Archive for the ‘Jockey Paco Lopez’ Category.

Itsmyluckyday wins the Best of the Rest at Gulfstream

Itsmyluckyday, making just his second start since recovering from a fractured pelvis, cruises to a three-length victory with Paco Lopez aboard in the Best of the Rest Stakes.

Itsmyluckyday, making just his second start since recovering from a fractured pelvis, cruises to a three-length victory with Paco Lopez aboard in the Best of the Rest Stakes.

Itsmyluckyday took a small step towards what trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. hopes will be a big 4-year-old campaign when he cruised to an easy three-length victory over Sr. Quisqueyano in Saturday’s $75,000 Best of the Rest Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

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Making just his second start since suffering a fractured pelvis last July in Monmouth Park’s Pegasus Stakes, Itsmyluckyday stalked the early pace of Sr.Quisqueyano, readily took control approaching the stretch, opened a commanding advantage near midstretch, and won with something left under Paco Lopez. Sr. Quisqueyano held well once displaced on the lead by the winner and was easily second best, finishing 2 1/4 lengths in front of the rail-skimming Joshua’s Comprise.

Itsmyluckyday, a son of Lawyer Ron owned by Trilogy Stable and Laurie Plesa, won for the third time in five starts at Gulfstream. He captured the Grade 3 Holy Bull and Gulfstream Park Derby at 3 while also second best behind Orb last season in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.

Itsmyluckyday completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.38 under jockey Paco Lopez and paid $3.

“It’s somewhat of a vindication. They dismiss horses and people very quickly in this sport,” said Plesa, who watched the race from his tack room on the Monmouth Park backstretch. “He’s been off the radar for some time and that’s okay, because he should have been. He ran the race I expected him to run. Anything other than
how he won and I probably would have been somewhat disappointed. He is a class horse. I think before the year’s out we’ll be talking about him as one of the top handicap horses in the country, barring the unforeseen.”

Plesa said he plans to find a couple of easy spots for Itsmyluckyday before “we go hunting the heavy heads.”

R Free Roll wires Hollywood Beach

R Free Roll used her abundant speed to good advantage on the lightning-fast Gulfstream Park main track, leading throughout to register a three-length victory over Pixie Devil in Saturday’s $75,000 Hollywood Beach Stakes.

Paco Lopez guides R Free Roll to a 4 1/4-length victory in the $75,000 Hollywood Beach Stakes.With jockey Paco Lopez aboard, R Free Roll quickly sprinted to a long lead then readily turn back a mild bid from Pixie Devil to win going away. Pixie Devil altered course briefly behind the winner and angled out with her bid in early stretch, but proved no match. She was easily second best, finishing 4 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Salamera.

Rounding out the order of finish were Lil Red Cozzette, Table Three Ten, Vuitton, Classic Point, Jane of All Trades, Joanie’s Image, and Vitameta.

R Free Roll, a multiple-stakes-winning daughter of Rockport Harbor, is owned by Richard Averill’s
Averill Racing LLC and Silver Oak Stable and trained by Ralph Ziadie. She completed six furlongsin 1:09.54 and returned $4.80.

“We’ve been waiting for her to get a clean break the whole meet,” said Averill. “When she
breaks, she’s tough to beat. We needed something to build her confidence. Now we’ll move on to bigger and better things.”

Gamay Noir scores 49-1 upset in Rampart

Trainer Marty Wolfson came to Gulfstream Park on Saturday pretty confident that he’d win the $150,000 Rampart. And, sure enough, he did, not with his 1-2 favorite Devil’s Cave, but with the 49-1 Gamay Noir, who rallied to a three-quarter-length victory over Unlimited Budget in the Grade 3 fixture for fillies and mares.

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Gamay Noir and jockey Paco Lopez win the Grade 3 Rampart by three-quarters of a length over Unlimited BudgetGamay Noir, a 4-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, was claimed by Wolfson for Chasing Tail Stables for $100,000 here earlier in the meet. Gamay Noir had been racing exclusively on turf of late, but Wolfson said he and principal owner Marvin Miller bought the horse to race “a route of ground on the dirt.”

