MID-ATLANTIC THREE STARS: July 12
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: JEVIAN TOLEDO. Saturday was a day better suited for ducks than horses at Laurel Park. However, the wet weather didn’t slow down Jevian Toledo, who rode home four winners on the nine-race card. He won the first three races on the card, taking race 1 with Prima Ballerina for trainer Mike Stidham, the 2nd race aboard Appalachianheights, trained by Anthony Farrior, and race 3 on Ice Cold Frosty for trainer Lacey Gaudet. He tacked on another winner in race 8, guiding home Al Loves Josie for trainer Jerry Robb. Toledo has the lead in the jockey standings, riding home 17 winners from 86 mounts.
SECOND STAR: FACTOR IT IN. The featured race on Sunday’s card was a third-level allowance optional claiming race at 5 1/2 furlongs. Factor It In, making his first start since last September, shook off all the rust and won by a head in an 8-1 upset. He raced wide throughout and was in the five-path entering the stretch, but dueled on and got up to win. It proved to be a blanket finish, with the top four finishers covered by 1 1/2 lengths. He ran the distance in 1:03.25, for owner Michael Scheffres, trainer Carlos Mancilla, and jockey Feargal Lynch.
THIRD STAR: AL LOVES JOSIE. As noted above, Al Loves Josie was impressive in victory on Saturday. He ran the field off their feet in a first-level allowance optional claiming race for 3-year-olds, cruising on the lead for a 3 1/4-length score. The Maryland-bred son of Holy Boss won his first dirt since March 11 in 1:10.02 for six furlongs. He’s owned by C J I Phoenix Group and No Guts No Glory Farm.
FIRST STAR: MISS LESLIE. This Claudio Gonzalez-trained filly made it three stakes wins in a row on Saturday, taking the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap in impressive fashion. Breaking from the outside post in the 1 1/4-mile contest, she stalked the pace three-wide early, and moved to the front as they rounded the final turn. She moved away stylishly in the stretch and won by twelve lengths. She ran the distance over a sloppy track in 2:04.50. That’s the fourth graded stakes win for Gonzalez and jockey Angel Cruz. BB Horses is the winning owner.
SECOND STAR: KEY BISCAYNE. Despite the rain, Saturday’s Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes stayed on the grass, as a field of nine fillies and mares patrolled 1 3/8 miles. The soggy conditions didn’t bother Key Biscayne, who rated off the pace and got up to win in a 36-1 upset. It’s her second career stakes win, following a win in the Monroe Stakes at Gulfstream Park last year. Daniel Centeno had the winning ride for owner Arindel and trainer Juan Alvarado. It was Alvarado’s first graded stakes victory.
THIRD STAR: TAX. After sitting on the bench since a disappointing try in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Tax went off as the favorite in Saturday’s Battery Park Stakes. He went to the lead from the inside post and won gate-to-wire, crossing the wire two lengths in front. That win pushed him past the $1 million mark in career earnings. He’s owned by R.A. Hill Stable and trainer Danny Gargan, and ridden by Kendrick Carmouche.
Charles Town Races
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FIRST STAR: HEATED. The Thursday night feature pitted second-level allowance optional claiming fillies and mares against each other. Heated went off as the slight 17-10 favorite, and won her fourth race of the season by three-quarters of a length. She came three-wide on the final turn in the 4 1/2-furlong contest, and held off fellow closer Paisley Singing for the victory. She ran the distance in 52.65 seconds, for owner/trainer Crystal Pickett and jockey Jose Montano.
SECOND STAR: PRIMAL DESTINY. On Friday, this 6-year-old made it three wins in a row with a win in a starter optional claiming race. Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, he broke on top and cruised to victory by 3 3/4 lengths. He won eight races in a row between late 2020 and 2021, and has not missed the board in the last sixteen races. Gerald Almodovar had the mount for owner Robert Cole Jr and trainer Kevin Patterson.
THIRD STAR: BULL MEECHUM. Earlier on the Friday card, this West Virginia-bred improved to 5-for-7 on the year as he won a starter allowance race by a half-length. He rated just off the pace on the inside, then angled wide and got up to win as the odds-on choice. He’s owned by Conroy Thoroughbreds LLC, trained by Anthony Farrior, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.
FIRST STAR: HE’SPUREGOLD. On Sunday, some of the top Jersey-breds out there raced a mile on the grass in the Irish War Cry Handicap. Odds-on choice He’spuregold won this race for the second year in a row, cruising to the front after a great stalking trip and winning by 2 1/2 lengths. He’s 2-for-2 on the season, after a win on Memorial Day weekend against open company. He ran a mile in 1:34.41, for owner Roseland Farm Stable, trainer Kelly Breen, and jockey Paco Lopez.
SECOND STAR: BRAMBLE BAY. The equivalent race for fillies and mares was held on Saturday, in the Jersey Girl Handicap. Despite losing her first two stakes tries of the meet, Bramble Bay went off as the odds-on favorite in the seven-horse field. She lived up to expectations with a 1 1/4-length win after a good ground-saving trip just off the pace. She ran a mile in 1:36.18, with Lopez in the saddle. Ballybrit Stable LLC is the winning owner, Michael Dini the winning trainer.
THIRD STAR: COMMANDPERFORMANCE. It’s not every day that you see a grade 1-placed horse in a maiden special weight race at Monmouth, but Commandperformance, who was second in the Champagne Stakes last year, went off as the odds-on favorite in one on Sunday. He had to work a bit to overhaul early leader Carvellian Quest, but got by that rival late and oasted to the wire under Lopez in hand. He’s owned by Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher.
FIRST STAR: TYLER CONNER. Conner achieved a major career milestone on Saturday, winning his 1,000th career race. He rode My Dixie Lass to a two-length win in a Pennsylvania-bred allowance special weight race, for trainer Chuck Lawrence. Conner, who usually rides at Penn National, earned his biggest career win earlier this year, when he guided Wow Whata Summer to victory in the Penn Mile. Conner’s mounts have earned more than $21.2 million.
SECOND STAR: EXIT RIGHT. This Jamie Ness trainee has had an amazing season. He won for the seventh time this year last Monday, as he won a starter allowance race by eight lengths. He broke from the outside post in the one mile and 70 yard contest, and quickly crossed over to the lead and set the pace. From there, he drew off easily. He’s owned by Morris Kernan Jr, Yo Berbs, and Jagger Inc, and ridden by Ruben Silvera.
THIRD STAR: FRANKIE PENNINGTON. Pennington also had a big Saturday, winning four races on the card. He won a pair for Jamie Ness, taking race 4 aboard Jalebi Baby and the 7th race with Divine Miracle. He also won race 6 on Ninetyprcentmaddie, trained by Robert Reid Jr, and polished off the grand slam in race 8 aboard Flashing Diamond, trained by Jacinto Solis. Pennington is in second place in the rider standings with 74 wins, trailing only Ruben Silvera.
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