MID-ATLANTIC THREE STARS: november 20
Plenty of racing action took place throughout the Mid-Atlantic this past week.
Here’s a look at the “three stars” of each track:
FIRST STAR: NO CHANGE. West Virginia-bred stars met at Charles Town on Saturday in the 1 1/8-mile Randy Funkhouser Memorial Stakes. No Change, off a win in the Onion Juice on West Virginia Breeders’ Classic night, made it three stakes wins in a row with a three-quarter length victory. He drafted well off the pace in the early stages, then moved to the front three-wide and struck the lead as they rounded the final turn. Social Chic and odds-on choice Muad’dib made serious late bids of their own, but No Change fended them off for the win. He’s now 4-for-8 on the year, having also taken the Frank Gall Stakes earlier this year. A McKee homebred by their stallion Fiber Sonde, he’s owned and trained by Cyndy McKee and ridden by Marshall Mendez.
SECOND STAR: PIRATE RICK. The Saturday feature at Laurel Park was an open allowance sprint at six furlongs. Pirate Rick, off a pair of disappointing efforts at Aqueduct and Delaware Park, went off at 10-1 in the seven-horse field. He broke well and went to the front under Martina Rojas, and forgot to stop en route to a neck victory. Second choice Stage Left came charging at him late, but Pirate Rick had enough left for the win, covering six furlongs in 1:10.21. He’s now 3-for-11 on the year, and has won eight times in 30 career starts. He’s owned by Built Wright Stables LLC and trained by Ray Ginter.
THIRD STAR: RUDY SANCHEZ-SALOMON. One of Laurel’s top trainers enjoyed a big day Thursday, sending out three winners. Two of his winners came with Designated Hitters-owned horses, as he won race 6 with Rebel Posse, with Angel Cruz aboard, and the 9th race with Yomar Ortiz-ridden Mister Agent. In between, he sent our Tocayo to win race 8, owned by Lugamo Racing Stable LLC and ridden by Tais Lyapustina. Sanchez-Salomon is in third place in the trainer standings, with 12 winners from 77 starters.
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: December 3, 2023We provide full-card picks and analysis for this afternoon’s races at Laurel Park.
FIRST STAR: PIRATE RICK. Bounced back with a nice win against a solid field.
SECOND STAR: RUDY SANCHEZ-SALOMON. Continued a solid fall season with a big day Thursday.
THIRD STAR: SHOSHANAH. Went gate-to-wire to win a third-level grass sprint for fillies and mares on Saturday under Rojas in a 19-1 upset.
Charles Town Races
FIRST STAR: NO CHANGE. He’s gotten good at the right time, wrapping up his season with three straight stakes wins.
SECOND STAR: NICO. Came from last to win an open allowance dash for West Virginia-breds on Thursday, good for his fourth win of the year.
THIRD STAR: CARLOS LOPEZ. Turned a grand slam in the saddle on Thursday, with his win aboard Nico the highlight of the evening.
FIRST STAR: IRISH EXIT. Got up late to win his third race in a row, and sixth on the year, in a second-level sprint on Tuesday.
SECOND STAR: AOIFE’S MAGIC. Made her first start since her victory in the Imply Stakes on Wednesday, and improved to 3-for-3 lifetime with a sharp 4 1/4-length win a first-level sprint.
THIRD STAR: DIDINGER. Stalked the pace and battled hard in the stretch to win a non-winners of three sprint later on the Wednesday.
- Martina Rojas: “Nothing like loving your job”Preternaturally driven apprentice rider Martina Rojas has opened some eyes of late with solid meets at Presque Isle, Timonium, Pimlico and now Laurel.