Archive for the ‘Jockey Paco Lopez’ Category.

Amapola goes out a winner in Incredible Revenge Stakes

08-11-18 10 Amapola_IncredibleRevengeStks_001On Saturday at Monmouth Park, Amapola scored the easiest of wins in the $75,000 Incredible Revenge Stakes. The race may be her last.

Amapola is owned by the Lael Stables of Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who purchased her after she was disqualified from a 9 3/4-length debut victory at Gulfstream Park in May 2016. Her career was interrupted by a 17-month layoff, but she has now won three of her last four starts. The Incredible Revenge is her first stakes win.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Amapola’s racing days are coming to a close because she is in foal to Divining Rod, whom the Jacksons raced. Divining Rod won the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland and the Polynesian at Laurel Park and finished second by a head to Connect in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

Divining Rod stood his first season at stud in 2018 for $5,000 at Country Life Farm in Maryland.

Amapola is trained by Arnaud Delacour, who also conditioned Divining Rod.

“She’s about four months pregnant,” Delacour said. “According to the vet, this is the last month she should probably race.”

The Incredible Revenge, a 5 1/2-furlong race, was switched from turf to the main track after two races were run over the course early on the card. The eight-horse field had two early scratches and another two after the surface switch.

“I was actually happy when they switched this to the main track,” Delacour said. “I think it gives her a little bit of an edge on the dirt. She’s a very fast filly, and at 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt, I was confident she would run well.”

Well Acquainted, Unaquoi, and Amapola stacked up on the lead, with Amapola three wide. She readily took the lead on the far turn, then pulled away in the stretch to score by 5 1/2 lengths with Paco Lopez sitting still in the saddle.

The Incredible Revenge was the fourth of Lopez’s five wins Saturday.

“After three furlongs, I let her go, and she took off,” Lopez said. “She was the best filly in the race, no doubt about it. She has a lot of talent.”

Amapola paid $3 as the favorite and was timed in 1:03.83 over a fast main track.

Well Acquainted bested Unaquoi by three-quarters of a length for second. It was a length farther back to 2-1 second choice Always Thinking in fourth.

Red Ruby Wins Delaware Oaks by 13 Lengths

Red RubyTiznow filly followed up her performance in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2).

Sandra Sexton and Brandi Nicholson’s Red Ruby continued her roll in the Mid-Atlantic region with a dominant victory in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks (G3) July 7 at Delaware Park.

Click here to read article from Blood Horse.

After her 4 3/4-length score in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, the Tiznow filly trained by Kellyn Gorder could not have been more impressive in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks.

With an easy move past longshot early leader Prospective Lady as they entered the final turn, Red Ruby went unchallenged in the final stages of the race and coasted to a 13-length victory in 1:42.41 under jockey Paco Lopez.

Second choice Coach Rocks finished a clear second after a rally from fifth and came in eight lengths ahead of third-place finisher Mo Shopping.

Bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton, Sandra Sexton, and Silver Fern Farm, out of the Rubiano mare Caroni, Red Ruby has $438,000 in earnings and a 4-1-0 record from six starts. She started her 2018 season with a victory in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park Feb. 10 and finished fourth in the Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn March 10.

Earlier on the card at Delaware, Tricky Escape earned her third graded win with a 1 1/2-length score in the Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (G3T). Jon Marshall’s Hat Trick mare, who won the Cardinal Handicap (G3) to close her 2017 season, had been winless in two 2018 starts for former trainer Gerald Iverson and current trainer Lynn Ashby.

Aztec Sense wins fourth straight in Turning for Home

06-23-18 P 08 Aztec Sense FIN 01 (1)Aztec Sense withstood a claim of foul Saturday to win his fourth straight race in the $100,000 Turning for Home, a starter handicap at Parx. He won by 3 1/2 lengths over Moon Gate Warrior.

Click here to read article from DRF.

