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

Brittany Russell Sheldon Russell
Brittany Russell, Sheldon Russell and family celebrate a Laurel meet training title. Photo Jim McCue.

FIRST STAR: BRITTANY RUSSELL. Russell, who has become one of Maryland’s top trainers over the past few years, won her first Laurel Park training title at the recently concluded spring meet. She won 14 races from 39 starters, taking the title over Jamie Ness, whom she was tied with going into closing day. She won five races over the final week of the meet, including two on Sunday, to seal the deal. Since starting her training career in 2018, Russell’s won 171 races from 649 starters, with earnings of more than $6.4 million.

SECOND STAR: JEIRON BARBOSA. After starting his riding career in Puerto Rico, Barbosa began riding in Maryland in March. His impact on the colony was immediate, as he won the spring meet riding title with 20 wins from 76 mounts. Despite not riding the final two days of the meet, he had enough of a lead to hold off Jevian Toledo, who finished second with 19 wins. Barbosa has won 29 races lifetime, with earnings of more than $713,000.

THIRD STAR: YOU MUST CHILL. This Pennsylvania-bred gelding won his fourth race in his last five starts on Sunday, when he won a third-level allowance optional claiming race by 1 1/4 lengths. He tracked down early leader Indian Lake on the turn, then pulled clear of that rival in the stretch despite not changing leads. Indian Lake offered some mild resistance but You Must Chill held on for the win. He’s owned by Morris Kernan Jr, Yo Berbs, and Jagger Inc, trained by Jamie Ness, and ridden by Jaime Rodriguez.

Charles Town Races

FIRST STAR: COMBINATION. He made it three wins in a row in Friday night’s feature race, an allowance optional claiming race at 6 1/2 furlongs. Sent off as the 7-10 favorite, he got a great trip stalking a speed duel, then pounced on the leaders and cruised to victory by 2 1/4 lengths. He went the distance in 1:19.45 in wet, sloppy conditions. He’s owned by Feebs Racing, trained by Jeff Runco, and ridden by Marshall Mendez.

SECOND STAR: HEATED. This Crystal Pickett owned and trained filly won for the third time in her last four starts on Saturday night, as she won an allowance optional claiming race at 4 1/2 furlongs by 5 3/4 lengths. She stalked early leader Captain Sam, then drove away effortlessly in the stretch in an impressive performance. She was timed in 51.46 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track. She’s won four times in eight career starts and has missed the trifecta just once. Jose Montano had the winning mount.

THIRD STAR: ARNALDO BOCACHICA. Charles Town’s leading jockey had a three-win night last Wednesday. He piloted home Make Way in race 3, for trainer Anthony Farrior, Air Medal in the 5th race, trained by Jeff Runco, and Tiz a Country Girl in race 7, for trainer Todd Beattie. Bocachica has 74 wins this year at Charles Town, outkicking Marshall Mendez for the riding lead by nine wins.

Monmouth Park

FIRST STAR: MISS LESLIE. A field of nine fillies and mares contested the opening day feature at Monmouth Park, the Serena’s Song Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. Maryland-based Miss Leslie made the trip up to Jersey a winning one, as she stalked the pace and prevailed by 4 1/4 lengths going away. It represented a return to form for her, as she was defeated in three stakes tries prior to this race. She’s owned by BB Horses, trained by Claudio Gonzalez, and ridden by Angel Cruz.

SECOND STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Monmouth’s perennial leading jockey started his season on an impressive note, winning three races on the card. All three of his wins were on favorites. He scored in race 3 as the odds-on favorite, guiding Little Vic to victory for trainer Juan Avila. He went back-to-back in race 4 with One Time Willard, trained by John Stephens. In race 7, Lopez completed the hat trick with Love in the Air, trained by John Servis.

THIRD STAR: LAST ROMANCE. This Maryland shipper was impressive in victory on Sunday, taking a Jersey-bred allowance race by 6 1/2 lengths. The Cal Lynch trainee was well-backed at the windows off a third-place finish at Laurel Park last out, going off as the 9-10 favorite. He rated off the pace and won going away, covering six furlongs in an impressive 1:10.52. He’s owned by Isabelle de Tomaso and Hope Jones and was ridden by Jorge Ruiz.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: SILVESTRE GONZALEZ. Gonzalez turned in back-to-back hat tricks last week. He won two for Haleem Lee on Monday, guiding race 7 with Jump Shot and the 8th race with Get the W. He also prevailed in race 9 aboard Geebert, trained by Robert Mosco. On Tuesday, Gonzalez won race 2 on Southern Cents, trained by Michael Moore, the 6th race with Dreaming of Glory, trained by Robert Mosco, and race 9 aboard Aegean Sea, trained by Howard Brown Jr. Gonzalez is in second place in the rider standings, having won 48 races from 240 mounts.

SECOND STAR: ILKNUR. The Monday feature was a first-level allowance optional claiming race for fillies and mares at six furlongs. Ilknur, sent off as the 2.70-1 third choice in the five-horse field, won by 1 1/2 lengths after stalking the pace. The Gulfstream Park shipper won her first start since late January, going the distance over a fast track in 1:11.62. Jorge Vargas Jr had the winning mount for owner Jack Armstrong and trainer Robert Mosco.

THIRD STAR: YOU LOOK COLD. Tuesday’s featured contest was another first-level allowance optional claiming race for filly and mare sprinters. You Look Cold prevailed by 3 1/4 lengths under Paco Lopez, as she picked up her first win of the year and her third victory in six career outings. She went six furlongs in 1:11.36, earning a slightly lower Equibase speed figure than Ilknur, for owners Kinsman Stable and Bruce McCrea and trainer Robert O’Connor II.

Region’s Best

  1. Brittany Russell- clinched her first training title at Laurel Park.
  2. Jeiron Barbosa
  3. Miss Leslie