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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Servis-Lopez sweep Silks Run, Captiva Island

Vision Perfect the Silks Run credit Lauren KingHALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Jason Servis and jockey Paco Lopez were kings of the Gulfstream Park turf Saturday after combining to win both the $75,000 Silks Run Stakes and its filly counterpart, the $75,000 Captiva Island.

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Both races were five furlongs on the grass.

Vision Perfect got Servis, who was not in attendance for his two stakes victories, and Lopez off on the right foot when finishing full of run down the center of the course en route to a convincing 4 3/4-length decision over defending champion Pay Any Price in the Silks Run. Buccero, who finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last fall at Del Mar, was another three parts of a length farther back in third.

The win was the first for Vision Perfect since haltered for $80,000 by the Mr. Amore Stable and turned over to Servis last June, and the first for the son of Pollard’s Vision since October 2016. Vision Perfect completed five furlongs over a firm course in 55.20 seconds and returned $10.80.

Darkness enveloped the track by the time the field reached the starting gate for the Captiva Island nearly five hours later, but the poor visibility could not deter Servis and Lopez from completing their sweep of the afternoon’s co-features. This time is was Blue Bahia, who slipped up the rail under deft handling by Lopez to out-finish the 8-5 favorite Morticia and register a three-quarter-length triumph for her third win in her last four starts.

Morticia, making her 2018 debut, raced wide while forcing the pace from the outset but could not match strides with the winner at the end. She finished a half-length in front of Girls Know Best, who rallied mildly to be third.

The victory was justice, of sorts, for Blue Bahia, who appeared on her way to a sure win in the Lady’s Turf Sprint here last month only to stumble badly and nearly unseat Lopez after stepping in a hole near midstretch. Blue Bahia, a 5-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir owned by Dennis Drazin, paid $6.00.

“I had a perfect trip. I loved my position today,” Lopez said after the Captiva Island. “My filly likes to come from behind and she always tries. My filly didn’t stumble like she did the last time. The last time I got in perfect position and she stumbled very badly. Today I was very lucky.”

Martini Glass earns first graded stakes win with Royal Delta

Martini Glass the Royal Delta credit Leslie Martin4HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Former claimer Martini Glass became a graded stakes winner for the first time after wearing down the 4-5 Lewis Bay to upset the Grade 3 Royal Delta, the highlight of Monday’s special 12-race holiday program at Gulfstream Park.

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Martini Glass was haltered out of her career debut by owner-trainer Keith Nations for $16,000 at Tampa Bay Downs on February 20, 2016. She gained national attention last summer after finishing second to Songbird in the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap and further acclaim following her second-place finish behind Romantic Vision three months later in the Grade 1 Spinster.

Martini Glass showed her versatility on opening day of the championship meet when switching to turf to win the Claiming Crown Tiara. She had kept a steady diet of two-turn races coming into the one-mile Royal Delta, most recently finishing a troubled third in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Ladies Classic at Sam Houston.

With regular rider Paco Lopez aboard, Martini Glass saved ground while racing within easy striking distance of early pacesetters Lewis Bay and Curlin’s Approval. Martini Glass tipped three wide to commence her rally approaching the stretch before getting clear by a length at the end.

Lewis Bay, winner of the Grade 3 Rampart here coming off a 13-month layoff in her 2017 finale, contested the pace inside Curlin’s Approval, shook free turning for home but could not resist the winner while easily second-best, 3 1/4 lengths in front of the slow-starting and wide-running Verve’s Tale. Curlin’s Approval, racing without front shoes for the first time, prompted the issue to the stretch before coming up empty at that point, ultimately checking home a tiring and disappointing fifth in the field of eight older fillies and mares.

Martini Glass, a 5-year-old daughter of Kitalpha, is owned in partnership by Nations and Vince Campanella. She covered the distance over a fast track in 1:36.48 and paid $18.40.

“To be where we are with her right now is amazing,” Nations said. “We were just thrilled to death to run second to Songbird. That just made our whole year. And she’s just moved forward and gotten better. Though she maybe could have won one or two of those other stakes, but she’s been bothered by troubled starts. She’ll break a little tardy sometimes and get herself in a bad spot. We’ve always been lucky and done pretty well with our claims, but this time we overachieved.”

Nations said some people criticized him for turning her back to a mile for the Royal Delta. But he felt one of her best earlier races was her victory going seven furlongs against starter-allowance competition last spring at Tampa.

