Holiday Weekend Off To A Star Spangled Start For Virginia Horsemen

It’s been a busy July 4th weekend so far for Virginia owners, breeders and horses, and we’re just getting started!

Virginia owner/breeder Bonner Young had a big win at Belmont yesterday with My Sweet Girl, who squeezed out a neck victory in the $100,000 Perfect Strike Stakes. Read about out it in the Daily Racing Form’s coverage below and view the video here.

FROM DRF: Long shot My Sweet Girl closed with a furious finish to best Neck of the Moon at the wire to upset the $100,000 Perfect Sting for owner Joyce B. Young and trainer Barclay Tagg.

Breaking from post 6 over a yielding turf course with Manuel Franco in the irons, the daughter of Bernardini, who left the gate at odds of 14-1, broke last as Old Harbor led the field of six through fractions of 24.47 seconds for the opening quarter-mile with the half going in 49.32.

At the quarter-pole, My Sweet Girl made her winning move. Traveling four-wide, she surpassed 3-5 post-time favorite Onus and engaged Neck of the Moon in the deep stretch. Battling back and forth, she edge her rival at the wire, earning the victory by a neck to complete the one-mile distance with a final time of 1:35.75.

“She ran great,” said Franco. “I love the way she runs. She’s real responsive. The trainer told me to be patient with her and that’s what I did. She gave me a good move and when I was asking, she was there for me.”

Returning $31.80 for a $2 win wager, My Sweet Girl picked up her first career stakes victory boosting her career earnings to $239,780.

“I was a little concerned [about the break],” said Tagg. “I wanted her covered up a little bit but I didn’t particularly want her way back there. I thought the track’s been too fast for her to come back. I was afraid when I saw her way back there that she might not be able to get up, because the speed’s no going to come back but it all worked out. The kid rode her beautifully and I was very happy with it.”

Cali Star finished second to Spelling Again in Saturday's Princess Rooney Stakes at Gulfstream. Photo by Coglianese Photos.
Cali Star finished second to Spelling Again in Saturday’s Princess Rooney Stakes at Gulfstream. Photo by Coglianese Photos.

Richmond based owner Larry Taylor’s Cali Star ran second to Spelling Again in the Grade 2, $250,000 Princess Rooney Stakes at Gulfstream, which was part of their annual “Summit of Speed” card. And Code West, bred by Edward Evans, took fifth in yesterday’s Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prarie Meadows.

Away from stakes action, Drop Dead Red, bred by Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, won a 1 1/16th miles, $29,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs. The 3 year old daughter of Hold Me Back won her second straight race by 1 1/4 lengths, beating eight others. She broke her maiden at Churchill June 1st.

And on Friday, Virginia-bred owner Douglas Daniels became the first owner to score a 25% bonus as part of a new incentive program when his 3 year old gelding Manakin Road connected in a $22,000 maiden claimer at Laurel Park. Details on the bonus program, which runs through December 31, are available at and