The Turning for Home, a 1 1/16-mile race restricted to horses who had started for a claiming price of $16,000 or less in 2017 or 2018, was named for a Thoroughbred retirement program. All entry and start fees for the race were to be donated to Turning for Home.

Aztec Sense ($3.40) stalked the pace through fractions of 24.01 seconds for the opening quarter, 48.83 for the half-mile, and 1:14.31 for six furlongs. Moon Gate Warrior moved to the lead from there, with Aztec Sense going after the rival, overtaking him at the top of the stretch, and going on to cover the distance on a track rated good in 1:47.53.

Following the race, Josh Navarro, the rider of third-place finisher Ruby Bleu, claimed foul against the winner for alleged interference at the five-eighths pole, it was announced at Parx. The stewards disallowed the claim of foul and the result stood.

Paco Lopez rode Aztec Sense for trainer Jorge Navarro. Aztec Sense is a son of Street Sense who races for Joseph Besecker.

-additional reporting by Jim Dunleavy

Chalon wins Regret Stakes; Chublicious prevails in Mr. Prospector

06-17-18 08 Chalon_RegretStks_01Chalon showed she is more than ready to step up in class by easily winning the $75,000 Regret, the first of four stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday. And she likely will get that chance at Saratoga.

Click here to read article from DRF.

The Regret was Chalon’s third start for trainer Arnaud Delacour and the Lael Stables of Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who purchased her privately from California-based Rockingham Ranch following her 3-year-old season, which she concluded with runner-up finishes in the Thoroughbred Club of America and Raven Run, both Grade 2 stakes at Keeneland.

In the Regret, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares, Chalon stalked pacesetting Behrnik’s Bank through an opening quarter in 22.03 seconds. She took the lead while in hand after a half-mile in 44.85, was under a moderate hand ride by Paco Lopez in midstretch, then was taken back in hand for the final sixteenth while winning by four lengths.

Chalon paid $3 in the six-horse field and was timed in 1:10.05. She certainly could have gone faster if asked.

After the race, Delacour said Chalon would be pointed to the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap at Saratoga on July 25.

“We thought this would be a perfect stepping-stone for the Honorable Miss, which is at six furlongs,” he said. “The grading is appealing because she has done everything except win in a graded stakes, so it’s going to be important for us to try to do that.”

Startwithsilver, the second choice at 5-2, made Chalon’s task easier when she broke tardily and then failed to get involved, finishing last.

Jessica Krupnick, who was forwardly placed along the inside early, finished second, a neck ahead of third-place Liz’s Cable Girl. Behrnik’s Bank tired to finish fifth.

Chalon won the Primonetta Stakes at Laurel Park in her debut for Delacour and was second in the Grade 3 Vagrancy at Belmont Park last time out. The daughter of Dialed In has a 5-3-1 record from 11 starts.

The Regret was the second leg of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships filly and mare sprint division. Chalon is now tied for the lead with Vertical Oak, who won the Skipat at Pimlico. They each have 10 points.

Mr. Prospector: Chublicious outbattles Lewisfield

The New Jersey-bred Chublicious outfought Lewisfield in the stretch of the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes to score by a half-length.

Chublicious, making his first start in the name of trainer David Cannizzo, improved his record at Monmouth to nine wins in 15 starts. He also won the Mr. Prospector in 2016 and has three other New Jersey-bred stakes victories. His biggest win came last fall in the Grade 3 De Francis Dash at Laurel Park.

Delta Bluesman broke sharply in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector and went to the lead. He was joined from the outside by a headstrong Lewisfield on the backstretch as they separated themselves from the rest of the lineup through a quarter in 22.16.

Lewisfield took the lead from Delta Bluesman nearing the stretch but was quickly joined by a three-wide Chublicious. The pair battled to midstretch before Chublicious got the upper hand under jockey Antonio Gallardo.

“We had a pretty good pace in front of us,” Gallardo said. “I had a lot of horse at the three-eighths, and that’s a good sign.”

