Archive for July 2015

“SHEER DRAMA” WINS THE $750,000 G1 DELAWARE HCP

071815-Sheer Drama wins the 78th Delaware Handicap-SS 63STANTON, Del. – Sheer Drama had finished second in four of her last five starts and eight of her 17 career starts, but she finished the job Saturday at Delaware Park, besting Frivolous by two
lengths in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap. The Del Cap was the first Grade 1 victory for 5-year-old Sheer Drama. Her previous stakes victories had come in the Grade 2 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park in March and in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go at Laurel Park last September.

Original Article from DRF

Trainer David Fawkes and Harold Queen, the owner and breeder of Sheer Drama, had been pointing her to the 1 1/4-mile Del Cap for some time. “We’ve been looking at this race for quite a while, especially Mr. Queen,” Fawkes said. “He’s been talking about this race for the last three months. We thought the added distance would really help us.” Frivolous had defeated Sheer Drama by 1 1/4 lengths in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs on June 13. Frivolous pressed the early leader in that race, took over nearing the stretch, and then held off Sheer Drama, who rallied from several lengths back. Besides Sheer Drama and Frivolous, there was little other speed in the seven-horse Del Cap field. At the break, Frivolous went to the lead and Sheer Drama settled into second position. On the far turn, Joe Bravo sent Sheer Drama after Frivolous and they turned into the stretch side by side.

The pair battled to midstretch, at which point Sheer Drama began to inch away. She won by two lengths. “To get a win after all those seconds is great,” Fawkes said. “To get it in a Grade 1 is big.” Sheer Drama paid $7 to win as the second choice. She was timed in 2:01.58. Frivolous, trained by Victoria Oliver and ridden by Jon Court, set fractions of 24.45 seconds, 48.83, 1:12.57, and 1:36.23. Fawkes said he wasn’t sure where Sheer Drama would run next but that he would like to get her to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Sheer Drama is a half-sister to Big Drama, who won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint for Fawkes and Queen after gaining a free berth by winning a Breeders’

Cup Challenge series race. Fawkes indicated they might try to do the same with Sheer Drama. The rest of the field never challenged the top pair. America finished third, 3 3/4 lengths behind
Frivolous and 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Flashy American in fourth. Rosalind, the 9-5 favorite, was fifth, three-quarters of a length farther back.

“STANFORD” WINS THE LONG BRANCH

paStanford, the heavy favorite, notched his first stakes triumph Saturday by defeating Souper Colossal by 1 1/4 lengths in the $103,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmount Park in Oceanport, N.J.
With Joe Bravo riding for trainer Todd Pletcher, Stanford sat a nice trip in the 1 1/16-mile race from just behind Souper Colossal before moving to a clear lead leaving the quarter pole. Souper Colossal, ridden by Paco Lopez, actually fought back to reduce the margin inside the eighth pole, only to flatten out late.

Original Article from DRF

Total Joint was another 5 3/4 lengths back in third in a field of seven 3-year-olds. Stanford, a bay colt by Malibu Moon, returned $3 to win after finishing in 1:44.31 over a fast track.
After the top three, the order of finish was Battle Midway, Fortuitous Path, Gorgeous Bird, and Iamahandsome Man. Owned by the Coolmore group and Stonestreet Stables, Stanford had finished second in his last three starts: the Islamorada at Gulfstream, the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, and the Easy Goer at Belmont Park. The colt was entered but scratched in the Kentucky Derby.
It was the third stakes victory in as many weekends for Bravo, who won the June 20 Ohio Derby on Mr. Z and the July 5 United Nations on Big Blue Kitten. Bravo surpassed the 5,000-win
milestone in May.

Pletcher, as usual, leads the national trainer standings with more than $12.7 million in earnings this year. The $2 exacta (3-6) paid $9.40, the $1 trifecta (3-6-2) returned $33.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-6-2-1) was worth $21.46.

“BIG BLUE KITTEN” WINS G1 UNITED NATIONS

BigBlueKitten1UnitedNationsEPTaylorEjdys298Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Big Blue Kitten surged late to win his second edition of the $500,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) July 5 at Monmouth Park. Under the guidance of jockey Joe Bravo, the 7-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy closed gamely to repeat his success from the 2013 running of the race for trainer Chad Brown.

“Man, I keep saying it, but he’s just like an old glass of wine—he keeps getting better with age,” Bravo said. “He got beat less than five lengths in the Breeders’ Cup and I thought that was the worse race he ever ran. And this year, he’s just come back bigger and stronger, and (he) looks better than ever.” Trailing in seventh through much of the race, as many as 11 1/4 lengths behind longshot leader Shining Copper Shining Copper, Big Blue Kitten traveled three wide through the final turn, flying by rivals to hit the wire at 2:11.82 for the 1 3/8- mile test over turf rated firm.

