Parx Racing capped off its Labor Day weekend with a terrific Monday afternoon program that featured four stakes including three of its major stakes of the year. Topping the card were the G3 $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at one mile and one-sixteenth for three year-olds, the G3 $300,000 Turf Monster Handicap, a five furlong turf sprint, the G3 $200,000 Greenwood Cup, a mile and a half main track marathon, and the $200,000 Turf Amazon Handicap, a five furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares.
Live Oak Plantation’s Awesome Slew put on a show in the 7th running of the Smarty Jones. Under a masterful ride from jockey Paco Lopez, the Awesome Again colt broke beautifully from the outside gate in the overflow field of fourteen and was able to win the short run to the first turn. Lopez had to use some horse to get that early lead as the timer showed, hitting the opening quarter in a strong 23.0. From there though, Lopez was able to get his horse a breather up the backstretch, running the second quarter mile in 24.3 for a half that turned into a very comfortable 47.3. The other thirteen were all vying for position in behind the free running leader, hoping for their chance later on, but that chance would never materialize. Lopez had a ton of horse, let loose on the far turn, and began to open up. At the quarter pole the lead was three, by the time they hit the eighth pole he had roared away to an eight length lead as the others wobbled in his wake. A brilliant ride and a terrific performance equaled a blowout win as Awesome Slew left no doubt who was best on this day, gearing down at the end for a thoroughly convincing victory. Trained by Ed Plesa, Jr., he went off as a 10-1 shot and returned a handsome $23.40 to win, stopping the timer in 1:42.92.
The Turf Monster Stakes result was the shocker of the day. 23-1 shot Doctor J Dub held off 35-1 Two Notch Road to win the race by half a length. The whole complexion of the race was changed the moment the gate opened when 8-5 favorite Power Alert stumbled badly and they got bumped by the rival just to his inside, a disastrous beginning from which he would not recover. Doctor J Dub got a terrific start and vied for the early lead with second choice, Pool Winner. Midway up the backstretch, Pool Winner, on the outside of the two, held a slight lead, but by the time they reached far turn, winning jockey Sheldon Russell had Doctor J Dub almost a full length in front. The two remained one-two coming to the top of the stretch, at which point Pool Winner did not corner well and as Doctor J Dub straightened away, he suddenly found himself about two and a half lengths in front. Pool Winner desperately tried to get himself back into it and now from the back on the far outside, long shot Two Notch Road was closing fast. Doctor J Dub would hold tough, though, staying on to win the first stake of his career. Owned by Drawing Away Stable and trained by Jena Antonucci, the six year-old gelded son of Sharp Humor paid $49.80 win and finished out in :58.73 over a course labeled firm.
On paper, the Greenwood Cup looked pretty simple. One speed horse with five closers. Get the speed horse to the front, set a nice, comfortable pace and then pull away. And that is exactly how it played out. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche, four time riding champion at Parx, had the controlling speed with Scuba. He made the lead through the opening sixteenth of a mile and never looked back. An easy quarter of 25.73, a stroll to the half in 51.55 and a leisurely mile in 1:44.62 and the race was over. Because the early fractions were slow the late runners were all in pretty close pursuit, but with three furlongs to run, Carmouche finally gave Scuba more rein and off he went. Drawing away quickly around the far turn, he’d opened a three length lead at the top of the stretch and came home a full five lengths in front. Owned by DARRS, Inc. and trained by Brandan Walsh, the five year-old gelded son of Tapit went off as the 6-5 favorite and paid $4.40 to win. The final time for the mile and a half was 2:32.76.
The outstanding turf sprinter and heavily favored Lady Shipman had to work for it, but she proved best to win the Turf Amazon Stakes. The four year-old Midshipman filly nearly beat the boys last year in the Breeders Cup Turf sprint, losing by a neck to Mongolian Saturday, and she was on display here with her speed and class. She broke on top and lead through the opening sixteenth, but longshot Your Pace or Mine rushed up on her inside and held a short lead to the far turn. Lady Shipman stayed right with her, though, and was back in front with a quarter mile to go. Your Pace or Mine fought on, finally giving way at the eighth pole, but Everything Lovely, who had been sitting a nice, ground saving trip in behind the leaders swung off the fence for the final eighth of a mile and made a strong run, but Lady Shipman was simply too tough. She held her rival at bay and came home just better than a length in front. Owned by Ranlo Investments, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Joel Rosario, Lady Shipman got bet down to 1-5 and paid all of $2.60 to win. She covered the five furlongs on the grass in :58.06. It was the 13 th win in 19 lifetime starts for the turf and she’s once again expected to be very much a part of Breeders Cup day out at Santa Anita.
Source: Parx Racing