Thanksgiving week saw a dozen Virginia-Certified horses reach the winner circle at Mid-Atlantic tracks including a stakes winner at Laurel and a pair of maiden special weight winners at Aqueduct and Charles Town respectively. Of the twelve wins, six were by Maryland-breds, five by West Virginia-breds and one by a New York-bred.
Air Token captured the $100,000 Concern Stakes at Laurel November 28 where he won by a neck over betting favorite Francatelli in a thrilling finish. The Maryland-bred was fresh off a pair of solid efforts at Laurel — an allowance win November 7 and a second in the Maryland Million Turf Starter Handicap October 24. Sent off at 16-1, Air Token and jockey Horacio Karamanos wore down frontrunning Francatelli and rider Trevor McCarthy on the outside to capture his fourth win from 11 starts this year. The 3-year-old Golden Lad gelding has earned $145,122 for Corrales Racing. Air Token spent his six-month Virginia residency at Horseshoe Hill Farm in Ashland.
JP Racing Stables’ Perfect Munnings impressed in his lifetime debut, winning a $70,000 maiden special weight at Aqueduct by two lengths. The 2-year-old Munnings colt is trained by Todd Pletcher and was ridden by Jose Ortiz. The winner, out of Our Perfect Ten by Medaglia d’Oro, spent six months in Virginia at Ingleside Training Center in Montpelier Station.
Heretodaygonmanana captured the other maiden special weight, a $27,000 seven-furlong race, November 26 at Charles Town. The 2-year-old Creative Cause filly, a West Virginia-bred, won for the first time in four starts. The Jeff Runco trainee was bred by O’Sullivan Farms which co-owns the horse with Huntertown Farm LLC. She spent her residency at Bel Boi Farm in Berryville.
A pair of Crystal Pickett West Virginia-bred trainees reached the winners circle at Charles Town last week. Hypothesis won a $32,500 allowance race while Buff N captured an $18,000 claiming event Thanksgiving night. The former is a 3-year-old Algorithms gelding who has been a model of consistency this year. He has three wins, four seconds and a third from nine starts. Hypothesis, who spent his residency at Whiskey Creek Farm in Berryville, has provided owner Jill Daniels $93,109 in purse winnings and three Certified bonus checks. The latter is a 3-year-old Buffum filly that has recently found her groove. She won by a nose on turkey day and in her last five outs, has a pair of wins and runner-up finishes. Buff N is owned by Eight Stone Stables.
Another pair of Certified horses each won their third race of 2020 holiday week at Charles Town. Maryland-bred You Made It rebounded from sixth at the top of the stretch to reach the winners circle in a 4 1/2 furlong claiming race, her seventh lifetime triumph. Owned by Wasabi Ventures Stables, the 4-year-old Congrats filly has purse earnings of $149,002. She was bred by Larry Johnson and qualified for residency status at his Legacy Farm in Bluemont. Take Time, a 3-year-old Charitable Man gelding, was best in a seven-furlong, $19,000 claiming race. Owned, trained and bred by John Casey, Take Time resided at James Casey’s Rt. 340 Farm in Boyce prior to racing.
Other winners included Maryland-breds Tunstall, who prevailed in a $18,000 claimer for owner/trainer by Greg Viands, and Ken’s Lady, who won a 2-year-old filly maiden claimer for owner/trainer John Salzman. Merry Mery Mojo got his picture taken in a 1 1/16 miles claimer for Blue Streak Racing while Sojourner was tops in a $10,800 claimer at Penn National for owner Larry Rabhold.
Stakes participants last week included Never Enough Time, who finished second in Laurel’s Primonetta Stakes. Juba Train and Strolling Through were third and fourth respectively in the Eleanor Casey Memorial at Charles Town. Princess Theorem finished fifth in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill and She’s Crafty was third in Mahoning Valley’s First Lady Stakes.
The VTA’s Certified program rewards horse owners who send their babies to Virginia to spend a minimum six-month residency prior to December 31st of its 2-year-old year. Once they begin racing, owners receive a 25% bonus for wins at tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region. A complete list of Certified farms and program specifics is at vabred.org.