Mae Never No, Jose Ferrer up, shown winning the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park. PHOTO: BILL DENVER
By John Manley
Any win at Saratoga is special, but sending out the first winner of your training career there is uncharted territory to most. But not for Dermot Magner. The product of Rathkeale, Co. Limerick won Saturday’s sixth race, a maiden special weight sprint, with Hersh, a 3-year-old colt that he owns in partnership with Nice Guys Stable. Hersh, ridden here in his second career outing by Joel Rosario, trailed the field early, but made up ground around the turn and gutted out the win despite failing to keep a straight path down the lane. Hersh returned $9.40 to win. This was the fourth runner that Magner, a former assistant to Chad Brown, has saddled.
The weekend stakes races at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds in California went to shippers from the barns of Pat Gallagher and Eoin Harty. Gallagher sent out Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ The Tulip, a 5-year-old mare bred in Ireland by the Airlie Stud of Maynooth, Co. Kildare to take the Luther Burbank Handicap. The Tulip had campaigned in Ireland through last year out of the yard of Ed Lynam until she was sent to Gallagher, for whom she got through her first allowance condition, followed by several in-the-money finishes at the next peg. At Santa Rosa, she closed from off the pace under Ricardo Gonzalez to engage the pacesetting Psycho Sister in a brawl to the wire, where The Tulip prevailed by a head. She paid $7.00 to win.
Harty’s turn came on Sunday with Streetwithnoname, owned by Royce Pulliam and Kathleen Harty, in the Robert Dupret Derby, a route on the lawn for 3-year-olds. The Harty filly, a Godolphin castoff, has come to hand of late. She knocked off a first-level allowance race at Del Mar at 36-1 odds two weeks prior to her Santa Rosa engagement, in which she sat midpack under Abel Cedillo until taking the lead in midstretch. She held her closest rival at bay by a length and paid $9.20 to win.
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Three time zones to the east, moving Calumet Farms’ Buck Snort to Presque Isle Downs to take advantage of Penn-bred races was a rather obvious move on Harty’s part and the 3-year-old colt has complied with two wins from as many starts in the statebred ranks after two ineffective tries elsewhere in open company. Buck Snort won his second consecutive race by toughing out the win in a photo finish in Thursday’s third race, a first-level allowance mile. Pablo Morales again had the mount, which yielded a $4.60 win mutuel.
Streetwithnoname, Abel Cedillo up, shown winning the Robert Dupret Derby at Santa Rosa on Sunday. BILL VASSAR PHOTO.
Mike Doyle sent out Windhaven Farms’ Tiz Breathtaking to win the Shady Well at Woodbine on Saturday. Eurico Rosa Da Silva took a hold of the 2-year-old filly early in this sprint for Ontario-breds and bid for the lead at the eighth pole, going on to nail down the victory by almost two lengths. The Doyle filly, now 2-for-3, paid $3.90 to win as the heavy favorite.
Earlier in the week at Woodbine, a slight drop in claiming price was all the nudge that Canvasback Farm’s Dubhe needed to break her maiden. The 4-year-old homebred filly got the job done in the second race, a main track sprint, on Wednesday after finishing off the board in her four previous career tries. New jockey Ademar Santos might have also helped. The Dan O’Callaghan trainee returned $13.10 to win.
The Tulip, Ricardo Gonzalez up, shown winning the Luther Burbank Handicap at Santa Rosa on Saturday. BILL VASSAR PHOTO
In other 2-year-old stakes action, Wesley Ward sent out Mae Never No, an Irish-bred filly to win the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park. The filly, a homebred owned by Ice Wine Stable, broke her maiden at first asking at Belmont Park in early May and then was third in the Tremont Stakes there in June behind Cathal Lynch’s colt Our Braintrust. Back with her own gender, she blazed to the front under Jose Ferrer and the race was as good as over as she widened her lead to seven lengths under the wire, giving Ferrer his fourth consecutive win of the afternoon. The Lynch-trained Margie Is Livid shipped up from Laurel and was along for third money. Mae Never No paid $3.00 to win in a sprint that was booked for the turf, but was actually run over the sloppy main track.
