Cathal Lynch, third from right, and jockey Trevor McCarthy in the Laurel winner’s circle last November.
PHOTO: JIM MCCUE
By John Manley
The Irish contingent in Maryland had a big St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Trainers Kieron Magee and Cathal Lynch won multiple races at Laurel, while Fergal Lynch rode the winner of a Saturday stakes race there.
Magee won the first of five races (three on the Friday card) with Mark Moshe’s Wildcat Gaze in the second race, a nickel claiming sprint. Gerald Almodovar put the 5-year-old mare on the lead from the getgo and ran off to win by just over a length. She paid $6.60 in the win column for her second tally in a row and second since she was turned over to Magee.
Gavin Streetsense, a 4-year-old gelding owned by T D C B E Stable accounted for Magee’s second tally in the fifth race. Trevor McCarthy put him on the lead out of the gate and he reached the wire unmolested, his nearest pursuer almost six lengths behind. He paid $5.80 on the drop in this claiming sprint and was haltered for $16,000 by trainer Lacey Gaudet.
Magee and McCarthy made it two in a row with Magee’s Magritte in the sixth race, a claiming route at the $10,000 tier. This 5-year-old gelding, claimed by Magee last September, hadn’t won in 17 months, but he went to the lead out of the gate and stayed there, winning by almost eight lengths. He returned $6.80 to win and went unclaimed.
Magee shot for three in a row in the seventh race and nearly got it, but was nipped at the wire in a photo by Matthew Schera’s Borino from the Cathal Lynch barn. McCarthy took the Lynch runner in this race and won his third straight, rallying and then enduring a torrid stretch duel to prevail by a neck. Borino paid $4.20 to win and the Lynch/Magee exacta came back $7.80 in a first-level allowance route that drew only five runners.
‘SOUR’ RUNS SWEETLY
Magee and McCarthy wasted no time getting busy on the Saturday card, taking the first race with Timothy Hopkins’ Whiskey Sour. This 5-year-old gelding stalked and pounced successfully, getting up by two lengths for his first win since Magee claimed him five races back in December. He paid $7.40 to win.
The second race made for a Magee/McCarthy double when Gumpster Stable’s Seeing’n’believing got up by just over a length in a claiming mile at the $7,500 level. The 4-year-old filly plunged in claiming price here, which is reflected in her win price of $2.40 and the fact that she was claimed out of the race by Richard Sillaman. The double returned $13.80.
Cathal Lynch again followed the Magee double with a win. He sent out Charles Biggs’ C B Bodemester to take the third race, a claiming route at the $11,000 plateau, by eight lengths with McCarthy in the saddle. The 3-year-old colt had been winless in eight tries since breaking his maiden at Timonium last September. The win price came back $4.20.
Then, Fergal Lynch got his turn in the spotlight in the Private Terms Stakes, with a $100,000 purse. The jock had won a similar stakes race here late last year with Irish War Cry for Graham Motion, but didn’t retain the mount when that one was sent to Florida to continue his Triple Crown prep. Trainer Chad Brown must have taken note, however, because he booked Lynch to ride Twisted Tom here. Lynch got him up in the final strides, a nose the best over O Dionysus, the odds-on favorite. ‘Tom’ paid $10.20 to win, his third victory in five starts.
GRAHAM DOUBLES IN NEW ORLEANS
James Graham bookended the program on a special Monday card at Fair Grounds last week. The Dublin reinsman piloted Sensational Ride to victory in the first race, the win mutuel coming back $12.20. He then put Brendan Walsh in the winner’s circle when he got Walking Primrose home in the 10th race. That 4-year-old filly prevailed in an early pace duel and hit the wire in front by just over a length in this maiden claiming sprint on the lawn. She, too, paid $12.20 to win in breaking her maiden in her third career start.
Graham also pulled off a twofer on St. Patrick’s Day Eve. He struck early with a wire job in the first race, aboard Kutuzov, which returned $16.80 in this claiming mile on the main track. Then, in the third race, he worked out a stalking trip aboard Carson Kan in an allowance sprint on the grass that resulted in victory by almost two lengths. Carson Kan paid $14.40 to win.
Graham wasn’t the only native Irish reinsman to pose twice for the photographers on Thursday. Declan Cannon did likewise at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas. He won the third race there aboard Son of Pearl, which paid $7.60. He then dropped a bomb aboard First Heritage, the $48.20 winner of the sixth race. Cannon hewed close to the lead in this starter allowance mile, got the jump on the rest of the field around the turn and put the race away straightening for home.
Bob Baffert couldn’t get a win out of Viva Vegas in four starts in California as a 2-year-old for George Bolton and Peter Leidel, so the owners sent her to Derek Ryan at Tampa Bay Downs, where the waters aren’t as deep. Bingo! The now 3-year-old filly dusted a maiden special weight on the grass by six lengths in Wednesday’s fifth race, leading every step of the way under Wilmer Garcia. She paid $10.20 to win.