Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: September 29

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

 Hot Rod Charlie won Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby at Parx. Photo: Bill Denver/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: WAR CANOE. Saturday’s feature race was a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. War Canoe, who was stakes-placed several times against New York-breds earlier in her career, was the biggest longshot in the field at 17-1. She rated just off the pace and won a three-horse battle in the stretch, for her first victory of the year. In her career, she’s won 10 times from 46 starts, with earnings of over $615,000. She’s co-owned and trained by Steve Klesaris, who owns in partnership with Hibiscus Stables. John Bisono had the winning mount. 
  • SECOND STAR: CARLOS LOPEZ. Lopez had a seven-win week, including three victories on Sunday from four mounts. He won race in a 27-1 upset, as Honor My World got up late for trainer Ellen Horner. He won both halves of the late double, taking race 7 on Fair Catch, for trainer Bruno Tessore, and the 8th race on Jamie Ness-trained Aprilness. Lopez has eight wins on the meet so far, tied for second at the meet. 
  •  THIRD STAR: FEARGAL LYNCH. One of the jockeys tied for second is Lynch, who had a three-win day of his own on Saturday. He won race 4 on English Tavern, trained by Hamilton Smith, the 6th race aboard Great Idea, for trainer Michael Merryman, and race 8 with Brittany Russell trainee Dream Big Dreams. Lynch has eight wins on the season from 32 starts, for a 25% strike rate. 


  • FIRST STAR: RONNEY BROWN. Brown turned a natural training hat trick on Saturday night. He won the 6th race with Mae Sai Princess, with Jose Montano in the saddle, race 7 with Saltee Shark, ridden by Reshawn Latchman, and race 8 with Happy Champ, ridden by Christian Hiraldo. Brown’s 74 wins have him in third place in the standings, behind Jeff Runco and Anthony Farrior. 
  • SECOND STAR: TAKE ME HOME. This mare continued a fantastic year at Charles Town on Friday night, with her seventh win of the season. Sent off as the odds-on choice in a starter allowance race at 6 1/2 furlongs, she opened up a clear lead early on and never had an anxious moment, as she cruised under the wire 8 1/4 lengths in front. She’s excelled here this year, with a 7-for-9 record over this track. Overall on the year, she’s earned more than $113,000. She’s owned by Bush Racing Stables, trained by Anthony Farrior, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica. 
  • THIRD STAR: POWER FORWARD. She made a strong last-to-first move to win Thursday’s feature, a West Virginia-bred allowance race for fillies and mares. After rating towards the back early on, she moved five-wide in the stretch and ran down her rivals in the last few strides to win by 3/4 of a length. She’s won three times on the year from eight starts, and won for the first time since March 19. Bocachica had the winning mount on this one, for owner Coleswood Farm Inc and trainer Jeff Runco. 


  • FIRST STAR: DAKOTA GOLD. Sunday’s featured event was the Nownownow Stakes, for 2-year-olds at one mile on the grass. Dakota Gold improved to 2-for-2 with a 2 1/2-length win. With a strong three-wide move, he powered to the front in the stretch and drew away to win his first career stakes race. He broke his maiden on dirt at Saratoga earlier in the month, and has shown equal aptitude on grass thus far. He’s owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, trained by Danny Gargan, and ridden by Isaac Castillo. 
  • SECOND STAR: TAMAHERE. On Saturday, Tamahere won the Violet Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths. Jose Ferrer put her on the early lead, and she never gave it up. At the top of the stretch, she was well out in front, and there was never a serious chance of her being caught. This is her first win on the year from five starts, and her second stakes win in the United States. She’s owned by Swift Thoroughbreds Inc, Madaket Stables LLC, and Wonder Stables, and trained by Chad Brown.
  • THIRD STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Monmouth’s leading jockey closed a spectacular meet in style on Sunday, riding six winners. He bookended the card with a win in race 1 on Drum and Drummer, for trainer Michael Dini, and race 14 aboard Gone Dreaming, trained by Kathleen O’Connell. He swept the late double thanks to a win in race 13 with Charmed, trained by Philip Antonacci. He also won race 3 on Our Destiny, for leading trainer Wayne Potts, race 6 with Valuable Breigh, trained by Darien Rodriguez, and race 7 on Mumbai, for trainer Christophe Clement. Lopez blew away the competition at the meet; his 109 wins were almost double the total of runner-up Isaac Castillo, who had 55 victories. 


  • FIRST STAR: WHERESHETOLDMETOGO. The headliner of Saturday’s Owner’s Day card was the New Castle Stakes for sprinters on the dirt. Whereshetoldmetogo won his third stakes of the year, and his fifth of the past twelve months, as the 11-10 favorite. He closed off a slow pace, and fought off fellow closer Aspect in the stretch, to get up and win by a neck in a blanket finish. He’s owned by Madaket Stables LLC, Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber, and BTR Racing Inc, trained by Brittany Russell, and ridden by Jevian Toledo. Russell and Toledo also teamed up to win the Small Wonder Stakes with Murph. 
  • SECOND STAR: STREET LUTE. This popular Maryland-bred filly won her fourth stakes race of the year on Saturday, as she won the Tax Free Shopping Distaff Stakes by 3/4 of a length. Sent off as the 11-10 favorite, she was rated off the pace early on by Xavier Perez, then moved to the front with a five-wide move. She got up in the last eighth to win by 3/4 of a length, stopping the clock in 1:09.45. That’s only 0.36 seconds slower than Whereshetoldmetogo ran in the New Castle Stakes. She’s owned by Lucky 7 Stables and trained by Jerry Robb. 
  • THIRD STAR: TAPPIN CAT. The DTHA Governor’s Day Handicap went to Tappin Cat, who won his third race in a row in a hard-fought battle. He dueled with Shane’s Jewel on the inside, then dispatched of that rival and had to deal with Senior Investment down the stretch. The two battled throughout the last quarter-mile, but Tappin Cat held on and won by a head. Toledo rode for owner Non Stop Stable and trainer Gary Capuano. 


  • FIRST STAR: HOT ROD CHARLIE. After a few near-misses, Hot Rod Charlie got his first grade 1 win on Saturday when he won the Pennsylvania Derby in gate-to-wire style. Midnight Bourbon gave him a challenge as they came into the stretch, but Hot Rod Charlie fended him off and won by 2 1/4 lengths. Flavien Prat had the winning mount, for owners Boat Racing LLC, Gainesway Stable, Roadrunner Racing, and William Strauss and trainer Doug O’Neill.
  • SECOND STAR: CLAIRIERE. One race prior, Clairiere also won her first grade 1 race, as she took the Cotillion Stakes by 2 1/2 lengths. After rating in sixth in the early stages of the 1 1/16-mile contest, she made a strong, wide move to the lead and loomed as a serious contender entering the stretch. Obligatory, who was near the early pace, gave her a mild challenge, but proved no match as Clairiere won going away. She’s owned by Stonestreet Stables LLC, trained by Steve Asmussen, and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.
  • THIRD STAR: JACKIE’S WARRIOR. Perhaps the fastest horse in the country, Jackie’s Warrior once again showed off his brilliance in the Gallant Bob Stakes on Saturday. He won by 6 3/4 lengths while barely being asked to run, covering six furlongs in 1:08.64. He’s now won four stakes races on the year, and will likely be the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in a few weeks. He’s owned by Kirk and Judy Robison, trained by Steve Asmussen, and ridden by Joel Rosario.


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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