Virginia-bred horses Ghost Is Fine and Explore each won a claiming race at Mountaineer Park Monday night, each got the winner’s share of identical $6,300 purses, and each earned a 25% bonus for their respective owners as part of the new HPBA/VTA Virginia-bred owner’s bonus program.
There were two differences though — the distance raced and the return on investment. Ghost Is Fine won at the six furlong distance while Explore connected at one mile — a relatively minor difference. The $2 win payouts however turned out to be a major difference. Ghost Is Fine was sent off at 73-1 and returned a whopping $148.60 while Explore was the betting choice and paid a modest $4.40.
Ghost Is Fine is a 6 year old Ghostzapper horse that was bred by Althea Richards & Adena Springs. He started in a field of 9 and was fifth at the half, 1 1/2 lengths behind the leader. The eventual winner surged six wide in the turn, made it to fourth at the top of the stretch, kept pressing, and beat C The Judge by one-half length in 1:14.10. Ghost Is Fine is out of Finery by Lear Fan, and got his third career triumph in upset fashion.
Explore on the other hand, stalked the pace early in his race, trailed by only two at the half, took over at three-quarters and won by five lengths in 1:40.57. The 5 year old, by Stroll out of Elsie Jay by Giant’s Causeway, was sent off at odds 1.20-1. Bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone, he won for the first time in six starts this year and now has a career bankroll of $82,493.
The owners of both will receive a 25% bonus on top of their purse earnings for winning with a Virginia-bred horse in the Mid-Atlantic region. Ghost Is Fine is owned by Harry Pease, who also trains, and Explore is owned by LVR Stable, Inc.