Plenty of racing action took place throughout the Mid-Atlantic this past week.

Here’s a look at the “three stars” of each track:


Set Piece
Set Piece and Sheldon Russell won the G3 BWI Turf Cup. Photo by Jim McCue.

FIRST STAR: SET PIECE. Pimlico returned to action this weekend, with a great 10-race Saturday card serving as the centerpiece. The headliner was the Grade 3 Baltimore-Washington Turf Cup at a mile on grass. Set Piece, who won the Dinner Party Stakes on this track on Preakness day, came from last and kicked clear in the last eighth to win by 1 1/2 lengths as the favorite. He’s won 11 times from 23 starts lifetime, with earnings of $873,323. He’s a homebred for Juddmonte Farms and trained by Brad Cox. Sheldon Russell had the winning mount, for his first graded stakes win since the 2016 Turf Monster Stakes.

SECOND STAR: SIBELIUS. The dirt at Pimlico was playing in favor of horses with speed on the rail this weekend, and Sibelius took full advantage in the Lite the Fuse Stakes on Saturday. Junior Alvarado sent this 4-year-old gelding straight to the lead and rated on the rail and the lead. In the stretch, he kicked away from the others and drew off to win by 7 1/2 lengths in 1:09.30 for six furlongs. He earned an impressive Beyer speed figure of 105. It was his fourth career victory, and his first stakes win. He’s owned by Jun Park and Delia Nash and trained by Jerry O’Dwyer.

THIRD STAR: HORACIO KARAMANOS. After tying for the riding lead at Pimlico this year, Karamanos came out flying at on opening day at Pimlico on Friday, with four winners. He won with his first two mounts of the meet, taking race 2 aboard Heads or Tails, trained by Bob Klesaris, and the 3rd race with Lifelovenlaughter, for trainer Mike Trombetta. He completed the hat trick in race 7 aboard Robin Graham trainee Power Back, and polished off the grand slam in race 9 with Willow Moon, trained by Joan Reynolds. Karamanos added another winner on Saturday, for a meet-leading five wins through opening weekend.

Delaware Park

FIRST STAR: NEXT. Thursday’s Cape Henlopen Stakes was moved from grass to dirt, and run at 1 1/2 miles. The surface change didn’t slow down Next, who set a track record in a dominant 18 1/4-length win. He stalked early leader Highway Bound and moved to the front as they rounded the third and final turn. Bald Eagle Derby winner Vance Scholars, racing off a two-day layoff, made a move after him, but proved no match as Next drew away impressively. He covered the distance in 2:30.25, for his second stakes win, after last year’s War Chant Stakes at Churchill Downs. He’s owned by Michael Foster, trained by William Cowans, and trained by Luan Machado.

SECOND STAR: YODEL E.A. WHO. On Saturday, a tough field of sprinters met in a six-furlong allowance optional claiming dash. Yodel E.A. Who broke from post position six and stalked the pace while racing wide under Jaime Rodriguez. As they turned for home, following a second quarter that was faster than the first, he kicked after the embattled leaders and drew away to win by 5 1/4 lengths for his second straight win. He ran the distance in an impressive 1:09.28, for owners Troy Johnson, Charles Lo, and Jagger Inc and trainer Jamie Ness.

THIRD STAR: INTREPID DAYDREAM. Last fall, this Maryland-bred filly broke her maiden on this track by 16 3/4 lengths. After going to the sidelines, she won her comeback race in August, and made it three wins in a row on Thursday. Sent off as the 2-5 choice in an allowance optional claiming sprint, she tracked early leader Rather Nosy and powered away to a 5 1/2-length triumph, while covering six furlongs in 1:10.44. She’s a homebred for Paul Fowler Jr, trained by Dale Capuano, and ridden by Angel Suarez.

Charles Town Races

FIRST STAR: RUNNIN’TOLUVYA. When last seen, this gray West Virginia-bred star acted up in the gate and was scratched from the Frank Gall Memorial Stakes on Charles Town Classic night. On Thursday, he behaved himself and turned in a gutsy performance. As the favorite in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance, he set the pace and repelled the challenges of Out of Cents and Buff’s Eye View to win by a nose. It was his 16th career win from 30 starts, and boosted his earnings to more than $1.1 million, a lot of which was earned in his 2019 Charles Town Classic victory. He’s owned by Grams Racing Stable LLC, trained by Timothy Grams, and ridden by Christian Hiraldo.

SECOND STAR: CHANGE THE WORLD. This West Virginia-bred filly made it three wins in a row on Saturday when she won a West Virginia-bred allowance race by 1 1/2 lengths. She broke on top, shook off a mild challenge nearing the final turn, and cruised under the line as the 1-5 choice. She’s a homebred for Coleswood Farm Inc, trained by Jeff Runco and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.

