Still Having Fun charges down the stretch to take Frank Whiteley Jr.

HorseRacingNation.com
January 27, 2018 11:21am
Still Having Fun wins 2018 Frank Whiteley Jr.
Photo: Maryland Jockey Club
Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing’s Still Having Fun came charging down the stretch along the inside to snatch the lead from favored Wentz and go on to his first career stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Frank Whiteley Jr. at Laurel Park.

The sixth running of the seven-furlong Whiteley for 3-year-olds and the 30th running of the six-furlong Marshua for 3-year-old fillies were among four $100,000 stakes on the 10-race program, along with the Native Dancer for 4-year-olds and up and Nellie Morse for fillies and mares 4 and older, both contested at about 1 1/16 miles.

Still Having Fun ($7) completed the distance in 1:23.05 over a fast main track to kick off Laurel’s series of sophomore stakes that continues with the one-mile Miracle Wood Feb. 17, 1 1/16-mile Private Terms March 17 and 1 1/8-mile Federico Tesio April 21, a ‘Win and You’re In’ event for Triple Crown-nominated horses to the May 19 Preakness Stakes (G1).

“I’m very proud of him,” winning trainer and co-breeder Tim Keefe said. “This horse has what you can’t teach a horse. He has the desire to win, and I don’t care what you do to a horse. If they don’t want to win like this horse does … He’s got talent, he’s got ability and he’s learning with every race.”

It was just the third career start for Still Having Fun, a bay Old Fashioned colt that was beaten a neck in his stakes debut in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity Dec. 9 at Laurel. Unlike his previous effort, where he raced closer to the lead, regular rider Feargal Lynch settled Still Having Fun off a pace of 22.84 seconds and 46.37 set by Wentz.

Wentz, the even-money favorite off a Nov. 27 maiden win at Parx, came off the rail around the far turn leaving room for Still Having Fun to scoot through, and they opened up after finding daylight to win by 4 ½ lengths. Despite bearing out badly in the final sixteenth, Wentz held on for second by a half-length over V.I.P. Code.

William and Mary, Oldfashioned Club, multiple stakes winner Whirlin Curlin and Old Time Revival completed the order of finish.

“We decided to take him back today,” Lynch said. “We were prominent on him last time and he just didn’t have the experience. Tim’s done a great job teaching him and we took our time today. When the gap opened up on the rail, he just shot through it.”

Limited View Bounces Back to Capture $100,000 Marshua

Making her 3-year-old debut off a disappointing effort four weeks earlier, Limited View became a three-time stakes winner at Laurel Park with a three-quarter-length triumph in the $100,000 Marshua.

A narrow second choice in a field of six sophomore fillies at 7-5, Limited View ($4.80) ran six furlongs in 1:10.99 for her fifth win from seven career starts, including five of six tries at Laurel. The exception came Dec. 30 when she was a flat ninth in the Gin Talking.

“She is getting better and better each time. The other day it was just circumstances and today she put it back together,” trainer and co-owner John Salzman Jr. said. “She didn’t break as sharp as I would have liked but she seems to like being outside and running at horses, so everything worked out good.”

Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado settled Limited View in the clear on the outside down the backstretch as Off My Stage and Last True Love led the way, before rolling to the lead around the turn and powering down the stretch under a hand ride. Last True Love ran game for second, a length ahead of Enchanted Ghost, with 6-5 favorite Enrage fourth.

“We know she’s a very nice filly and she can go to the front or come from behind,” Prado said. “Today she broke a little bit slow so I took my time and eased her outside and she was in control from there. I didn’t even hit her in the stretch because she was very game.”

Afleet Willy Goes the Distance in $100,000 Native Dancer

BB Horses’ Afleet Willy broke running and never looked back, putting away fellow multiple stakes winner John Jones at the top of the stretch and sprinting clear for a five-length victory in the $100,000 Native Dancer.

Ridden by Jomar Torres for Claudio Gonzalez, Maryland’s leading trainer of 2017, Afleet Willy ($4) hit the wire in 1:43.78 for about 1 1/16 miles as the even-money favorite. Bodhisattva came from dead last to be second, 3 ¼ lengths ahead of John Jones.

Afleet Willy won the 1 1/8-mile Richard Small at Laurel Nov. 11 and made his 5-year-old debut Jan. 8 in the six-furlong Dave’s Friend, a race where he was never in contention after being bumped and squeezed out of the gate and wound up eighth.

He had no such trouble in the Native Dancer, in command while pressed through fractions of 25.62 seconds, 49.36 and 1:12.71 by John Jones. Winner of the one-mile Jennings last out Dec. 30, John Jones began to drop back once straightened for home as Afleet Willy extended his lead through the stretch.

“The last time he had a lot of excuses, and six furlongs is not the best distance for him. Today he was going longer,” Gonzalez said. “I knew he was going to take the lead and go easy. Jomar did a great job. The first quarter went in 25, so that was very good. He’s a nice horse.”

In the Navy Now Springs Upset in $100,000 Nellie Morse

R. Larry Johnson and R.D.M. Racing Stable’s In the Navy Now swept into a challenging position on the far outside entering the stretch and outran Sky Flower and Line of Best Fit to the wire and upset the $100,000 Nellie Morse by a neck.

Grade 1-placed stakes winner Line of Best Fit drifted out slightly as In the Navy Now went to inch past in deep stretch but was unable to hold off the 5-year-old Midshipman mare, who finished up in 1:45.61.

Line of Best Fit was second, a half-length ahead of Sky Flower. It was another 2 ¼ lengths back to Tiz Rude in fourth, while 6-5 favorite Julerette finished last in the field of seven after setting the pace.

“I had a lot of horse turning for home and it was just a matter of taking her outside and making a run,” winning jockey Julian Pimentel said.

Julerette coasted through an opening quarter-mile in 25.24 seconds and a half in 50.06, with Tiz Rude in closest pursuit and the bunch of Sky Flower, Indian Paint and Moon  Virginia in behind. Pimentel swung In the Navy Now outside to launch his bid and gained ground steadily through the stretch for her first career stakes win.

In the Navy Now now has four wins, eight seconds and three thirds from 18 career starts.

“She’s been very, very consistent for us and doing everything well,” winning trainer Mike Trombetta said. “Today I was quite worried when they went the first quarter so slow that she might not be able to catch up but she was good enough to get to them. She seems to relish this two-turn dirt stuff, so we’ll sit and just wait [for what’s next].”

Source: Maryland Jockey Club

 

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