As expected, Devil’s Cave set the early pace while pressed by the multiple graded stakes winner Unlimited Budget. Gamay Noir, who raced near the rear of the field for the opening five furlongs, rallied wide into the stretch, continued her bid despite lugging in through midstretch, then wore down the exhausted leaders near the end.

Unlimited Budget appeared to have dead aim on Devil’s Cave leaving the quarter pole but also wearied from the early duel, finally edging past that rival to finish second. Private Ensign finished fourth after steadying behind the top two finishers inside the sixteenth pole.

Following a stewards’ inquiry into the actions of Gamay Noir near midstretch, the original result stood. Gamay Noir completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.84 and paid $100.20.

“That was too much weight on my other filly [Devil’s Cave], and I didn’t think [Unlimited Budget] was going to push her like that,” Wolfson said. “When I ran Gamay Noir last time in Tampa, she got in all kinds of trouble; she should have won. I never would have run her back this quick except for the way she ran in Tampa. And [jockey Paco Lopez] just rode her the way I wanted him to ride her. She makes one three-eighths run from the outside. He’s the perfect rider for her because he listens.”

Ribo Bobo Remains Red-Hot

Ribo Bobo won the $75,000 Caixa Eletronica Stakes on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.When it appeared that Sunday’s $88,500 Caixa Eletronica Stakes was in jeopardy of not filling, trainer Jason Servis began considering alternatives for his win machine, Ribo Bobo. The list of options spanned the widest of possible spectrums, from a $6,250 starter allowance race in New York to a trip to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen.

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Fortunately for Servis, he was able to toss that list after the racing office hustled a field of six for the overnight stakes. The Caixa Eletronica ultimately scratched down to five starters, with the popular Ribo Bobo holding off his only serious challenger, the much-improved Dad’z Laugh, by a half-length under very confident handling by jockey Paco Lopez to register his 12th victory from his last 13 starts.

Servis has managed Ribo Bobo to perfection since reclaiming the 6-year-old son of Louis Quatorze for $6,250 in the interest of Rob Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stable here last winter. Ribo Bobo suffered his lone setback during his recent streak at the hands of Ben’s Cat in Penn National’s Fabulous Strike Handicap on Nov. 27. He is 3 for 3 during the current meet, including victories in the Claiming Crown Express and the Sunshine Millions Sprint.

“He’s an amazing horse,” Servis said. “He looks so good because I really don’t have to do much with him between races. We were really careful picking out spots the first five, six races we had him last year, and after that, his confidence level just got so high. He got on the bridle at the half-mile pole a little today, and I kind of wasn’t happy about that. But I’ll talk to Paco a little bit, and we’ll figure it

Servis said Ribo Bobo could come back in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes on March 29.

While Ribo Bobo won’t be going to Dubai, Servis will with his turf specialist Tightend Touchdown, whom he is pointing for the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on March 29.

Tightend Touchdown was second, beaten a half-length by defending champion Mizdirection, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in his 2013 finale but is coming off a disappointing 2014 debut, an eighth-place finish as the even-money favorite in the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint on Feb. 1.

Ribo Bobo Wins Another Stakes at Gulfstream

Ribo Bobo wins the Caixa Eletronica StakesRibo Bobo got to the finish line first yet again March 2, winning his 12th race from his last 13 starts and his third straight in a stakes during the Gulfstream Park meet.

The finish line, though, seemed a bit farther away than usual for the 1-2 favorite’s connections during the stretch run of the $75,000 Caixa Eletronica Stakes.

“We were looking for the finish line, I can tell you that,” said owner Rob Lombardi, who experienced an anxious moment in the final sixteenth of a mile. Ribo Bobo received an unexpected and stern challenge from Dad’z Laugh before asserting his class.

Ribo Bobo, claimed by trainer Jason Servis for Lombardi’s Mr. Amore Stable for $6,250 at Gulfstream March 8, 2013, withstood a strong bid by Dad’z Laugh before holding off the 4-1 second betting choice by a measured half-length.

“He’s amazing,” said Servis, whose 6-year-old gelding had won in hand in both the Claiming Crown Express Dec. 7 and the Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 18. Ribo Bobo was making his 50th start in the Caixa Eletronica, which provided his 17th lifetime victory.

