Firestone Bred Horses Win Back To Back Stakes On Virginia-Bred Day At Laurel

The summer season so far has been kind to horses bred by Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Firestone and on Saturday (August 5th) at Laurel Park, the trend continued in a pair of stakes on Virginia-Bred Day. Both Special Envoy and Northern Eclipse won in very different style.

Special Envoy and jockey Daniel Centeno dominated in gate to wire fashion in the $75,000 Hansel Stakes — the first of four Virginia-bred stakes on the special card. The 6 year old Stroll gelding was sent off at 1-9 in the 1 1/16th miles turf test and crossed 8 1/4 lengths over Mr. Magician in 1:46.59. Over $400,000 was bet in the show pool, much of which was bet on the heavy favorite. Special Envoy won his second straight and seventh career race.

Jockey Daniel Centeno is atop Hansel Stakes winner Special Envoy. Picture courtesy of Jim McCue.

“It helps that Rose Brier isn’t racing any more,” exclaimed trainer Arnaud Delacour after the race. “My horse and Rose Brier were the two main ones in this Virginia-bred division so it’s a bit easier now that he is retired. Special Envoy has been racing well though, so he deserved to win.”

Special Envoy (outside) battles with Rose Brier (inside) in the $75,000 Edward Evans Stakes on June 24th. Photo by Jim McCue.

Prior to this year, Rose Brier got the best of Special Envoy in three straight stakes at either Laurel or Pimlico. On June 24th this year, the tables turned — Special Envoy beat Rose Brier by a nose. After Saturday’s 8 1/4 length win, Delacour expects the winner’s next start to be in a Virginia-bred stakes September 24th at Laurel.

Northern Eclipse held off a furious rally from Ring Knocker in deep stretch to win the $75,000 Camptown Stakes. The 5 year old Northern Afleet mare beat six other fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:05.69. Do What I Say, who captured the recent Tyson Gilpin Stakes, finished third. 

Northern Eclipse in in the stretch before Ring Knocker mounted a furious rally attempt. Photo courtesy of Jim McCue.

Northern Eclipse is owned by Toby Roth, is trained by Hugh McMahon and was ridden by J.D. Acosta. She earned her second straight victory and fourth overall. The winner is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare, Elsie Jay.