Posts tagged ‘Paco Lopez’

Jockey Paco Lopez wins 3 stakes @ Gulfstream Park on Florida Million Preview Day

Trainer Bill White went on a wild ride at Gulfstream Park Saturday and came away with an eventful victory in the $125,000 Juvenile Sprint, one of eight races for Florida-breds in the $1 million Sunshine Millions Preview.

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The White-trained Bolita Boyz finished second behind favored Wildcat Red in the 6 ½-length sprint for 2-year-olds, only to be declared the winner when the first-place finisher was disqualified for interference in the stretch run.

Yet, White’s day had become a little hectic even before Saturday’s third race when jockey Jeffrey Sanchez had become ill after riding Awesome Belle for a second-place finish in the $150,000 Distaff Preview.

“What a carousel ride that was. When they said, ‘Riders Up,’ that was the first time I knew I needed a rider. The field was already mounted. I had to unsaddle my horse and figure out who I wanted to ride my horse,” White said. “And then to win the race on a disqualification – I’ve won a lot of races, but I haven’t been on a roller coaster like this one.”

White named Paco Lopez to ride Bolita Boyz, the 6-1 fourth betting choice who closed from far back after encountering traffic on the turn, as well as having to alter course in mid-stretch when Wildcat Red drifted outside. Following an inquiry, the stewards determined that the actions of Wildcat Red were sufficient to require a disqualification of the 3-5 favorite, who had prevailed by 1 ¼ lengths.

“He was checked and steadied somewhere around the three-eighths pole – he gave up two, three lengths there – and still angled out of that to make a run,” White said. “I think with that and if he wasn’t bothered inside the eighth-pole, he would have won on his own.”

Wildcat Red was placed second ahead of third-place finisher Pachanga Party.

“He’s just green. When I hit him with my right hand, he went right. When I hit him with the left hand, he went left. He’ll learn from this,” said Edgard Zayas, who rode the previously undefeated Wildcat Red, who ran the 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.92.
Lopez, who went on to ride three winners Saturday, was the fortunate recipient of a winning mount in the Juvenile Sprint.
“I feel sorry for Jeffrey Sanchez. I picked up the mount in the jock’s room,” Lopez said. “Mr. White told me there was a lot of speed in the race and to take him back and make one run. Down the stretch (Wildcat Red) went out and I tried to go inside.”

White took a lot of encouragement for the future from his colt’s performance.

“We don’t think he has been allowed yet to do what he wants to do. He’s bred to go longer. He has a turf pedigree on the bottom side,” White said. “So what makes us excited is that if he’s doing this well at these distances, there’s a chance at a greater distance – or possibly on turf – he may be even better than what you see so far.”

The victory was the third straight for Bolita Boyz, a son of Act of Duty owned by GZS Stables.

The Juvenile Sprint was one of four stakes on Saturday’s card for Florida-bred 2-year-olds.

In the $125,000 Juvenile Filly Sprint, Puddifoot surged in the stretch to draw away to victory by a commanding six lengths, giving Lopez his second win of the Sunshine Millions Preview program.

Trained by Eddie Plesa, the 3-2 favorite in a field of 14 2-year-old fillies had previously captured her debut by nearly five lengths at Monmouth Park on Sept. 28.

Owned by Trilogy Stable, EICO Stable and Laurie Plesa, the daughter of Red Giant ran 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.45. Sunset Silhouette, a 54-1 long shot ridden by Manoel Cruz, finished second, 2 ½ lengths ahead of pacesetter Secret Kitten, the 8-5 second choice.

“The race shaped up the way I thought it would,” Plesa said. “If she comes out of the race OK, we’ll definitely continue with the series.”

In the $100,000 Juvenile Filly Turf, Courtesan rallied late under Joe Bravo to catch front-running Lemon Point in the shadow of the finish line to win by three-quarters of a length.

The Christophe Clement-trained filly, who broke her maiden at Saratoga and finished third in the Jessamine Stakes (G3) at Keeneland last time out, ran a mile on turf in 1:39.97.

“She’s a lovely filly. She ran very well today. After racing at Keeneland, we thought this would be a good spot for her, since she’s a Florida-bred,” said Clement’s assistant trainer Thomas Brandebourger, who stated that the daughter of Street Sense would remain in training in Florida at Payson Park.