“I think she ran seven furlongs in 1:22 and was a tick or two off the track record that day,” Nations said.

“She breezes fast, she does it all within herself, she likes the slop, she likes the turf, there really isn’t anything she doesn’t like.”

Nations, who is stabled at Tampa Bay Downs, said he might stay local for Martini Glass’ next start, putting her back on the turf for the Grade 2 Hillsborough on March 10.

Take Charge Paula a commanding winner in Forward Gal

TakeChargePaula HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Peter Deutsch recently decided to increase his investment in Thoroughbreds, and the initial returns are promising. Deutsch was elated Saturday when his newly acquired Take Charge Paula ran off to a 3 1/2-length victory in the 38th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park.

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Making her first start since being privately purchased by Deutsch and turned over to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, Take Charge Paula broke sharply under Paco Lopez to force all the pace in the seven-furlong Forward Gal. After putting away Heavenhasmynikki, she was easily clear of a belated run by Sultry when finishing in 1:23.47 over a fast track. The winner paid $7.40 as the slight favorite in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies.

“She’d had a couple of weeks with Kiaran and progressed really well,” said Deutsch, whose fortune emanates from the Connecticut-based Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “At some level I’m incredibly excited, and at some level I’m not surprised because she’s already shown what a classy filly she is.”

Deutsch, 55, said he has owned horses for about seven years, with his first stakes winner being Adirondack Summer in the 2011 Dania Beach at Gulfstream. This, however, was his first graded win as an owner.

McLaughlin said the Grade 2 Davona Dale, a one-mile race here March 3, is a logical next start for Take Charge Paula, a dark bay daughter of the young sire Take Charge Indy. Deutsch said the long-term goal is the Grade 1 Test in August.

“We’ll work backward from that,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what her evolution looks like.”

Easily the disappointment of the Forward Gal was Miss Mo Mentum, the 3-1 second choice who had good early position in midpack but finished a non-threatening sixth after having easily won her last two starts.

The $2 exacta (4-1) paid $38.40, the $1 trifecta (4-1-8) returned $117.60, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-1-8-3) was worth $63.50.

Paco Lopez Shines Bright On Claiming Crown Day, Voted Jockey Of The Week

Flowers-for-Lisa-the-CC-Jewel-credit-Kenny-MartinPaco Lopez was the star of Claiming Crown Day, winning three of the nine stakes in the annual event to earn Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week honors for the week ending December 3, 2017. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America. Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Animal Element’s Foundation Detox and Product X Performance Enhancer.

Click here to read article from Paulick Report.

The only jockey to win multiple stakes last week, Paco Lopez earned the majority of votes from the panel for his performance on Claiming Crown Day at Gulfstream Park. Lopez had a mount in each of the nine Claiming Crown races on Saturday. Of the nine, he won three: the $110,000 Distaff Dash Stakes with Blue Bahia ($5.20) for trainer Jason Servis, the $125,000 Tiara Stakes with Martini Glass ($6.00) for trainer Keith Nations, and the feature race, the $200,000 Jewel Stakes with longshot Flowers for Lisa ($35.80) for trainer Jorge Navarro.

He also finished second in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes with Oak Bluffs and was third in the $110,000 Iron Horse Stakes with Solve.

With his three stakes wins, Lopez was the second leading rider by stakes earnings for the week, with $291,000 earned during his Claiming Crown appearances. He earned $331,793 for the week as the fifth leading rider by total earnings, including his race days at Aqueduct and Parx. In 2017, he has earned over $8.9 million and is ranked 14th by earnings among all North American jockeys this year.

Lopez’ three Claiming Crown victories were the only wins of his 26 mounts, but he also had four second-place finishes and four third-place finishes, giving him a win rate of 12% but an in-the-money rate of 42%. He has won 171 of his 975 starts this year and has won 2,191 races lifetime. The winner of the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Apprentice Jockey in 2008, Lopez has career earnings in excess of $75 million in over 11,000 starts.

Flowers for Lisa Wires Claiming Crown Jewel

Flowers for LisaBreaking from the outside post 12, Flying P Stable’s Flowers for Lisa hustled for the lead and never looked back, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire in the $200,000 Claiming Crown Jewel at Gulfstream Park Dec. 2.

Click here to read article from Blood Horse.

