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

Armando R
Armando R won the Richard W. Small Stakes. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski.

FIRST STAR: ARMANDO R. Almost two months after his win in the Japan Turf Cup, Armando R added another stakes win to his credentials on Saturday when he won the Richard W. Small Stakes. Maryland-breds Ournationonparade and Cordmaker were 1-2 at the top of the stretch, but Armando R was in the midst of a strong, wide move, much like the one he made in his prior win. As they raced down the lane, Armando R continued to gain on the top two, and he surged by them late to win by a half-length. Ournationonparade held second, while Cordmaker finished third and passed the $1 million mark in career earnings. The winner has won four times from nine starts this year and has earned $213,040. He’s owned by Ronald Cuneo, trained by Damon Dilodovico, and ridden by Horacio Karamanos. The Small continued a great week for Karamanos; he also won the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship on Friday aboard Nothing Better.

SECOND STAR: FILLE D’ESPRIT. Claimed for $10,000 two years ago, Fille d’Esprit made it five stakes wins on the year on Friday, when she won the Politely Stakes as the odds-on favorite. She drafted off the early pace and moved towards the leaders on the turn. Under regular rider Xavier Perez, she easily cruised to the front and pulled away to win by 5 3/4 lengths. She’s now earned $414,055 on the year, and $598,381 total. She’s owned by C J I Phoenix Group and No Guts No Glory Farm, trained by Jerry Robb, and ridden by Xavier Perez.

THIRD STAR: LITTLE VIC. Earlier on the Saturday card, Little Vic broke through for his first stakes win in the City of Laurel Stakes. In contrast to his usual style, Little Vic rated off the pace, which was hotly contested. As they entered the stretch, Carlos Olivero moved him up the inside and overhauled Radical Right and Al Loves Josie in the final yards. He crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths in front, for owner Victoria’s Ranch and trainer Juan Carlos Avila. The final time for seven furlongs was 1:23.53, 0.47 seconds faster than Swayin to and Fro ran in winning the Safely Kept Stakes one race prior.

Charles Town Races

FIRST STAR: ANGEL CRUZ. Usually based at Laurel Park, Cruz came to ride at Charles Town on Friday. It was a worthwhile trip, as he won five consecutive races. He won three races on Ronney Brown-trained horses, taking race 2 aboard Salty J J, race 5 on Stevethevandriver, and the 6th race with Always Drinking. In between, he won the 3rd race on Cal Lynch trainee Bigz’s Cabana Boy and race 4 with Torch Carrier, trained by Charles Frock. He had a shot at six winners in race 8, but ended up second on Exaggeratedefence.

SECOND STAR: SHOSHONI MOON. It wasn’t as easy as most people might’ve thought, but Shoshoni Moon made it three straight wins in an allowance race on Saturday. Breaking from post position five in the 6 1/2-furlong contest, she rated two paths off the rail in mid-pack, then made her move after the leaders on the far turn. Escape Fund faded, but My Flicker held in gamely and battled with the 2-5 choice in the stretch. Shoshoni Moon hit the wire a head in front, crossing the line in 1:20.34. Arnaldo Bocachica had the winning mount for owners Gryphon Investments LLC and Havensgate Farm, LLC and trainer Stephen Lyster.

THIRD STAR: NEWS FLASH. The Thanksgiving feature was a second-level allowance optional claiming sprint at 4 1/2 furlongs. News Flash pulled off a mild 7-1 upset. He rated off the pace set by Golden Key, then moved towards the leader on the turn and pulled clear late to win by 1 3/4 lengths. He’s won twice on the year from eight starts, and has hit the exacta six times. Reshawn Latchman was aboard on Thursday for owner/trainer Chris Keller.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: RIDIN WITH BIDEN. This Butch Reid trainee won his third stakes race of the year on Wednesday, taking the Turkey Trot Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. He dueled with Tough Tickets and Golden Juan, among others, in the early stages, and while Golden Juan faded late, Tough Tickets and Ridin With Biden continued to battle with each other around the turn. As they entered the stretch, Tough Tickets began to fade, and Ridin With Biden got the upper hand. He held on for the victory, and added this race to his credentials along with the Deputed Testamony Stakes and the Greenwood Cup. He’s owned by Cash is King LLC and LC Racing LLC and ridden by Paco Lopez.

SECOND STAR: REPO ROCKS. The stakes action on Wednesday started with the Let’s Give Thanks Stakes for male sprinters. Repo Rocks pulled off a 9-1 upset. He tracked the pace under Andrew Wolfsont, then moved into the three-path and set his sights on Beren and Twisted RIde. As those two continued to duel, Repo Rocks continued to grind away on the outside. He wore down those two in the final few yards and won by a neck, going 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.85. He’s owned by Double B Racing Stables and trained by Jamie Ness.

THIRD STAR: BOURBON BON BAY. This Maryland-bred daughter improved to 4-for-4 lifetime on Wednesday with her win in the Cornucopia Stakes. She tracked the pace while racing off the rail, then continued to grind away on the outside under a drive from Jomar Torres. In the stretch, Bourbon Bon Bay began to respond, and worked past her rivals late. She crossed the wire a length in front for her first stakes win. She was a late bloomer, having not raced until late in her 4-year-old season, but she has an undefeated record with earnings of $120,000. The now-5-year-old mare is a homebred for Erin Hlubik, trained by Ramon Martin.

Region’s Best

  1. Ridin With Biden- No malarkey from him as he continues a solid year.
  2. Angel Cruz
  3. Armando R