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Breeders' Cup 2017

Immortal Eyes Becomes Millionaire in De Francis Dash

Immortal Eyes wins 2013 De Francis Dash.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
Robert Abbo Racing Stable LLC’s Immortal Eyes left the gate in a flash, opened up quickly on his rivals and won in hand in the $350,000 Frank J. DeFrancis Memorial Dash contested over the sloppy main track at Laurel Park.

Travis Dunkelberger and Immortal Eyes were 6-3/4 lengths the better of Saturday’s Charm at the finish, stopping the clock in 1:08.47 for the six furlong distance. Service For Ten edged longshot Royal Currier to take third.

“It was easy, just like playing,” Dunkelberger said. “I never looked around. I didn’t hear any horses coming so I just let him gallop. I know he loves the mud because he set a track record at Charles Town in the mud and I was on him that day.”

Damon Dilodovico trains Immortal Eyes at the Bowie Training Center. The son of Greatness was winning his fourth stakes this year including the Valentine’s Day Handicap at Charles Town in February and the Mr Prospector and Teddy Drone at Monmouth Park this summer.  

In last year’s DeFrancis Dash, 8-year-old Immortal Eyes finished third after a poor start at the break. He finished second in this race in 2011, beaten just a half-length by Candyman E.

“This is his third year in the race and he’s been second, third and now a winner, “Dilodovico said. “I was so confident going into this race. Travis and I had made a decision. We would be in front and they would have to come and get us. He’s kind of a temperamental horse, so it’s good when he gets out in the clear and you don’t have to fuss with him too much. This is definitely the best race I’ve ever won and the whole stable deserves a ton of credit for it.”

The $210,000 earned in the victory pushed the son of Greatness over the million dollar mark to $1,090,051.

Dilodovico also conditions Service for Ten, who earned $35,000 for his third place finish.

Rosie Napravnik (jockey, Saturday’s Charm-2nd) said, “I had a great trip inside most of the way but the speed was just too dangerous. My horse ran a great race but he was just second best.”

Daniel Centeno (jockey, Service for Ten-3rd) said, “I had a good trip. I had to check late or I am pretty sure I would have gotten second.”

Angel Serpa (jockey, Royal Currier-4th) said,” He always tries hard. He was ready to go today. He just didn’t like the mud.”

Julian Pimentel (jockey, Il Villano-5th): “We had a perfect trip. Around the turn I thought I was going to be okay but he just tired.”

Alan Garcia (jockey, Brigand-6th): “No excuses, just got outrun.”

Cornelio Velasquez (jockey, Sage Valley-7th): “He didn’t like the mud. It was too soupy. I had a good shot turning for home but he stopped.”

The De Francis Dash topped the Sept. 21 card. The program also featured five open stakes races on the turf course plus the Jameela Stakes for Maryland-breds.

Introduced in 1990, the De Francis Dash is one of the elite six-furlong sprints in the country with four of the 21 winners-Housebuster (1991), Cherokee Run (1994), Smoke Glacken (1997) and Thor’s Echo (2006)-earning Eclipse Award honors for champion sprinter.



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