Four Virginia-Bred Stakes Highlight Opening Week Action on Saturday
D. Hatman Thoroughbreds and Kingdom Bloodstock ‘s Determined Kingdom authored a convincing gate-to-wire victory under Mychel Sanchez in the 5-1/2 furlong, $125,000 Punch Line Stakes Saturday at Colonial Downs — one of four turf stakes on the card for Commonwealth-bred and sired horses with purses that totaled $500,000.
The 4-year-old Animal Kingdom gelding won his fifth career race and pushed his bankroll to $325,189 with the win. The Phil Schoenthal trainee won the 2022 Punch Line by 5-½ lengths in a rallying effort and captured Saturday’s edition by 5-1/4 lengths on the front end.
“He’s always been the kind of horse that relaxed off the pace and came on with a rush,” said Schoenthal, “But in the last two starts, he was very keen and showed a lot of speed and didn’t have his relaxing kind of run. We cut blinkers way back today and felt like that might slow him and relax him but I told Mychel in the paddock that if he wants to go, don’t fight him. He came out of there running. Mychel had a ton of horse, put him in place and put the field away.”
Schoenthal targeted this race early in the year. Coming off an eight-month layoff, Determined Kingdom had two late spring starts in Maryland that resulted in sixth and seventh place finishes.
“He needed a couple starts off the layoff,” Schoenthal said. “I didn’t have him totally cranked up at Pimlico and thought he would run better at Laurel but didn’t feel too bad because the winner in that race set a new track record. It was improvement and I felt that in his third start off the bench, he would improve again. I’m real proud of him. We got him as a yearling and he’s been a lot of fun. It’s really rewarding when he shows up on a big day.”
Larry Johnson’s Embolden was second and David Lengel’s Uncle Andrew finished third.
Sam English’s Chambeau defended her 2022 Tyson Gilpin/Glenn Petty Stakes title by defeating seven other fillies and mares Saturday in this year’s edition. The 6-year-old Karakontie mare was ridden by Colonial’s all-time leading jockey Horacio Karamanos — who had two stakes victories on the card — and left the winners circle with a career bankroll of $200,300. Chambeau was positioned second through the half, took the lead at the top of the stretch and crossed 3¾ lengths the best. The Anthony Aguirre trainee — who did not start competing until the age of five — is now 3-for-6.
Robert D. Bone and Edward Brown’s Carolina Sun finished second and Stonestreet Stables’ Aisha R N was third.
Country Life Farm’s Galilei angled three-wide from third at the top of the stretch, passed two front runners and hit the wire first, three-quarter lengths the best, in the $125,000 Brookmeade for fillies and mares at 1-1/16th miles. The 4-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid had her best outing since a maiden breaking turf win at Colonial last summer. Karamanos was in the irons for trainer Michael Trombetta.
Susan Moulton’s Tufani was runner-up and Larry Johnson’s Continentalcongress finished third.
Six-year-old Flatter gelding Alex Joon, who finished second in last year’s Edward P. Evans Stakes, took a step forward in Saturday’s Evans with a three-length victory over Reiley McDonald’s Passion Play. A field of nine battled one mile in the stake’s fifth running and after an inside move from deep in the field early on, trainer Lindsay Schultz’s Virginia-bred crossed first with Forest Boyce up top. The victor is owned by Ten Strike Racing. Iapetus Racing and Diamond T racing’s Gigante was third.