the inside post and opened up a long early lead. Turning for home, he was clear by 4 1/2 lengths, and although Company Clown surged at him, he had enough to hold on for a 3/4-length score. All five of his wins this year have come at Charles Town. Gerald Almodovar had the winning mount for owners Diamond Oak Stable and Jessica Williams and trainer Kevin Patterson.
- THIRD STAR: BOSS E BOOGS. A West Virginia-bred allowance was the headliner of Saturday’s card. Boss E Boogs came from just off the pace to win it by half a length. After rating off the lead in the early stages, he moved to the front around the first turn and opened up a commanding advantage. Favored Allen Can Do It, who was involved in an early pace duel, rerallied gamely late, but Boss E Boogs had enough to hold on. He’s now won three times from seven starts on the year, for owner/breeder Tabitha Brady, trainer Joseph Stehr, and rider Wladimir Rocha.
- FIRST STAR: RUNUP. The feature on the Labor Day card was the Sorority Stakes, for 2-year-old fillies at one mile on the dirt. Runup, a Maryland-bred daughter of Runhappy, went gate-to-wire in a 13-1 upset. She opened up a long early lead, and despite a mild challenge at the top of the stretch, held clear for a three-length win. She broke her maiden at Pimlico in mid-August, and continued to move forward with her win Monday. James McIngvale is the winning owner and breeder, Laura Wohlers is the winning trainer, and Joseph Ramos was in the saddle.
- SECOND STAR: FRANCATELLI. Going into Saturday’s card, Francatelli was still looking for his first stakes win of the year. He was stakes-placed several times on the year, but hadn’t found the winner’s circle since his triumph in the Concern Stakes at Laurel last November. On Saturday, he broke through, with a determined win in the Rumson Stakes. He was pressed on the lead throughout the five-furlong contest, but dug in and held on for a neck win. He’s owned by Maribeth Sandford and Lynch Racing LLC, trained by Cal Lynch, and ridden by Mychel Sanchez.
- THIRD STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Once again, Lopez had a big day on Saturday, with four victories. He won three races for trainer Wayne Potts, taking race 2 with Greatest Love, race 3 aboard Paul the Waiter, and race 10 with Croi Mor. He also won race 9 on Scott Lake trainee Baby Ice. This marks the fourth consecutive Saturday that Lopez has won at least four races.
- FIRST STAR: BEAUTIFUL GRACE. This sophomore filly continued an impressive Delaware season on Saturday, with her third win in a row. Sent off as the slight 2-1 favorite in a n/w2x allowance optional claiming grass sprint, she was pressed on the lead throughout, but held them all off to win by a length in a blanket finish. She’s owned by Morris Kernan Jr, trained by Jaime Ness, and ridden by Jamie Rodriguez.
- SECOND STAR: WEATHER WIZ. Ness and Rodriguez also teamed up to win Monday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race which was washed off the grass and run on the main track. As the 1-2 favorite in the 1 1/2-mile contest, Weather Wiz battled in the stretch and won by a head, for his third victory of the year. The winner is owned by Jagger Inc.
- THIRD STAR: SAMMIE SUNSHINE. Earlier on the Saturday card, Sammie Sunshine won her sixth race of the year, and her third in a row. She won a n/w1x allowance optional claiming race going long on dirt by 4 1/2 lengths. She set the pace early and was pressed throughout, but shook off her competition and drew off to a handy win. 2-5 favorite Striking Chrome pressed the leader, but proved no match and finished second. The winner is owned by Larry Metz, trained by Michael Gorham, and ridden by Raul Mena.
- FIRST STAR: CHUB WAGON. After a surprising defeat two races back, Chub Wagon bounced back on Monday, with a win in the Roamin Rachel Stakes. Sent off as the 1-5 choice, she rated off early leader B B’s Rocket, then wrestled clear in the last three-sixteenths and drew off to a four-length win. She covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.91, for owners Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut, trainer Guadalupe Preciado, and jockey Jomar Torres.
- SECOND STAR: SWEET WILLEMINA. Monday’s co-feature was the Salvatore M. Debunda PTHA President’s Cup Stakes, which was washed off the grass and run at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Sweet Willemina won by seven lengths as the odds-on choice, stalking the pace and drawing off impressively. Silvestre Gonzalez had the winning mount for owners Richard Ciavardone and Home Team Stables and trainer Scott Lake.
- THIRD STAR: FRANKIE PENNINGTON. Pennington won four races on Monday’s 12-race program. He won race 1 on Disco Ebo, for trainer Robert Reid Jr, the third race on Sevier, trained by Jamie Ness, race 6 on Louis Linder Jr-trained Stonegate, and race 8 aboard Flashing Diamond, trained by Jacinto Solis. Pennington is a clear-cut second in the jockey standings, with 114 wins.
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