Gregory Wood's Whiskey Sour won for the third time since the start of the Fantasy Ownership Challenge with an easy score in a $5,000 claiming race at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races the evening of Nov. 2.
Trained by Richard Sillaman and ridden by J.D. Acosta, Whiskey Sour took the lead after a half-mile and pulled away to win by 6 1/4 lengths over J W Racer. He paid $4 to win as the heavy favorite and covered the seven furlongs on a track rated fast in 1:27.57.
The $5,940 winner's share of the $10,000 purse moved Whiskey Sour from 12th in the contest standings into the top 10 where he sits in 10th-place. The 5-year-old gelding by Scipion is based at Laurel Park.
On Nov. 3 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Old Coach Farm's San Cristo easily won a $5,000 claiming event by 3 3/4 lengths at 9-1 for trainer Mike Gorham and jockey Augusto Marin. It was the 8-year-old horse's first tally in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge.
San Cristo earned $6,300 from the $10,920 purse to push his contest earnings to $12,940.
Participate's third win in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge was the biggest of her career, and it moved her to second in the standings for the earnings contest that began March 18 at Laurel Park.
Owned by Jeff Musgrove and trainer Ann Merryman, Participate on Oct. 21 at Laurel captured the $60,000 Maryland Million Starter Handicap for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf by 5 3/4 lengths over Beyond Forever and Shifra Magician, who finished in a dead heat for second. The 4-year-old Maryland-bred filly by Include covered the distance in 1:51.29 on a course rated firm.
Participate, who paid $9 to win as the second choice under Jevian Toledo, earned $33,000 for the victory, which took her contest bankroll to $79,633. She trails only Indian Paint, who has earned $105,745 since the contest began in March.
Participate, bred by Dale and Joan Everett, had been trained by Jason Egan through July 28 and had maintained a spot in the top five in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge standings since the first day. Merryman claimed her for $11,000 when the filly finished second July 28.
When asked after the Maryland Million Starter Stakes why she made the claim, she said: "This race."
"She's pretty hyper, and there was a lot of speed (on paper) in this race, so we took off the blinkers," Merryman said of the equipment change. Her son, Michael Merryman, who recently saddled his first horse as a trainer, was in the winner's circle.
Two other contest horses competed in the race. Old Coach Farm's Eyerish Inspired picked up fourth and earned $3,000, while Ram Racing Stable's Pardontori'sfrench checked in ninth but still received $1,200.
(Photo by Tom LaMarra)
Two horses in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge dominated in victories the weekend of Oct. 14-15 in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
In the first race Oct. 15 at Laurel Park, Winning Way Racing Stable's Seeing'n'believing rated just off the early leaders, took over in the lane and drew off to a win by 12 3/4 lengths in an off-the-turf $15,000 claiming race. It was the third score for the 4-year-old Sightseeing filly since the start of the Challenge March 18 at Laurel.
Trained by Richard Sillaman and ridden by Sheldon Russell, Seeing'n'believing, who paid $4.60 to win as the second choice in a five-horse field, covered the one-turn-mile in 1:38.15 on a track rated fast. The filly made a significant jump in the Challenge standings thanks to the easy tally.
The $13,110 check pushed Seeing'n'believing's contest earnings to $54,070, which moved her from ninth to third in the standings—but not for long. Later on the Laurel Sunday program, Danny Limongelli's Flight Crew finished second in a close finish and earned more than enough to take back third-place in the standings.
Participate, now a close seventh in the standings, was entered in the first race but was scratched after the race was taken off the grass.
At Parx Racing Oct. 14, Burns Thoroughbred Racing's Banana Anna, trained by Alfredo Velazquez and ridden by Dexter Haddock, romped by 18 1/2 lengths as the even-money favorite ($4 to win) in a $5,000 claiming race at one mile and 70 yards. The 5-year-old New Jersey-bred mare by Kodiak Kowboy covered the distance in 1:43.41 on a track rated fast.
Banana Anna earned the $11,400 winner's share of the $19,000 purse to increase her contest earnings to $23,012. It was her first win since the Challenge began.
(Photo by Tom LaMarra)
Men's Grille Racing's 4-year-old filly Crookit returned from a brief layoff Oct. 7 at Laurel Park and responded with a last-to-first victory, her second since the Fantasy Ownership Challenge began in March.
Trained by Linda Albert and ridden by apprecentice Carlos Carrasco, who posted his first win of the fall meet after returning from an injury, Crookit lagged behind in the first half of the seven-furlong event for $10,000-$8,000 claimers, began a sustanined run heading into the far turn and blew past the rest while widest in the stretch.
