Archive for August 2017

Money’soncharlotte notches fourth straight victory

Money soncharlotteMoney’soncharlotte continued her win streak with a 1 1/4-length victory over Martini Glass in the $200,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes Saturday at Thistledown, while the latter continued her streak of tough beats in stakes competition.

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Money’soncharlotte, trained by Kelly Breen, has now won four consecutive races – three of those stakes. She arrived at Thistledown off a win in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth, which was preceded by the Lady’s Secret Stakes at the same track. Martini Glass, meanwhile, came into the Lady Jacqueline having finished second by a neck in the Obeah Stakes, and then second by a length to two-time Eclipse Award champion Songbird in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap last month.

Money’soncharlotte, with Paco Lopez in the irons, stalked the pace set by longshot Put Up With It, a length behind through a half in 48.28 seconds. She edged up to head the leader through six furlongs in 1:13.60 and easily took over to power clear in the lane for the victory. Martini Glass, bumped at the start and steadied early, rallied but had to settle for second, edging Mo d’Amout by three-quarters of a length.

The final time for the 1 1/8 miles was 1:51.48.

Earlier in the card, Nikki My Darling turned back the formidable Justalittlesmoke, who had been unbeaten on the season, to win the $75,000 Pay the Man Stakes for Ohio-bred fillies and mares.

Nikki My Darling, with Luis Colon aboard for trainer Jeffrey Radosevich, led wire to wire for the victory, repelling Justalittlesmoke when the favorite drew within a length after six furlongs, and powering clear to an eight-length score. She stopped the clock in 1:43.82 for the 1 1/16-mile race.

Justalittlesmoke held second by 4 1/2 lengths over Star Mabee.

This was the third career stakes victory for Nikki My Darling, who now has back-to-back stakes scores. The filly finished sixth in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont in June and rebounded for a 6 1/2-length win in the Norm Barron Queen City Oaks at Belterra, establishing a track record for 1 1/8 miles.

Lopez follows Take Charge Paula to Delaware for White Clay Creek

Paco Lopez rides infrequently at Delaware Park, but when he does, it’s usually with a narrow purpose. The star jockey will make one of those trips to the Stanton, Del., track Wednesday to ride a filly named Take Charge Paula in the $50,000 White Clay Creek.

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Trainer Kelly Breen has enlisted Lopez to fly in from upstate New York and reunite with Take Charge Paula, a 4 1/4-length winner of her only start. That eye-catching score at Monmouth Park was enough to make Take Charge Paula the morning-line favorite in the White Clay Creek, the eighth of nine races on a card that starts at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

“She’s a quick filly that should like a little more ground,” said Breen. “Paco likes her a lot.”

Nine 2-year-old fillies are entered in the White Clay Creek, but Bronx Beauty is a likely scratch after winning the Colleen Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth.

Take Charge Paula, owned by Bruce Tallisman, will break from post 2 in the 5 1/2-furlong race. For Lopez, who has been riding regularly at Saratoga after splitting time between Monmouth and Belmont, this is his fourth quick trip in and out of Delaware this year. Since his first Delaware ride in 2011, he has gone 15 for 55, including 1 for 4 at the 2017 meet.

Lopez was aboard Take Charge Paula on July 7, when fans pounded the filly down to 7-10 odds for her debut. She did not disappoint, controlling the five-furlong race from the outset to earn a 63 Beyer Speed Figure.

Perhaps the main threat to Take Charge Paula will be starting just to her inside: Contrarity (post 1, Katie Davis) will be trying to improve on a 2-for-3 record that includes a four-length allowance score in her latest start July 12 at Delaware.

Other notables include Prancing Warrior and Trickizar, the one-two finishers in a key Delaware maiden race in early June, and Pikachu Princess, a winner of her lone career attempt for trainer Gina Rosenthal. Rounding out the lineup are Dialin, Brexit Revenge, and Miss Deplorable.

Money’soncharlotte takes them all the way in Molly Pitcher

Money soncharlotteOCEANPORT, N.J. – In the paddock before the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes, jockey Paco Lopez told trainer Kelly Breen it looked like there was a lot of speed in the race and suggested he take Money’soncharlotte back. Breen put his faith in the five-time Monmouth riding champ and agreed.

