Wondrwherecraigis won the Fire Plug Stakes. 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:

Laurel Park

FIRST STAR: VICTOR CARRASCO. Carrasco was white-hot throughout the month of January. He won fourteen races on the month from 38 races, for a 37% strike rate. He’s tied with Jevian Toledo atop the rider standings, but with twenty fewer mounts. He won three stakes races last Saturday from four mounts. He won the Jennings Stakes on the hard-knocking Cordmaker, for trainer Rodney Jenkins, then won the Geisha Stakes on Mike Trombetta-trained Kiss the Girl. He picked up his third stakes win on the day in the What a Summer Stakes, when he guided Time Limit to victory for trainer Mike Maker.

SECOND STAR: WONDRWHERECRAIGIS. With Hello Beautiful’s retirement, Wondrwherecraigis has taken his place as the star of the Brittany Russell barn. He made his 2022 debut in the FIre Plug Stakes on Saturday, and cruised to a 3 3/4-length win as the odds-on favorite. He went six furlongs on a track labeled fast in 1:10.71. This race set him up nicely for the General George Stakes at Laurel on February 19. He’s owned by Michael Dubb, the Elkstone Group LLC, Madaket Stables LLC and Bethlehem Stables LLC and ridden by Jevian Toledo.

THIRD STAR: WITTY. All eyes were on H P Moon in the Spectacular Bid Stakes earlier on Saturday. Making his first start since an impressive maiden win at Pimlico on Aug. 21, he was the 11-10 favorite in an eight-horse field. However, he tired on the pace and finished off the board. Witty, off an impressive win in the Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes, took full advantage. He rolled from the back of pack and won by 7 3/4 lengths, to improve to 3-for-4 lifetime. He covered seven furlongs in 1:25.38, for owner/breeder Elizabeth Merryman, trainer McLane Hendriks, and jockey Carol Cedeno.

Charles Town Races

FIRST STAR: RIVER CROSROAD RVF. Once banned from Charles Town due to his habit of bearing out on the turn, he’s since been reformed and turned into a very solid West Virginia-bred allowance runner. He won his third in a row on Wednesday night, taking an allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths. He got a stiff test on the lead, battling with favored Nico in the early stages. He dispatched of that rival and drew off to an easy win, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:19.21. He’s owned by Rolling Hills Racing Stable LLC, trained by Jeff Runco, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.

SECOND STAR: COACH RUBE. Last Friday’s feature was a West Virginia-bred allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares at 4 1/2 furlongs. Post ten couldn’t stop Coach Rube, who chased the pace on the outside and ran down the early leaders to win by three lengths going away. She’s already matched her win total from last year, but won four races in 2020. She’s owned by Rudolph Cooper, trained by Michael Jones Jr, and ridden by Marshall Mendez.

THIRD STAR: ARNALDO BOCACHICA. Charles Town’s top jockey won multiple races every race day last week, including a hat trick on Friday. He won the 6th race on Dazzle Me, trained by Mike Butts, race 8 on Navy Sword, for trainer Jeff Runco, and the 9th race on Anthony Farrior trainee Easy On the Sugar. Through the first seven days of the meet, Bocachica has assumed his usual comfortable place atop the jockey standings, with 16 wins from 36 miunts.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: SWEET WILLEMINA. Last year, this Scott Lake-trained mare was one of the winningest horses in the country. Her seven wins, including two stakes victories, ranked 24th in the country. She picked up right where she left off in her 2022 debut last Wednesday, as she won a starter optional claiming event by 1 1/4 lengths. Silvestre Gonzalez rated her off the early pace, then made his move entering the stretch and guided the mare to a comfortable win as the odds-on choice. She’s owned by Richard Ciavardone and Home Team Stables.

SECOND STAR: ANDY HERNANDEZ. Hernandez won three races on last Wednesday’s 11-race card, boosting his meet total to nine. He bookended the card with victories, taking race 1 with Eli Betancourt trainee Fran’s Worrier and the 11th race aboard Loulovestheriver, for trainer Michael Moore. In between, he won race 6 on Wild Delight, trained by Mark Reid.

THIRD STAR: FAR MO POWER. Wednesday’s program also featured an allowance optional claiming contest at seven furlongs. Far Mo Power improved to 2-for-3 lifetime with an exciting victory. After an awkward break, he rallied from the middle of the pack to win by a head, going the distance in 1:28.49. He’s owned by Joseph Sutton, trained by Louis Linder Jr, and ridden by Dexter Haddock.

Region’s Best

  1. Victor Carrasco – continued huge meet with big day Saturday
  2. Wondrwherecraigis
  3. River Crosroad RVF