By John Manley
Declan Carroll is back in the saddle and he reminded the public of that fact in a big way at Ellis Park on Saturday. Carroll, who still rides with a seven-pound apprentice allowance, rallied Harbor Jedi to victory by one and one-half lengths in the eighth race, a nickel claiming mile on the turf. The win price on the 6-year-old mare came back $120.80. He also clicked aboard first-time starter Battleofwinterfell in Sunday’s third race at Ellis, although this returned a much more modest $10.60. He recently resumed riding after being sidelined with a fractured vertebra suffered during a spill at the Fair Grounds in March.
James Graham also rung a few bells at Ellis on Friday, when he piloted a pair of double-digit odds runners to victory. In the seventh race, a maiden special weight sprint on the grass, he prevailed in a speed duel aboard Get Some Mo to win by a length and put trainer John Ennis in the winner’s circle. The 3-year-old gelding, making just his second career start, paid $25.20 to win.
An hour later, Graham had the seat on Palace Princess, the longer priced of two runners sent out by trainer Dan Peitz in a maiden special weight route on the lawn. Graham got the jump on the stablemate turning for home and prevailed by a head at the wire for a $27.60 win mutuel. The Peitz exacta came back $138.20.
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Julie Burke and Declan Cannon bookended the Friday card at Belterra in Cincinnati. Burke split horses rounding for home in the first race aboard Marquee Moment and reached the wire a length in front. The win price was $31.40. In the nightcap, Cannon kept Say It Ain’t So in contention throughout and drew off down the lane to score by almost four lengths. The mutuel reward in the win slot was $6.60.
When last we discussed John Haran (which was just last week), he had put over a huge longshot at Indiana Grand. The other division of the Sligo owner-trainer’s operation proved just as adept at stirring things up, which is what happened in Thursday’s finale at Arlington, where President Elect toughed out a stretch duel for the victory by a head under C.J. Ulloa. The Haran homebred horse, off since March at Oaklawn Park, returned a robust $63.00 in the win slot.
Bird, a Gio Ponti first-time starter owned by Shane Ryan and trained by Andrew McKeever, won Arlington’s second race on Saturday. The 3-year-old homebred gelding, ridden by Chris Emigh, settled off the early pace in this maiden claiming route at the $20,000 level and then took over near the eighth pole to go on to win by one and one-half lengths. He paid $12.40.
ON PARADE AT LAUREL
There was a near-constant parade of Irish to Laurel’s winner circle last week. Dark Templar is beginning to justify Maurice Regan’s parting with $475,000 to obtain the colt as a yearling three years ago. He won the sixth race, a third-level allowance/optional claiming mile on the main track by a length under Horacio Karamanos. That’s the second win in a row now for Dark Templar, which is trained by Kelsey Danner. The colt, which paid $5.60 to win as the favorite, will probably have to begin looking at stakes races for his next engagement.
Cathal Lynch went on a tear at Laurel last week, piling up four wins. Maxis Stable’s Miss J McKay was no surprise in her racing debut, taking Friday’s third race as the odds-on favorite under Trevor McCarthy. She paid $3.80 to win. Then, in Saturday’s second race, Lynch debuted his own Girl Next Door, which rallied under Rosario Montanez to get up by one-half length and pay $8.00.
Later on the Saturday program, Lynch got a win at fourth asking from Two Step Sis, which he owns in partnership with Norah B Stable. The 3-year-old filly rallied under Jorge Ruiz for the victory by one-half length. She paid $12.20 to win.
Then, on Sunday in Laurel’s seventh race, Jody Mihalic’s Bull Shark remained perfect in two career starts when he knocked off a field of first-level statebred allowance sprinters on the main oval. McCarthy got the Lynch trainee, a 3-year-old colt, to the wire in front by one and one-half lengths for a $4.80 win mutuel.
Kieron Magee wasn’t about to be left out as he won three races, beginning with Thursday’s third race, a maiden claiming sprint. He sent out Green Mount Farm’s Scorched by Fire, a 2-year-old gelding ridden by Montanez, and they prevailed by a length, treating their backers to a $33.40 win mutuel. The winner was a second-time starter.
In Friday’s second race, apprentice Julio Correa commited Neal Berch’s Incorporate to the lead, and after putting a pesky rival away, they remained in front to the wire, although they had to work to get the 5-year-old gelding’s second win in a row in his third race off the Magee claim. They prevailed by one-half length in this main track mile at the $12,500 claiming plateau. Incorporate paid $5.80 to win.
Magee and McCarthy combined for a popular victory with Music Maker in Sunday’s fourth race. Magee claimed the 4-year-old filly for his own account two races back and got a return for his investment when she came home more than two lengths in front. She paid $3.20 to win in this claiming mile at the $16,000 tier on the turf. She then moved on to Jerry Robb’s barn via the claim box.