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

Muad’dib held off 50-1 longshot Martin Man to win the West Virginia Breeders’ Classic. Photo by Coady Photography.

FIRST STAR: MORELLO. This Steve Asmussen-trained 3-year-old caught the attention of racing fans earlier this year when he won the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct impressively. He did little in his next two starts and went to the sidelines, but returned to the races for the first time in almost four months at Laurel on Saturday. He went off as the even-money favorite in a conditioned allowance optional claiming sprint. After a slow break, he moved strongly to the front on the turn and drew away to win by 2 3/4 lengths. He ran six furlongs in 1:10.56, for owners Blue Lion Thoroughbreds, Craig Taylor, and Diamond T Racing and jockey Sheldon Russell.

SECOND STAR: BOAT’S A ROCKIN. An excellent group, including some stakes winners and stakes-placed runners, lined up in a second-level allowance optional claiming race on Sunday. Boat’s a Rockin won twice on grass earlier in the year at Laurel and was second in the Turf Monster Stakes last out. Under Tyler Conner, he pressed the pace from the outside, then opened up a clear lead in the stretch and held off a host of challengers to win by a neck in 1:05.64 for 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. He’s won three times on the year from six starts, for owner M3 Racing Stable and trainer Brandon Kulp.

THIRD STAR: ASSEMBLY POINT. Earlier on the Sunday card, this Brazilian-bred made it four straight wins. He took a starter optional claiming race by a neck. He tracked his stablemate, R Tenderoni, from just off the pace, then moved off the rail and took his shot at the lead. Mucho Macho Eddie challenged him late, but Assembly Point dug in and held on. This 7-year-old gelding has now won three straight races since getting claimed by Richard Sillaman for $8,000 in mid-August. He’s owned by Herman Braude and was ridden by Angel Cruz.

Delaware Park

FIRST STAR: EMPTY TOMB. When Empty Tomb was last seen, he was well-beaten in the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in January. He returned to the races on Friday in a conditioned allowance optional claiming race. Longshot Highway Bound set the early pace, with Empty Tomb rating just off him. Empty Tomb made a three-wide rally on the final turn and wore down the early leader for a 1 3/4-length victory. He’s won six times from 22 starts lifetime, with earnings of just under $400,000. Jaime Rodriguez was in the saddle for owner John Grossi’s Racing Corp. and trainer Robert Falcone Jr.

SECOND STAR: GRAN RUNNER. After a disappointing finish against a better field last out, Gran Runner bounced back on Thursday to win a non-winners of four allowance optional claiming race. He overcame a wide trip to charge down the stretch and get up for the victory by a head. Chief Ron also closed well and finished second behind the winner. Jaime Rodriguez had the winning mount for owner Granpollo Stable and trainer Victor Barboza Jr.

THIRD STAR: LIAM’S LIGHT. On Wednesday, another non-winners of four race was held for female sprinters. Liam’s Light, sent away as the 6-5 favorite, dueled with Red Hot Mess most of the way, but ultimately pulled clear and won by a length. It was her first win of the year from three starts, and denied Red Hot Mess a chance at a 2-for-2 start to the year. The winner is owned by Stoneway Farm, trained by Kelly Breen, and ridden by Paco Lopez.

Charles Town Races

FIRST STAR: MUAD’DIB. In his last start, this West Virginia-bred star finished second in the Charles Town Classic behind Art Collector. Based on that effort, and his 10-for-11 career record, he was the headliner of Saturday’s West Virginia Breeders’ Classic program. As the 1-5 favorite in the Sam Huff Classic, he rated wide and moved to the lead on the final turn. 54-1 shot Martin Man proved a worthy opponent, and the two dueled together in the last eighth of the mile. Muad’dib’s class ultimately shone through, and he won by a half-length, going 1 1/8 miles in 1:53.97. He’s owned by David Raim, trained by Jeff Runco, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.

SECOND STAR: PENGUIN POWER. Raim, Runco, and Bocachica had another big win on the Saturday card, sending out Penguin Power to his fourth consecutive victory on Breeders’ Classic night. After winning the Onion Juice each of the last three years, Penguin Power tried the Dash for Cash Presented by ROCKWOOL this year, and got the job done by 1 1/4 lengths as the 3-5 choice. Golden Key set the early pace, but Penguin Power rushed three-wide to the lead and drew away late. He’s won 17 times from 30 starts, including eight stakes wins, with earnings of just under $500,000.

THIRD STAR: HESSICA. In the Cavada, it looked like Raim, Runco, and Bocachica would get another win with odds-on choice The Sky Is Falling. However, Hessica had other plans. The Kristy Petty homebred took control entering the stretch after rating off the pace, then held off The Sky Is Falling’s charge to win by a half-length. This was her third win of the year, and first career stakes victory. Antonio Lopez had the winning mount.


FIRST STAR: MAKIN MY MOVE. The Meadowlands hosted their first thoroughbred stakes in a while on Friday, when 3-year-old fillies sprinted five furlongs in the Honey Bee Stakes. Makin My Move, a New York-bred John Kimmel trainee, mowed them down late from last place and won by 1 3/4 lengths as the 9-5 favorite. She won twice earlier in the year in New York, but was no better than fourth in three stakes tries earlier in her career. She’s a homebred for Chester and Mary Broman, while Kendrick Carmouche had the winning mount.

SECOND STAR: CASH NOW. He won for the third time this year on Saturday, winning a second-level allowance optional claiming race by a nose. Fort Harp led most of the way in the five-furlong contest, but Cash Now chased him down late and won a photo finish. It was his third win on the year from nine starts, with both of his earlier wins coming in claiming races at Monmouth Park. Dawn Skelton owns and trains him, while Carlos Rojas was the winning rider.

THIRD STAR: RAMBERT. Off a runner-up finish in the Camptown Stakes at Colonial Downs, Rambert bounced back with a win in a first-level allowance optional claiming race on Saturday. She rallied three-wide from off the pace under Isaac Castillo and got clear late to win by a length. She’s never finished worse than second in six career starts, for owner DAARS Inc and trainer Mike Stidham.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: FORTHELUVOFBOURBON. This son of Bourbon Courage continued his incredible campaign on Monday, when he won the Liberty Bell Stakes by three lengths. His arch-rival, Beren, pressed him in the early stages, but he shook him off and drew off to another sharp win. It’s his third stakes win of the year, having previously won the Page McKenney Handicap and the Banjo Picker Sprint Stakes. He’s owned by Smart Angle LLP, trained by Michael Pino, and ridden by Paco Lopez.

SECOND STAR: DECIDING VOTE. With her win in Monday’s off-the-grass Salvatore DeBunda PTHA President’s Cup at Parx on Monday, Deciding Vote clinched the MATCH Series title. She won by a half-length at 9-1, for her second win in the series and giving her 38 points overall. Runner-up Fille d’Esprit, who was third in the Roamin Rachel Stakes later in the day, picked up 32 points. She’s owned by William Pape, trained by Edward Graham, and ridden by Mychel Sanchez.

THIRD STAR: SHOOGER RAY TOO. The Bucks County Stakes, which was also taken off the grass, went to Shooger Ray Too in a dominant effort. He drew off after rating near the pace for an impressive 5 3/4-length score, with favored Tax well behind in second. This was his first career stakes win and fifth career victory, all but one of which have come at Parx. He’s owned by Vintage Thoroughbreds LLC, trained by Tyler Servis, and ridden by Abner Adorno.

Region’s Best

  1. Muad’dib- West-Virginia bred star keeps on rolling.
  2. Fortheluvofbourbon
  3. Morello