Archive for June 2013

Ju Ju Eyeballs goes from last to first in Crank It Up

Paco Lopez guides Ju Ju Eyeballs to her fourth straight victory in the Crank It UpIt all came together for Ju Ju Eyeballs as she extended her winning streak to four in the $62,400 Crank It Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf Saturday at Monmouth Park.

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She has certainly hit her best stride for trainer Jason Servis, especially since switching to grass for the last three races.

The early trailer in the 5 1/2 furlong dash, Ju Ju Eyeballs and jockey Paco Lopez roared into contention with a three-wide sweep on the turn.

“I had good position on the backstretch but got bumped badly at the three-eighths pole and couldn’t get inside,” Lopez said. “I went wide and that was it. I had a lot of horse under me.”

Ju Ju Eyeballs pulled clear inside the final furlong, leaving behind Funfair, the 2-1 favorite who was softened up after a duel for the lead with Sailinginforthewin.

Ju Ju Eyeballs ($9.80) beat Fearless Jacq by 1 3/4 lengths while Jewel of a Cat shaded Funfair by a half-length for the show spot.

The time was 1:04.24 over the course rated good.

Girl of The Rain was fifth followed by Jane of All Trades, Sailinginforthewin, and Just Got In.

Ju Ju Eyeballs Scores In Crank It Up Stakes Saturday

Jockey Paco LopezMr. Amore Stable’s Ju Ju Eyeballs pushed past pacesetter Funfair in mid-stretch before drawing away to a nearly two-length score in the $60,000 Crank It Up Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday before a crowd of 11,689.

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Trained by Jason Servis, Ju Ju Eyeballs stepped the 5 ½ furlongs over a “good” turf course in 1:04 1/5 and paid $9.80, $4.60 and $3.20. Fearless Jacq completed the $33.40 exacta and returned $3.60 and $3.20. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Jewel of the Cat, who paid $3.80 to show. Funfair, the 2-1 favorite, faded to fourth.

“I had good position on the backstretch but got bumped badly at the 3/8ths pole,” said winning jockey Paco Lopez. “I went wide and that was it. I had a lot of horse under me and he took off.”

A 3-year-old filly by Gators N Bears from the Smarten mare Savvy Lady, Ju Ju Eyeballs sports a record of 5-1-1 from nine starts, good for earnings of $139,890.

Live racing continues at Monmouth on Sunday, June 16 – Father’s Day. Gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:50 p.m.

Fast pace in Boyes Memorial sets up Go Blue or Go Home

Go Blue or Go Home (right) wins the Boyes Memorial under Paco LopezGo Blue or Go Home took advantage of an early speed duel to win the $100,000 Karl Boyes Memorial at Presque Isle Downs on Monday evening under Paco Lopez.

Dazzled Saint was away quickly from the gate in the 5 1/2-furlong race and set the pace with favorite Sum of the Parts pressing in second early. Those two and Grand Old Game hooked up on the turn while Go Blue or Go Home sat in behind the dueling leaders. Lopez swung his mount out and he accelerated to post a two-length win for Woodbine-based trainer Reade Baker.

Super Chunky closed to finish second, one length in front of Kyma in third.

The running time over the Presque Isle Downs Tapeta surface was 1.03.42 and Go Blue or Go Home returned $13.20 to win.

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Don’s Peach goes from claimer to stakes winner in Open Mind

Don’s Peach pulled off a mild upset Sunday, beating 1-2 favorite Geeky Gorgeous in the $61,800 Open Mind Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at Monmouth Park.

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Paco LopezDon’s Peach was a shrewd claim this winter by trainer Kathy Mongeon, who snared the 5-year-old mare for a mere $6,250 at Gulfstream Park. The acquisition has produced two wins and a second in three starts, including Sunday’s stakes victory.

Don’s Peach and jockey Paco Lopez grabbed the lead shortly after the break, with Geeky Gorgeous a menacing third. Geeky Gorgeous was well backed, and well positioned in the field, after scratching out of the John J. Reilly Handicap against the statebred boys here Saturday to run in this spot.

Elvis Trujillo asked Geeky Gorgeous to pick up the pace entering the turn, and she responded. It had all the makings of a two-horse battle until Geeky Gorgeous started drifting extremely wide in the final sixteenth of a mile.

Perhaps it was the layoff, not having run since late September. Maybe it was the 125-pound impost, the highweight in the field and the most in her career. Whatever the reason, Geeky Gorgeous didn’t look like the filly who was 4-2-0 in six starts here last summer.

Meanwhile, down on the rail, Don’s Peach was still humming along, with Mongeon rooting hard.