THIRD STAR: MARSHALL MENDEZ. Mendez won three races on Friday’s card. He won race 3 on Strong Fiber, for trainer John McKee, race 6 aboard Timmy, trained by Kristy Gazzier, and race 8 with Kevin Joy trainee Tringale. Mendez also won one race each on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, for a six-win week. He’s a clear-cut second in the jockey standings, with 102 victories.

Monmouth Park

FIRST STAR: L’IMPERATOR. A track record fell at Monmouth on Saturday when L’Imperator won the Presious Passion Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. He broke a bit slowly but recovered and moved up to race near the pace. On the final of three turns, he moved three-wide after the lead and took control late for the win. He covered 1 1/2 miles in 2:32.67 to establish a new course standard at the rarely-run distance. This was his second stakes win of the year, after a victory in the Fort Marcy Stakes earlier in the year. He’s owned by Madaket Stables LLC, Wonder Stables, and Robert LaPenta, trained by Chad Brown, and ridden by Hector Diaz Jr.

SECOND STAR: WINFROMWITHIN. The Monday card was headlined by the Red Bank Stakes at one mile on the grass. Winfromwithin, second in the Cliff Hanger Stakes earlier in the season, went gate-to-wire for his first stakes win of the year, and his second overall victory of the season. As the 3-1 second choice, he won by 1 1/4 lengths and ran the distance in 1:34.59, for owner Lea Farms LLC, trainer Jorge Delgado, and jockey Carlos Rojas. It was the second stakes win in Rojas’s career, following a win in the Eleven North Handicap earlier in the season.

THIRD STAR: THOMAS SHELBY. A competitive allowance optional claiming field met for a 1 1/16-mile clash on the Saturday card. Thomas Shelby, the 4-1 third choice, picked up his first win of the year with a 4 1/4-length gate-to-wire win. No Salt made a move to engage him as they neared the final turn, but Thomas Shelby shook him off and drew away impressively. Jersey-bred Golden Brown rallied for second. The winner is owned and trained by David Jacobson and ridden by Jose Gomez.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: DR. B. Monday’s feature was an open allowance sprint for fillies and mares. Dr. B, a locally-based filly who was second in a brief sojourn to Saratoga, recovered from a bad start to win by three lengths. Philadelphia Belle set the early pace, but Dr. B rated off her and moved to engage her at the top of the stretch. From there, Dr. B drew off, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.61. He’s owned by Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC, trained by Robert Reid Jr, and ridden by Frankie Pennington.

SECOND STAR: BOURBON BON BAY. This Maryland Million-eligible filly improved to 3-for-3 lifetime on Wednesday with a determined one-length win in a second-level allowance optional claiming race. She dueled with Flashing Diamond in the early stages, then disposed of that rival and opened up a clear lead late. Jades Gelly rallied well late, but the wire came in time for Bourbon Bon Bay. This daughter of Bourbon Courage is owned and bred by Erin Hlubik, trained by Ramon Martin, and ridden by Jomar Torres.

THIRD STARS: FIVE DREAMS. This 4-year-old gelding made it three wins in his last four starts on Wednesday, when he won a starter allowance race by 5 3/4 lengths. He enjoyed a dream trip, drafting off a speed duel between The Judge and Jury and Jw’strickymischief while racing well clear of the others. When the top two began to tire a bit, Five Dreams zoomed by and won as much the best. Andrew Wolfsont was aboard for owner/trainer Miguel Rodriguez.

Colonial Downs

FIRST STAR: CAPENSIS. The signature event of the Colonial Downs season, the New Kent County Virginia Derby, was held on Tuesday. In just his third career start, Capensis earned his first stakes victory with a two-length win. He moved six-wide at the top of the stretch and kicked to the front under Irad Ortiz Jr, and held on despite drifting a bit in the stretch. He’s owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, LaPenta, Gainesway Stable, Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, and Stonestreet Stables LLC and trained by Todd Pletcher.

SECOND STAR: SPIRIT AND GLORY. One race prior, Spirit and Glory passed almost everyone to outfinish 13 rivals and win the Woodford Reserve Virginia Oaks. The Robert Falcone Jr trainee was 12th in the early stages, then moved into the four-path on the final turn and took a clear shot at the lead. In the stretch, Spirit and Glory rolled on and got up for a 1 1/4-length win, It was her first stakes win, as she improved to 2-for-3 in the United States. Ortiz was in the saddle on this one as well. Falcone co-owns the winner with Nentwig, Dubb, Beast Mode Racing LLC, and Rochfort.

THIRD STAR: IRAD ORTIZ JR. The Virginia Oaks and the Virginia Derby were just two of the many wins Ortiz had at Colonial last week. He won five races total on Tuesday, adding a natural hat trick on races 2-4 along with his two big wins. On Wednesday, he won four more races, including the Bert Allen takes, the Jamestown Stakes, and the Meadow Stable Stakes. Ortiz won ten races total at the Colonial meet, good for tenth in the rider standings. Jevian Toledo won the crown with 25 victories.

Region’s Best

  1. Capensis- Punctuated a great Colonial Downs meet.
  2. Set Piece
  3. Spirit and Glory