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.
Joan Everett's Participate, a winner when the Fantasy Ownership Challenge began March 18 at Laurel Park, found her way back to the winner's circle June 17 with a neck victory over Beaches N Bourbon in a claiming event on the turf.
Trained by Jason Egan and ridden by Forest Boyce, Participate rated just off the early pace, took over the stretch and held on to win the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:41.51 on a course rated firm. She paid $11.80 to win as the fourth choice in an eight-horse field.
The 4-year-old filly by Include is a Maryland homebred, and as such qualified for the 30% Maryland-bred or -sired bonus. Her total race earnings of $17,043 increased her Challenge bankroll to $38,720, which moved her up to third in the standings of about 40 horses whose names were randomly drawn when the contest began.
As of the racing of June 17, Danny Limongelli's Flight Crew topped the standings with $46,028 in contest earnings, followed by Andrew Sulley's Yes Mz Adah with $40,070. The top five is rounded out by Gunpowder Farms' Indian Paint ($34,020) and Triple Tree Stable's Claravoyant ($31,030), who was entered June 17 at Delaware Park as main-track-only and scratched when the race remained on the turf.
(Photo by Jim McCue/MJC)
Andrew Sulley's Yes Mz Adah, a winner at Parx Racing last time out in her first start for trainer Patricia Farro, made it two in a row June 10 with a victory in a $16,000 claiming event at about one mile on the turf.
Sulley claimed the 4-year-old Yesbyjimminy filly for $12,500 at Parx April 22, and she returned a month to later to win for the same claiming price in a seven-furlong dirt race. Emmanuel Esquivel was aboard for both of her wins.
The purse for the June 10 race was $34,250, and Yes Mz Adah collected a generous $19,800 share. That places her Fantasy Ownership Challenge earnings at $40,070, good for second behind Flight Crew with $46,028. Indian Paint is third with $34,020.
Yes Mz Adah, who has been based at the Pennsylvania track, just happened to race in one of six events that were part of the March 18 Fantasy Owners Day at Laurel Park.
Take a Shot LLC's Max's Warrior rallied from last at the half-mile mark to win a $4,000 claiming race June 2 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course.
Ridden by Tyler Connor for trainer Kimberly Graci, Max's Warrior covered the one mile in 1:42.15 on a fast track and paid $7.60 to win as the second choice in a field of six. She became the third Fantasy Ownership Challenge participant to win a race in Pennsylvania in about a week's time.
Max's Warrior, a 5-year-old mare by Warrior's Reward, collected $6,300 for the victory and now has $11,127 in contest earnings. That moved her from 27th to 18th on the list of about 40 Challenge runners.
Remember, live racing returns to Laurel Park June 9 for the summer meet, which runs through Aug. 20 with racing three days a week on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule.