Archive for December 2021

Bipartisanship Records First Stakes Win In Eventful Tropical Park Oaks

Fortune Racing LLC’s Bipartisanship overcame traffic while also benefitting from a fast early pace Sunday at Gulfstream Park, rallying from far back to prevail in a most eventful running of the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks.

The Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, co-headlined Sunday’s day-after-Christmas program at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track, with the Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for 3-year-olds.

Bipartisanship, a British-bred daughter of Bated Breath who was sent to post at 19-1, scored by a half-length after jockey Paco Lopez found room between horses in the stretch to record her first stakes victory. The Graham Motion-trained filly was purchased privately following a third-place finish in a Group 3 race in Ireland in July.

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Bipartisanship saved ground while racing well behind a lively pace set by multiple graded-stakes winner Lady Speightspeare, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, and pressed by Tobys Heart. The pacemakers set fractions of 23 and 46.99 seconds for the first half mile before continuing to do battle on the turn into the homestretch. Previously undefeated Lady Speightspeare, who captured the Natalma (G1) on turf and the Bessarabian (G2) on Tapeta at Woodbine, suddenly veered five paths to the outside entering the stretch to briefly lose the lead to longshot Mademoiselle Nova, but quickly recovered to take back the lead in mid-stretch.

The pressured pace and her greenness, however, took its toll on the heavy favorite in deep stretch, when Bipartisanship, who was blocked at the top of the stretch, surged between horses to get to the wire first. Stunning Finish also made a wide rally to finish second, a neck ahead of Lady Speightspeare.

“I was a little worried at the top of the stretch. It looked like [Lopez] had nowhere to go, but it all worked out. I think she was much the best. She didn’t have a very good trip,” Motion said.

Bipartisanship, who broke her maiden at Laurel in her second U.S. start, was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Winter Memories at Aqueduct.

“Last time, [Jevian Toledo] was mad at himself because they kind of slowed the race up and he left her with way too much to do,” Motion said. “When she came to me, she was already stakes-placed as a maiden. The day she ran in New York she just walked out of the gate, but she won very impressively at Laurel. She has done things very nicely. She’s nice filly to be around.”

Bipartisanship ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.16 on a firm turf course, providing another Tropical Park Oaks upset victory to her trainer, who saddled Ultra Brat for a 36-1 upset in 2016.

Motion has no immediate plans for Bipartisanship’s next start.

“I haven’t really thought beyond this race,” he said. “I was actually a little worried about running today because I thought it was very competitive.”

R Adios Jersey, Shivaree Win FTBOA Stakes At Tampa Bay Saturday

Florida’s Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry put its best foot forward today at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla., and even fans who didn’t cash a ticket came away feeling like winners after a pair of breathtaking stakes races.

In the fourth race, the fifth edition of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for registered state-bred fillies and mares, unbeaten 3-year-old R Adios Jersey engineered a tour de force, dominating four rivals for an 11-length victory.

Two races later, in the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for registered state-bred males, owners, trainers, and spectators were left gasping as 4-year-old colt Shivaree defended his 2020 Marion County title with a desperate rally in the final strides that deprived 5-year-old gelding R Mercedes Boy of victory by a head.

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Both winners earned $60,000 from the $100,000 purses, but it was the thrills they provided along the way that proved priceless. Shivaree’s winning time of 1:22.58 for the seven-furlong distance was .02 seconds faster than R Adios Jersey, but it should also be mentioned she was geared down late while Shivaree was all-out at the finish.

Jockey Paco Lopez knew R Adios Jersey was virtually flying during the early stages of the City of Ocala. But the 3-year-old filly felt so comfortable beneath him, he decided it would be counter-productive to try to slow her down.

By the time she got to the 1/8-mile pole of the seven-furlong race, her four Florida-bred rivals were vying for second place. R Adios Jersey continued to roll, improving her record to 6 for 6.

An overwhelming favorite in the wagering, R Adios Jersey paid $2.40 to win. She probably would have set a stakes record had not Lopez throttled her back in the final yards, still posting a time of 1:22.60, .20 seconds off Surprise Wedding’s 2017 stakes mark. Starship Nala finished second and Bramble Berry was third.

R Adios Jersey, who won the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks on Aug. 27 in her previous start, is owned by Rich Averill’s Averill Racing, Anthony Mattera’s ATM Racing, and retired major league baseball outfielder Jayson Werth. Georgina Baxter trains the daughter of Adios Charlie-Marion Theatre, by Montbrook, who was bred in the Sunshine State by Ocala Stud and J. Michael O’Farrell, Jr.

First-place money raised R Adios Jersey’s career earnings to $427,400.

“That was kind of easy, but when you have a very nice, fast filly like that, it can look easy. I wanted her to go in :22 (seconds) and :46 (for the quarter-mile and the half), but (:21.79) and (:44.35). … she’s just very fast,” Lopez said. “She wanted to go so hard but I didn’t fight her too much, because she was doing it very comfortable. She was really sharp today and Georgina did a great job getting her ready.”

