Trainer D. Wayne Lukas made his first trip to Parx Racing, sending Glenda and Willis Horton’s Will Take Charge for the $1-million Pennsylvania Derby-G2, his first start since winning the Travers Stakes-G1.
The nearly-17-hand chestnut jumped into the 3-year-old championship picture with a powerful score.
Sharing top billing was the Grade 1 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies, and Close Hatches tossed her name into the hat for Eclipse Award consideration when she dominated previously undefeated Sweet Lulu. Division leader, Pennsylvania-bred Princess of Sylmar, stayed in New York for the Grade 1 Beldame Invitational.
With a second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1 and a win in the Grade 1 Clark to conclude his season, Will Take Charge was named champion 3-year-old. Close Hatches would have to wait a year before being named champion older mare, as the 3-year-old filly title went to Beholder after she won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1, with Close Hatches well back in second.
- Princess of Sylmar recorded her sixth stakes win of the year, and fourth Grade 1 in a row, at the expense of two-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta in the Beldame Invitational, her first start against older runners. Her other Grade 1 scores came in the Alabama, Coaching Club American Oaks and Kentucky Oaks.
- Defending her title in the Grade 2 Presque Isle Downs Masters, Groupie Doll appeared to be settling for second before she blasted past Maryland-bred Purely Hot to win in a track record 1:14.88. It was her first victory since the previous year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint-G1, which clinched the Eclipse Award for champion female sprinter.
- Seven of the 11 six-figure sales yearlings at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale were Mid-Atlantic-breds. Leading the way was Dark Hollow Farm’s Maryland-bred Tiz Wonderful colt out of Memories of Mystic, the second-highest price of the sale at $175,000.
The Dark Hollow colt was future stakes winner Bridget’s Big Luvy. Tied for fourth most expensive colt, a $120,000 Not For Love West Virginia-bred, was stakes winner Golden Years.
Laurel Park’s Fall Festival of Racing featured the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash, and veteran Immortal Eyes joined the millionaires club with his 17th victory. Trained by Laurel-based Damon Dilodovico for Robert Abbo Racing Stable, the 8-year-old gelding was ridden by Travis Dunkelberger.
“It was a thrill, we won the Maryland Million Classic a few years ago but this was our biggest race, to be here, we grew up here, gambling,” Dilodovico said.”We were here when Mr. De Francis put his touch on the whole game, with the Sports Palace, to win his race, with his son and daughter here, it was pretty cool.”
- Richard’s Kid was retired after 47 starts due to a slight tendon injury. The son of Lemon Drop Kid raced in Maryland for his breeder Robert Meyerhoff and trainer Dickie Small before being sold and sent to Bob Baffert, and later Doug O’Neill, in California. The two-time Maryland-bred Horse of the Year won three Grade 1 races, including the Pacific Classic in 2009 and 2010, and retired as the fifth-leading Maryland-bred earner in history with $2,482,259.