Lemon Drop Kid, a maiden winner at Belmont Park in her turf debut, finished second under Jose Lezcano, 3 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Cambiata.

In the $100,000 Juvenile Turf, Notyouraveragejoe capped the $1 million program for Florida-breds with a 33-1 upset victory under Lopez.

The 2-year-old son of Discreet Cat made his turf debut a winning one, stalking pacesetter Gelfenstein into the stretch before edging away to victory by a half-length.

Notyouraveragejoe, who broke his maiden in his fourth career start in an off-the-turf race at Gulfstream on Sept. 15, ran a mile on turf in 1:39.66.

“We tried him a couple times going short on the dirt. He wanted to go long. The last time we tried him on the dirt he really dug in so we thought we’d try him on the turf,” trainer Steve DiMauro said. “The owner has a half-sister (Mysterious Jewel) who did really well on the turf.”

Here’s Johnny, the 4-5 favorite ridden by Kent Desormeaux, finished second, a head in front of Gelfenstein and jockey Edgard Zayas.

Lopez, Navarro, Red Oak And High Point Take 2013 Titles

Jockey Paco LopezMonmouth Park Racetrack concluded its 61-day racing season on Sunday, sporting across the board gains in attendance, on-track and simulcast handle.

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Through a lease from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) to the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NJTHA) signed on May 4, 2012, Monmouth Park is marking its first full year under new leadership, with Darby Development LLC the operating manager.

“We knew last year would prove a good starting point,” said Dennis Drazin, advisor to Darby Development and the NJTHA. “The numbers posted this year prove that fans across the country have responded positively to our racing product, while those closer to home enjoyed great racing at one of the world’s most beautiful racetracks.”

Average attendance came in at 8,986, besting last year’s average of 8,599 by 4.5%, when Monmouth ran 65 cards. On-track wagering averaged $510,106, an 8.3% increase over 2012 as total wagering averaged $4,440,595, representing a 9.8% boost over last season.

“These numbers certainly met all expectations,” Drazin said. “We were hoping to build off of last year’s start and we have succeeded in doing so.

“We’ll look to continue this upward momentum as we strive to meet the goals set forth by ourselves just over one year ago: bring expanded gaming opportunities to the racetrack; create new family entertainment; and, provide world-class Thoroughbred racing at the Jersey Shore.”

The meet was once again highlighted by the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational, which saw Verrazano set a new win margin record, dominating his foes by 9 ¾ lengths in the Shore’s signature race. Other highlights included Big Blue Kitten’s impressive performance in the United Nations Stakes and the thrilling stretch duel between Last Gunfighter and San Pablo in the Iselin, with the former besting the latter, who was the defending champion.

“As we look to the future,” Drazin said, “we are on the brink of announcing a new off-track betting facility, we continue our work to bring sports wagering to the racetrack and have plans for enhanced on-line gaming opportunities – all geared at bringing horse racing closer to the fan.

“On-track, we will soon open the William Hill Race and Sports Bar – a state-of-the-art, Vegas-style sports book, which will offer free play on top sporting events. In addition, the entire facility will continue its transformation into a more fan-friendly, family oriented destination in the heart of the Jersey Shore.”

Paco Lopez was a runaway winner in the race for top jockey, booting home 99 winners. It was Lopez’s second Monmouth title, having taken home top honors in 2010.

Leading trainer went to Jorge Navarro, who saddled 47 winners, including a record-tying four on Sept. 22, 2013. For Navarro, a 38-year-old native of Panama, this was his first trainer’s title at any racetrack.

Red Oak Stable, who has been involved in racing for decades, enjoyed their first-ever Monmouth Park owner’s championship, having visited the winner’s circle 17 times, tying them with High Point Thoroughbred Partners, who also enjoyed their first owner’s title.

Thoroughbred racing shifts north to the Meadowlands for 10 all-turf live cards, beginning on Friday, Oct. 11. The Big M will host live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays through Nov. 2 with the exception of Monday, Oct. 21, which will be a dark day.

Purple Egg handles route assignment in Barbaro

An ideal trip behind two dueling pacesetters helped Purple Egg win for the first time beyond six furlongs in Wednesday’s closing-day feature at Delaware Park, the $100,000 Barbaro Stakes for 3-year-olds.

