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

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

Region’s Best

Award Wanted
Award Wanted (inside) held off Morning Matcha in the Obeah Stakes. Photo by HoofprintsInc.com.

FIRST STAR: AWARD WANTED. What looked like a layup for Morning Matcha on paper ended up going awry, as Maryland-bred Award Wanted pulled an 18-1 upset in Saturday’s Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park. Angel Cruz put Award Wanted on the pace and got to the rail and the lead while being pressed through moderate fractions. On the far turn, Award Wanted began to pull clear, while 1-5 Morning Matcha made her move. The favorite continued to rally in the stretch, but the wire came just in time for Award Wanted, who hit the line in front by a nose. This is the second stakes win of the year for the former $16,000 claim, having won the Geisha Stakes at Laurel Park earlier this year. She’s owned by No Guts No Glory Farm and Erica Upton and trained by Jerry Robb.

SECOND STAR: BIG EVEREST. The co-feature of the holiday weekend at Monmouth Park was Saturday’s Cliff Hanger Stakes. Big Everest, who shipped down from New York for Christophe Clement, set the pace and held on to win by three-quarters of a length for his third consecutive stakes win. He set honest fractions under Jorge Vargas and pulled clear in the stretch, withstanding a late rally from Smokin’ T for the victory. The winner is a 5-year-old gelding owned by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Steven Rocco, and William Branch.

THIRD STAR: NIMITZ CLASS. Following his dominance of the older males at Laurel Park over the winter and spring, many penciled in Nimitz Class for the Pimlico Special. He bypassed that spot, instead entering an open allowance at Parx on Monday. He went off at 3-5 in the one mile and 70-yard contest and never had an anxious moment, stalking the pace and kicking away to win by 5 1/4 lengths. He’s now 4-for-4 on the year and 10-for-16 lifetime, with career earnings approaching $500,000. He’s a homebred for Tom Coulter’s Arrowwood Farm, trained by Bruce Kravets, and ridden by Jevian Toledo.


  • Notes from Pennsylvania Derby day
    Some news, notes, and observations from a rainy, messy but exciting day at Parx Racing, where the Pennsylvania Derby was run Saturday.

FIRST STAR: BORRACHO. Lasted to beat a tough third-level allowance optional claiming field on Thursday.

SECOND STAR: CAN THE QUEEN. This Pimlico-loving mare won her first race of the year in a tough allowance optional claiming sprint on Sunday.

THIRD STAR: IT”S VIPER. Turned in another impressive come-from-behind victory against fellow Maryland-breds on Saturday for his third straight win. Is stakes company next for this rising 3-year-old?

Charles Town Races

FIRST STAR: NEVER COMPROMISE. Won his fourth start in his last five races by taking a starter optional claiming contest on Saturday.

SECOND STAR: MARSHALL MENDEZ. Rode three winners on Friday, including a sweep of the early double.

THIRD STAR: COMPANY CLOWN. Got the job done in a starter allowance on Friday; he’s now 3-for-3 on the year and has not missed the exacta since December 2021.

Delaware Park

FIRST STAR: AWARD WANTED. Continued a strong year with a gutsy Obeah victory.

SECOND STAR: SIR WELLINGTON. Defeated a strong open allowance field in the Thursday feature.

THIRD STAR: R AVERIE LYNN. Hard-knocking mare ran them off their feet to cap the Thursday card.

Monmouth Park

FIRST STAR: BIG EVEREST. After three straight listed stakes wins, a graded stakes try is likely next for this budding star.

SECOND STAR: SPIRIT AND GLORY. Came up the inside to upset odds-on choice Scotish Star in Sunday’s Miss Liberty Stakes.

THIRD STAR: CATNIP. Made it 2-for-2 on the year with a well-timed allowance optional claiming win on Saturday for Mike Stidham and Samy Camacho.

Parx Racing

FIRST STAR: NIMITZ CLASS. He has to try graded stakes now, no?

SECOND STAR: PACO LOPEZ. Won with all four of his mounts on Tuesday’s program.

THIRD STAR: KISSES FOR EMILY. Prevailed in a first-level allowance optional claiming race on Monday by more than seven lengths, taking her 2023 debut in style.