Chublicious paid $16.80 in the eight-horse field. His final time was 1:09.92 following a half-mile in 45.00.

Laki finished third, two lengths behind Lewisfield.

Chublicious is owned by Brittany Stable, which purchased him last fall after his De Francis win. He raced at Fair Grounds over the winter and finished second in the New Jersey-bred John J. Reilly at Monmouth in his last start for trainer Ron Faucheux. Chublicious won the Reilly in 2016 and 2017.

The Mr. Prospector win tied Chublicious for second with Maryland Sprint winner Switzerland in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships sprint division with 10 points. Lewisfield, who finished third in the Maryland Sprint, earned seven points in the Mr. Prospector and leads the pack with 12 points.

Oak Bluffs surges in Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup

OakBluffs.6-2-18.ESH_GRANTVILLE, Pa. – Two weeks ago, Oak Bluffs slogged his way to a third-place finish in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint, the first leg of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships turf sprint division, over a soft course at Pimlico. On Saturday at Penn National, he got a firm course, which he prefers, and was more explosive in winning the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Oak Bluffs has now won six races since being claimed by Mary Eppler for $5,000 in May 2016. He was the only horse from the McKay to run back on short rest in the Governor’s Cup, and now is the point leader in his division of the Match Series.

His win keeps Eppler’s hot streak going. Last week she won the $100,000 Salvator Mile at Monmouth with Page McKenney.

“We’re going to stay with the MATCH Series,” Eppler said of Oak Bluffs.

The third leg of the five-race series is the $200,000 Parx Dash on July 7. That race, like the Governor’s Cup, is five furlongs.

“He’s better at a little longer distance, 5 1/2 furlongs or six furlongs,” Eppler said.

Jockey Paco Lopez saved ground off the pace with Oak Bluff in the Governor’s Cup. He angled out for the stretch run, overtook front-running Pool Winner and then held off late-running Dubini by three-quarters of a length.

Oak Bluffs paid $6.80 in the 10-horse field. He was timed in 56.10 over firm turf.

Morticia back on the beam

Morticia scored her first win of the season in the inaugural running of the $100,000 Penn Ladies Dash at Penn National on Saturday.

Jockey Jose Lezcano, who has now won six races on Morticia, asked only as much as he needed from her and eased up late in the five-furlong turf sprint, winning by a length. Morticia was timed in 56.35 seconds over firm turf.

The Penn Ladies Dash was the fourth start of the season for Morticia, who went 6 for 8 last season at 3, while winning stakes at Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Belmont Park, and Saratoga.

Trainer Rusty Arnold was pleased to get the daughter of Twirling Candy back in the winner’s circle. She had finished second twice and third once in her first three starts of the season at Gulfstream, Keeneland, and Churchill.

“The year didn’t get off the way we wanted, but she’s run well every time,” Arnold said. “Her races were good, they just weren’t winning races and I’m glad to see her get back on track.”

For much of the Penn Ladies Dash, it was a two-horse affair. Just Talkin set the pace on a short lead with Morticia to her inside. When Lezcano asked entering the stretch, Morticia took over.

“She went on to win very easy,” Lezcano said

Rocky Policy, a 20-1 longshot, came running late to beat Just Talkin for second by a length

Arnold had a few anxious moments prior to the race when Morticia popped a shoe off.

“She was in the barn playing around and she kicked the wall,” Arnold said. “She’s a little difficult. And she knocked a shoe off.

“I can’t say enough about the paddock blacksmith. He came down and got the shoe back on her.”

The paddock blacksmith at Penn National is Roger Imes.

Morticia is now 7 for 13 in her career.

Arnold said she could run next in the $200,000 Career Stakes at Saratoga, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint on July 23.

The Penn Ladies Dash was the second leg of the fillies and mares turf sprint division of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships.

“The MATCH series is a really good idea,” Arnold said. “We’d like to support it. It’s a possibility.”