Breaking from the rail post position under Paco Lopez, Ribo Bobo was outrun for the early lead in the six-furlong stakes by Mongolian Saturday, who was hustled out of the gate by jockey Jose Lezcano. Mongolian Saturday opened up a solid lead on the backstretch only to be joined by Ribo Bobo to his outside.

Lopez took hold of the reins and rated the favorite alongside the pacesetter leaving the backstretch before being dragged to the lead midway on the turn into the homestretch. Ribo Bobo appeared in total control at the top of the stretch before Dad’z Laugh and Javier Castellano loomed boldly to his outside. Lopez got busy on Ribo Bobo, and the son of Louis Quartorze dug in to the wire.

“He’s such a nice horse. He tries really hard all the time and he’s so smart, it really doesn’t have anything to do with the jockey,” Lopez said. “I knew I had a lot of horse left (in the stretch).”

Dad’z Laugh held second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Mongolian Saturday. Ribo Bobo ran six furlongs in a swift 1:08.98 while boosting his career earnings to $719,655.

Servis, who won a six-way shake to claim Ribo Bobo after losing him two starts earlier for $8,000, said Ribo Bobo has been able to maintain his winning edge without a lot of training.

“He looks so good because I don’t have to do much with him, sprinting. It keeps him looking good. It’s not like the mile and an eighth horses that you’ve got to train,” Servis said. “Friday nights we go to an organic place and get a case of dandelions. Every Friday, he gets them, I can tell you that.”

Ribo Bobo will be pointed to the $100,000 Sir Shackleton at Gulfstream on the Besilu Stables Florida Derby (gr. I) undercard March 29.


Bold Thunder Rumbles in Silks Run

Bold Thunder got off on the right foot at Gulfstream Park Wednesday to post a front-running victory in the $75,000 Silks Run Stakes.

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Bold Thunder Rumbles in Silks Run

Coming off a disappointing ninth-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Turf Spring on Feb. 1 after an awkward break, the 4-year-old son of Bold n’ Flashy assumed the lead a few jumps out of the starting gate Wednesday and continued on to post a 2 ½-length victory in the five-furlong turf stakes.

“Last time, he got scratched up in the gate and when he didn’t break good, I knew he wasn’t feeling good,” jockey Paco Lopez said. “Today, he was much, much better in the gate. When they opened the gate, he was ready to run. I knew nobody was going to catch him.”

The Patricia Farro-trained colt ($15.60) set the pace along the backstretch and around the turn, chased by Gulfstream Turf Sprint winner Wicked Tune and stalked by Determinato and Varsity. After straightening for the stretch run, Lopez asked Bold Thunder for some run and the Kentucky-bred responded and drew away. Varsity, the 2-1 favorite who received a ground-saving trip under Joe Bravo, closed to finish second, a neck ahead of Wicked Tune and jockey Elvis Trujillo. Travelin Man, the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint runner-up and 3-1 second choice, was never a factor during a fifth-place finish.

Claimed by Farro for owner Andrew Sulley for $25,000 at Parx in June, Bold Thunder ran five furlongs on turf in 55.22 seconds. Bold Thunder’s first stakes victory, worth $45,000, was the fourth win since being claimed by his connections.

Lopez, Farro and Sulley pulled off back-to-back victories when Defiant posted a front-running romp in the eighth race, a 7 ½-furlong turf race for $16,000 claimers.

Paco Wins Stake on Ribo Bobo

Ribo Bobo and jockey Paco Lopez win the Sunshine Millions Sprint by 1 3/4 lengths SaturdayRibo Bobo won 10 times in 11 starts last year, climbing his way from $6,250 claimers to stakes races. He started 2014 on Saturday with another victory, in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint at Gulfstream Park, and now his owner, Ron Lombardi, is hoping to take him to Dubai for the $2 million Golden Shaheen.

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“That’s my dream,” Lombardi said in the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle after Ribo Bobo’s latest tour de force.

Jason Servis, who trains Ribo Bobo, didn’t seem quite as enthusiastic about running on synthetic, but Ribo Bobo seemingly can do no wrong of late. Since Servis and Lombardi, who races as Mr Amore Stable, claimed him back for $6,250 here last March – winning a six-way shake – Ribo Bobo has lost just once while winning stakes at Gulfstream, Monmouth, and Laurel.

