Archive for January 2014

Paco Wins Stake on Ribo Bobo

Ribo Bobo and jockey Paco Lopez win the Sunshine Millions Sprint by 1 3/4 lengths SaturdayRibo Bobo won 10 times in 11 starts last year, climbing his way from $6,250 claimers to stakes races. He started 2014 on Saturday with another victory, in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park, and now his owner, Ron Lombardi, is hoping to take him to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen.

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“That’s my dream,” Lombardi said in the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle after Ribo Bobo’s latest tour de force.

Jason Servis, who trains Ribo Bobo, didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic about running on synthetic, but Ribo Bobo seemingly can do no wrong of late. Since Servis and Lombardi, who races as Mr Amore Stable, claimed him back for $6,250 here last March – winning a six-way shake – Ribo Bobo has lost just once while winning stakes at Gulfstream, Monmouth, and Laurel.

“I stay out of his way. He does the rest,” Servis said. “When he got to four, five, six wins in a row – I was picking my spots with him, like going to Penn National – I think he finally said, ‘Oh, I’ve really got this now.’ ”

On Saturday, Ribo Bobo ($4.40), the favorite, settled just behind and to the outside of pacesetter Star Harbour, moved effortlessly to take the lead turning into the stretch, and drew away to win by 1 3/4 lengths over My Happy Way, with Star Harbour fading to third, another half-length back.

Bear Tough Tiger was fourth and was followed by Grande Shores, Black Diamond Cat, Close It Out, Fort Loudon, and Apriority.

Paco Lopez rode Ribo Bobo, who covered six furlongs in 1:09.16.

Ribo Bobo, a 6-year-old gelding, has won 16 times in 49 starts and has earned more than $650,000, with almost $400,000 of that coming in the past 13 months.

Ribo Bobo has won 11 times in his last 12 starts, the only loss in that streak a second-place finish in the Fabulous Strike at Penn National in November. His 10 wins in 2013 tied for second among North American runners behind an 11-time winner in Puerto Rico.

Paco Lopez voted nations best in Alternative Eclipse Award

None of these are actually Eclipse Award categories, but maybe they should be…

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Champion Two-year-old Turf Male: Outstrip – Despite only running once in America, his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was simply too good to ignore.

Champion Two-year-old Turf Filly: Chriselliam – See Outsrip.

Champion Three-year-old Turf Male: Up With the Birds – He split time in the States and his native Canada, but his three races here, including the Grade 1 Jamaica, were all on turf, and all topnotch.

Champion Three-year-old Turf Filly: Discreet Marq – She quietly put together an excellent beginning to end season that we all want to see from our stars.

Champion Dirt Miler Male: Flat Out – Goldencents won the biggest race of the division, but this seven-year-old’s huge runs in the Westchester and Cigar Mile were enough to get the job done.

Champion Dirt Miler Female: Beholder – The two-time Breeders’ Cup winner is also a perfect two-for-two at the flat-mile distance, including an impressive score in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes.

Champion Turf Miler Male: Wise Dan – Any questions?

Champion Turf Miler Female: Stephanie’s Kitten – She may have missed the last several months due to injury, but back-to-back wins in the Distaff Mile, and the Grade 1 Just a Game were narrowly enough to carry the division.

Champion Male Turf Sprinter: Ben’s Cat – Who needs the Breeders’ Cup when you are as consistent as this Maryland mainstay?

Champion Female Turf Sprinter: Mizdirection – Two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champ wins this division in a runaway.

Champion Male Stayer: Calidoscopio – The 10y.o. star from Argentina may never have never run another race, but his Brooklyn victory was spectacular, and enough to secure a rather thin division here in the U.S.

Champion Female Stayer: Tannery – The Irish import was only 2-of-7 this year, but they were both important stakes, and she was competitive against the boys running long more than once.

Champion ROI Jockey: Paco Lopez – This young rider is the definition of underrated. If you did nothing but bet horses ridden by Lopez this year, you did quite well for yourself.

Champion Turf Trainer: Chad Brown – A budding superstar in the training game, Brown’s list of talented turf horses is huge.

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