Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: October 20

by | Oct 20, 2021 | Breaking, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

Cooke Creek

Cooke Creek won Saturday’s Rocky Road Stakes at Delaware Park. Photo: 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: CLAUDIO GONZALEZ. Perennially one of the top trainers in Maryland, Gonzalez won his 1,000th career race on Thursday. He saddled one horse on the card, He’s a Shooter in the seventh race.  After an early duel, the 3-year-old Maryland-bred drew away from the field and won by 6 1/4 lengths. He’s won or tied for the training title seventeen times between Laurel Park and Pimlico, and is in a multi-way tie at the current meet, with seven wins. 
  • SECOND STAR: YOUNGEST OF FIVE. Sunday’s feature was a competitive n/w3x allowance optional claiming sprint at seven furlongs. Youngest of Five, who won a n/w2x race last out, made it two in a row with an impressive 2 3/4-length win. He dueled with War Tocsin on the inside early on, then pulled away to win impressively. The Maryland-bred 5-year-old has now won six of eighteen lifetime, with earnings of over $230,000. Angel Cruz had the winning mount for owner Larry Rabold and trainer Hugh McMahon. 
  •  THIRD STAR: MOQUIST. This Maryland-bred filly made some waves in her first two starts, winning both by open lengths. On the strength of those victories, she was the odds-on choice in an open n/w1x allowance on Saturday. She broke on top and never had an anxious moment, winning by 3 1/2 lengths. Stakes company is likely next for this speedy 3-year-old. Jorge Ruiz had the winning mount for owner Mopo Racing and trainer Dale Capuano.


  • FIRST STAR: AWESOME BUZZ. Although Fast Loaded was the odds-on choice in last Wednesday’s feature, a n/w1x allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs, Awesome Buzz sprung the 7-1 upset for his third win of the year. Him and Fast Loaded dueled most of the way, with Awesome Buzz pressing the favorite on the outside. He turned for home with the lead, and left Fast Loaded 2 1/2 lengths behind. The winner is owned by Toschia Spriggs, trained by Lloyd Scott, and ridden by Victor Rodriguez.
  • SECOND STAR: SLINGIN SAMMY B. After spending most of her season at Parx, Slingin Sammy B won for the first time at Charles Town this season last Friday. She sat a perfect trip just off the leaders in a starter optional claiming, then moved towards the lead and pulled away to win by 1 1/2 lengths. She’s now won six times this year from 12 starts, and has earned more than $100,000 this year. Arnaldo Bocachica had the winning mount for owner John Fanelli and trainer Anthony Farrior. 
  • THIRD STAR: OUR DIAMOND GIRL. This Tim Grams-trained filly improved to 6-for-11 on the year on Saturday, as she surged late to win an allowance contest by a neck. After rating right off the early lead, she moved three-wide in the stretch and just got up over My Lovely Girl for the victory. She’s owned by Grams Racing Stable LLC and ridden by Fredy Peltroche. 

  MEAdowlands/FAR HILLS

  • FIRST STAR: THE MEAN QUEEN. Saturday’s Grand National Hurdle Stakes loomed as a showdown between the two top steeplechasers in the country: The Mean Queen and Snap Decision. The two previously met in the Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park, which The Mean Queen won by two lengths. In the rematch, the two rivals dueled throughout the stretch in an exciting battle. The Mean Queen affirmed her status as the top steeplechaser in the country with a half-length win. She’s now won six of her last seven races, with her only loss coming when she abruptly lost the jockey in the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes. She’s owned Buttonwood Farm, trained by Keri Brion, and ridden by Richard Condon. 
  • SECOND STAR: KERI BRION. Brion has had a breakout training year, buoyed by the success of The Mean Queen. In addition to that victory, she also won the Harry Harris Stakes with Historic Heart, and hit the board in two other stakes races. She got second in the Gladstone Hurdle Stakes with Parish Delight, and finished with Galway Kid in the Applewood Hurdle Stakes. 
  • THIRD STAR: GO POKE THE BEAR. The Friday night feature at the Meadowlands was a starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the grass. Go Poke the Bear, looking for his second win in a row, rallied from the back of the pack to get up and win by a nose in an 8-1 upset. Nik Juarez was in the saddle, for one of his two winners on the card. ProRacing Stable LLC was the winning owner, Jose d’Angelo the winning trainer. 


  • FIRST STAR: RED HOT MESS. Last Wednesday, a field of eight 2-year-old fillies squared off in the one-mile White Clay Creek Stakes. Red Hot Mess improved to 2-for-2 lifetime with a 12-1 upset win. She rated right off the pace on the inside, then came up the rail late and drew off for a 1 3/4-length victory. She’s owned by Lewis Mathews Jr, trained by Chelsey Moysey, and ridden by John Hiraldo.  
  • SECOND STAR: COOKE CREEK. Saturday’s feature was the male equivalent of the White Clay Creek, the Rocky Road Stakes. That race also saw a recent maiden-breaker upset the field, as 13-1 Cooke Creek rallied four-wide and got up to win by half a length, getting up over favored Affable Monarch. Both his career starts, and wins, have come at Delaware. John Hiraldo had the winning mount for owner Cheyenne Stable LLC and trainer Jerry O’Dwyer. 
  • THIRD STAR: MOJOVATION. Last Monday’s feature, a n/w2x allowance optional claiming race, saw Mojovation get his first win of the year as the biggest longshot in the field. He made a five-wide move in the stretch and wore down his pacesetting rivals to win by half a length. He went six furlongs in a sharp 1:09.29, for owner Aaron Racing Stables, trainer Jeremiah Englehart, and jockey John Hiraldo. 


  • FIRST STAR: ROCK ON LUKE. Last Monday’s feature was the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes. Rock On Luke, racing on his favorite track, won impressively by 5 1/2 lengths. He cruised to the lead effortlessly from the far outside post, and cruised under the line in 1:37.16. All five of his career wins have come at Parx. Paco Lopez was in the saddle for owner Jennifer Trueheart and trainer Regina Brennan. 
  • SECOND STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Lopez’s win on Rock On Luke was one of ten he had last week at Parx, including a five-win day on Wednesday. He won race 1 on Free to Fly, for trainer Kathleen O’Connell, the 4th race on Monte Ne, for trainer Michael Dini, race 6 on Start Meee, trained by J. Guerrero, race 7 aboard another Guerrero trainee, Puttheglassdown, and race 10 on Skillful, trained by Kent Sweezey. 
  • THIRD STAR: FREE TO FLY. One of Lopez’s wins came with Free to Fly, who has won a remarkable ten races this year from thirteen starts. She’s also won her last six starts, having won at Parx, Delaware, and Monmouth Park. On Wednesday, she rated just off the early leader and drew away to win by 2 1/2 lengths, going six furlongs in 1:11.04. She’s owned by Ron Hendrickson. 


Bourbon Bon Bay enjoys Cornucopia

Bourbon Bon Bay enjoys Cornucopia

In a trio of Thanksgiving Eve stakes at Parx Racing, the undefeated Bourbon Bon Bay, graded stakes winner Ridin With Biden, and Repo Rocks all scored.

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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