Mid-Atlantic Three Stars: December 1
Princess Kokachin made her presence felt with an impressive win in Friday’s Politely Stakes at Laurel Park. 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: CORDMAKER. The headliner of Saturday’s three-stakes card was the Richard W. Small Stakes for older horses at 1 1/8 miles. Cordmaker won his third stakes race of the year with a strong sweep to the lead on the turn. He rated off early leaders Workin on a Dream and Shackqueenking, then moved wide and took control as they passed the eighth pole. He won by 1 3/4 lengths and covered the distance in 1:50.48. He won the Victory Gallop Stakes at Colonial Downs in August and the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes on this track in March. Hillwood Stable LLC owns this 6-year-old Maryland-bred gelding, who is trained by Rodney Jenkins and ridden by Victor Carrasco.
- SECOND STARS: PRINCESS KOKACHIN. Friday’s Politely Stakes looked like little more than a coronation for Hello Beautiful. The three-time Maryland Million champion was the 1-5 choice in the five-horse field. Princess Kokachin had other ideas, however, and burst to the front and quickly beat Hello Beautiful to the punch from post position two. She established control in the first sixteenth, while Hello Beautiful was forced to rate off the inside. She flattened out and ended up last. Meanwhile, Princess Kokachin drew off from the rest and won by 5 1/2 lengths, for her fifth consecutive victory. She’s won six races from seven starts since mid-August, as she’s rapidly blossomed into a mid-Atlantic sprinting star. She went six furlongs in 1:11.22 for owner Eric Rizer, trainer Jerry Robb, and jockey Xavier Perez.
- THIRD STAR: WHERESHETOLDMETOGO. Later on the Friday card, Whereshetoldmetogo won the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Stakes in an exciting photo finish. Up-and-coming sprinter Youngest of Five set the early pace, and maintained the advantage as they turned for home. Under vigorous urging from Jevian Toledo, Whereshetoldmetogo continued to make a four-wide move and drew closer to the leader as the wire approached. He ultimately got up to win by a neck, for his fourth stakes win of the year. He’s owned by Madaket Stables LLC, Ten Strike Racing, Michael Kisber, and BTR Racing Inc and trained by Brittany Russell.
CHARLES TOWN RACES
- FIRST STAR: JUNGLE BEAST. Saturday’s West Virginia Futurity saw a logical result, as 1-5 favorite Jungle Beast won his second race in a row. He stalked the pace while racing wide, then moved to the front on the final turn and drew away to a 4 1/4-length victory. Two of James Casey’s five entrants, Late in the Game and My Juba, completed the trifecta. Jungle Beast is owned by O’Sullivan Farms LLC, trained by Javier Contreras, and ridden by Antonio Lopez.
- SECOND STAR: ARNALDO BOCACHICA. Charles Town’s leading jockey is winning at a 33% clip in 2021. He continued his dominant stretch last week, with a three-win program on Wednesday, and a four-win night on Friday. Six of his wins came on horses trained by Anthony Farrior, the other one was a Jeff Runco trainee. Bocachica has won 234 races at Charles Town this year, with earnings of more than $4.6 million.
- THIRD STAR: BOUNDTOBEBAD. This West Virginia-bred filly entered an allowance race on Saturday off four consecutive second-place finishes. She finished second in two stakes races in that stretch. She finally broke through with a 1 1/2-length win on Saturday, rating just off the pace and drawing away from there. Jose Montano was in the saddle for owner/trainer John Casey.
- FIRST STAR: SPLICETHEMAINBRACE. Last Tuesday’s feature was a n/w2x Pennsylvania-bred allowance optional claiming race at one mile. Splicethemainbrace led every step of the way to prevail. Breaking from the inside post, Abner Adorno put him on the lead early, and he had a clear advantage turning for home. In the stretch, he began to drift out, and King Kumbalay began to rally. However, the wire came in time for Splicethemainbrace, who won by a neck. He’s won three times this year from eight starts, and is owned by LC Racing and Wellesley Racing and trained by Robert Reid Jr.
- SECOND STAR: MISS DILLINGHAM. This Pennsylvania-bred mare won for the fifth time this year last Wednesday, winning a starter allowance by a neck in an exciting finish. Flashing Diamond led most of the way, and remained clear of the rest with an eighth of a mile to go. Miss Dillingham continued to close, and got up late for the win. The top two finished 11 1/2-length clear of the third-place finisher. The winning mare is owned by Madison Avenue Racing Stable Inc and Jagger Inc, trained by Jamie Ness, and ridden by Ruben Silvera.
- THIRD STAR: EL SOBREVIVIENTE. Ness and Silvera teamed up on Tuesday to win a starter allowance with El Sobreviviente, for this gelding’s second consecutive win. He dueled on the lead most of the way and pulled clear in the last sixteenth to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Morris Kernan Jr and Jagger Inc are the winning owners.
LATEST RACING NEWS
Maryland-bred Knicks Go, the likely horse of the year, on Sunday had his final tuneup prior to Saturday’s G1 Pegasus World Cup.
Three-year-old Joe, winner of the Maryland Juvenile Championship, stretched out to two turns nicely to win an allowance at Laurel Park.
Hibiscus Punch, winner of the 2021 G3 Fritchie, had her final breeze Saturday morning in preparation for the Jan. 29 What a Summer at Laurel Park.
Air Token, winner of the 2021 Maryland Million Sprint, won an allowance contest Friday at Laurel Park for his first win since.
Wondrwherecraigis, idle since a win in the G3 Bold Ruler in October, may make his next start Jan. 29 in the Fire Plug at Laurel Park.
Weather permitting, racing will return to Laurel Park Jan. 20 with a 10-race card topped by an intriguing maiden contest.