Pin Oak Stable’s Strike Again caught even-money favorite
Gran Estreno just steps from the wire to
register a three-quarter length mild upset in Saturday’s fifth running of the $60,000
Buddy Diliberto Memorial Handicap.
Two races later Darrell and Lendy Brown’s
Valli With a Vow scored another mild upset in the 25th anniversary edition of the $60,000
Pago Hop Stakes on Saturday’s two-stakes afternoon at Fair Grounds
In the Buddy Diliberto ’Cap, named in honor the late local television and radio personality, Strike Again, saddled by
Malcolm Pierce who won this race three years ago with Live Oak Plantation’s
Autobahn Girl, responded to a well judged late surge under jockey
Miguel Mena to upset the Argentine-bred choice of the fan, who held on to be clearly second best.
had a good trip and was able to keep off the pace and make my late run
on the outside,” said Mena, who kept Strike Again wide on both turns
to stay clear of traffic.
Trainer Pierce was even more modest: “I just got this horse a week ago,” said the affable Canadian conditioner. “Donnie
K. Von Hemel (Midwest-based trainer for Pin Oak’s Josephine Abercrombie) should get all the credit for this win.”
Strike Again finished third beaten a neck for the win in
Park’s $150,000 Remington Green Stakes In his previous start Oct. 10 when saddled by Von Hemel.
winner paid $15, $5.40 and $3.60 accomplished the about 1 1/16-mile
distance over the firm Stall-Wilson turf course in 1:45.03, and
his career earnings to $208,553 with his fifth win in 15 career starts.
Runner-up Gran Estreno, owned by Feel The Thunder Stable’s Marty Nixon, returned $2.80 and $2.20.
“He gave me a nice run,” said jockey
Robby Albarado of Gran
Estreno. “The winner’s a nice horse; take nothing away from him. My
horse ran his race; he was running to the wire. That was two nice horses
Vanquisher, who finished third 2 1 /4-lengths farther back, paid $2.60.
Ready Set set the early fractions of 24.35 and 49.02 before tiring to seventh at the wire.
the 25th anniversary edition of the Pago Hop for 3-year-old fillies on
the grass, Valli With a Vow “came running like a bear,” according
to winning rider James Graham,
who had wanted her closer to the pace but let her tell him how she
wanted to run. Her margin of victory was a convincing 3 1 /4-lengths.
Saddled by trainer
Josie Carroll’s assistant Ruth Schmidt,
the daughter of Broken Vow toured the “about one mile” distance over
the grass in 1:38.68, increased her career earnings to $126,599
with her third win in 11 lifetime starts, and returned mutuels of $19,
$10.80 and $7.60.
was a nervous filly when she began her career here,” said Schmidt, “but
she’s put it all together now and was very relaxed today. James
knows her very well and they get along together very well”
Silver La Belle finished second in the Pago Hop, returning $9 and $6.80, while Naveed Chowan’s
Caminadora got up for the show spot a length farther back and paid $6.40. Caminadora’s entrymate
Ice Mist set the early fractions of 23.30 and 47.93 before weakening to sixth in the stretch.
Kitty Love, owned by Augustin Stable and conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer
Jonathan Sheppard, lost position early, had no late rally and finished 10th.