A surface switch worked to Lynch’s advantage earlier in the week. Big Bella Brown showed in his previous start at Laurel that the weeds aren’t his preferred surface, so when Tuesday’s eighth race at Parx got rained off their sod onto the main track, Lynch’s decision to ship Charles Biggs’ 3-year-old gelding up I-95 from Laurel for this starter allowance sprint proved prescient. The son of Big Brown scored by almost two lengths under Jorge Vargas, Jr. for his fourth career win from nine starts. He paid $8.60 in the win column.
Carl Doran and Michelle Nevin sent out the winners of consecutive races at Laurel on Thursday. Doran tightened the girth on Donald Wilson’s Justa Scoch in the seventh race, a starter/optional claiming route on the main track. The 4-year-old filly just did get up by a nose under J.D. Acosta, although she likely would have been bumped up had she lost, as the second finisher impeded her down the lane. The Doran filly paid $10.00 to win.
Nevin then struck in the eighth race, a second-level allowance mile on the main track with Kallenberg Farm’s Forever Liesl, a 4-year-old filly. The winner is stakes-placed in each of three such tries over this surface and the public showed their respect by sending her off the odds-on favorite. She tracked the early pace, bid for the lead rounding for home, where she put her head in front, although jockey Victor Carrasco had to ride her to assure the victory, which she got by two lengths. She paid $3.60 to win and completed a $19.40 Irish trainers double.
At around the same time on Thursday afternoon, Nevin was taking the lesser half of the exacta placing in Saratoga’s eighth race. She sent out Mizzen Max, owned by Galen Ho’o, which fell two lengths short of reeling in Stonestreet Stable’s Dream Pauline, a Kiaran McLaughlin trainee, in this first-level allowance sprint on the main track. Javier Castellano rode the winner, which paid $5.80 and triggered a $23.00 exacta with the Nevin runner. Dream Pauline, a 3-year-old homebred filly, is now undefeated in two starts. She broke her maiden at first asking last December at Aqueduct before being shelved for the first half of 2018.
KIARAN BREAKING OUT?
McLaughlin, who was leading trainer at Saratoga not too many moons ago, has been slow to get untracked upstate, but two wins on the Saturday card suggest that a breakout is at hand. Godolphin’s Exulting, a 5-year-old gelding, won the first race, a second-level allowance route that had been slated for the turf, but was moved to the main track after the sod took on copious amounts of rain. Exulting came into this race off an allowance win at Belmont Park and his history shows that a wet surface might augur an improved performance. That’s what transpired as he led the field past the grandstand under Junior Alvarado to score by almost two lengths. Exulting paid $5.00 to win.
A similar situation played out in the fourth race, a first-level allowance sprint for statebreds that went on the main track instead of the turf. McLaughlin sent out Chester and Mary Broman’s The Caretaker, which worked out a stalking trip under Luis Saez to score by two and one-half lengths. The 4-year-old colt, which most recently broke a long win drought by taking a starter allowance at Belmont Park, paid $5.30 to win here as the second choice among five rivals.
When Gordon Elliott came over for last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, he left behind some stock that didn’t race at that stand, including River Boyne. Now doing business as a member of the Jeff Mullins string, the 3-year-old Irish-bred colt knocked off his first graded stakes by taking the Grade 3 La Jolla Handicap on Sunday at Del Mar. He sat off the early pace only to dispute the issue with about a furlong to the wire. Flavien Prat got him there in front by just over a length. River Boyne, now 5-for-7 on these shores after going 0-for-3 for Elliott, paid $3.00 to win.
James Graham accounted for the early double at Ellis Park on Saturday, winning both races in photo finishes. The Dubliner booted home Bella Moon ($11.40 to win) in the first race, a main track sprint, and Smart Emma, ($7.00) in the second race, a route on the lawn. The double came back $71.80. He is currently third in the rider standings at Ellis with 14 wins. Shaun Bridgmohan and Edgar Morales, with 18 victories apiece, are the ones to catch, with Corey Lanerie at 15.