Ohio’s finest will line up for combined purses of $500,000 as the 2013 Best of Ohio series comes to ThistleDown Racino, October 12.
All eyes will be on the females of the species in the $100,000, 27th running of
The Best of Ohio Distaff (One mile and 1/8th).
Ohio racing’s newest millionaire, Pay The Man, trained by Ricardo Feliciano,
returned to form when winning the Scarlet and Gray Handicap at ThistleDown
Racino last time out. She now faces her young nemesis, Caviar N Champagne, who has beaten her three times in stakes races in 2013.
Pay The Man entered the winner’s circle for the first time in a year when
winning the Scarlet and Gray last month. Notably, the race was over a one turn six
furlongs. In three starts this summer at one mile or over, she has not shown her
finishing power of old. The veteran nine-year-old goes for her third straight win in
the Distaff and for the fourth time in her career, having also won in 2008.
Although Caviar N Champagne came up short in the Scarlet and Gray, her
stakes record this year is impressive collecting the Rose DeBartolo Memorial, The
J.W. Petro Memorial and The Mike Mackey Handicap. Significantly, two of those wins
were over one mile and one sixteenth and there is every indication she will get the
half-furlong further trip.
You can never ignore the combination of trainer, Jeff Radosevich and jockey, Scott Spieth (who comes into town from Keeneland). They team up many times through the afternoon.
The $100,000 Best of Ohio Endurance (One mile and a quarter) is a wide open
Silver Tongued, trained by Jeff Greenhill (who has had a very successful meet
at Indiana Downs), won The Cleveland Gold Cup in early July but was disappointing
in the Ohio Derby. However, his second place in the Governor’s Buckeye Cup was
promising. Crucially, this horse’s running style can be fairly described as being tailed
off until zooming over the final two and a half furlongs can be assured of a fast early
Governor’s Buckeye Cup winner Bold Captain is one of two in the race trained
by Miguel Feliciano, who is also represented by Pyrite Personal, who was third in the same race). Bold Captain is a horse who can lay back off the early pace. However, he faces the deepest quality field he has come across in some time.
Trainer Carl Deville brings Only Boy back to ThistleDown Racino, having
won the Best of Ohio Endurance in 2012. Unplaced in a $100,000 stakes race at
Gulfstream Park in December, Only Boy clearly needed the race when fourth (beaten two and a half lengths) in a $17,500 Claimer at Louisiana Downs in September.
An interesting proposition is Raise The Reward. Although fourth in his last
two efforts, Raise The Reward is the only horse in the field to have won over one
and a quarter miles at Thistledown in 2013.
The $100,000, 22nd running of the J.W. Galbreath (One mile and one sixteenth
for two-year-old fillies) should present Needmore Flattery with an opportunity to
maintain her 100 percent record on dirt.
Although she did not take to the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs on her last
start, her four stakes wins over the summer were hugely impressive. On each
occasion, she galloped out well. Trainer Tim Hamm teams her up with her usual
jockey, Irwin Rosendo, and they will doubtless be prepared for the two-turn race.
Blacksilkstockings was very impressive when beating Natural Bling and
Crafty Blue Kat (who she faces again) last time when breaking her maiden over one
mile and forty yards at ThistleDown Racino last month. Jockey Christian Pilares can
let this horse settle in the middle of the pack before making a move as they turn for
Tim Hamm’s Natural Bling has trailed the two principles by a total of nine
and three quarter lengths. However, only two and a quarter of those lengths were
when she tackled the two-turn one mile and forty yard trip. Again, her only bad
effort was on the Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs two starts ago.
More two year olds get their turn in The 46th running of The Juvenile Stakes
($100,000, one mile and one sixteenth.) and trainer Tim Hamm has a double
Hamm saddles Natural Bling (one of three fillies taking on the boys), who was
second to Blacksilkstockings over one mile and forty years on her last start. She is a
filly that should always be in the top three who can make a late move.
The other Hamm entry, Countess Bling, needs to improve to win but this is
the horse’s first start on traditional dirt.
Many people will be looking closely at Looch’s Only Son, the
Radosevich/Spieth team partner-up. Although we have not seen the best of this
horse (he was fourth behind Blacksilkstockings, Natural Bling and Crafty Blue Kat
last time), he did enjoy the longer trip.
Obsessionsoptimist was second in the five furlong Michigan Sire Stakes
($50,000) at Mount Pleasant Meadows last time out and was previously third
behind Needmore Flattery and Spring Song in the Cleveland Kindergarten at
ThistleDown Racino in August for trainer Robert Cline.
James Acquliano brings Spring Song back to ThistleDown Racino. His best
performance was a narrow second behind Needmore Flattery in the Cleveland
Kindergarten. He did not do so well on the artificial surface at Presque Isle Downs
and did not run his best at Finger Lakes last time out.
Eleven go to post for the $100,000 24th running of The Best of Ohio Sprint
Mike Rone’s Diavoletto goes for three stakes wins in a row having defeated
Sneak A Cold Treat in the $50,000 Honey Jay Stakes at ThistleDown Racino in
August. He followed that up with a win in the $75,000 New Castle Stakes at
Delaware Park last month. A horse that likes to sit just behind the top two or three,
at the time of writing, no jockey has been appointed for the ride.
Sneak A Cold treat (again the Radosevich/Spieth combination) was second in
the Honey Jay behind Diavoletto. But last time trailed behind Urban Renewal, Fuzzy
Dee Jay and Classic Reward. Sneak A Cold Treat will need to return to his best
previous form to contend.
Urban Renewal, who was a distant eighth in the Honey jay, won an Allowance
race here last time and is reunited with Federico Mata. Fuzzy Dee Jay, who finished
sixth in the Honey Jay, has Mountaineer’s top jockey, Deshawn Parker, on board.
Classic Reward will have to improve but cannot be discounted. In-form jockey
Walter De La Cruz takes the ride on front-runner Sin and Redemption, but will have
his work cut out to hold off rivals.
The Best of Ohio series runs from race three to eight on an eight race card
with a first post time of 12:55 p.m. The scheduled post times for the Best of Ohio
races (featuring a 50c Pick Five and a 50c Pick Four on races four through eight) are as follows:
Race 4: 2:35 p.m.: The 22nd running of The John W. Galbreath. $100,000, one mile and one sixteenth.
Race 5: 3:11 p.m.: The 24th running of The Best of Ohio Sprint. $100,000, six furlongs.
Race 6: 3:47 p.m.: The 46th running of The Juvenile Stakes. $100,000, one mile and
Race 7: 4:23 p.m.: The 27th running of The Best of Ohio Distaff. $100,000, one mile and one eighth.
Race 8: 5 p.m.: The 27th running of The best of Ohio Endurance. $100,000, one mile and a quarter.