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.
Jay Em Ess Stable's My Golden Rose jumped from 10th to fifth in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge standings Sept. 16 and ended up in the barn of King Leatherbury after the veteran trainer claimed her for $10,000 for Vince Campanella.
Trained by Michele Nevin for the Laurel Park race, My Golden Rose shipped to Maryland after a fourth-place finish for a $25,000 tag at Belmont Park in New York. She rallied from fifth at the half-mile mark under Jomar Torres and drew away to defeat Janealee by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:25.86 for seven furlongs.
My Golden Rose, who broke her maiden at Laurel in August, paid $2.80 to win as the heavy favorite in a field of eight. Now trained by Leatherbury, the 3-year-old Mineshaft filly will now be based at Laurel rather than New York.
My Golden Rose entered the Sept. 16 race with $33,910 in contest earnings but now has $44,170, which puts her fifth behind Yes Mz Adah, Indian Paint, Flight Crew and Participate. Gunpowder Farms' Indian Paint was entered in the $150,000 All Along Stakes later on the Saturday card at Laurel but was scratched.
(Photo by Jessica Hammond)
Runnin Shoes Stable's Gethot Stayhot won her third Fantasy Ownership Challenge race and second in a row with an easy score in a $4,500-$5,000 claiming event the evening of Sept. 9 at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.
The 5-year-old Posse mare had won her previous start Aug. 3 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Pennsylvania. She's trained by Kimberly Graci and was ridden Sept. 9 by Wesley Ho.
Gethot Stayhot, who paid $5.20 to win as the favorite, kept close to the pace, grabbed the lead and pulled away to defeat Start Winning by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:21.10 for 6 1/2 furlongs around two turns at Charles Town. The $5,880 winner's share of the $10,000 purse increased her contest to bankroll to $27,163 and moved her up a couple of spots to 16th in the standings.
In other action Sept. 9, standings leader Yes Mz Adah picked up a couple thousand dollars to pad her lead with a fifth-place finish in a tough turf allowance race at Parx Racing. The winner, Advert, came in off of a victory in a strong Pennsylvania-bred stakes for fillies and mares on the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs & Casino.
At Laurel Park, Seeing'n'believing finished second on the grass and moved from seventh to sixth in the standings. At Belmont Park in New York, My Golden Rose earned enough with a fourth-place finish to move up a spot to 10th in the standings.
As the late summer/fall/early winter meet at Laurel Park begins Sept. 8, there are less than four months remaining in the Fantasy Ownership Challenge, and it's still pretty wide-open in the standings given the fact one or two wins in races with generous purses can make a big difference.
That was the case with Yes Mz Adah, the Parx Racing-based 4-year-old filly who won three in a row since the claim by owner Andrew Sulley and trainer Patricia Farro. The current standings leader with $66,370 in earnings since the Challenge began March 18 at Laurel, Yes Mz Adah is entered in a $69,000 allowance race on the grass at Parx Sept. 9.
Not far behind in second is Gunpowder Farms' Indian Paint ($63,745), who is based at Fair Hill Training Center with trainer Kelly Rubley. The 4-year-old filly has tried stakes company this year and in late June led the standings—she only had to beat one horse in an off-the-turf $36,000 allowance race at Delaware Park.
The top five is rounded out by Danny Limongelli's Flight Crew ($53,396), trained by Hugh McMahon; Participate ($45,253), recently claimed by owner/trainer Ann Merryman; and Triple Tree Stable's Claravoyant ($41,260), a Mary Eppler trainee who won a $50,000 maiden special weight event on the first day of the Challenge.
The complete listing is available under the Standings tab. The contest runs through Dec. 31. Remember that you can track your horse (entries, results, workouts, scratches) by signing up for Virtual Stable at the Equibase website.
The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Maryland Jockey Club and Maryland Horse Breeders Association in March announced that $50,000 is up for grabs based on horses' earnings from March 18-Dec. 31 as recorded by Equibase. Most of the about 40 horses in the Challenge have three fantasy owners, so prize money will split accordingly based on the final results.
The horse with the highest earnings will net his or her fantasy owners $30,000, followed by $10,000 for second, $5,500 for third, $3,000 for fourth, and $1,500 for fifth.
Through Sept. 7 Challenge horses have won most of their races at Laurel and Delaware. All of them combined have earned about $750,000—for their real owners—since March 18.