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With Paco Lopez aboard for the first time since Purple Egg won back-to-back races to launch his career in August and September 2012, the gelded son of Lion Heart sat in third as 3-5 favorite Revocation and turf-to-dirt Team Valor runner Cerro battled through fractions of 46.27 seconds and 1:10.50. Approaching the turn for home in the 1 1/16-mile race, Cerro dropped back to third and Purple Egg launched a three-wide bid. Purple Egg forged a short advantage at the top of the stretch and cruised home 6 1/4 lengths in front, reaching the wire in 1:43.66.

Revocation held second, two lengths in front of Cerro. Keep the Canoli and Heat Press completed the order of finish.

Trained by Jane Cibelli for Goodwood Racing, Purple Egg is now 4 for 7 with earnings of
$181,900. It was his first win since he took the six-furlong Inaugural at Tampa Bay Downs last December.

Record-Breaking Ack Ack for Pants On Fire

Pants On Fire comes home strong to win the Ack Ack HandicapPants On Fire drew away late to post a clear win in the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) Sept. 7 at Churchill Downs, completing the one-turn mile in a stakes-record time of 1:33.78.

The victory for George and Lori Hall’s homebred is the second straight graded stakes score for Pants On Fire, a 5-year-old Jump Start horse who won the Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. II) July 28. Carrying high weight of 121 pounds in the field of eight 3-year-olds and up, Pants On Fire lowered the stakes record mark of 1:34.08 set in the 2007 Ack Ack by Istan. The track mark of 1:33.31 was set last November by Infrattini.

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After tracking in third through the far turn, jockey Paco Lopez swung out Pants On Fire for the stretch where early leader and 2-1 favorite Taptowne had opened a solid lead. But Pants On Fire, the second betting choice at 5-2, quickly gained ground, drew even just past midstretch, and then powered away to the 2 3/4-length victory.

“It was wonderful. It’s good to see him continue to run in good form. We love this horse. He’s a homebred. He’s our first homebred to have some big success,” George Hall said. “The (off the board finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands [gr. I] was obviously disappointing, but he’s still running strong and we hope he’s not hit the peak of his career yet.”

Longshot Right to Vote led early while Taptowne tracked in second with Pants On Fire and Brethren also close in the leading pack of four through a quarter mile in :22.68 and a half-mile in :45.25. Taptowne showed another gear to open a clear lead between calls in early stretch, clicking off six furlongs in a smart 1:09.38, but Pants On Fire showed a turn of foot not possessed by his rivals.

Trained by Kelly Breen, the Monmouth Cup victory had been the first graded stakes score for Pants On Fire since his 3-year-old season, when he captured the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) and the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). Breen said he will consider the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) for the son of Jump Start .

“We’re coming off of a couple of good wins and, knock on wood, he stays healthy, we could go there,” Breen said. “George and I have been talking about a possible trip to Japan. They’ve been talking to us about coming over for a race there and I know it’s a different direction they run in, but it would be really neat to have a horse take you to places I’ve never been to. So, we’ll see.”

Pants On Fire returned $7 for the win, $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show. Clovertowne Farm’s Taptowne held second, returning $3.20 and $2.20 while George Kerr’s Good Morning Diva rallied for third, paying $2.60 to show. Rounding out the field of eight were Sabercat, Looking Cool, Moe Man, and Brethren, who stopped.

Pants On Fire was bred in Kentucky by the Halls’ K & G Stables. He is out of the Cape Town mare Cabo de Noche. The dark bay won for the eighth time in 22 lifetime races and boosted his earnings to $1,197,635.

Pants On Fire draws clear late in Ack Ack

Pants On Fire Wins Ack AckIt came more than two years late, but Pants On Fire finally found the Churchill Downs winner’s circle.

Ninth as the 8-1 second choice in the 2011 Kentucky Derby, the 5-year-old Pants On Fire rolled to victory Saturday night in the 21st running of the Grade 3, $110,700 Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill. Paco Lopez was aboard for owners George and Lori Hall and trainer Kelly Breen.