Lopez has ridden R Adios Jersey in all but one of her starts, including the Charles Town Oaks and the Florida Cup Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes here in March.

Bradenton, Fla., resident Averill, who owns Rich Averill Masonry, has built an impressive racing resume since emerging on the scene in 2005 with Florida Oaks and G2 Delaware Oaks winner R Lady Joy. With such prominent stakes winners as Lady’s Island, Pay Any Price, R Angel Katelyn, Paradise Dancer, and G2 Saratoga winner R Free Roll to his credit, Averill keeps proving he’s a major player.

As is customary when he competes in a stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs, he brought close to 100 family members, co-workers, friends, and friends of friends to enjoy R Adios Jersey’s sheer brilliance.

“We wanted this race for the hometown team, and it’s great when the plan comes together,” Averill said. “Every race, she has done better and better and better. She’s 6 for 6 and you can’t ask for more than that. We’re taking things one race at a time with her, and we’ll figure out what’s next.

“I always try to plan a party here with my friends and family and co-workers, and right now it’s a feeling of stress relief because I don’t have to answer all the questions of ‘why didn’t you win.’ It’s fun to get new people into the game, like Anthony, who moved down from New Jersey, and Jayson, and today is a day they will always remember in a good way.”

In the Marion County, Shivaree bettered his record to 5 for 23 the hard way, digging into a deep reserve of desire in the final strides to edge a tiring but game R Mercedes Boy. Samy Camacho rode the winner for breeder-owner Jacks or Better Farm and trainer Ralph Nicks.

Shivaree, the 2020 G1 Curlin Florida Derby runner-up, raised his lifetime bankroll to $546,294.

Camacho said the race unfolded as he expected, with Shivaree making a bold move on the turn for home, until Averill Racing and partners’ R Mercedes Boy kept going inside the 1/8-mile pole under Lopez.

“I was a little worried when that horse gave another kick,” said Camacho, who surprised more than a few people by knowing he’d gotten there just in time. “But my horse kept trying. I rode this horse in two stakes at Gulfstream this year and finished second by a neck and second by a head, so I know him and he did a great job. He tries all the time.”

Nicks, who watched the race from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., was worried when Shivaree went wide on the turn for home. But the son of Awesome of Course-Garter Belt, by Anasheed, seemed to thirst for a victory that was his first in 364 days – since last year’s Marion County.

“He’s gritty and he’s very competitive. He makes up for his size in try,” Nicks said. “I knew he would keep grinding and luckily he had room to get there. Very rarely is he not competitive.”

Shivaree paid $4.40 as the wagering favorite. His time was .90 seconds off his 2020 stakes record. Well Defined, the 2019 G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes winner, finished third, a length and a quarter behind R Mercedes Boy.

Four Claiming Crown Wins Net Paco Lopez Jockey Of The Week Title

Paco Lopez started the 2021-2022 Gulfstream Park Championship Meet in style with a five-win day on Saturday including four stakes races in the Claiming Crown Series. Lopez’s achievements earned Jockey of the Week for Nov. 29 through Dec. 5. The honor, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 1050 active, retired and permanently disabled jockeys in the United States.

For the 10th consecutive year, Gulfstream Park hosted the Claiming Crown, a series of nine starter stakes races celebrating the blue-collar horses that are the back-bone of racetracks around the country.

Lopez was aboard Blue Steel for trainer Jeff Hiles in the Claiming Crown Iron Horse Kent Sterling Memorial to start the series. The pair took over the lead around the turn and kicked clear to win the race by a half-length in 1:44.61 for 1 1/16 miles.

Lopez also won the next race, his third on the card, the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash for trainer Jane Cibelli aboard Payntdembluesaway. Off as the favorite in the field of 12, Payntdembluesaway scored a four-length victory in :55.31 for the five furlong turf test.

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Trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. gave a leg up to Lopez on Miles Ahead in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit, a seven furlong race on the dirt. Off as the favorite in the field of 10, Miles Ahead tracked the leaders outside and up the backstretch wearing down his rivals to pull clear by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:21.99.

The Claiming Crown Emerald was the last of the starter series. Riding for trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr., Lopez took Mid Day Image straight to the lead from the inside post, maintained a clear lead at the top of the stretch and went on to post a 1 1/4-length win in 1:39.82 for 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

“Not too bad a day,” said Lopez to the Gulfstream Park Publicity team. “We had five wins and a couple of seconds. My horses ran very well today.”

A multiple graded stakes winner and the 2008 Eclipse Award winner as leading apprentice, Lopez shares the Gulfstream Park track record with seven wins on a single day.

Lopez’s weekly statistics were 35-8-6-3 and total purse earnings of $371,525.

