A total of twelve Virginia-bred horses reached the winner’s circle in a successful post Memorial Day week that began May 31 and continued through June 5th.
Cherokee Cousin got his first lifetime win May 31st in a maiden claimer at Presque Isle where he was sent off as the betting choice. Bred by the Cooney Racing Stables LLC, Millenium Farms & Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC, the 3 year old son of Zanjero rallied three wide in the turn, got to the front and won the six furlong race by 2 1/4 lengths. Out of the Kokand mare, Kokand Cousin, Cherokee Cousin now has 6 “top three” finishes in his 11 starts, good for $30,103 in earnings.
With her win at Mountaineer Park on Wednesday, Runaway Liz saw her bankroll soar past the $100,000 mark. The Albert Coppola bred 7 year old went gate to wire in a 5 1/2 furlong claiming sprint and crossed in 1:07.80. She is by Yonaguska out of Hey Doll by Siphon, and now has $101,392 in earnings from 54 starts. In 2016, she already has a win, a pair of seconds and a third.
Sweet Sandy got her third lifetime win in a $25,000 claimer at Delaware for trainer Alison Hassig. The 4 year old Flatter filly won by three in the one mile, 70 yard test, and crossed in 1:44.84. Bred by the Lazy Lane Farms, Sweet Swandy made her first start away from Tampa Bay Downs this year and the new scenery paid off. She is out of the Silver Deputy mare, Moonlight Cruise, and now has over $50,000 in winnings.
Frankin Storm, who competed in last September’s Jamestown Stakes, made his first start of 2016 Wednesday at Charles Town in a seven furlong claiming race for $10,000. The 3 year old son of Fierce Wind stalked the pace early off the rail, stayed close and dug in down the stretch to put World Leader Away in 1:29.04. Bred by Susan Minor and out of the Storm Boot mare, Stormy Heroine, Frankin Storm now has $28,150 in earnings.
The next evening, Scented Up scored an easy six length win at Charles Town for breeder and owner, Vermont Farm, LLC. The 4 year old Up Periscope gelding was sent off as the favorite and in collecting his first life win, continued a consistent pattern of late in West Virginia. The victor, who beat his stable mate Way Up High in the 1 1/8th miles, maiden claiming race, has been “in the money” in 8 of his last 9 Charles Town starts. He is out of the Sweetsouthernsaint mare, Southern Scent.
Another horse in a consistent mode is Louden’s Gray, whose move from the west coast to Gulfstream Park last October continues to pay dividends. Bred by the Estate of Edward Evans, the 5 year old Street Sense gelding was sent off as a heavy chalk and lived up to that billing with a 5 3/4 length triumph. In for a $10,000 claiming tag, Louden’s Gray covered the five furlong race in :55.50, paid $3.60, and has now been “in the money” in 7 of his 10 Florida starts. The winner is out of Minishaft by Mineshaft.
Over the weekend, Sweet Victory’s win in the $200,000 Penn Oaks at Penn National and Middleburg’s score in the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth have been well documented and of course highlighted the Virginia-bred successes.
Four other horses though got to the winner circle on Sunday — Royal Caviar and a trio with six digit career bankrolls — Irsaal, Anybodyreallyknow and Born Force.
Royal Caviar, bred by Blue Lotus Breeding and Racing, LLC, was best in a seven horse field of claimers who competed 1 1/16th miles at Pimlico. The 4 year old Scat Daddy gelding came four wide entering the stretch, took over the lead from Mike the Hab in mid-stretch, and went on to win by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:47.68. He is out of the Jade Hunter mare, Sevruga, has won two straight at Pimlico, and is 3-for-6 this year.
The three big earners had varying styles in their wins Sunday. Israal, bred by Edward Evans, won handily by 8 3/4 lengths in a Parx claimer, while both Anybodyreallyknow and Born Force, bred respectively by Larry Johnson and Mr. & Mrs. C.W. McNeeley, eeked out wins by a neck.
Israal, a 6 year old gelding by More Than Ready out of Quiet Now by Tiznow, saved ground throughout the mile race, got to the front with a quarter mile left and beat the eight other contenders with ease in 1:38.65. He returned $13.40 and now has $316,353 in earnings from 26 outs.
Anybodyreallyknow got his 9th career win and first of 2016 in a photo finish where five horses crossed within a length of each other. The Scott Lake trainee, sent off as the favorite in the six furlong race, edged Hold Everything by a neck. He is out of the Two Smart mare, What Do I Do, and has now earned $174,974. The winner was also claimed for $7,500 by the SAB NC Stable and the new trainer will be Michael Pino.
Born Force has been a mainstay at tracks like Arapahoe, Fonner and Canterbury and on Sunday, he connected at the latter one in a $17,000 starter optional claiming race at 1 1/16th miles. The 7 year old Political Force gelding moved consistently to catch leading Alpine Gathering. After swinging five wide in the lane, Born Force took care of business and crossed in 1:43.53. Out of the Opening Verse mare, Born Twice, the winner paid $13.90.