Archive for November 2017

Fire Key earns first stakes win in Autumn Days

fire key the autumn days 2OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Fire Key capped a busy and successful 4-year-old campaign Sunday at Aqueduct, getting a perfect trip under Paco Lopez and rolling to a 2 1/2-length victory in the $100,000 Autumn Days Stakes for fillies and mares, the final turf stakes of the year on this circuit.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Sitting fourth along the inside early on, Fire Key was swung into the 3 path turning for home, and she caught and passed Ultra Brat inside the final furlong to get her first stakes victory and trainer Pat Kelly’s first stakes win in six years.

“It’s been a while,” said Kelly, whose most recent stakes win had come with Spa City Fever in the Alex M. Robb on Dec. 31, 2011.

Two starts back, Fire Key finished second in the Sensible Lady Turf Stakes at Laurel Park. Earlier this month, Fire Key was beaten a nose by First of Spring in a swiftly run allowance race.

On Sunday, Fire Key was second to no one as she sat patiently along the inside while Mo’ne Davis and Ultra Brat dueled through fractions of 23.13 seconds for the quarter and 46.50 for the half-mile. Lopez had no issue swinging Fire Key into the clear turning for home, and the filly did the rest.

Stormy Victoria, the 5-2 favorite, prevailed in a four-horse battle for second by a neck over First of Spring, who was third by a neck over Ultra Brat, who was fourth by a neck over Always Thinking.

Lopez was subbing for Rajiv Maragh, who was at Del Mar on Sunday. Maragh had ridden Fire Key in four of her last five starts and had gotten the filly to settle in her races.

“Maragh had been getting her to relax in her last few starts and finish, and today it worked out even better. She really finished,” Kelly said. “We thought there’d be speed from the outside and she could sit in there and take advantage from that post position and that she’d finish good, and she did.”

Fire Key, a daughter of Friesan Fire owned and bred by Backwards Stable, covered the six furlongs in 1:09.23 and returned $12.

Kelly said Fire Key will have a break and return in the spring, looking for more stakes success.

“We’ll have her back next spring and have some fun, I think,” Kelly said.

Take Charge Paula holds firm to win Smart Halo Stakes

Take Charge PaulaTake Charge Paula won a pace battle and just lasted over the closing Caught Dream’n to win the $100,000 Smart Halo Stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday at Laurel Park.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Take Charge Paula was part of a three-horse speed duel with Vertrazzo and Tarawa, the trio setting splits of 22.33 and 46.29 seconds. Tarawa caved, but Vertrazzo stayed on gamely, Take Charge Paula finally taking her measure in the final half-furlong as Caught Dream’n’s late outside run fell just short of the winner.

Chris DeCarlo, the jockey on fourth-place Pacific Gale, lodged an objection against Paco Lopez on Take Charge Paula, alleging interference in upper stretch, and the stewards also posted an inquiry into the incident. But it was actually Vertrazzo who was drifting out, coming into Take Charge Paula’s path as Pacific Gale, just behind that pair and inside another horse, was briefly short of room.

“[Vertrazzo] did bother us a little, but the filly was pretty game,” said Kelly Breen, who trains Take Charge Paula for Bruce Tallisman.

Caught Dream’n, beaten a head, was three-quarters of a length better than Vertrazzo, who held well for a 21-1 shot. Take Charge Paula ($7.40) was the 5-2 second choice behind the narrowly favored Pacific Gale. Jehozacat, who also was 5-2, had a good spot on the inside and just behind the speed but lacked a stretch punch and finished fifth.

By Take Charge Indy and out of the Songandaprayer mare Perfect Paula, Take Charge Paula won for the third time in five starts. She flopped when tried around two turns in the Pocahontas at Churchill but has three wins and a second in her one-turn tries.

• The odds-on My Magician won the $75,000 Geisha Stakes for older Maryland-bred fillies and mares by 2 1/4 lengths. Jomar Torres rode My Magician for the Euro Stable and trainer Claudio Gonzalez, who claimed My Magician for $25,000 on May 17 and now have won three times – including two stakes – from five starts with the 5-year-old mare, a daughter of Street Magician and My Rib, by Partner’s Hero. My Magician ($3.40) ran a one-turn mile in 1:37.40. Moon Virginia was second, with Lucky Malibu third.

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