Original Article from Blood Horse

Shining Copper ran all alone in front, setting fractions of 23.88, 47.58, and 1:11.84 through six furlongs, when he held a eight-length advantage. After a mile in 1:35.89, however, the lead was down to 2 1/2 lengths, as Big Blue Kitten moved within striking distance on the outside. “Joe knows this horse and rides him best,” Brown said. “This is Joe’s mount and I hope there’s several more grade I (races) in their future. This horse is just so consistent. What a great runner.” Slumber Slumber, who is also trained by Brown and upset Big Blue Kitten last time out in the Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 6, was 1 1/2 lengths back in second, followed by Twilight Eclipse, a neck back in third. Slumber was last through a mile and closed well, but could not get past his stablemate. “We didn’t get a great break out of the gate, so I was hoping I could get a better position,” said Slumber’s jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. “On the backside, I just sat back and relaxed, saved some ground. Unfortunately I had to check my horse at the three-eighths pole, then I had to cut the corner, then swing out and try to win from there. He made a good run, but just didn’t have enough.”

Main Sequence, the 2014 champion grass horse and older horse who won the United Nations last year, lacked the late kick that allowed him to win four straight grade I turf races in 2014. He finished a far-back seventh in the field of nine. “We had the perfect trip,” said Main Sequence’s rider, Rajiv Maragh. “The pace was there and we sat just where we wanted to, but it just wasn’t our day.” Shining Copper crossed the wire fourth, followed by Imagining, Ashleyluvssugar Ashleyluvssugar, Main Sequence, Sycamore Lane, and Divine Oath, to complete the order of finish.

KHARAFA FINDS ROOM IN ELKHORN

Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Kharafa found serious traffic in the stretch before bursting through an opening in the final 1/16th of a mile and posting a head victory in the $75,000 Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Original Article from Horse Racing Nation

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Trained by Tim Hills, Kharafa stepped the mile over firm turf in 1:34 1/5 and returned $4.40, $3.40 and $2.60 in the field of 11 colts and geldings. Lochte, who grabbed the lead nearing the wire, had to settle for second, completing the $39 exacta and paying $9.40 and $5.20. It was another head back to Inchcape, who paid $4 to show. “I didn’t think I would ever find a hole, but finally there was an opening and he just went on through,” said winning rider Paco Lopez. “I kept him down on the inside the whole way. I didn’t want to get caught wide, so I had to sit and wait and luckily it all worked out.”

A 6-year-old gelding by Kitalpha from the King of Kings mare Exquisite Cassie, the New York-bred Kharafa has won 10 of 28 starts, with earnings just north of $750,000. Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 5, with a pair of graded stakes on the card, including the $500,000 Grade 1 United Nations featuring last year’s winner and Breeders’ Cup victor Main Sequence. Gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:50 p.m.

“GOT LUCKY” WINS G3 MOLLY PITCHER

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Under a decisive ride by Paco Lopez, Got Lucky broke through with her first stakes win in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park on Friday. The $163,500 Molly Pitcher was Got Lucky’s ninth stakes try. She had finished second in four of those races, including the Grade 2 Gazelle and Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra last year and the Grade 2 Demoiselle in 2013.

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In her last start, the Monmouth Beach Stakes on May 24, Got Lucky moved to an easy lead entering the stretch but was run down by Stiffed, who was her main rival again on Friday. J’s Two Step Halo was a bit rank on the lead in the Molly Pitcher, but jockey Daniel Centeno got her to relax, and she showed the way through fractions of 24.46 seconds, 49.85, and 1:14.38 while being tracked by Got Lucky. Mary n’ Eileen was forwardly placed just to Got Lucky’s outside. Got Lucky moved to the lead outside J’s Two Step Halo entering the stretch, and Lopez kept her mind on business for the length of the stretch while scoring by 5 1/2 lengths.

Stiffed lagged back early and then rallied in the final three furlongs to be second-best. J’s Two Step Halo was third, 4 1/4 lengths behind Stiffed. Got Lucky, trained by Todd Pletcher, has a 13-4-5-0 record and earnings of $451,340. She paid $2.60 as the heavy favorite in the six-horse Molly Pitcher. She was timed in 1:44.12 after covering a mile in 1:38.30.

“I knew Stiffed would be coming to the outside again,” Lopez said. “This time, the pace was a little easier for us. She wanted to go a little early, but I had to hold her back. Once we were in the clear, I let her go. She sprinted away perfectly.” The Molly Pitcher was the third win of the day for Lopez.

PACO LOPEZ HAS A BIG WEEKEND

What looked like an evenly matched jockey colony early in the Monmouth Park meet is once again turning into the Paco Lopez show. Lopez had an amazing weekend at Monmouth, going 9 for 18, and now leads the standings with 38 wins, 17 more than Trevor McCarthy in second.

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On Friday, Lopez won the daily double at Monmouth, rode the third race, and then hotfooted it to Belmont Park, where he finished sixth on Easy to Say for Ben Perkins Jr. in race 6. Belmont had
a 3 p.m. Eastern first post Friday. Lopez went 5 for 8 on Saturday and was 2 for 7 on Sunday.

Last year, Lopez ride 120 winners at the Monmouth meet – more than twice the number of runner-up Gabriel Saez – to capture his third local riding title. He won 28 percent of his races.
This year, Lopez is 38 for 154, just a hair below 25 percent.

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