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Casino Host Hits Jackpot in Muniz

Gary & Mary West’s Casino Host and trainer Chad Brown teamed up to win the Grade II, Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap at odds of 11-1 as the three wagering favorites failed to fire in the $400,000 turf event.

 

After Mr. Vegas set the pace with moderate fractions, things really tightened-up around mid-stretch when Papaw Bodie took over the lead, until Casino Host found his best stride and ran down Papaw Bodie to score by a half-length in the 1 1/8-mile affair.

 

“I talked to Chad this morning and he wanted me to give the horse a good run up and put him into the pace and don’t let him too far back and at least have somebody in front of him,” said winning jockey John Velazquez. “If he’s too far back at the eighth pole he is not going to catch him. If he’s close enough, within two lengths, he is going to finish. He was right. He was right there on the money and when I asked him he responded and put a good fight down the lane.”

 

The winning son of Dynaformer is a bit of a globetrotter, having started at seven different racetracks dating back to November 2010. After a few solid efforts in graded stakes company last year, the 4-year-old broke through on Saturday, paying $23.80, $13.20 and $6.60.

 

Connie Apostelos’ Papaw Bodie held second and paid $10.80 and $4.80. Henry E. Pabst Trust’s Joinem, another longshot, finished third paying $9.60. The final time was 1:50.87 over the course labeled “good.”

 

The post-time favorite, Slow Pace, finished fifth after threatening around the far turn. Last year’s winner Smart Bid never fired and finished seventh.

 

--Travis Stone

 

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