Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: September 22
Jalen Journey (outside) won the DeFrancis Dash via disqualification. Photo: Jerry Dzierwinski.
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: JALEN JOURNEY. In Saturday’s DeFrancis Dash, Wondrwherecraigis and Jalen Journey engaged in a stretch battle. Wondrwherecraigis fended off his rival in the lane, and crossed the wire 3/4 of a length in front. However, he drifted out in the stretch and, in the determination of the judges, interfered with Jalen Journey. As a result, Wondrwherecraigis was disqualified, and Jalen Journey was placed first. Feargal Lynch had the winning mount, for his sixth career graded stakes win. He’s owned by Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen LLC, and trained by Steve Asmussen. In his career, he’s won eight times from 16 starts, with earnings of over $500,000.
- SECOND STAR: HELLO BEAUTIFUL. This popular Maryland-bred filly was the odds-on choice in Saturday’s Weather Vane Stakes, her first start at Laurel since her disappointing performance in the Barbara Fritchie Stakes in February. She bounced back in a big way, crushing the field by 10 1/4 lengths. She covered six furlongs in 1:09.56, just 0.04 seconds slower than the winning time in the DeFrancis Dash. Jevian Toledo rode her to victory for the first time, for owners Madaket Stables LLC, Frassetto, Parkinson, K-Mac Stable, and Magic City Stables LLC and trainer Brittany Russell.
- THIRD STARS: JEVIAN TOLEDO. Although Toledo was disqualified out of a win with Wondrwherecraig is, he still had a great day Saturday. He won three races, including two stakes races. In addition to his win with Hello Beautiful, he got up in the last few strides to win the Twixt Stakes aboard Dreamalildreamofu, for trainer Brad Cox. Toledo and Russell also teamed up to win race 3 with Click to Confirm. Toledo did not have a mount in the other stakes, the Polynesian Stakes, won by Change of Command, for Asmussen and Lynch.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: FANCY HER UP. Charles Town hosted three stakes races on Saturday. The Rachel’s Turn Stakes, for West Virginia-bred 2-year-old fillies, went to odds-on choice Fancy Her Up. She exploded out of the gate on top and pulled clear for a five-length win, covering 4 1/2 furlongs in a very sharp 51.60 seconds. She’s a homebred for owner/trainer John Casey, and was ridden by Gerald Almodovar.
- SECOND STAR: HYPOTHESIS. One race later, older West Virginia-breds squared off in the Last Enchantment Stakes. 3-2 favorite Golden Key zoomed out to the lead and took firm control in the stretch. However, he tired a bit late, and Hypothesis stormed four-wide for the win. That marks Hypothesis’s second stakes win of the year; he previously won the It’s Only Money Stakes in June. He’s owned by Jill Daniel, trained by Crystal Pickett, and ridden by Jose Montano.
- THIRD STAR: RUN TO DAYLIGHT. The male equivalent of the Rachel’s Turn Stakes was the Henry Mercer Memorial Stakes. Off an impressive maiden win, Run to Daylight was dismissed as the 1-2 favorite. He opened up a long early lead and cruised to the wire from there, winning by 5 3/4 lengths in 52.41 seconds. The dominant trainer/jockey team of Jeff Runco and Arnaldo Bocachica teamed up to win this one, for owner David Raim.
- FIRST STAR: GOLDEN BROWN. This hard-knocking Jersey-bred added another stakes win to his credentials on Sunday, when he won the Joey P. Handicap by a length. Paco Lopez rated him in fifth early on, fairly close to the early leaders, then moved three-wide in the stretch. He wore down the leaders late for the victory, his second on the Monmouth season. His career earnings are approaching the $750,000 mark. He’s owned by ABL Stable, Bossone, Donnelly, and Schnoor, and trained by Pat McBurney.
- SECOND STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Lopez had an off day on Saturday, with “only” three wins. However, he roared back on Sunday, with six races. In addition to his win with Golden Brown, he won race 3 with Madame Tiger, for trainer Wayne Potts, race 4 aboard Customer List, for trainer Chad Brown, race 9 on Final Spot, trained by Guadalupe Preciado, race 11 on Brown trainee Sound Money, and the 12th race on Uncle Curly, trained by Peter Walder. With one weekend to go at the Monmouth meet, Lopez has exactly 100 winners, almost double the total of runner-up Isaac Castillo, who has 53.
- THIRD STAR: ROSELBA. Lopez also rode the favorite, Bramble Bay, in Saturday’s feature, the Pinot Grigio Handicap for Jersey-bred fillies and mares. However, his plans were stymied by Roselba and Ferrin Peterson, who set the early pace and repelled the challenge of Bramble Bay to win by a neck. Roselba has now won four times from 16 starts, with this being her first stakes win. She’s owned by Colonial Farms and trained by Rory Huston.
- FIRST STAR: XY SPEED. After bouncing around the country for most of the year, XY Speed made his Delaware debut for the season last Monday, in a n/w2x allowance optional claiming sprint at five furlongs on the grass. As the 4-5 favorite. he popped out of the gate on top and withstood all challenges to win by 3 1/2 lengths, going the distance in 57.52 seconds. That’s his third win in his last four races. He’s owned by M and M Racing, trained by Steve Klesaris, and ridden by John Bisono.
- SECOND STAR: JAIME RODRIGUEZ. Delaware’s leading jockey had a great week, with two hat tricks. He took three races from six mounts on Thursday, then had three more winners from his eight rides on Saturday. Going into Wednesday’s card, Rodriguez has 82 winners, 30 more than runner-up Carol Cedeno.
- THIRD STAR: THE KING CHEEK. Off a third-place finish in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx, The King Cheek was entered in an allowance optional claiming race on Wednesday going a mile. He was the 7-5 second choice in the four-horse field, and went gate-to-wire for a 4 3/4-length victory. He’s now won four times on the year from nine races, with earnings of $229,000. His biggest win of the year came in May, when he won the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico. Rodriguez had the winning mount for owners Morris Kernan Jr and Jagger Inc and trainer Jamie Ness.
- FIRST STAR: SENIOR INVESTMENT. Last Monday’s feature at Parx was an open allowance at one mile on dirt. Senior Investment, seeking his first win in a year and a half, rallied from last to win by 1 3/4 lengths, grabbing control from Dreams Untold in the stretch and drawing away. Senior Investment will be in action on Saturday in the DTHA Governors Day Handicap at Delaware, while Dreams Untold will race in the Parx Dirt Mile the same day. Senior Investment is owned by Richard Malouf, trained by Scott Lake, and ridden by Kendrick Carmouche.
- SECOND STAR: DONTMESAWITHME. Later on the Monday card, Dontmesawithme won an open allowance sprint in last-to-first style. Favored Chateau battled on the lead through fast fractions, and backed up to finish last. Dontmesawithme took full advantage of that pace and got up to win by 2 1/4 lengths. He’s now won twice on the year, with his previous victory coming at Charles Town in April. He’s owned by Stephen and Debbie Jackson, trained by Flint Stites, and ridden by Jorge Gonzalez.
- THIRD STAR: TIZ GRACIE. Tuesday’s feature, a Pennsylvania-bred allowance sprint on the dirt, went to Tiz Gracie in impressive fashion. She set the early pace with moderate fractions, then pulled away in the stretch to win by eight lengths. It was her first win of the year from five races. Abner Adorno was in the saddle for owner Charles Fiumano and trainer Daniel Velazquez.
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