The next leg of the MATCH Series is the $100,000 Turf Amazon, a five-furlong turf sprint at Parx on July 7.

Red Ruby Gets the Trip, Takes Black-Eyed Susan in Slop

Red RubyWith a dream trip on a surface she loves, the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) could not have gone any better for Red Ruby May 18 at Pimlico Race Course.

Click here to read article from DRF.

The only Black-Eyed Susan entrant with a stakes win on a wet track, the 3-year-old Tiznow filly raced just off early leader and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) winner Coach Rocks through much of the 1 1/8-mile test, cruised to the front in the final turn, and easily kicked away from the field in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths on a sloppy (sealed) track.

Paco Lopez, in the irons for the first time on the Kellyn Gorder trainee, confidently took a glance over both shoulders at the quarter pole, and the result was never in doubt after that. Red Ruby finished off the distance in 1:50.17, and Coach Rocks held for a clear second, with 11-1 longshot Indy Union third.

Fresh off of a more-than-two-month break after a fourth-place run in the Honeybee Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park—in which she was 10 lengths back through a half-mile—Red Ruby immediately got into striking position Friday, just behind fractions of :23.28, :47.95, and 1:12.78 through six furlongs, and waited for her cue from Lopez.

“They told me to come from a little behind—not too close—but she broke very good,” Lopez said. “I put her second, and she was very comfortable. I waited for her until the three-eighths (pole), I looked, and no one was coming. … I knew I had that much horse, and I was waiting for somebody to show up, but they never showed up, so I let her go.”

In her start before the Honeybee, she got a stalking trip in the Oaklawn slop during the Feb. 10 Martha Washington Stakes and performed similarly in a 2 1/2-length win.

“We knew she liked the off going,” said Gorder, who indicated Red Ruby’s summer race target would be the Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course. “In the Honeybee, she got really hot in the post parade, so I trained her this morning. That’s just about the only thing I did different. Normally, I don’t do that. It depends on the horse. … I think that might have helped her.”

Bred in Kentucky by Hargus Sexton, Sandra Sexton, and Silver Fern Farm out of the Rubiano mare Caroni, Red Ruby has three wins from five starts and $283,000 in earnings for owners Sandra Sexton, Brandi Nicholson, and Steven Nicholson.

The Black-Eyed Susan score was the first graded win for Gorder since 2013, when he won the Jefferson Cup Stakes (G3T) with General Election.

Betting was practically even between four Black-Eyed Susan entrants. Sara Street was the slight 5-2 choice. Red Ruby was also 5-2, and both Coach Rocks and Goodonehoney went off at 3-1. Sara Street, the last-out Gazelle Stakes (G2) runner-up, finished fourth, but Goodonehoney, the previously undefeated Weber City Miss Stakes winner, was pinched at the start, advanced in the backstretch, then traveled severely wide in the second turn and ended up fifth.

“I thought Coach Rocks ran super,” said her trainer, Dale Romans. “She ran a good race. She’s just going to get better and better, and we’ll head to the Alabama next, probably. That’s a good filly that beat us, but we’ll fight another day.”

After Goodonehoney came Stakes On a Plane, Tell Your Mama, and Mihrab, to complete the order of finish. C. S. Incharge, Romans’ second entry in the race, was eased, did not finish, and walked off.

Red Ruby scores knockout in Black-Eyed Susan Stakes

Red Ruby07.5-18-18.BL_BALTIMORE – Approaching the top of the sloppy Pimlico stretch in Friday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, Red Ruby moved on even terms with the pacesetting Coach Rocks.

Red Ruby, ridden by Paco Lopez, wins the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes.
Paco Lopez, aboard Red Ruby, looked behind him three times – once under his right arm, then under his left, and back again under his right. In the grandstand, Kellyn Gorder, the trainer of Red Ruby, began getting excited.

Click here to read article from DRF.
“That’s when I started jumping up and down,” Gorder said. “I thought he had her then.”