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Rating kindly from just off the pace through the opening stages of the one-turn mile, Pants On Fire overtook the 2-1 favorite, Taptowne, inside the eighth pole before finishing 2 3/4 lengths to the good. He paid $7 as second choice after finishing in a stakes-record 1:33.78 over a fast track. Taptowne held second and Good Morning Diva was third in a field of eight older horses.

Pants On Fire had only one prior start at Churchill, and that was in the Derby.

“This was nice,” said Breen. “We’ll probably go straight into the Breeders’ Cup Mile now, then maybe over to Japan for a race after that. They’ve been kind of hinting around at us coming over there, and that could be fun.”

Pants On Fire, a Kentucky-bred by Jump Start, now has won 8 of 22 career starts. He spotted his rivals 3 to 7 pounds as the 121-pound highweight.

Flashy American prevails in Locust Grove

Flashy American ($5.20) wore down Wine Princess in the final 70 yards to take a hard-earned 1 1/4-length victory in the $111,400 Locust Grove. Awesome Flower was another 5 3/4 lengths back in a field of eight fillies and mares in the 1 1/16-mile race. The winning time was 1:43.53.

Corey Lanerie, who won the Grade 2 Pocahontas one race earlier on the card, was aboard Flashy American for Preston Stables and trainer Ken McPeek. Flashy American, a 4-year-old gray filly by Flashy Bull, now has won 4 of her last 5 starts and was coming off a victory in a restricted stakes at Saratoga.

Hard Enough just good enough to win Restoration

Hard EnoughHard Enough earned a hard-fought victory on Saturday in the $62,400 Restoration Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf at Monmouth Park.

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It was the second straight stakes victory here for the chestnut colt following the Jersey Derby last month. The Restoration was the fourth win on the card for Paco Lopez, the meet’s leading rider.

The Jersey Derby was a relatively easy victory for Hard Enough, a $50,000 claim by trainer Bobby Dibona over the winter at Gulfstream Park. In that race, Hard Enough settled behind the pacesetting Shining Copper before collaring that rival on the final turn.

Shining Copper returned for the Restoration but this time he did not break on top after a bumpy start. That left Hard Enough, stretching out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time, on the lead from the rail.

And he had constant pressure from Dynamic Strike through quick fractions of 22.51, 46.68 and 1:10.74.

“I talked with Paco before the race and I was afraid Shining Copper might not go to front like he did last time,” Dibona said. “I told him to be prepared, and if you’re in front, do what you’ve got to do.”

Turning for home, Hard Enough was still in command, but the pace and the added distance were taking a toll. But Hard Enough was game as the closers swarmed in. He managed to keep his head, and the distinctive white blinkers, barely in front right to the wire in a four-way photo for the win.

“The fractions were fast,” Dibona said. “I was afraid we wouldn’t hang on but he’s just game, very game.”

Michael With Us rallied from seventh to get second, edging Always Curious for the place spot. Chamois, the 2-1 favorite, was fourth.

Hard Enough paid $7.60 to win as the second choice. The time was 1:47.16 over the firm course.

Shining Copper was fifth followed by English Minister, Dynamic Strike and Chollie D.

Pants On Fire wins Monmouth Cup; Take Charge Indy injured

Pants on Fire and jockey Paco Lopez win the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup by 1 3/4 lengths Sunday.Pants On Fire pulled a 7-1 upset in the Grade 2, $203,000 Monmouth Cup after odds-on favorite Take Charge Indy was pulled up entering the final turn.

Gary Stevens quickly pulled up the winner of last year’s Grade 1 Florida Derby, and the 4-year-old colt was vanned back to the barn area with a left-front condylar fracture that will require surgery.

“I was having the ride of my life, just having a ball, just cruising, figuring how far I wanted to win by,” Stevens said. “I heard a loud pop at the half-mile pole. He tried to go on, but then he helped me get himself pulled up, a very intelligent horse.”

The dominant winner of the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, Take Charge Indy was trying to bounce back from an inexplicably poor effort in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap last month at Churchill Downs. Everyone, including trainer Patrick Byrne, expected a bounce-back effort from the 7-10 favorite.

But when Take Charge Indy was pulled up, the Monmouth Cup was stunningly up for grabs. Pants On Fire pounced on the opportunity to secure his first graded stakes win since the Grade 3 Pegasus here in 2011.