“I stay out of his way. He does the rest,” Servis said. “When he got to four, five, six wins in a row – I was picking my spots with him, like going to Penn National – I think he finally said, ‘Oh, I’ve really got this now.’ ”

On Saturday, Ribo Bobo ($4.40), the favorite, settled just behind and to the outside of pacesetter Star Harbour, moved effortlessly to take the lead turning into the stretch, and drew away to win by 1 3/4 lengths over My Happy Way, with Star Harbour fading to third, another half-length back.

Bear Tough Tiger was fourth and was followed by Grande Shores, Black Diamond Cat, Close It Out, Fort Loudon, and Apriority.

Paco Lopez rode Ribo Bobo, who covered six furlongs in 1:09.16.

Ribo Bobo, a 6-year-old gelding, has won 16 times in 49 starts and has earned more than $650,000, with almost $400,000 of that coming in the past 13 months.

Ribo Bobo has won 11 times in his last 12 starts, the only loss in that streak a second-place finish in the Fabulous Strike at Penn National in November. His 10 wins in 2013 tied for second among North American runners behind an 11-time winner in Puerto Rico.

Paco Lopez voted nations best in Alternative Eclipse Award

None of these are actually Eclipse Award categories, but maybe they should be…

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Champion Two-year-old Turf Male: Outstrip – Despite only running once in America, his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was simply too good to ignore.

Champion Two-year-old Turf Filly: Chriselliam – See Outsrip.

Champion Three-year-old Turf Male: Up With the Birds – He split time in the States and his native Canada, but his three races here, including the Grade 1 Jamaica, were all on turf, and all topnotch.

Champion Three-year-old Turf Filly: Discreet Marq – She quietly put together an excellent beginning to end season that we all want to see from our stars.

Champion Dirt Miler Male: Flat Out – Goldencents won the biggest race of the division, but this seven-year-old’s huge runs in the Westchester and Cigar Mile were enough to get the job done.

Champion Dirt Miler Female: Beholder – The two-time Breeders’ Cup winner is also a perfect two-for-two at the flat-mile distance, including an impressive score in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes.

Champion Turf Miler Male: Wise Dan – Any questions?

Champion Turf Miler Female: Stephanie’s Kitten – She may have missed the last several months due to injury, but back-to-back wins in the Distaff Mile, and the Grade 1 Just a Game were narrowly enough to carry the division.

Champion Male Turf Sprinter: Ben’s Cat – Who needs the Breeders’ Cup when you are as consistent as this Maryland mainstay?

Champion Female Turf Sprinter: Mizdirection – Two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint champ wins this division in a runaway.

Champion Male Stayer: Calidoscopio – The 10y.o. star from Argentina may never have never run another race, but his Brooklyn victory was spectacular, and enough to secure a rather thin division here in the U.S.

Champion Female Stayer: Tannery – The Irish import was only 2-of-7 this year, but they were both important stakes, and she was competitive against the boys running long more than once.

Champion ROI Jockey: Paco Lopez – This young rider is the definition of underrated. If you did nothing but bet horses ridden by Lopez this year, you did quite well for yourself.

Champion Turf Trainer: Chad Brown – A budding superstar in the training game, Brown’s list of talented turf horses is huge.

Star Harbour wires Sunshine State Stakes

Star Harbour showed his heels to the cream of the locally based sprint division when leading throughout to register a half-length decision over Jackson Bend in Sunday’s $100,000 Sunshine State Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Defending champion Bahamian
Squall finished a tiring third.

Original Article from Daily Racing Form

Star Harbour and jockey Paco Lopez win the Sunshine State Stakes by a half-length Sunday.Star Harbour was haltered for $35,000 this summer at Saratoga by trainer Bob Dibona for the Marco Thoroughbred Corp. Dibona had to win a five-way shake to get Star Harbour, who won that afternoon by a dozen lengths and finished third six weeks later in Belmont Park’s Duck Dance overnight stakes.

Star Harbour turned in a sharp 58.22-second, five-furlong workout here Nov. 30 in preparation for the Sunshine State, a Florida-bred stakes Dibona said he’s been pointing for since his arrival here last month.