The win capped off a solid day for trainer Jorge Navarro, whose trainee Sharp Azteca earned his first grade 1 victory in the Cigar Mile Handicap Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) about an hour earlier.

“Jorge told me the day he claimed him that this was our Claiming Crown horse,” owner Jason Provenzano said of the 4-year-old Flower Alley gelding who was claimed for $20,000 at Monmouth Park in July.

“This is a dream for me,” he added. “The phone hasn’t stopped. I got in this game a long time ago. My father was a jockey years ago, he rode down at Bowie, Timonium, Pimlico, Marlboro—tracks that don’t even exist anymore, some of them. I fell in love with horses at a young age but I never thought I’d have the money to own them. I got in a good position in my life and we started claiming horses.”

The 19th running of the Claiming Crown marked opening day of Gulfstream’s championship meet, and record handle on the 11-race program was $11.9 million, up 7% from last year when $11.1 million was wagered. Handle in 2015 was $10.3 million. Handle on the Claiming Crown has gone up every year since Gulfstream began hosting the event in 2012.

In the 1 1/8-mile Claiming Crown Jewel, Flowers for Lisa and jockey Paco Lopez took control early and led by a length through fractions of :23.60 and :47.06 for a half-mile. With six furlongs in 1:11.28, he extended his lead to 1 1/2 lengths and then held off Flashy Jewel and Diamond Bachelor in the stretch. The final time was 1:48.76.

“I had a little bit of a bad post position, and Navarro told me to do whatever I want. I know we have a bad position, but I know the horse is ready for this race,” Lopez said. “I rushed a little out of the gate, but my horse was very responsive and we won in hand.”

Flashy Jewel put a head in front of Diamond Bachelor for second. Turco Bravo and Capital Letters rounded out the top five in the field of 12. Favored grade 2 winner Gigantic Breeze raced near the rear of the field and finished 11th. The winner returned $35.80, $16.40, and $10 across the board.

Bred by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Flowers for Lisa is out of the winning Lemon Drop Kid mare Indyan Lisa. She now has a record of 7-8-5 from 33 starts, with earnings of $276,616.

Other Claiming Crown races:

In the $110,000 Glass Slipper, Troy Onorato and Maritza Onorato’s Mended shipped in from the West Coast and won by 6 3/4 lengths. The John Martin-trained 4-year-old Broken Vow filly finished the one-mile distance in 1:36.42 over the main track with Ricardo Gonzalez up. The win was her 10th consecutive victory.

Michelle Winters’ First Growth drew clear under Gerardo Corrales for a 3 1/2-length score in the $110,000 Express. The 5-year-old Candy Ride gelding completed the six-furlong dirt event in 1:09.61 for trainer Odin J. Londono Jr.

The $110,000 Distaff Dash went to Dennis Drazin homebred Blue Bahia. Winning by 2 3/4 lengths, the Jason Servis-trained 4-year-old Wildcat Heir filly stopped the clock in :56.89 for five furlongs on the turf under Lopez.

Stephen Derany and John Rigattieri’s Twocubanbrothersu won the $110,000 Iron Horse by 1 1/2 lengths with Daniel Centeno aboard. The 7-year-old Harlington gelding, trained by Rigattieri, completed the 1 1/16-mile dirt race in 1:42.22.

In the five-furlong $110,000 Canterbury on the turf, 7-year-old Pay Any Price picked up a narrow win by a half-length. Owned by Matties Racing Stable and Averill Racing and trained by Ralph Ziadie, the Wildcat Heir gelding finished the distance in :56.49 with Edgard Zayas aboard.

Moshe Mark’s grade 2-placed Cautious Giant and jockey Emisael Jaramillo rallied to a one-length score in the $110,000 Rapid Transit. The 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway , who is trained by Victor Barboza Jr., finished the seven-furlong race in 1:22.78 on the dirt.

Multiple grade 1-placed Martini Glass, owned by Vince Campanella and Nation’s Racing Stable, nosed out Peru to win the 1 1/16-mile $125,000 Tiara over the turf. Trained by Keith Nations, the 4-year-old Kitalpha filly and Lopez stopped the clock in 1:46.55.

The $125,000 Emerald went to Skychai Racing’s Special Ops, who won the 1 1/16-mile turf test by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:50.41. The 6-year-old Big Brown gelding, who is trained by Mike Maker, was ridden to victory by Julien Leparoux.

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