Gorder had every reason to stay excited as Red Ruby ran away from Coach Rocks and seven other 3-year-old fillies to win the Black-Eyed Susan by 4 3/4 lengths. Coach Rocks, who set the pace under Luis Saez, finished second by five lengths over Indy Union, who rallied from last to be third.

Sara Street, the favorite by $2,744 over Red Ruby, finished fourth and was followed by Goodonehoney, Stakes On a Plane, Tell Your Mama, Mihrab, and C. S. Incharge, who was eased. Midnight Disguise was scratched due to a bruised foot.

The win was the third in five starts for Red Ruby, a gray daughter of Tiznow owned by Sandra Sexton, Brandi Nicholson, and Steven Nicholson. Red Ruby won the Martha Washington Stakes in the slop at Oaklawn in February.

Things had soured for Red Ruby since then, as she acted up prior to the Grade 3 Honeybee and finished fourth. She then sustained some cuts in a shed-row accident that forced her to miss the Fantasy Stakes in April and the Kentucky Oaks two weeks ago.

Red Ruby had trained well since then, according to Gorder, who uncharacteristically took the filly to the track Friday morning to gallop. “Trying to keep her energy level down,” he said.

In the Black-Eyed Susan, Red Ruby broke alertly and was two lengths behind Coach Rocks after an opening quarter in 23.28 seconds. She moved within a half-length after a half-mile in 47.95 and six furlongs in 1:12.78. Lopez, sitting on a powder keg, let her go turning for home.

“I waited for her until the three-eighths pole, I looked, and no one was coming,” Lopez said. “I said, ‘I got to go,’ and she finished very well today.”

Red Ruby, who did veer in at the eighth pole, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.17 and returned $7.80 as the second choice.

“She left me speechless, the way she rebroke at the top of the lane,” Gorder said. “She was impressive.”

Gorder said his major objective for the summer is the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga on Aug. 18.

Dale Romans, the trainer of Coach Rocks, said his filly was simply second-best Friday.

“I think we just got outrun,” he said. “That’s a really good filly that won it. [Robby] Albarado has been singing her praises since he broke her maiden. No telling how good she really is.”

Caribou Club surges in Henry S. Clark Stakes

Caribou Club 001Caribou Club returned to the scene of his only previous stakes win, the Laurel Park turf course, and won the $100,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes under a textbook ride from Paco Lopez on Saturday.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Sixth while clamped to the fence around the first turn, down the backstretch, and past the three-furlong pole, Caribou Club, always traveling nicely, was tipped off the rail before the quarter pole, Lopez waiting for fading pacesetters to drop away before moving inside Phlash Phelps and on to a three-quarters-length victory.

Doctor Mounty, who broke from post 12, rallied late and outside to get second, a length in front of third-place Phlash Phelps. Ring Weekend, the 8-5 favorite, lost a lot of ground on the far turn, but even accounting for that ran below form to finish seventh.

Caribou Club won the Laurel Futurity over 5 1/2 furlongs on grass while still a 2-year-old maiden in September 2016. Last year, at 3, he had a good autumn run in Southern California but failed to produce that form in his season finale, finishing seventh in the Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds. But Tom Proctor, who trains Caribou Club for his breeder, Glen Hill Farm, had his horse very sharp for his first start at age 4.

Off splits of 24.10, 46.81, and 1:22.63, Caribou Club ran one mile on firm turf in 1:34.10, paying $15.20 to win. Now 4-2-3 from 11 starts, Caribou Club is a gelding by City Zip out of the Broken Vow mare Broken Dreams.

Chalon sharp in Primonetta score

Chalon 001Chalon started her 4-year-old season for new connections the same way she ended her 3-year-old season for her old camp – with a very sharp dirt-sprint performance.

Click here to read article from DRF.

While Chalon finished second against high-class fillies in two Keeneland graded stakes shortly before being taken to auction last fall, she proved best Saturday at Laurel in the $100,000 Primonetta Stakes, beating Cairenn, who ran well in defeat, by about one length.

