Virginia-breds Ring Knocker and River Date celebrated the end of 2016 with respective wins in a pair of $58,000 starter races at Aqueduct. The former pushed her bankroll over the $200,000 mark while the latter earned his straight win.
Ring Knocker, a now 5 year old Birdstone mare bred by the Morgans Ford Farm, rallied into contention from fifth with a furlong to go on New Years Eve in her six furlong sprint. Jockey Rajiv Maragh led the charge, and the winner crossed one half length over Sing For Beauty in 1:12.50. Ring Knocker scored her fourth win of 2016 and each came at a different track — Gulfstream, Delaware Park, Saratoga and Aqueduct. Out of the Black Tie Affair mare, Pearls, the victor enters a new year with a bankroll of $208,844. The ownership group of Bob Petersons Stables, LLC, Frank Bellavia and Gary Gullo collected a 25% bonus as part of the VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic incentive program.
River Date, a 5 year old Pioneerofthenile gelding bred by Henry Carroll, went gate to wire in his 1 1/16th miles race. The winner held on by a neck and crossed in 1:45.89. The Antonio Arriaga trainee started his NYRA hat trick October 2nd with a victory at Belmont and followed that with a win November 18th at Aqueduct. With the December 30th triumph, The Players Group — who owns River Date — will receive a 25% bonus on top of purse winnings courtesy of the same incentive program. River Date, out of How Bout Tonight by Proud Citizen, has earned $130,565 from 13 career starts.
A trio of others, all 6 year old geldings entering the New Years holiday weekend, scored wins. Yes I Win crossed first at Hawthorne, Moonlight Meeting was best at Los Alamitos and Hunterwood was victorious at Sunland.
Yes I Win trailed by 2 1/2 lengths at the top of the stretch in his five furlong claiming race, but the 6 year old Yes It’s True gelding came on late to win by one half length. Bred by the Morgans Ford Farm, the winner finished 2016 with back to back victories, the first ones of his career.
Moonlight Meeting, bred by the Hart Farm, won a 4 1/2 furlong claiming race New Years Day at Los Alamitos. The Malibu Moon gelding went gate to wire over five other foes in :51.35. He is out of the Foxhound mare, Beautiful Stranger, and in 21 starts, has won $61,875.
The first day of 2017 was also kind to Hunterwood, a Hansel gelding who captured a one mile claimer in come from behind fashion. He trailed by eight at the half, but surged in the second turn with a five wide move and won handily by five lengths. Bred by the Lazy Lane Farms, Hunterwood hit the six figure mark in earnings — $102,598 — with the triumph.