With leading rider Paco Lopez aboard, Star Harbour sprinted to the lead, as expected, while joined early by longshot Cat Five Hurricane. Star Harbour easily disposed of Cat Five Hurricane after a half-mile, settled into the stretch with a clear advantage, then held sway despite tiring some near the end.

Jackson Bend, a two-time Grade 1 winner, raced wide and rallied mildly to out finish Bahamian Squall for second. The latter, making his first start since the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, broke a bit flatfooted, moved into close contention on the final turn, but was unable to kick on through the stretch.

Cat Five Hurricane took a bad step while retreating on the turn, pulled up, and was vanned off after the race.

Star Harbour, a 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, completed seven furlongs over a very fast track in 1:21.55 and paid $5.20.

“It’s very exciting to claim a horse and be able to run at this kind of level,” Dibona said. “You can pay a million dollars and not get a horse like this. He’s happy, he likes it here, he’s fast, and they’re going to have to deal with him.”

Dibona said Star Harbour would make his next start in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 18. Star Harbour finished a tiring fifth as the favorite in the 2012 Sunshine Millions Sprint.

Ribo Bobo dominates Claiming Crown Express

Trainer Jason Servis admitted that he was a little anxious prior to Saturday’s $110,000 Claiming Crown Express despite the fact that he was running the odds-on favorite, Ribo Bobo, in the six-furlong dash at Gulfstream Park.

Original Article from Daily Racing Form

Ribo Bobo, ridden by Paco Lopez, wins the Claiming Crown Express for his 10th victory from 11 starts this year.But Servis had few anxious moments once the gates opened, as Ribo Bobo just toyed with his 11 overmatched rivals en route to a 2 1/2-length victory over the slow-breaking, late-running Never Stop Looking.

Ribo Bobo won his first nine starts of 2013 before finally being defeated just 10 days ago in Penn National’s Fabulous Strike Handicap by the graded stakes winner Ben’s Cat. Claimed on two separate occasions earlier in the year by Servis for the Mr. Amore Stable, Ribo Bobo has steadily improved as the season progressed, punctuating a series of easy victories with a 5 3/4-length triumph in the Maryland Million Sprint Handicap.

With jockey Paco Lopez aboard, Ribo Bobo broke a step slowly Saturday but quickly used his abundant speed to control the pace while racing along the rail. He shook off early pursuers Bear’s Spirit and J B’s Unc approaching the quarter pole, bore out a bit
turning for home, and won as his rider pleased, with Lopez looking around for competition through the stretch while gearing down his mount in the final sixteenth of a mile.

Never Stop Looking stumbled at the break, then steadily worked his way forward to finish second, a half-length in front of J B’s Unc. Ribo Bobo completed the distance in 1:10.02 and paid $3.

“I’ve run a lot of horses in big races, but I was nervous before the race because this horse is pretty special,” Servis said. “But I felt good after he got on the lead. I don’t know why he got out like that into the stretch. He did it in Maryland but not at Penn National. I don’t know if he gets to loafing. Paco said he jumped something, but to me, that’s not a bad thing because it means he’s just playing around.”

Servis said he’ll likely consider the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 18 for Ribo Bobo’s next start.

Carolina Lizard wins Iron Lady

Carolina Lizard set a contested pace, then dug in gamely to outfinish Courtney Ryan and Daddys Jewel and upset the $110,000 Claiming Crown Iron Lady. Winiliscious, the 4-5 favorite, finished a disappointing sixth after forcing the pace to the stretch.

Carolina Lizard, who won a starter allowance race in similar fashion over Courtney Ryan last month at Calder, paid $71.80. She was ridden by Pedro Monterrey Jr. for trainer Robert Posada.

“My filly was doing great, and I thought she had a good chance today,” Posada said.

Wolfson exacta in Glass Slipper

Trainer Marty Wolfson dominated the $110,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper, sending out Centrique to defeat stablemate Lexington Pearl by 1 1/4 lengths, with the rest of the field far behind. The two horses raced uncoupled in the wagering, although both are owned by Miller Racing LLC.

Centrique, a 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, covered seven furlongs in 1:22.21 under jockey Javier Castellano and paid $3.80.

“My fillies are kind of equal, but Centrique is just quicker,” Wolfson said.

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