Crookit, who paid $66 to win as a 32-1 shot in a field of eight, defeated Aphrodite's Quest by five lengths and covered the distance on a fast track in 1.25.70.
Crookit is a Maryland-bred by Louis Quartorze and is Maryland Million nominated.
Because she is Maryland-bred, Crookit earned a bonus on top of the winning share of the purse. Her earnings Oct. 7 totaled $14,079 which, when added to her previous contest earnings of $34,363, moved her from 10th to fourth in the standings with a bankroll of $48,442.
(Photo by Jim McCue/MJC)
Trin-Brook Stables' Office Secretary, a 4-year-old Giant Oak filly, earned her first victory in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge—and first win of her career—Oct. 1 at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania.
Trained by Uriah St. Lewis and ridden by Jose Flores, Office Secretary wasn't highly regarded in the $30,000 maiden-claiming event (she was 25-1 in a seven-horse field) but overcame a poor start to rally and win by a head over Bird of Prey. She returned $52.20 to win and covered the one mile and 70 yards in 1:49.74 on a track fast rated.
Office Secretary increased her contest earnings to $29,200 with the $16,800 winner's share of the $30,740 purse at Parx.
Two other Fantasy Ownership Contest horses inched up in the standings the weekend of Sept. 30-Oct. 1. C B Bodemester, now owned by Mohan Stable and trained by Wayne Potts, earned $3,564 off the claim for a fourth-place finish in the $60,000 Bert Allen Stakes at Laurel Park. Meanwhile, Old Coach Farm's Eyerish Inspired collected $3,250 for a third-place finish at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts.
Gunpowder Farms' Indian Paint took a commanding lead in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge Sept. 24 with a lucrative victory in an allowance race at Parx Racing on Pennsylvania Derby Day.
The 4-year-old filly's win capped a productive run for Challenge horses in less than 24 hours as three others won races: Colony Strike, Resident Scholar and Tiz Majesty.
Indian Paint, trained by Kelly Rubley and based at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, rallied from the off the pace and had just enough after a stretch battle to defeat second choice Felini by a neck in the one mile and 70-yard second-level allowance test. Parx increases overnight purses on Derby Day, and as such the pot was $70,000. The winner, ridden by Emmanuel Esquivel, collected $42,000.
With that timely score, Indian Paint became the first Challenge horse to clear the $100,000 mark in earnings since the contest began March 18 at Laurel Park. She now has a bankroll of $105,745 and a more than $37,000 lead over Yes Mz Adah, the former standings leader who has $68,440.
Indian Paint, who has competed in two turf stakes this year, returned a generous $21.20 to win to her followers and covered the distance on the dirt in 1:43.30. It was her third win since the Challenge began.
Earlier on Saturday down I-95 at Delaware Park, the 8-year-old gelding Colony Strike won his second race in a row, this time on the jump to a $10,000 claimer from the $5,000 level. Colony Strike, claimed by trainer Jeff Trosclair on behalf of Hooties Racing three starts back, moved to sixth in the Challenge standings with $43,663 in earnings given his $9,600 payday.
Ridden by apprentice Jose Bracho, Colony Strike ($3.80 to win as the favorite in a five-horse field) won by three lengths over Senor Quickie and covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:47.62. No horse in the Challenge has been more consistent than Colony Strike, who has four wins, three seconds and one third in nine starts since March 18.
Resident Scholar, a 3-year-old gelding owned by 3 Amigos 3 Stables, also won his second in a row earlier on the Delaware card. Trainer Jorge Diaz kept Resident Scholar at the $5,000 claiming level and he responded with a 6 3/4-length win over favored Seekingtheperfect.
Ridden by Christian Olmo, Resident Scholar paid $11 to win in a five-horse field and finished the 1 1/16 miles on a dirt track rated fast in 1:49.58. The $7,200 first-place share of the purse pushed his contest earnings to $19,515.
The evening of Sept. 22 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course, Brian MacFarlane's Tiz Majesty broke her maiden—and subsequently collected his first Challenge win—with a blowout 14 3/4-length win over Strict as the heavy favorite in a short field. Trained by Brandon MacFarlane, the 4-year-old filly paid $2.40 in the $10,000 claiming event and reported home in 1:49.36 for 1 1/16 miles on a track rated fast.
Tiz Majesty, ridden by Penn National-based Andrew Wolfsont, earned $8,580 to increase her contest earnings to $19,430.
Click on the standings tab to view the updated numbers as of the racing of Sept. 23.