MID-ATLANTIC THREE STARS: July 18
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: BEREN. Saturday’s Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash looked like a showdown between Special Reserve, a multiple graded stakes winner last year, and Laurel sprint superstar Wondrwherecraigis. However, both of them were undone by long layoffs, finishing seventh and second, respectively. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania-bred Beren, who rated off the pace and pulled away to win by 2 3/4 lengths, going six furlongs on a muddy track in 1:09.66. It’s the sixth stakes win, and eighth win overall, for this son of Weigelia, who has earned more than $600,000 in his career. He’s owned by St. Omer’s Farm and Christopher Feifarek, trained by Robert Reid Jr, and ridden by Frankie Pennington.
SECOND STAR: CHUB WAGON. Two races earlier, the Alma North Stakes loomed as a matchup between Maryland-bred Fille d’Esprit and Pennsylvania-bred Chub Wagon. Fille d’Esprit acted up in the gate before the race and showed little, but Chub Wagon came to play. She pressed midwestern shipper Cheetara on her inside, then moved to the front on the turn and pulled away to win by three lengths. She’s won her last four starts and 12 of 13 lifetime. She ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.03 over a sloppy track, for owners Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut, trainer Guadalupe Preciado, and jockey Silvestre Gonzalez.
THIRD STAR: BELLAGAMBA. In between those two sprint stakes, Bellagamba rallied from last-to-first to win the Big Dreyfus Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on grass. She drafted in last place in the nine-horse field early on, rating behind slow fractions. On the final turn, she moved four-wide under Vincent Cheminaud, and pulled clear late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. She ran the distance in 1:51.15 over a good grass course, for owner Merribelle Stable LLC and trainer Ignacio Correas IV.
FIRST STAR: FLAT OUT FLYING. On Thursday, this Cal Lynch owned and trained gelding won for the third time this year. He was the giant 1-5 favorite in a 1 1/16-mile starter allowance race, and won by six lengths. He moved three-wide after early leader Swing West, then outkicked fellow pace-stalker It’s Game Time and powered away late for an impressive score. Mychel Sanchez had the winning mount.
SECOND STAR: CALL WIL. This New York-bred gelding is still going strong as an 11-year-old. On Thursday, he raced for the 60th time, and earned his 16th lifetime win by taking an allowance optional claiming grass sprint by a half-length. Under Charlie Marquez, he moved four-wide in the stretch and surged after the leaders. He chased down early leader Psychedelic Shack in the last few strides for the victory. That was his first win of the season, making 2022 the ninth consecutive year in which he’s won at least one race. He’s owned by Bing Cherry Racing Inc and trained by Michael Catalano Jr.
THIRD STAR: JAIME RODRIGUEZ. Delaware’s leading rider turned a pair of hat tricks last week. He won three races last Wednesday, taking race 2 on Backatya, for trainer Jamie Ness, race 3 on Jonathan Thomas trainee Coppola, and the 5th race aboard Riveting Spirit, trained by Andrew Simoff. On Saturday, he took the 3rd race aboard Awesome View, trained by Carlos Sepulveda, race 5 with The Elle Train, trained by Christophe Clement, and race 8 on Littlebitamedal, trained by Ness. Rodriguez is having an incredible meet, winning 44 times from 163 starts, with earnings of over $1 million.
Charles Town Races
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FIRST STAR: MUAD’DIB. This West Virginia-bred star hadn’t been seen since last November’s A Huevo Stakes, which he won by 1 3/4 lengths to improve to 9-for-9 lifetime. He returned to the races on Friday night in an allowance optional claiming race, and went off as the 1-2 favorite against four other rivals. After an awkward break, he languished towards the back early on, then moved to the lead on the final turn of the seven-furlong race. In the stretch, Muad’dib pulled clear for a 1 3/4-length victory, his tenth straight triumph. He’s won three stakes races in his career, with earnings of more than $357,000. It wouldn’t be a surprise if this streak extended for much longer. He’s owned by David Raim, trained by Jeff Runco, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.
SECOND STAR: PENGUIN POWER. The combo of Raim, Runco, and Bocachica teamed up with another West Virginia-bred star on Saturday. Penguin Power, a three-time winner of the WVBC Onion Juice Stakes, won for the first time in 2022. He rated off early leader Golden Key, then struck the front on the turn and drew off late to win by 2 1/4 lengths, while running 4 1/2 furlongs in a sharp 51.24 seconds. He’s won 15 times from 27 starts, with earnings of more than $426,000.
THIRD STAR: SAVOY. Earlier on the Friday card, Savoy shipped to Charles Town for the first time in search of his third win in a row. He went off as the slight 2-1 favorite in a first-level allowance race. It was largely a drama-filled affair, as he set the early pace and drew off to win by ten lengths, going 1 1/16 miles in 1:46.25. Julio Hernandez was in the saddle for owner James Wolf and trainer Anthony Farrior.
FIRST STAR: THAT’S RIGHT. The Sunday feature was the My Frenchman Stakes, for 3-year-olds going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. That’s Right made it three wins in a row, going gate-to-wire in 1:02.46. He’s now 1-for-1 in stakes company, and has run an Equibase figure of 96 three times in a row. He’s owned by James Shannon Jr, trained by Michael Moore, and ridden by Andy Hernandez.
SECOND STAR: BENBANG. On Saturday, the Blue Sparkler Stakes, the female equivalent of the My Frenchman, took place. Benbang, also making her stakes debut, also won in gate-to-wire style. She crossed the wire a length in front in 1:02.82, for her third lifetime win in six races. She’s owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, trained by Jonathan Thomas, and ridden by Albin Jimenez.
THIRD STAR: ANDREA MEZZATESTA. On Sunday, Mezzatesta achieved a major career milestone, winning his first American race. The native of Italy, and the son of Italian riding legend Vincenzino Mezzatesta, arrived in the United States in late May, and guided Morethanicanhandle to a 16-1 upset win in the 7th race for trainer Kelly Breen. Mezzatesta won 365 races prior to his American debut, and is sure to rack up many more on these shores.
FIRST STAR: PRINCESS GRACE. Tuesday’s feature at Parx was the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes. Princess Grace, seeking a second consecutive win in the Penny, was the 17-10 second choice behind recent American invader Flirting Bridge. Under Florent Geroux, Princess Grace set the early pace and easily fended off all challenges to win by three lengths. She ran 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:43.70, for owners Susan and John Moore and trainer Mike Stidham. The win also pushed her earnings past the $1 million mark.
SECOND STAR: FAR MO POWER. This uber-consistent Pennsylvanai-bred made it two in a row last Tuesday, as he took an allowance optional claiming race for fellow Keystone Staters by 2 3/4 lengths. He came wide in the stretch after rating off the pace and pulled clear late for a 2 3/4-length win, going seven furlongs in 1:23.50. He’s won five times from eight starts and has missed the board just once. Dexter Haddock was in the saddle for owner Joseph Sutton and trainer Louis Linder Jr.
THIRD STAR: VIOLENT TURBULENCE. Wednesday’s feature, a second-level allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs, saw an 18-1 upset. Violent Turbulence set the pace while dueling through honest fractions, then dispatched his dueling partner on the turn. He then had to deal with a new challenge in Big City Bob, who got a great trip off the duel and looked to be in prime position to go by. However, Violent Turbulence had enough to hold on and win by a head in a game performance. He ran six furlongs in 1:10.94, for owners Pewter Stable and Spedale Family Racing LLC, trainer Kathleen Demasi, and jockey Silvestre Gonzalez.
- Beren- Pennsylvania-bred star keeps on rolling.
- Princess Grace
- Chub Wagon
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