The last week of July began and ended with big stakes wins for Virginia-bred horses! Long On Value captured the $100,000 Lucky Coin Stakes on Monday at Saratoga and Stellar Wind, 2015 Virginia-bred Horse of the Year, closed out the week with a big win over Beholder in the Grade I Clement Hirsch Stakes Saturday at Del Mar.
Both efforts have been well documented on this website and through social media channels. Long On Value now has 7 wins from 22 starts, good for purse earnings of $673,118. The 5 year old son of Value Plus was bred by Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds. Stellar Wind got revenge on Beholder in the Hirsch — Beholder beat Stellar Wind earlier this year in the Vanity Mile at Santa Anita. The 4 year old daughter of Curlin crossed a half length in front Saturday with jockey Victor Espinoza in the irons again. She was bred by the Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC and her bankroll now stands at $1,173,200.
In mid-week action, Virginia-bred Galaxy Express collected his first lifetime win in a $23,000, 5 1/2 furlong sprint at Delaware Park. The James Vail trainee went gate to wire over a modest field of four others and crossed eight lengths to the better in 1:06.60. The two year old colt is by Cosa Bera out of Alice Phone Home by Luhuk. The upset victor returned $16.60 and gave breeder/owner Lady Olivia at North Cliff LLC a 25% bonus on top of the purse winnings as part of a new HBPA/VTA incentive program, which completed its first month this weekend. Any owner of a Virginia-bred or sired horse that wins an overnight pari-mutuel race in the Mid-Atlantic region (Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, New York or New Jersey) receives a 25% bonus.
On Saturday, Royal Force did not disappoint as the betting choice in a 7 1/2 furlong claiming event at Gulfstream. Bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone, the 5 year old Bernstein gelding raced from third within easy striking distance through the half, waited patiently in the turn then launched a three wide bid at the top of the lane. He crossed one half length over Starship Rocky in 1:30.90. Out of the Thunder Gulch mare, Regal Approach, Royal Force has earned $42,691 from a trio of career triumphs.
In other stakes news from the weekend, Rapid Rhythm finished sixth in the Grade 3, $150,000 Royal North Stakes at Woodbine. The six furlong test was the first graded stakes effort for the Michael Stidham trainee, who was bred by Lazy Lane Farms. The 4 year old daughter of Successful Appeal finished a respectable 3 3/4 lengths behind victorious Lady Shipman.
Disco Barbie, owned by Diane Manning, was slated to compete in the $100,000 Caress Stakes at Saratoga but due to an all day rain, the race was moved off the turf on to the main track. The 6 year old daughter of Pure Prize was one of six to scratch from the stakes as a result.