“It’s a dream come true,” Mongeon said of winning a stakes with a claimer. “You see everybody else do it. It feels good to do it ourselves.”

Don’s Peach held off Geeky Gorgeous by three-quarters of a length, paying $9.20 as the third choice in the wagering.

The time was 1:09.68 for six furlongs on the fast track.

Little Stitch, the slight 7-2 second choice over Don’s Peach, was third. Sidney Anne was fourth, followed by Y to Kat, Easter Blossom, and Fabs.

Jockey Gabriel Saez


Gabriel Saez (born February 1, 1988 in Port Darien, Panama) is a Panamanian horse racing jockey. He began his riding career in his native country in 2004, becoming the leading apprentice jockey in 2005. Saez moved to the United States in February, 2006, and almost instantly became Delaware Park Racetrack’s leading jockey that same year. He won his first race as an apprentice in the U.S., and then his first race as a journeyman.



Gabriel rode Eight Belles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and came under sharp criticism when Eight Belles was euthanized after she’d crossed the finish line, a very game second to Big Brown. In cool-down, she collapsed due to fractures in both front ankles. In a letter to the Kentucky Racing Authority, PETA claimed that the horse was “doubtlessly” injured during the race, and therefore Saez bore some responsibility for the injury and euthanization.

Eight Belles’ trainer, Larry Jones, has vigorously defended Saez, saying “We have photographs 50 to 70 yards from where this happened and the horse had her ears up . . . If this horse had anything going on with her at the time, she didn’t know it. If the horse never had a clue, there’s no way the jockey could have had a clue.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Authority did not find any evidence of wrongdoing by Saez.

Saez won the “I’ve Got Your PETA Right Here Insider Award” in 2008 for achieving a redemptive moment with his dramatically heady victory aboard Eclipse finalist Proud Spell in Saratoga’s Alabama Stakes.

The day before the Kentucky Derby, Saez rode Proud Spell to a win in the Kentucky Oaks.


Saez entered the 2009 Kentucky Derby aboard prerace favorite Friesan Fire and finished 18th. At the 2009
Preakness Stakes, Saez again jockeyed Friesan Fire, and finished 10th.

Lopez doubles up with victories in Red Cross, Little Silver

Rusty Slipper wins the Little Silver, giving her rider, Paco Lopez, a second stakes victory on the afternoonPaco Lopez scored a stakes double on Monday as Monmouth Park closed out the Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore.

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Lopez was aboard Silverette, a confident winner of the $61,800 Red Cross for filly and mare sprinters. He followed up with a 10-1 upset on Rusty Slipper in the $63,600 Little Silver for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. It was the first stakes win for both fillies.

Silverette, a gray 4-year-old trained by Dale Romans, was well in hand in the deep stretch.

“She had plenty left to hold everyone off,” Lopez said.

The 2-1 second choice, Silverette pressed the pace dictated by Little Stitch and took over midway on the turn. Angel’s Glory, up the fence, and Holiday Soiree, the 9-10 favorite following a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs, made late runs but were no match for Silverette.

“This filly has a chance to be something really special,” said trainer Dale Romans, who spent the holiday on the Jersey Shore. “She’s always been one of my favorites. The race played out exactly the way we thought, and everything worked out right.”

Silverette is now 4-3-0 in 8 starts. This was her first win outside New York.

Silverette won by one length over Angel’s Glory in 1:09.72 for the six furlongs on the fast track. She paid $6.80 to win.

Holiday Soiree was third followed by Srumdiddlyumptious, Taylors Irish, Little Stitch and Our Year.

Bella Castani, the 7-10 favorite in the Little Silver, never settled into a comfortable rhythm. She resisted restraint from jockey Joe Bravo, pulling herself into contention with a three-wide move on the first turn and a four-wide sweep down the backstretch.

Her race was over turning for home. That threw the contest up for grabs with Rusty Slipper taking charge in the scramble to wire.

“The leaders started backing up at the quarter pole and I angled to the outside,” Lopez said. “Once she got clear, she really kicked in.”

It was the third win in five starts for the filly, who started her career with a pair of wins at Tampa Bay Downs for trainer Graham Motion. She was overmatched in her next two outings, both Grade 3 stakes.

The order of finish was shuffled behind the winner as Street Gem, second under the wire, was placed fifth for stretch interference with Rhythm Queen. Three Hearts was elevated from third to second. Skyfall and Rhythm Queen both moved up one position to third and fourth, respectively.

Rusty Slipper paid $22.40 to win. The time was 1:35.29 for the mile on the firm course.

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