Classy class rsz

Classy Class makes grade for McLaughlin

Classy Class, Antonio Gallardo up, shown winning the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.


By John Manley

Kiaran McLaughlin’s best-laid plans for Cheyenne Stables’ Classy Class’ run in the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park on Saturday took a hit when jockey Paco Lopez was injured in a freak paddock accident prior to the first race there, necessitating his removal from all his mounts on the card. No matter, though. Replacement jockey Antonio Gallardo got Classy Class out of the gate in front and kept him there throughout the Grade 3 feature on the main track, reaching the wire in front by almost three lengths. This was the first stakes victory for Classy Class, graded or otherwise, which has been raced sparingly over the last two years, primarily in sprints. He paid $20.80 to win.

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James Graham had a mount in only one of the five graded stakes on the Saturday evening card at Churchill Downs, but he made it count, riding Wimborne Farm’s Kasaqui to a rallying victory by almost three lengths in the Grade 2 Wise Dan on the lawn. This was Graham’s first journey aboard the 7-year-old Argentine bred, which is trained by Ignacio Correas, IV. Graham got his mount going a bit earlier than had been customary, the result being Kasaqui’s first victory since he won the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap last July. He returned $8.40 to win in Louisville.

Brendan Walsh settled for second money in the two of those five races in which he saddled a runner. Honorable Duty was a distant second to Gun Runner in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, while Proctor’s Ledge was three lengths behind Sweeping Paddy in the Grade 3 Regret.

Cathal Lynch got his first 2-year-old winner of the year when Narrow Leaf Farm’s Cheese On rallied under Sheldon Russell to take a maiden special weight sprint at Laurel on Saturday by one length. Lynch’s propensity to win at first asking was lost on the wagering public, which resulted in a $26.00 win mutuel on Cheese On.

An hour later at Laurel, Kieron Magee’s claim of Parade of Nations for client James Wolf back in April appeared especially prescient as the 3-year-old gelding drew off to win a first-level open allowance sprint by three lengths under Julian Pimentel. That’s two wins in three starts under Magee’s management for Parade of Nations, which paid $15.60 to win.

Jockey Dylan Davis all of a sudden has become a hot jockey at Belmont Park, which is all to the good for trainer David Duggan. Besides sharing initials, they shared a victory in Wednesday’s sixth race on Long Island via the hooves of Johanna Murphy-Leopoldsberger’s Bright Side Up. Davis never let the 4-year-old filly get too far off the pace in this starter allowance route on the grass, had her strike the front turning for home and then held on to score by a neck. She’s now won three of her last five races, all with Davis in the saddle. She paid $18.40 to win here.

Shane Ryan’s Gucci Factor wasn’t particularly impressive in three tries against maiden company last year, but she appears to have come back a different horse after 10 months away from the races. The 4-year-old filly demolished a field of statebred maiden milers on the main track at Belmont Park on Thursday by 16 lengths under Joel Rosario, who put her on the lead out of the gate and kept her there under minimal urging. Christophe Clement calls the shots on the daughter of Gio Ponti, which was also a Ryan/Clement production. Gucci Factor paid a fashionable $4.30 to win.

Different tactics but a somewhat similar result were on display in Friday’s ninth race at Belmont, won by Hannah’s Smile, owned by Sunny Jim Fitzsimmons Racing and trained by Michelle Nevin. The 3-year-old filly’s racing debut at Belmont three weeks prior wasn’t noteworthy, although she did beat half the field. Back in a similar spot – a maiden claiming sprint on the lawn for statebreds – Hannah’s Smile trailed early, but came running down the lane under Eric Cancel, getting the win by four lengths. Hannah and Nevin weren’t the only ones smiling; count in all those who bet her to win, which chimed in at $29.40.


Fergal Lynch has become the go-to rider for some of the more prominent New York stables when shipping down to the mid-Atlantic region. The Derryman didn’t disappoint Bill Mott, getting Elate home in front by five lengths in the Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park on Thursday. The 3-year-old filly paid $4.20 to win.

Gabriel Goodwin’s Elostorm left little doubt who was best in Thursday’s first race at Finger Lakes. The 4-year-old filly drew off under Joel Cruz to tally by nine lengths in a maiden special weight rout for statebreds, providing Goodwin with his first training victory of 2017. Goodwin has done it all with this filly. He bred her, delivered her, broke her and trains her at his farm near Saratoga. She paid $14.80 in winning this race run over a sloppy surface.

Wet surfaces brings us to John Haran, who has had tremendous success over the last two seasons at Indiana Grand when the rain clouds roll through. Such was the case last week, when he won a race on each of the Tuesday and Wednesday cards there. Vbreeze, a Haran homebred won for only the second time in 47 career starts after Tuesday’s seventh race was rained off the turf and onto the muddy main track. Vbreeze got up by just over a length under A.L. Contreras and paid $11.00 in this allowance sprint.

There was still moisture in the track when Wednesday’s first race, a statebred claiming route, went off. Contreras got Tornada, a recent claim by Haran for himself and Mike Ryan, home three lengths in front. She returned $7.60 to win.

Those victories ended a quiet period of sorts for Haran, who is now tied for second place in the trainers standings at Indiana Grand. He has 13 victories from 64 starts and is four back of Genaro Garcia, the pacesetter.

John Manley's Racing Roundup appears each week in the Irish Echo.