Fed Up Fired Up had done a good job hitting the board and picking up checks since the launch of the Fantasy Ownership Challenge. But victory had eluded her—until July 26 at Delaware Park.
Owned by William Vieser II and Donald Barr, Fed Up Fired Up rallied from ninth early in a 1 1/16-mile turf race and got up to defeat favored Pop Rocks Lady by a half-length under Maryland-based jockey Steve Hamilton. The 4-year-old English Channel mare had two seconds, a third, and two fourths in her previous five races, and those finishes added up to $14,300 in Challenge earnings.
The July 26 race for $20,000 claimers carried a purse of $20,500. Fed Up Fired Up earned $12,000, so her contest bankroll now stands at $26,300, which moved her up to 13th in the standings.
Fed Up Fired Up returned a generous $14.80 win mutuel and became the sixth Challenge horse to win at Delaware Park in a little more than a month.
Old Coach Farm's Eyerish Inspired, a 4-year-old gray filly by Paddy O'Prado, found the winner's circle for the second time since the launch of the Fantasy Ownership Challenge with a victory in a $12,500 claiming race on the turf at Delaware Park July 22.
Trained by Mike Gorham and ridden by Augusto Marin, Eyerish Inspired raced in ninth in a field of 11 for more than a half-mile before launching a sustained bid that carried to the her front by a nose at the finish in the one-mile-and-70-yard race on a course listed as firm. Archarella and Gala's Bank were second and third, respectively, in a blanket finish.
Eyerish Inspired paid $28.80 to win. When she won at Laurel Park in early April, she retured $19 on top.
Eyerish Inspired, who earned $9,600 for the victory, is the fifth Challenge horse to win at Delaware Park in the past month. The filly moved into the top 10 in contest earnings with $29,901.
Two Laurel Park-based horses won at Delaware Park July 10 to move up on the Fantasy Ownership Challenge standings.
In the fourth race, for $5,000 claimers, Charles Biggs' C B Bodemester, trained by Cal Lynch and ridden by Maryland-based Sheldon Russell, rallied from off the pace to win the $12,000 event at one mile and 70 yards. The Bodemeister 3-year-old in his previous start finished fourth at Laurel for a $11,000 tag against fellow 3-year-olds.
C B Bodemester, who took his Challenge bankroll to $28,815 with the $7,200 first-place check, was claimed by Laurel-based trainer Wayne Potts on behalf of owner Michael Cook. Potts entered one horse at Delaware July 10 and won the race with Big Platinum earlier on the program.
In the eighth race, TW Stable's Hey Willie, trained by Claudio Gonzalez, won a one mile and 70-yard starter allowance event with a purse of $18,250 under Maryland-based jockey Kevin Gomez. Hey Willie earned $10,800 to increase his contest bankroll to $27,425.
Gonzalez is having an excellent Delaware meet with shippers; on July 8 he finished one-two in a $50,000 stakes.
(Photo of video of C B Bodemester winning at Delaware Park)
Blackstone Street Racing's Colony Strike, an 8-year-old warhorse by Smart Strike, won for the 11th time in 33 career starts at Delaware Park July 7 and moved up in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge standings.
Ridden by Carol Cedeno for trainer Michael Catalano Jr., Colony Strike was kept closer to the pace than usual, made his bid for the lead on the far turn and held clear to the finish. He covered the one mile and 70 yards in 1:43.47 on a fast track.
Colony Strike earned $7,200 of the $12,000 purse to push his contest earnings to $23,378. That places him 10th in the standings of about 40 Challenge horses.
Catalano claimed Colony Strike for $4,500 at Laurel Park March 18, first day of the Challenge. He ran second that day, and since that has two wins, a second, and a third.
It has been musical chairs at the top of the Fantasy Ownership Challenge standings for a few months now, and the game continued July 4 when Yes Mz Adah earned $24,000 for a victory at Parx Racing and jumped to top of the earnings' list.
Yes Mz Adah, who was based at the Pennsylvania track when she shipped to Laurel Park for one race March 18, the day horses were drawn randomly for the Challenge, has won three in a row since the claim by owner Andrew Sulley and trainer Patricia Farro. The connections obtained the 4-year-old Yesbyjimminy filly for $12,500, and she has more than quadrupled the investment.
Emmanuel Esquivel has been aboard Yes Mz Adah for her three consecutive victories at Parx.
For Fantasy Ownership Contest participants who drew Yes Mz Adah, the winner's share of the $40,000 purse for the July 4 starter allowance event on the turf pushed the filly's contest earnings to $64,070, which puts her more than $8,400 ahead of Indian Paint. The latter took the Challenge lead less than two weeks ago when she defeated one horse in a scratched-filled off-the-turf allowance race at Delaware Park.
"Is it December yet?" said Tom Pendergast, one of three fantasy owners of Yes Mz Adah. "Six months to go but it sure has been fun."
Fantasy owners of the top five horses in the Challenge standings will share in monetary awards after the final results are tallied Dec. 31, the day the contest concludes. The about 40 horses in the contest have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in races since the March 18 kickoff at Laurel.
Things really fell into place for Gundpowder Farms' Indian Paint, who jumped to the top of the Fantasy Ownership Challenge standings June 24.
Trainer Kelly Rubley entered the 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly at Parx Racing in Pennsylvania and Delaware Park Saturday. The Parx race, a $47,000 allowance race, was scheduled for one mile and 70 yards on the turf, while the Delaware race, a $36,000 entry-level allowance test, was scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Indian Paint, who broke her maiden at Laurel Park in April, had never run on the grass. As it turned out, a line of storms that blew through Delaware and Pennsylvania in the morning led to both races being taken off the grass.
The Parx race was left with a four-horse field, and only two—one of them Indian Paint, who only had a short ship from the Fair Hill Training Center—ended up running in the Delaware race after eight scratches.
Two-horse fields aren't good for pari-mutuel handle, but this one was good for Indian Paint. Jockey Edwin Gonzalez urged her past What About Tonight heading for home and the filly drew away with ease to win by 11 lengths in 1:47.55 on a track rated fast.
Indian Paint earned $21,600 for the win, which pushed her contest earnings to $55,620, about $9,500 more than Flight Crew in second. The top two are followed by Yes Mz Adah, Participate and Claravoyant, who is scheduled to race Sunday, June 25 in an allowance race at Laurel.