Other nominees for Jockey of the Week were Arnaldo Bocachica with 10 wins, Juan J. Hernandez who won the G1 Starlet, Sonny Leon also with 10 wins and Luis Saez who won the G1 Cigar Mile.

Jockey Paco Lopez Posts Five-Win Day Saturday At Gulfstream Park

Jockey Paco Lopez put the finishing touches on a five-win afternoon by guiding Patricia Generazio homebred Mid Day Image to a front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in the $95,000 Claiming Crown Emerald Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The 1 1/16-mile Emerald was the last of nine starter stakes worth $810,000 in purses on the 23rd Claiming Crown program, being held at Gulfstream for the 10th consecutive year. For 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2020-21, the Emerald was the last of four turf stakes.

Created by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association in partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Claiming Crown rewards and pays tribute to the horses and horsemen that provide the foundation for day-to-day racing programs at tracks around the country.

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Lopez, who shares the Gulfstream track record with seven wins on a single card, notched four of his wins in the Claiming Crown. He had consecutive victories with Joe Di Baggio ($6) in Race 2, Blue Steel ($9.40) in the $75,000 Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial, and Payntdembluesaway ($5.60) in the $90,000 Distaff Dash, and captured the $85,000 Rapid Transit with Miles Ahead ($4.60). He also finished second with Xy Speed in the $90,000 Canterbury and Hanalei’s Houdini in the $125,000 Jewel, beaten less than two combined lengths.

“Not too bad a day. We had five wins and a couple seconds,” Lopez said. “My horses ran very well today.”

Mid Day Image entered the Emerald off back-to-back wins at Monmouth Parkin in Oceanport, N.J., the most recent coming Sept. 12, both in gate-to-wire fashion. The 5-year-old Midshipman gelding went straight to the lead from his rail post, posting fractions of :23.39, :47.73, and 1:11.22 chased by Clear Vision with 9-5 favorite Max K.O. looming in the clear in third.

Lopez and Mid Day Image maintained a clear advantage at the top of the stretch and continued on once set down for the drive, with Clear Vision unable to make up ground. Attentive came on late to get third, with Light Fury fourth and Max K.O. fifth. The winning time was 1:39.82 over a firm course.

“[Mid Day Image] has a lot of speed. Max K.O., I was scared of that horse because he’s fast, too. I know that horse,” Lopez said. “I give credit to my horse. He’s very, very good. He put me right there and [trainer Luis] Carvajal [Jr.] told me, ‘Paco, that horse is ready today.’”

Arrest Me Red Goes Gate To Wire In Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship

Lael Stable’s homebred Arrest Me Red made every pole a winning one, staving off an inside rally from Pulsate to prevail in Saturday’s $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Arrest Me Red was scratched out of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 6 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., which was won by his stablemate Golden Pal. Re-routed to the Big A, the sophomore son of Pioneerof the Nile turned back older company with a game display in the six-furlong outer turf test.

“He did great. He ran very, very professional,” Ward said. “I just feel bad that he had a minor foot issue, otherwise he would have had a good run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

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Arrest Me Red, with Paco Lopez up, marked off splits of :22.69 and :45.60 over the firm going with defending race winner Turned Aside tracking in second and Backtohisroots pressing three-wide in third.

Pulsate, with Manny Franco up, settled into fourth position as Arrest Me Red took the field to the turn with Backtohisroots advancing with purpose. Arrest Me Red opened up a one-length lead at the stretch call and kicked for home with a ground-saving Pulsate trying to surge up the rail.

Lopez kept to task aboard Arrest Me Red and the talented bay held on for a neck win in a final time of 1:09.43. Pulsate completed the exacta by 1 3/4 lengths over the late-running Chewing Gum.

Lopez, aboard Arrest Me Red for the first time, said he was impressed by the colt’s winning efforts in the Mahony in August at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and the G3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., last out on October 2.

“I saw his last couple races and knew he was fast,” Lopez said. “There wasn’t much speed today. I broke and put my horse in the race and waited for competition. I saw the horse coming to the inside [Pulsate] and I put a little pressure. That horse is a very good horse. Wesley knows what he is doing.”

Franco said Pulsate, who he guided to victory in the Lucky Coin in September at the Spa, was timid when asked to pass along the hedge.

“I had the room to go through, but my horse just hesitated a little bit,” Franco said. “He was coming the last sixteenth of a mile. When I rode him to the wire, he responded to me. He just got a little bit tired. He ran well though.”

Backtohisroots, Value Proposition, Big Package, Maxwell Esquire, Omaha City, and Turned Aside completed the order of finish. Grateful Bred, who broke through the gate ahead of the race, was scratched.

Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Arrest Me Red banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to five wins from seven starts. He paid $6.50 for a $2 win ticket.

Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card featuring the $150,000 Autumn Days in Race 7, the $200,000 G3 Fall Highweight in Race 8, and the $100,000 Tepin in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at

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