As longshot Your Pace or Mine went to the front, Chalon and jockey Paco Lopez took up a pressing position just outside the pacesetter through an opening quarter-mile in 21.91 seconds. Approaching the quarter pole, passed by the leaders in 45.26, Chalon had drawn abreast the leader, with Lopez looking under his left arm for the competition. It came in the form of Cairenn, who tried to make a run at Chalon as five furlongs went in 57.13, but Chalon just had too much class, finishing solidly while stopping the timer in a fine 1:09.44 for six furlongs on a fast track. It was about six lengths back to third-place Short Kakes. The winner returned $3.60.

“She’s been breezing very well all winter,” said trainer Arnaud Delacour. “We were very impressed with her. She might have been a breeze or two short today, but she ran very well anyway. That’s what good horses do.”

Arnaud began training Chalon after Roy and Gretchen Jackson, who race as Lael Stable, purchased her at auction last November for $550,000. Chalon, by Dialed In out of Fall Fantasy, by Menifee, ran her record to 4-2-1 from nine starts, and though she’s yet to win a graded stakes, she has shown graded-stakes-level talent for the better part of a year now. Chalon seems likely to return to graded-stakes competition next out, but Delacour demurred when asked about specific plans.

“One race at a time,” he said. “I will look at her options.”

The way Chalon looked Saturday, the options ought to be appealing.

Martini Glass makes Azeri biggest win of career

Azeri03.3-17-18.BL_Whatever trainer Keith Nations thought he saw in Martini Glass when he claimed the filly for $16,000 out of her career debut Feb. 20, 2016 at Tampa Bay Downs, he was right. And then some.

Click here to read article from DRF.

Martini Glass won for the 10th time in 23 races and scored the biggest win of her career when she took the Grade 2, $350,000 Azeri Stakes by three resounding lengths Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

Actress, who broke slowly from the rail and finished with good energy, passed pace-setting Farrell for second. Farrell held well for the show after setting taxing splits of 23.15, 46.92, and 1:11.23, and turning for home still on the lead.

Martini Glass got an ideal trip under Paco Lopez in the Azeri and made the most of it. Racing behind Farell and pace-prompting Terra Promessa and hemmed in by Blue Prize, Martini Glass kept up nicely while drafting in the leader’s wake and saving ground. Lopez, sensing he had more horse than Blue Prize, tipped three paths off the fence while corning into the homestretch, bulling past a fading Blue Prize, quickly passing tiring Terra Promessa, and going up to engage Farrell.

Farrell dug in and still had the lead at the eighth pole, but Martini Glass was straight and strong, took her measure, and never looked like anything other than a winner through the final furlong. She was timed in 1:42.95 for the 1 1/16 miles over a fast track and paid $8.80 to win.

“Paco knows her so well,” Nations said. “He had her in a great position. We got to the lead pretty early, and I was a little nervous, but she finished up really well.”

Nations, who winters at Tampa Bay, is part owner of Martini Glass with Vince Campanella. The mare first hit the national radar when she finished second to Songbird last summer in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap, but she appears to have hit a new peak this winter, and the Azeri win came following a fine third in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic and a last-out win in the Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream.

Martini Glass has a turf-leaning pedigree, by Kitalpha and out of the Run Softly mare Glassy, and has raced well on grass, but she appears to have found her true calling on dirt. She ran her career mark to 10-5-2 from 23 starts, and the $210,000 winner’s share of the purse ran her bankroll to $863,675 – not bad for a $16,000 claim.

Nations said Martini Glass is a likely runner next month in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn.

“There’s probably a pretty good chance of that,” he said. “We’ll ship her back to Tampa, give her an easy week and evaluate her. If everything looks good we’ll plan on coming back.”

And why not? They might not yet have gotten to the bottom of this mare Martini Glass.

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