Jockey Robert Skelly won the early double at Emerald Downs on Friday. The Clonmel, Co. Tipperary native pulled wire jobs on both Evelyn's Dancer ($20.00 to win) in the first race and Private Swing ($8.40) in the second race. The double came back $77.60 for $2. He narrowly missed a triple, as he and Our Tail Win got nosed for the victory in the third race.
James Graham then emulated Skelly by knocking down Arlington's early double on Sunday. He won the opener on Wyn Racing's Spanish Baron, an Andrew McKeever trainee, in the first race. The 5-year-old gelding bided his time, but left no doubt as to his superiority against this band of $7,500 claiming stock, winning off by seven lengths. He was no surprise, either, paying only $4.20 to win.
Graham enjoyed another laugher in the second race, scoring by nine lengths aboard Getta Rhythm, leading every step of the way for a $24.60 surprise in the win slot. Graham's double returned $48.60 for $2.
Eoin Harty picked up a win at Arlington with a little help from the stewards, who elevated Rabbah Bloodstock's Royal Order and Graham into the win spot, after that duo finished second by a neck in Friday's seventh race, a maiden special weight mile on the turf. Royal Order was struck by the whip of the winner's jockey near the wire, resulting in the reversal. Royal Order, a 3-year-old filly, paid $16.40 to win in taking her sixth career start.
Trainers Pat Gallagher and Carl O'Callaghan combined for the late double at Hollywood Park on Friday evening. Gallagher started the skein in the seventh race with Madera Thoroughbreds and Kevin Kjelstrom's Cat Talk. The 3-year-old California-bred colt won a statebred non-winners of one "other than" allowance race on the grass. He previously broke his maiden racing on the lawn, and the apparent reason for his success is his going to the lead and staying there, as opposed to lagging and losing interest. Jockey Alonso Quinonez was along for the 2-length victory, which resulted in a $15.60 win mutuel.
O'Callaghan dropped Dr. Pat Sheehy's Thinking of Girls into a maiden claiming sprint for his third career start and the 3-year-old gelding ran off to a 4-length tally under Joel Rosario. The win price was $5.60. The double paid $50.20 for $2.
Jockey Clifford Dooley piled up three wins at Charles Town on Thursday. The Dubliner began with a longshot, Prime Fashion, in a wire job that resulted in a $21.40 win mutuel in the second race. Following that came Sultry Gibson, which paid $6.60 in winning the sixth race, with Best To Go West taking the nightcap as the $3.20 favorite.
EDDIE K BUCKLES UP
Avalon Farm's Buckleupbuttercup made a successful return to the races off a 10-month layoff, winning Churchill Downs' third race, a second-level allowance sprint, on Friday evening. The 4-year-old homebred filly, trained by Eddie Kenneally, stalked the early pacesetters under Julien Leparoux and turned up the heat in the lane to draw away to win by nearly two lengths. She paid $4.00 to win as the choice.
Kenneally also got a win out of Nelson Clemmens' Demure Victory in Churchill's eighth race, a maiden claiming sprint, on Sunday. The 3-year-old filly, racing at the $30,000 plateau, had been unraced since last October, when she campaigned under previous management. Here, she rallied from midpack under Corey Lanerie to score by three lengths and trigger an $8.20 win mutuel.
In the race before that, David Carroll cracked with Helen Alexander's Givhans Ferry, a first-time starter, in a maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-old fillies. Shaun Bridgmohan reserved his mount in midpack early, made a run at the leaders in the lane and reeled them in inside the sixteenth pole, winning by almost a length. Carroll's filly paid $20.80 to win.
Trainer Michael Collins and jockey Ryan Barber had a couple of "getting to know you" races with Spurr Racing Stable's Zai Jian before receiving a winning run from the 3-year-old filly in Monday's third race at Suffolk Downs. The filly, making her 10th career start, was forwardly placed by Barber in this maiden special weight mile on the turf and opened up in the lane to score by four lengths. The win price came back $6.80.
Collins also sent out Bernard MacDonald's Broken Sound to capture Saturday's second race, a route for nickel claimers that hadn't won four career races. Broken Sound closed under Gilbert Estrella to win by eight lengths at a very prohibitive 2-5. The gelding, now 2-for-2 since joining Collins, went unclaimed and paid $2.80.
Derek Ryan also has a useful sort in the lower claiming ranks with his own Ishikawa, winner of Monmouth Park's second race on Saturday. The 3-year-old gelding won his second straight race at the Jersey Shore oval by opening a big lead and having enough in the tank to reach the wire first, in this case by four lengths under Enrique Jurado. There were no takers at the claim box in this sprint at the $10,000 level. Ishikawa returned $9.20 to win.
Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot sent Eugene Weymouth's Wild for Gold out to victory in the first race at Penn National on Friday. Jockey Bernard Dalton was in the irons for this two and one-sixteenths maiden special weight event over the hurdles. The winner, which had been off since November, paid $22.40.
SWEET TASTE OF VICTORY
Trainer Dan O'Callaghan got his first win of 2011 when LT Stable's Sweetconsideration broke her maiden in Thursday's fourth race at Woodbine. The 4-year-old filly had been winless in 17 career starts, despite nine in-the-money finishes, prior to Thursday. She rallied under Tyler Pizarro to take this maiden claiming route by almost a length. The win mutuel was $5.20.
Friday's sixth race at Woodbine saw Mike Doyle come up a winner. He sent Bridle Path Stable's Genes Northernstar out to a 1-length tally in her first start. Slade Callaghan had the seat on the 2-year-old filly in this maiden claiming sprint. She paid $14.80 to win.
Doyle was right back at it in Saturday's third race with Scott Abbott's Dance to the Moon, which led throughout in a first-level allowance sprint on the main track. Jockey Slade Callaghan delivered the 4-year-old filly to the wire in front by one length for her fourth victory in nine career starts. She paid $8.20 to win.
Another to taste victory for the first time in 2011 was Colum O'Brien, who saddled Christopher Dunn's Enniskillen to victory in Belmont Park's fifth race on Saturday. The 5-year-old mare, guided by Irad Ortiz, Jr., rallied to defeat a band of main track sprinters at the $10,000 claiming tier by one and one-half lengths. The win price was $22.20.
Cathal Lynch also reaped immediate rewards with Gold Mark Farm's Vitedecreto, the winner of Philadelphia Park's second race, a maiden claiming sprint, on Saturday. A latecomer to the racing game, the 4-year-old colt rewarded his connections' patience by splitting horses in the lane and getting up by one-half length under Angel Arroyo. The first-time starter paid $17.60 to win and was not claimed.
Tom Campbell's Revelstoke returned to Mountaineer, the site of his maiden victory, for Monday's third race, and the Jim Corrigan trainee got the lion's share once again. The 3-year-old filly had only four rivals to down in this first-level allowance race around two turns on the main track once the event came off the turf and scratches were in. Revelstoke and Deshawn Parker trailed early, but made the lead in practically one fell swoop en route to an 11-length win that paid $3.80.
On Wednesday, Corrigan and Parker took their act to Erie, Pa., where they won the seventh race in similar fashion with Janet and Chris Morris' Macedon. Parker had to work harder for this victory, however, as Macedon just did get his nose down on the wire for the win, which paid $5.60. This was a $16,000 claiming mile limited to those with only a maiden win.