A neck and a head were the difference makers at Colonial Downs July 26 in the Andy Guest and Buckland Stakes, while Mother Nature was the difference maker in the Da Hoss Stakes, which was cancelled mid-card due to thunderstorms in the area. Both stakes were contested over the Secretariat Turf Course which was labeled good after the rain departed.
Seven of the track’s nine races scheduled were run. The fourth and fifth fell victim to the storms which caused an hour-plus delay.
Randall Bloch, Six Column Stables LLC, John Seiler, David Hall & David Kirk’s Violenza edged Mucha Mezquina on the outside after a thrilling finish that saw the pair trailing by nine lengths halfway through the 5 1/2-furlong $100,000 Andy Guest Stakes. Both made moves together exiting the turn and at the top of stretch, moved into striking position. Violenza ended up prevailing in a blanket finish where the top five finished within 1 1/2 lengths of each other.
Regular jockey Chris Landeros came in from Kentucky solely to ride Ian Wilkes’ winning 4-year-old Violence filly. Sheldon Russell piloted Anthony Spinazzola’s Mucha Mezquina for trainer Mark Salvaggio. Beantown Baby, going for her fourth straight win, finished third, just a neck behind the runner-up.
“She’s good, she’s nice and she’s as honest as they come,” said Landeros of Violenza. “I think the pace up front really helped us. She doesn’t mind a little bit of soft going so it was in our favor today. I know they skip over it early when there’s a little bit of moisture in the ground. It favors a closer so I knew I had a little bit of an advantage coming into it today.”
Mark Grier’s Eons and BBN Racing LLC’s Kentucky Ghost encountered a similar scenario in the 1 1/8ths miles, $150,000 Buckland, which followed next on the card. Both were among the three trailing horses at the half in the field of seven and both powered forward coming out of the final turn. Eons edged Kentucky Ghost by a head while Godolphin, LLC’s Pixelate, highest money earner in the field with $493,350, took third, 1 1/4 lengths behind the runner-up.
“After the rain delay, all horses had been coming off the pace,” said winning jockey Mychel Sanchez. “I really liked my horse. I started out in the middle of the pack and by the time we got to the half I was last. But I knew he would close. I just wanted him to relax because he can be really tough but he can run. We got a lot of rain but the turf course here is amazing.”
With his fifth lifetime win, Eons’ career bankroll increased to $428,615. The 5-year-old Giants Causeway horse is trained by Arnaud Delacour. The Kentucky-bred is out of the Hansel mare, Golden Antigua.
Colonial Downs hosts a nine-race card Tuesday at 1:45 PM. The season continues through September 1 with racing every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.