Five Virginia-bred horses notched their first career wins this past week in a period that saw eight overall victories, while another come within a head of winning a Grade 2 stakes race. Returntasenda, Sophie’s Angel, Late Action, First Ballot and Ferdinanda all got their pictures taken for the first time.
Returntasenda kicked off the five-pack with a dominating gate-to-wire effort at Charles Town. The 4 year old Wiseman’s Ferry filly won by 7 1/2 lengths at the 4 1/2 furlong distance. She is trained by Reid Nagle and bred/owned by the Big Lick Farm. The filly, out of Boring by Read the Footnotes, broke through in her 7th lifetime start.
Sophie’s Angel had her breakthrough race at Oaklawn Park on January 14th. The 3 year old Gio Ponti filly rallied four wide from fourth at the quarter pole, then held off fast closing Cipher in Sue at the wire to win by a neck. Bred by James Sumter Carter, the winner had previously competed at Churchill and Kentucky Downs last fall before making her Oaklawn bow. Sophie’s Angel, in for a $30,000 claiming tag, is out of the Bop mare, Beware of the Bop.
Late Action prevailed on the same day at Laurel in front running style. The 3 year old filly was best in a field of eight, and won the 5 1/2 furlong test by 1 1/4 lengths over Sharon’s Thunder. Bred by the Picturesque Farm, jockey Julian Pimentel directed the effort for owner Robert Cole Jr., who earned a 25% bonus courtesy of the VTA/HBPA Mid-Atlantic incentive program. Late Action is out of Mammal of Action by Lawyer Ron.
The very next day, First Ballot prevailed at the same distance but about 3,000 miles farther west. The First Samurai gelding was a neck better at the wire in his sprint at Portland Meadows. Bred by the Lazy Lane Farms, the 3 year old beat Aunt Hatt’s Cat and four other trailers in 1:05.88. First Ballot competed at Del Mar and Santa Anita in his two prior career outs. He is out of the Hansel mare, Bonnie Rose.
The final maiden win was authored by Ferdinanda in a one mile, $35,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream. The 3 year old Giant’s Causeway filly rebounded nicely after back to back ninth place finishes in maiden special weight company at Laurel. Jose Ortiz guided the effort up top for trainer Barclay Tagg. The victor was bred by the William Backer Revocable Trust and won by three-quarters of a length in 1:36.98. Ferdinanda is out of My Mammy by Came Home.
In other races, Rare Art pushed his bankroll over the $146,000 mark by winning a one mile-plus claiming race at Penn National January 12th. The 6 year old Speightstown gelding crossed a length in front of Chase Lane and returned $15.80 in the mild upset. Bred by William Backer Revocable Trust and owned by Timothy Delp, Rare Art earned his seventh lifetime victory.
Unpredictable won for the fourth time in ten career starts. The Audley Farm Equine-bred gelding went gate-to-wire at Parx in a $21,500 claimer. The 4 year old son of Bluegrass Cat beat a field of ten others and finished the one mile, 70 yard race in 1:45.35. Owned by the Ho Dee Boy Stable, Unpredictable is out of the Cape Town mare, Ruler’s Charm.
Finally, Nice Try was the third Backer Trust Virginia-bred to win during the week. The 5 year old Giant’s Causeway gelding beat Margarita Sunrise by a neck in another wire-to-wire journey. Rider Xavier Perez led the effort for owner, Clover Hill Racing LLC. The winner is out of Blind Date by Not For Love.
The biggest financial score of the week though came in a runner up effort. Former Commonwealth Derby winner One Go All Go had a tight runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 6 year old Fairbanks horse was sent off at 30-1 and came within a neck of winning. Shining Copper however was best by the slim margin. Bred by Albert Coppola, One Go All Go’s bankroll surged to $393,788. He has three wins, seconds and thirds each from 20 starts.