A :52 front half teed up Combustion for an off-the-pace swing to the lead in the stretch that successfully landed him in front at the finish of a 1:49.3 mile in the third of three divisions of the $299,100 Tall Dark Stranger International Stallion Stakes, for freshman pacing colts and geldings, on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 8) at The Red Mile.
Bamboozler bore responsibility for the race’s early speed. Launching from post nine, he snapped consecutive :26 quarters to string the field by over 14 lengths to the half. That vicious pacesetter soon gasped on the afterburners as the backfield loomed into action coming to three-quarters in 1:20.2. Ammo fired the first shot from three wide to take the lead in the stretch with Combustion on his back. The Brett Pelling trainee continued to dig into Ammo through the stretch and wore down the late leader to snag victory by a half length. Admiral Hill gave pursuit behind the top pair to finish third and Gung Ho took fourth.
“I thought it set up really well,” co-owner Shaun Laungani of Diamond Creek Racing said after the race. “I turned to Marcus Johansson our racing manager and asked ‘Do we need cover?’ and he said “Nope.’ But we got it even still. The setup couldn’t have worked out even better.”
Combustion collected his fifth win from six starts to deposit into an account now worth $113,350 for owners Diamond Creek Racing, Thomas and Scott Dillon and Cooper Silva Stables. Todd McCarthy piloted the Captaintreacherous colt who returned $7.16 to win.
Handlelikeaporsche waited on nobody as the 1-9 favourite and paced down the road to a 1:50.1 victory in the first division of the Tall Dark Stranger.
Driver Dexter Dunn pushed the pedal early on the Chris Ryder-trained son of Lazarus N to lead his peers after a :27.4 first quarter. On cruise control through a :56.2 half, Handlelikeaporsche began peeling from the field to three-quarters in 1:24 and received only reminders from Dunn in the stretch while chased home by Surfside Beach, beaten 1-3/4 lengths. Ken Hanover closed for third and Command finished fourth.
“It’s tough when you’re 1-9...it makes the trainer a little nervous,” Chris Ryder said after the race. “Dexter was happy with him, so we got the job done.”
Chris Ryder co-owns Handlelikeaporsche with William Ezzo, Robert Mondillo and Barry Spak. The colt scored his third win from six starts and has now earned $228,850. He paid $2.14 to win.
A lane opened mid-stretch for pocket-sitting Mamba to charge through and swish a 1:51 buzzer-beater by a head at odds of 27-1.
Ervin Hanover left from post eight to lead with Mamba following suit alongside to land in the pocket before a :28 first quarter. Save America, the 1-9 favourite, raced sixth despite the pace remaining soft through a :56.3 half. By that point, Save America pulled from the pylons and glided along the rim to apply minor pressure to Ervin Hanover as he accelerated to three-quarters in 1:24.1. Save America remained relentless to the outside and forged by as Ervin Hanover drifted through the stretch, but that left a gap wide enough for Mamba’s fresh legs to spurt through and grab the lead in time to deny Save America. Goldin Greatness zoomed to the outside to take third and Ervin Hanover held fourth.
“[We’ve had this horse] three weeks [and he’s improving] each and every start,” trainer Travis Alexander said after the race of Mamba, whom he recently purchase online for $62,000 through Preferred Equine Online. “He’s a nice horse, just needed the time. [I] loved the trip, Joey [Bongiorno] drove him well. I told him to be aggressive. We liked the colt and we made some changes when we bought him and they worked.”
Paying $56.40 to win, Mamba recorded his second win from 11 starts and has now earned $123,430 for owners M Spacc Stables, Fiddler’s Creek Stables LLC, D’Elegance Stable Ix and T L P Stable. Joe Bongiorno piloted the Sweet Lou gelding.
Each division of the Tall Dark Stranger International Stallion Stakes was presented by the Tall Dark Stranger Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farm.