Pants On Fire beat Hymn Book by 1 3/4 lengths, with Ponzi Scheme third. Paco Lopez was aboard for his fourth win on the afternoon.

Pants On Fire paid $16.20 to win. The time was 1:45.86. Norman Asbjornson was fourth, followed by Small Town Talk and Big Sur.

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Ju Ju Eyeballs Rolls To Victory In Just Smashing Stakes Sunday

Paco LopezMr. Amore’s Stable Ju Ju Eyeballs crushed her foes in Sunday’s $60,000 Just Smashing Stakes at Monmouth Park, drawing away to a 5 ¼ length victory.

Trained by Jason Servis, Ju Ju Eyeballs covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:11 2/5 and paid $14.80, $5.80 and $3.80. Ol Donyo rallied to complete the $87.40 exacta and returned $6.60 to place and $5.20 to show. It was another nose back to Dreamingofcarmella, who paid $5 to show in the field of six 3-year-old fillies.

“I just wanted to settle off the pace,” said winning rider Paco Lopez. “My horse was strong the whole way right behind the lead. I split horses at the top of the stretch and he did the rest very easily.”

The Just Smashing was the second consecutive stakes score for Ju Ju Eyeballs, who earlier this season won the Crank It Up Stakes on Monmouth turf. The daughter of Gators N Bears from the Smarten mare Savvy Lady has now won six of her 10 lifetime starts.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Friday, July 26 as the racetrack gets ready for the Jersey Shore’s most anticipated horse race, the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational, which will go as part of a 14-race program this Sunday, July 28.

Hard Enough Proves Best In Saturday’s Jersey Derby

Paco LopezPeace Sign Stable’s Hard Enough sat just behind pacesetter Shining Copper before moving past that rival turning for home and opening up to a length and a half win in the $60,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

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Ridden by Paco Lopez, Hard Enough went the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:41 flat and returned $26.60, $9.60 and $5.40. Reporting Star closed to complete the $133 exacta and paid $5.20 and $3.20. It was another half-length back to Shining Copper, who paid $2.60 as the favorite in the field of nine 3-year-old colts and geldings.

“I’m so happy to get this win for the owners,” said winning trainer Bobby Dibona. “I know this is the best horse we have in our barn. It’s been a while since we’ve had a horse of his caliber. He needed to get back in his division, with 3-year-olds. He needed some time to mature and just looked great today.”

A colt by Hard Spun from the Mr. Greeley mare Grecian Wings, Hard Enough earned his third win in 14 starts by taking the Jersey Derby, which dates back to 1864, making it the oldest Derby contested in North America.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 21 – gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:50 p.m.

Immortal Eyes wires Mr. Prospector Stakes

Immortal Eyes, under Paco Lopez, won the Mr. Prospector Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths Sunday for his 10th stakes victory.Immortal Eyes led every step of the way in the $76,500 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday, drawing off down the stretch for a 7 1/4-length victory under jockey Paco Lopez.

Click Here to Read Article from Racing Daily Form

Immortal Eyes, trained by Damon Dilodovico, had made his Monmouth Park debut June 22, wiring a $50,000 optional claimer by 2 3/4 lengths. He proved impossible to catch again Sunday, leading the field of six through a quarter-mile in 21.98 seconds and a half-mile in 44.89 while building a one-length advantage.

The 8-year-old Greatness gelding increased his lead to three lengths at the top of the stretch and spurted away from his rivals, stopping the clock for six furlongs on a fast track in 1:09.42. He paid $7.60 as the third choice.

“Last time, I really didn’t ask him at all,” Lopez said. “He’s got so much speed. I knew there was a horse to my inside [Royal Currier], but my horse was just cruising out there. At the quarter pole, I asked him a little bit, and he opened up on his own.”

Mass Destruction rallied to take second, a neck ahead of Diski Dance in third. Royal Currier, the 3-2 favorite, faded to last after chasing the early pace. Royal Currier was making his first start since a pair of runner-up finishes in stakes at Aqueduct over the winter.

Immortal Eyes has won 15 of his 44 career starts and earned $805,051. He’s a 10-time stakes winner, with most of those scores coming at Charles Town and Mountaineer Park for owner Robert Abbo Racing Stable.

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