MID-ATLANTIC THREE STARS: november 14

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 Funkhouser Memorial
Muad’dib won a hard-fought Randy Funkhouser Memorial Stakes at Charles Town. Photo by Coady Photography.

FIRST STAR: HYBRID ECLIPSE. Last time out, this mare faced the likes of Nest in the Beldame Stakes at Aqueduct. On Saturday, she got some class relief in the Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes, and took full advantage as she won by three lengths. She drafted in last place early on, while Baby Man and Malibu Beauty set the early pace. On the final turn, she made a strong three-wide move and took the lead at the top of the lane. Under Sheldon Russell, she pulled away from the others and won handily, going 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.05 for her second stakes win of the year. She’s owned by The Elkstone Group LLC and trained by Brittany Russell.

SECOND STAR: RECRUITER. Off two impressive wins to start his career, the Florida-bred son of Army Mule went off as the 13-10 favorite in the James F. Lewis III Stakes. He pressed longshot leader Coffeewithchris on the outside, then hit the front entering the stretch and held clear for a 2 3/4-length win. He’s a perfect 3-for-3 in his career with earnings of $126,900. Angel Cruz was aboard for owners Lynch Racing LLC and Nick Sanna Stables LLC and trainer Cal Lynch.

THIRD STAR: ANGEL CRUZ. The Lewis was one of four winners for Cruz on the Saturday card. He won race 3 on Kozy’s Wildcat, for trainer David Howard, race 5 aboard Controlled Fire, trained by Kieron Magee, and the 6th race on Gerrys Gem, trained by Damon Dilodovico. Cruz also rode favored Dissolute in the Smart Halo Stakes, but finished fifth behind the victorious Twice as Sweet.

Charles Town Races

  • Winning Time scores in PA Nursery
    Debut winner Winning Time handled the step up to stakes company with aplomb, winning Tuesday’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx.

FIRST STAR: MUAD’DIB. It was closer than many people might have expected, but Muad’dib added yet another stakes win to his credentials on Saturday with a victory in the Randy Funkhouser Memorial Stakes. He drafted in mid-pack early on, then made his move for the lead as they neared the final turn. Much like he did in his last win, the Sam Huff West Virginia Breeders’ Classic Stakes, he dealt with a challenge on the inside from a longshot, in 32-1 Bubba Grump. Although he briefly lost the lead in the stretch, he determinedly battled back and won by three-quarters of a length. He’s now won twelve times from 13 starts, with his only defeat coming in the Charles Town Classic earlier this year. He’s owned by David Raim, trained by Jeff Runco, and ridden by Arnaldo Bocachica.

SECOND STAR: SILKY SERENA. Muad’dib wasn’t the only recent Charles Town stakes winner to win again this week. Silky Serena, off a victory in the Blue and Gold Stakes last out, won an open first-level allowance race on Wednesday by 4 1/2 lengths, for her fifth win of the year. Under Reshawn Latchman, she broke on top in the 4 1/2-furlong contest, took the early lead while encountering some pressure, but drew off from there for the win, covering the distance in 52.04 seconds. She’s won two stakes races this year, having also taken the Its Binn Too Long Stakes in May. She’s owned by Cynthia McKee and trained by John McKee.

THIRD STAR: LATE IN THE GAME. Friday’s feature, a West Virginia-bred non-winners of four allowance race, went to Late in the Game, for his third win in his last four starts. He drafted in last place early on in the seven-furlong contest, then swooped five-wide and got up to win by a neck. From 14 starts on the year, he’s hit the board 12 times and has earned $133,473. He’s owned by Taylor Mountain Farm LLC, trained by James W. Casey, and ridden by Gustavo Larrosa.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: AMERICAN PATROL. Lynch sent out another impressive winner at Parx last Monday, when American Patrol crushed the field in an open allowance race. He went off as the 19-10 favorite in the one-mile race, and went gate-to-wire for a dominant 5 3/4-length win. He’s won three times on the year from four starts, and this race represents a nice rebound performance from a fifth-place effort in the DTHA Governor’s Day Handicap last out, his first start off a long layoff. He’s owned by Nick Sanna Stables LLC and Lynch Racing LLC and was ridden by Mychel Sanchez.

SECOND STAR: UNCLE ERNIE. This Pennsylvania-bred Gilman Hallenbeck homebred made it three wins in his last four starts on Tuesday, when he won a second-level allowance optional claiming race by 6 1/4 lengths. Sent off as the overwhelming 3-10 favorite, he set the pace with minimal pressure early on in the six-furlong affair, then coasted away to victory, stopping the clock in 1:10.33 for the distance. He was ninth in the Turf Monster Stakes a few starts back against tough grass horses, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him back in stakes company soon. Trainer John Servis and jockey Frankie Pennington teamed up on this one.

THIRD STAR: SMOOTH B. One race later on the Tuesday card, Smooth B lived up to his 11-10 expectations with a win in an open allowance sprint. He pressed the pace while racing wide in the early stages, but held sway and pulled clear of his dueling partners. Although Fast Bob gobbled up ground late, the wire came in time for Smooth B and he held on to win by a half-length. He’s owned by LC Racing, trained by Butch Reid, and ridden by Paco Lopez.

Region’s Best

  1. Muad’dib– West Virginia-bred star continues to etch his place in history.
  2. Hybrid Eclipse
  3. American Patrol

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