Walner Payton Shines In International Stallion Stakes
Finally leaving the shadow of standout Special Way, Walner Payton found her day in the sun and savoured every inch to score a 1:52.2 victory in the second of three divisions of the $317,700 International Stallion Stakes for freshman trotting fillies on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 8) at The Red Mile.
Sent off as the 3-5 favourite, driver Dexter Dunn floated Walner Payton from post seven to race forward but failed to find a seat at the pylons to a :28.4 first quarter. Walner Payton ventured onward up the backside to grab the lead from Fruit Cake past a :57.1 half and opened her advantage to three-quarters in 1:25.1. The Walner filly straightened for home under minor encouragement from Dunn to stay to task, and she responded to then scoot away and win by four lengths. Secret Volo settled for second with Emira Mil IT rallying for third and Royal Filly taking fourth.
Trained by Chris Ryder for owner Kenneth Jacobs, Walner Payton owns three wins from 10 starts and has $368,650 stuffed in her coffers. She paid $3.22 to win in taking the ISS division named “The International Moni”, presented by the International Moni Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farm.
Tony Alagna pupil Mambacita made good on her 1-2 promise following a win in the Bluegrass to take the first division of the ISS in 1:53.4.
Mambacita took the lead from post eight to click a :28.2 first quarter with Life Itself anxiously vacating the cones and sweeping forward to take the top. Driver David Miller soon opted out of the pocket and placed Mambacita back on the point after a :57.3 half. From there, the field could only chase as Mambacita slipped by three-quarters in 1:26.3 and strolled to the finish a 2-1/4-length winner over pylon-skimming Caviart Gwen. Una Madonna finished evenly to take third while Life Itself flattened and settled for fourth.
“She’s been pretty consistent and steady all year, has never really lost her form and is just really sharp right now,” David Miller said after the race. “I thought she had a real good shot of winning and that wasn’t the horse that I figured I would be following, so I went ahead and moved her again and she was pretty strong.”
A daughter of Tactical Landing, Mambacita races for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Crawford Farms Racing and Pryde Stables Inc. She bagged her fourth victory in nine tries and padded her earnings to $329,262. As the favourite, she paid $3.12 to win in taking the ISS division named “The Long Tom”, presented by the Long Tom Syndicate and Midland Acres.
Large payoffs came in the last ISS split when Mommamia Volo vaulted off slow fractions to pull a 21-1 upset in 1:55.4.
Kayleigh S, the slight favourite at 3-1, crept forward to take the lead from If The Shoe Fits after a :30 first quarter and kept the tempo tepid. Through a half in :58.4, Kayleigh S endured a first-over push from Yes Please to three-quarters in 1:28.4 and revved the engines for the sprint home. However, Mommamia Volo angled off cover from second over and fired with the sharpest momentum to snag the lead late as Kayleigh S folded. Mommamia Volo hit the beam in time to keep closing Quick Stop at bay by a neck while If The Shoe Fits took third and Pure Hope S finished fourth.
“This week, I was pretty confident she’d bounce back pretty good,” trainer Carter Pinske said after the race, in regards to her break in stride in an overnight race last week. “It was just a bit of greenness. She was out and rolling pretty good there – she looked to me like she was going to be a winner, but as soon as she cleared the horse [she broke].”
Paying $44.46 to win, Mommavia Volo collected her second victory in five tries and cashed a nice cheque to now have $60,300 in her bankroll. The daughter of Tactical Landing competes for owners Kentuckiana Racing Stable and Jorgan Jahre Jr. She won the ISS division named “The Walner”, presented by the Walner Syndicate.
The Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile is set to conclude on Sunday (Oct. 9) with a power-packed card which includes the $363,500 Tattersalls Pace and $205,000 Glen Garnsey Memorial, the $276,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity and Bulldog Hanover’s challenge against the clock in the $153,000 Allerage Open Pace among other star-packed stakes events. All racing leads to the finale and culmination of the meet: the $430,000 Kentucky Futurity.
First-race post time is 1 p.m. (EDT).
(The Red Mile)