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When the gates opened, Money’soncharlotte took Lopez right to the front and the 1 1/16-mile race basically was over.

“I planned on sitting second or third, but when no one else was going, we did,” Lopez said.

Lopez rated Money’soncharlotte through fractions of 23.78, 47.82, and 1:11.64 and she went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths over a late-running Eskenformoney. Money’soncharlotte, a 5-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast, is now 3 for 3 this year. The Molly Pitcher was her third career stakes win and first graded score.

“She was tailing off at the end of last year and needed a break, so we kept her at Parx over the winter and backed off on her training,” Breen said. “She came back strong for us.”

Breen went on to thank owner George Hall for letting him keep horses in training for numerous campaigns.

“The longevity of horses we’ve had like Pants On Fire, Ruler On Ice, and this mare are a credit to Mr. Hall,” Breen said.

Pants On Fire raced six seasons and won 11 races and $1.6 million. Ruler On Ice, winner of the 2011 Belmont Stakes, raced five years and earned $1.7 million.

Money’soncharlotte paid $20 to win in the eight-horse field. She was timed in 1:42.80.

Todd Pletcher added blinkers to Eskenformoney’s equipment and she finished well in a belated bid. It was 2 1/2 lengths farther back to 7-5 favorite Carrumba in third.

John J. Reilly Handicap: Chublicous wins stretch battle

Chublicious won a quarter-mile battle with Fast Friar to take the $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap, a six-furlong sprint for New Jersey-breds earlier on Sunday’s card.

The victory was the second straight in the Reilly for Chublicious, who is owned by David Gruskos and trained by Jorge Navarro.

Chublicious stalked three battling leaders early on, went to their outside on the far turn and was almost immediately joined by Fast Friar. The pair brushed once or twice in upper stretch, and then fought to the wire with Chublicious coming out a head the best.

Chublicious, who was ridden by Antonio Gallardo, paid $3.80 and was timed in 1:08.37. He carried high weight of 126 pounds and conceded six pounds to Fast Friar.

In his prior start, Chublicious disappointed at even money in a statebred allowance in late May, finishing fourth.

It was 7 1/4 lengths back from Fast Friar to Visionary Ruler, who was coupled in the wagering with Chublicious.

Sharp Azteca sets course record with Monmouth Cup win

07-30-17 SharpAzteca_MonmouthCup_03OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Jorge Navarro was relieved after Sharp Azteca won the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup on Sunday by 7 1/2 lengths.

Navarro thought Sharp Azteca could handle the two turns of the 1 1/16-mile Monmouth Cup, but he was glad to see him do it so impressively. Navarro also was glad to have the race over with, because Sharp Azteca had been a handful leading up to it.

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Sharp Azteca had almost gotten loose at the barn Saturday night, Navarro said. He then flipped and fell on his way from the barn to the paddock prior to the race.

“Now I can relax,” Navarro said.

The 3-10 favorite, Sharp Azteca settled nicely while pressing the early pace in the four-horse Monmouth Cup outside 5-1 second choice Classy Class.

Following relatively easy fractions of 23.94 and 47.13, Sharp Azteca took control on the far turn.

Jockey Paco Lopez shook him up in upper stretch and Sharp Azteca pulled away without need of further urging. He covered six furlongs in 1:10.69, a mile in 1:34.17 and set a track record of 1:40.19. The previous record of 1:40.20 was set by Formal Gold in the 1997 Philip Iselin Handicap in August 1997.

Navarro’s goal for Sharp Azteca is the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar on Nov. 3. He plans to use the Grade 2 Kelso, a mile race at Belmont Park on Sept. 23, as a prep.

“Now all I have to do is keep him healthy and happy, and make sure he doesn’t kill himself,” Navarro said.

Sharp Azteca was second-best to Mor Spirit in the Met Mile in his start prior to the Monmouth Cup. Navarro said Sharp Azteca was not at his best for that race.

“He really wasn’t ready for the Met Mile,” Navarro said. “He cut himself and missed a month before that race.”

Sharp Azteca paid $2.60 to win in the Monmouth Cup. He is now 6 for 13 in his career with four stakes wins and earnings of $956,740.

Donegal moon finished second in the Monmouth Cup, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Just Call Kenny. Classy Class was fourth.

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