Altamura Has Sights Set On Stakes Sweep In Sunday’s $75,000 Oakley Stakes

The following is a press release from the Maryland Jockey Club

LAUREL, MD – Susan Moulton’s Altamura, having already captured the first two legs in Laurel Park’s series for Virginia-bred/sired horses, looks to make it a clean sweep while extending her win streak to four in Sunday’s $75,000 Oakley Stakes.

Carded as Race 4, the 5 ½-furlong Oakley for fillies and mares 3 and up is the first of four $75,000 turf stakes for Virginia-bred/sired horses on a 12-race Commonwealth Day program. It is followed by the 5 ½-furlong Punch Line (Race 6) and 1 1/8-mile Bert Allen (Race 9) for 3-year-olds and up, and the 1 1/8-mile Brookmeade for females 3 and older.

Commonwealth Day was originally scheduled for Sept. 22 but pushed back a day following the rescheduling of Laurel’s Fall Festival of Racing program from Sept. 15 due to the threat of severe weather from Hurricane Florence. First race post time Sunday is 12:30 p.m.

Altamura is a perfect 3-0 at Laurel, all of her wins coming against older horses. She broke her maiden by a length June 15 and won the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes by a head eight days later, both over Oakley contender Virginia Fable. Moulton purchased the 3-year-old daughter of Grade 1 turf winner Artie Schiller for $205,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s summer horses of racing age sale in July and turned her over to trainer Wayne Catalano.

Altamura won her third race in a row, capturing the Camptown Stakes August 4th at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

In the first start for her new connections, Altamura led from start to finish to win the off-the-turf Camptown Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths under Midwest-based jockey Channing Hill, who returns to ride from Post 1 in the field of 8 at topweight of 120 pounds.

Also in the Oakley are Camptown runner-up What the Beep; Up Hill Battle, third in both the Gilpin and Camptown; Do What I Say, Northern Eclipse, Secret Or Not and Sister Says.

The Punch Line will feature a rubber match between White Oak Farm Stakes winner Determined Vision and Meadow Stable Stakes winner Homespun Hero. Determined Vision surprised at 11-1 in the White Oak Farm, a race where Homespun Hero ran fifth, but was beaten a length as the favorite in an off-the-turf Meadow Stable.

Homespun Hero was best in an exciting four horse field August 4th in the Meadow Stable Stakes. photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Two Notch Road, an 11-year-old multiple stakes winner of $522,913 in purses, was sixth in both races and goes after his eighth career win and first since the 2017 Meadow Stable. Also entered are Lime House Louie, Available, Elusive Mischief, Tiz Unbeatable, Divine Interventio, Rucker, Braxton and Fly E Dubai.

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s homebred Special Envoy swept the Edward Evans, Hansel and Bert Allen for Virginia-bred/sired horses last year at Laurel but will be looking for his first win of 2018 in the Bert Allen. The Arnaud Delacour trainee opened his 7-year-old campaign finishing second by a length in the Evans, but was scratched from the Hansel when it was rained off the turf. Most recently, he ran seventh following a rough trip in the Red Bank (G3) Sept. 1 at Monmouth Park.

Sheldon Russell guided River Deep to victory in the $75,000 Hansel Stakes August 4th. Photo by Jim McCue.

Morgans Ford Farm’s River Deep romped to a front-running 7 ¼-length triumph in the one-mile Hansel Aug. 4 and returns as the 122-pound topweight in the Bert Allen. Fourth in the Evans and three-for-five lifetime over Laurel’s world-class turf course, River Deep followed the Hansel by running fourth, beaten 1 ¼ lengths, in the Maryland Coalition Stakes at about 6 ½ furlongs during the Maryland State Fair meet in Timonium Sept. 1.

Speed Gracer, Vincent Van Gogo, Unpredictable, Black Prong, Runninginthevale, Macue, Jump Ship, Officer’s Oath, Accountable and Whiskey Wu complete the field.

Fair Hill Training Center-based Delacour entered the trio of Well Blessed, Paulita and Armoire in an attempt to complete a personal sweep in the Brookmeade. Armoire, second in the Nellie Mae Cox, William M. Backer and Brookmeade in 2017, earned her first stakes win in this year’s Nellie Mae Cox. She went on to run third by a neck in a third-level optional claimer Aug. 16 at Laurel and sixth in the 1 1/8-mile Violet (G3) Sept. 1 at Monmouth.

Paulita stepped in for her stablemate and was a two-length winner of the William Backer in just her fifth career start, first in a stakes and first since joining Delacour. The 3-year-old filly finished third in her most recent effort, an optional claimer going 1 1/8 miles Aug. 31 at Monmouth.

The Firestone’s Well Blessed will be making her 14th start and first beyond 1 1/16 miles. Off the board in both the Nellie Mae Cox and William Backer in her lone 2018 races, she won a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer last September to close her 4-year-old campaign.

Rounding out the field are Complete St., Secret Or Not, Daniella, Sweet Sandy, Wolverette, My Vixen and Street Miz.