Congratulations to the latest Virginia-bred horses to score an owners bonus with a victory in the Mid-Atlantic region — Greek God, Bird Call and Start Winning.
Greek God had an impressive gate to wire triumph Saturday at Laurel in a one mile, $15,000 claiming race. The 6 year old son of Pleasantly Perfect beat a field of six others, and boosted his career earnings to $142,445. The victor was bred by Larry Johnson, is owned by Three M’s Racing, and is out of Grecian Wings by Mr. Greeley. He has amassed six wins, five runner-up finishes and eight thirds in 43 career starts.
Bird Call also beat six other foes in gate to wire fashion January 25th at Penn National. The 5 year old Birdstone gelding was solid in the $12,400, six furlong event, winning by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:11.46. He was bred by the Lazy Lane Farms and is owned by John Jacavone. Bird Call has earned $39,350 from a dozen starts but has really taken to Penn National, where he has a pair of wins and a second from a trio of efforts there. He is out of the Secret Hello mare, Silent Greeting.
Start Winning also beat a field of six others but didn’t replicate the same gate to wire vibe last Friday. The 4 year old daughter of Jump Start rated the pace outside early in her 6 1/2 furlong claimer at Charles Town, took the lead at the 3/8ths mark and never looked back. She crossed a length ahead of Foolish Flower in 1:11.46 to gain her fourth career triumph. Those four have come in her last seven starts, all at Charles Town. Out of Ritual Dance by Runaway Groom, Start Winning was bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin and is owned by C and B Stable. The upset winner paid $18.60.
The winning owners of the three will receive a 25% bonus on top of their respective horse’s purse earnings. The HBPA/VTA Mid-Atlantic incentive program continues through all of 2017 and rewards owners of Virginia-bred horses who win a race in either Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey or New York.
Virginia connected horses had a nice showing last Saturday on the high profile Pegasus Day race card at Gulfstream Park. Long On Value, bred by the Snow Lantern Thoroughbreds, took third in the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint Stakes. The Bill Mott trainee finished a length behind the victorious Power Alert. A winner of $691,093, Long On Value was last in the 12 horse field halfway through the turn but powered six wide at the top of the stretch to finish in the money.
Homespun Hero, bred by Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin, had a tight runner-up in the afternoon’s kickoff race — a $58,000 allowance event. The Michael Maker trainee lost by a neck to Icatiro but with earnings of $10,000 for a second place finish, saw his bankroll move into six digit territory at $103,600.
Sadlers Joy, owned and bred by Virginians Rene and Lauren Woolcott, finished second in the Grade 3, W.L. McKnight Stakes. The 4 year old Kitten’s Joy colt did not race as a two year old but is making up for lost time. In seven career outs, he has three wins and a second now, good for earnings of $182,688.