by Gary Granade
PIES PROSPECT (Crafty Prospector) became Nick Zito’s latest
three-year-old to win a graded stakes as he outdueled EDDINGTON (Unbridled)
to capture the $300,000 Pegasus S. (G3) on Friday, opening night
of the Big M meeting that runs through November 13.
Zito also trains Birdstone (Grindstone), Sir Shackleton (Miswaki)
and the recently retired The Cliff’s Edge (Gulch).
Pies Prospect was never far off the pace in the 1 1/8-mile
race. Eddington, the even-money favorite who has contested most
of the major three-year-old stakes this year, surged into
contention with a dramatic four-wide move on the final turn and
looked poised to score his first win since February.
Richard Migliore put Eddington into an all-out drive, but they
could not put away Pies Prospect. Eddington and Pies Prospect
bumped at the top of the lane and hooked up in a head-to-head
battle through the final furlong, with Pies Prospect digging in
for the victory by a hard-fought neck.
It was a very disappointing effort by Eddington, who appeared
to hang badly through the lane. Migliore accepted much of the
blame for his defeat.
“I decided to take him wide and let him go on the second
turn,” Migliore said. “I’m kind of second guessing
myself for making the move too soon. I thought tonight might be
the night he put it all together. He tried, but it was just
unfortunate the way it worked out.”
Pies Prospect was timed in 1:48.57 and gave back $11.80 to win
as the second choice. ZAKOCITY (Precocity) was another 3 1/2
lengths back of Eddington in third.
In the night’s other stakes action, DELTA PRINCESS (A P Indy),
who had been facing much stronger competition in graded stakes
events, shot through on the inside to win the $60,000 Navajo
Princess S. by three parts of a length.
The impeccably bred Delta Princess is out of Group 2-winning
Lyphard mare Lyphard’s Delta and is thus a full sister to Grade 1
winner Indy Five Hundred. She has now earned $378,524.
Ridden by Heberto Castillo Jr., Delta Princess covered the
mile and a sixteenth over a “good” turf course in 1:44.63
and returned $6.60 and the lukewarm 2-1 favorite. SOMETHING
VENTURED (Cobra King) completed the $17.40 exacta, with CONEY
KITTY (Lycius) another length behind her.
ELUSIVE THUNDER (Thunder Gulch) took command at the break and
never looked back, winning the $55,000 World Appeal S. by a neck
over the hard-charging entry of UNITED (Dixie Union) and DIXIE
SLEW (Dixieland Band) who finished a nose apart.
United suffered a brutal trip, having nowhere to run for much
of the race, and was clearly best. He would have been the winner
in another two strides.
Trained by Derek Ryan and ridden by Stewart Elliott, Elusive
Thunder covered the mile and 70 yards over good turf in 1:45.70
and paid $12.80 as the third choice. The entry was favored at 3-5
and completed the $28.60 exacta.
SLEWS FINAL ANSWER (Seattle Slew) got to the front in deep
stretch before posting a 1 1/2-length victory over the hard-charging
LAVENDER LASS (Skip Trial) in the $60,000 Ready Jet Go S. on
Part of a Bill Mott entry and ridden by Julian Pimentel, Slews
Final Answer covered the six furlongs on the front end over a
fast main track in 1:09.23 and was worth $6.60 as the close
second choice. Lavender Lass completed a $58.20 exacta with
UMPATEEDLE (Suave Prospect) another neck back.
Umpateedle cruised by early leader ELECTRICAL CARLITA (Jules),
the 2-1 favorite, at the furlong pole, but had no answer when the
winner came calling.
Slews Final Answer was one of the nation’s best sprinters last
year and has come back in fine form after being freshened by Mott.
In the $55,000 Salem County S., PADDY’S DAISY (King Of Kings)
powered to the lead at the top of the lane and drew clear
impressively to a 2 1/4-length score over K.D.’S SHADY LADY (Maria’s
Coupled with ELKE (Dixie Union) as the Todd Pletcher trained
entry and ridden by Chris DeCarlo, Paddy’s Daisy returned $3.80
as the 4-5 choice. K.D.’s Shady Lady completed a chalky $6.20
exacta and Elke, the early pacesetter, finished another length
back in third. There was no show wagering.
Inside speed had the edge on both nights with the turf course
favoring pressers and closers.
Apprentice Rajiv Maragh is the leading rider with four wins
from nine mounts, one ahead of Elliott. Elvis Trujillo, Ramon
Dominguez and Harry Vega are tied for third with two wins each.
Mott, who was shut out at Monmouth, leads the conditioners
with two wins from three starters.
HORSES TO WATCH
8TH – United was boxed in along the rail for much of the race
and was coming on fast at the wire. Showed a definite preference
9TH – ORPINGTON (Cozzene) was confidently rated at the back of
the pack, uncorked a burst of speed and won in hand. Can win at
the next level.
11TH – SULTRY CAT (Tale of the Cat) was dropped to the
basement from the $25,000 level by Steve Klesaris and won by
daylight with a figure that would win several levels higher.
There were no takers, so Klesaris will place him to repeat next
8TH – Slews Final Answer is back in top form and has plenty of
class. Look for a repeat score in a non-graded sprint stakes.