Largent Jumps Up Late to Snatch $75,000 Bert Allen Victory

Embolden Popular Winner of $75,000 Punch Line
McCarthy Wins Three of Five Virginia-Bred Turf Stakes Friday
Live Racing Returns with 10-Race Card Saturday at 12:40 P.M.
LAUREL, MD – Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ stakes winner Largent saved ground all the way around, scooted through an opening along the rail and dueled with 60-1 longshot Tolaga Bay through the stretch to emerge by a neck in Friday’s $75,000 Bert Allen at Laurel Park.
The 22nd running of the 1 1/16-mile Bert Allen for 3-year-olds and up was among five turf stakes restricted to Virginia-bred/sired horses on Friday’s nine-race program, preceded by the $75,000 M. Tyson Gilpin, $75,000 Brookmeade and $75,000 Jamestown and followed by the $75,000 Punch Line.
With four-time Maryland riding champion Trevor McCarthy aboard for seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, Largent ($2.10) completed the distance in 1:42.06 over a firm All Along turf course layout for his fifth win from seven career starts and second in a stakes.

Largent (#1) en route to a tight victory in the Bert Allen Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Tolaga Bay was a stubborn second, a length ahead of Kendama in third. They were followed by Great Camanoe, Ismusbemyluckyday, Divine Interventio and River Deep.
“I had a really good break and I knew [Tolaga Bay] had some speed, as well, and they were going to want to go out there,” McCarthy said. “Todd said he didn’t have to be on the lead today and his race at Colonial he seemed to run pretty good off the pace. Plan B was to go to the lead and Plan A was to kind of get him to settle, and it worked out nice.”
Largent tracked Great Camanoe through a quarter-mile in 23.58 seconds before settling into third as River Deep picked up the chase in second after a half in 47.94. McCarthy was still unhurried in third when Kendama made his move to get into contention following six furlongs in 1:11.93, biding his time to wait for an opening.

Largent, shown after winning the Bert Allen Stakes, has 5 wins & 3 runner-up finishes from 8 career starts.

Down the backside they tried to slow the pace down and I said, ‘I they’re going to go this slow, I have to make them work for it.’ That’s when I kind of went up on the inside there and made those guys kick on,” McCarthy said. “I just sat chilly and tried not to panic on him. He was the best horse in the race. That day at Colonial he seemed like he could really shoot through a seam when there was one, so I just tried not to really get pressured and get panicked and take it as the race came up. He likes to fight this horse. I have to give a huge credit to [Tolaga Bay] who really put up a good race. He does everything you want him to. I’m just really happy.”
McCarthy got his chance once straightened for home and set down Largent for a drive up the inside as Jevian Toledo and Tolaga Bay dug in on his outside. The top two horses gained separation from their rivals and Largent ultimately found more approaching the wire to get his second stakes win in three starts following the one-mile Edward P. Evans, also against Virginia-breds, July 29 at Colonial.
“[Great Camanoe] was kind of out the whole way and kind of wanting to bait me through there and I knew [River Deep] would kind of run out of gas and I was just starting to make my way out until Toledo saw me starting to make a move on the inside and put the pressure on the inside,” McCarthy said. “I just kept telling myself to wait and something’s going to open, and sure enough it did.”

Embolden captured the Punch Line Stakes October 9 at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

McCarthy completed a stakes triple by guiding Dare to Dream Stable’s Embolden to a popular 1 ¼-length triumph over Lynchburg in the 5 ½-furlong Punch Line for 3-year-olds and up, hitting the wire in 1:02.17 on the Dahlia turf course.
Embolden ($3.20) gave the tandem of McCarthy and trainer Michael Stidham their second stakes win of the day, also teaming up with Tasting the Stars in the Brookmeade.
Ready to Run sprinted to the lead from his rail post chased by Embolden through a quick quarter-mile in 21.88 seconds. Embolden ranged up on the leader midway on the turn and took over the lead once straightened for home, opening up on the field and cruising to the wire under a hand ride as Lynchburg came with a late run for second. Boondoggle finished third.

Trevor McCarthy leads Embolden back to the winners circle. Photo by Jim McCue.

Winner of the 2019 Jamestown at Colonial Downs, Embolden ran second to Largent in the Edward P. Evans to open his sophomore campaign. He dropped back to state-bred company after a pair of tries in graded-stakes, running fourth in the Aug. 29 Saranac (G3) at Saratoga and 10th in the Sept. 16 Franklin-Simpson (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
“I’m feeling very ecstatic. To win the third stake of the day with Embolden, he’s been one of my favorites since I broke his maiden at Colonial. I was happy to see him back sprinting today,” McCarthy said. “It was a big field so I wanted to get out as quick as I could and get position. I knew [Ready to Run] would be great speed from the rail so I wanted to lay second and stalk and get him in a good rhythm. It was a pretty hot pace but I wasn’t too worried. He gave me his kick turning for home and I was very happy with him.”

Kenny Had A Notion won the Jamestown Stakes for 2-year-olds at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Louis J. Ulman and H. Neil Glasser’s Kenny Had a Notion ($3) proved to be too much for his competition, sprinting to a popular five-length triumph in the Jamestown for 2-year-olds. Jorge Ruiz rated the Dale Capuano trainee behind Cool Enough for a quarter-mile before sweeping to the lead at the top of the stretch and cruising home in 1:03.62.
Susan Cooney-trained stablemates Point of Grace, off at 35-1, and Virginia Fib respectively ran second and third. It was the third career start for Kenny Had a Notion, a gelded bay son of prominent sire Great Notion who broke his maiden at first asking July 30 and was sixth after a troubled trip in the First State Dash Sept. 26, both at Delaware Park.

Tasting The Stars won the Brookmeade Stakes October 9 at Laurel. Photo by Jim McCue.

Under a well-timed ride from McCarthy, Newtown Anner Stud Farm’s Tasting the Stars ($4) returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in more than year in the 1 1/16-mile Brookmeade for fillies and mares 3 and up. McCarthy settled the even-money favorite in third before tipping out three wide on the turn and surging past a stubborn Pink Pearl midway through the stretch to win by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:14.60 over the All Along layout. Fionnbharr was third.
Trained by Stidham, 4-year-old Tasting the Stars won her first three starts including the Just Jenda Stakes last July at Monmouth Park but went to the sidelines after running sixth in the Virginia Oaks. She returned 12 months later to be fifth in the Twixt Stakes on dirt Sept. 5 at Laurel.
Trying the turf and stakes company for the first time, Country Life Farm’s Virginia Beach ($8) kicked off the stakes action in Friday’s opener with a front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in the M. Tyson Gilpin for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the Dahlia turf course. The 3-year-old Virginia Beach, ridden by Victor Carrasco for trainer Mike Trombetta, had one win from three previous starts, all this year on dirt.

Virginia Beach prevailed in the M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue.

Defending champion and 1-5 favorite What the Beep, winner of the Camptown Stakes July 29 in her lone prior start this year, had a tough trip until getting clear late and wound up third, behind 40-1 longshot runner-up Tea in China. The winning time was 1:03.41.
This piece appeared on the website. Congratulations to the winning Breeders:
*Mr. & Mrs. C. Oliver Iselin III – Virginia Beach (M. Tyson Gilpin Stakes)
*Audley Farm Equine – Tasting The Stars (Brookmeade Stakes)
*Althea Richards – Kenny Had a Notion (Jamestown Stakes)
*Lazy Lane Farms – Largent (Bert Allen Stakes)
*Nancy Terhune & Ernest Frohboese – Embolden (Punch Line Stakes)