Sports Car Rolls to Victory in Poker Stakes

The Poker Stakes (Grade 3)- $300.000 Purse
BEL- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
June 17, 2018

Mb Stables completed the three-race sweep of the three races I covered this weekend by picking up this win in the 14th running of the Poker Stakes. Sports Car was seen as one the favorites from the beginning, and he was up for the occasion. Those 6/1 odds were pretty good for him, quite honestly, and if you played our exacta pick and boxed it, you would have had that $177.10 pay out, which would have covered some of your losses if you consistently made bets based on our picks. Mb Stables wins the race for the second time, as does the jockey, the amazing F Pennington. These two hooked up in 2016 as well for Jovan River’s win. The time of the victory was 1:32.85, a middle of the road time when looking at past races. Here’s a look at it!

(1/4 Mile- :22.94)- It was a great start for each of Friday Thirteenth, the post-time favorite from Nakamura Stables, as well as for The Force Awakens, from Diablo Diablo. From two of the outer post positions, they were emphatic in getting to the front and quickly cleared the field to move to the rail. Friday Thirteenth eventually pulled a length in front of The Force Awakens, and looked into the backstretch. Valiant Charge, from Threshold, stayed close as well, running on the outside about a length and a half back, but ahead of the pack. In the middle of that pack, we’d have Duke Or Earl (Gdp Inc), Penitentiary (D J C Racing Stables), and Grounded In Reality (Mb Stables). One Awesome Moon (Allinthegate) was next, with the eventual winner, Sports Car (Mb Stables) giving the field a head start before engaging the throttle, trailing by six lengths.

(½ Mile- :46.00)- During the backstretch run, Friday Thirteenth continues to show the way, leading by nearly two lengths. His stride appeared graceful, as he seemed to be in very good position right there. Valiant Charge had pulled up alongside The Force Awakens, but neither was applying pressure on the leader. Grounded In Reality was starting to look ambitious as they entered the turn, and he had a great lane in which to make the move if he wanted to take it right here. Penitentiary was running well but seemed at the mercy of Grounded In Reality’s run. On the rail, Duke Or Rail was patient, and hoped that he could ride it throughout the turn. One Awesome Moon and Sports Car continued to trail, with the winner not flooring the accelerator yet.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Friday Thirteenth handled the turn pretty well most of the way around, but as they approached the exit, he was looking pretty vulnerable. He would have to find a second win, or his day may be done. Valiant Charge and The Force Awakens, who had been second and third throughout the turn were not the main ones to be concerned about, although they did make up some ground for themselves. Grounded In Reality took advantage of his great track position, and moved to the outside enough for Penitentiary to go with him, just what D J C Racing Stables was hoping for each were within a length. Duke Or Earl had to come off the rail unless he wanted to run into the back of The Force Awakens, and he’d look to split horses. Meanwhile, before Sports Car could shift into full gear, he had to make an appropriate lane change. At first, it looked like he was going to make the move to the inside, but as we are talking about the legendary F Pennington here, the jockey astutely realized that wasn’t going to work and would make the outside lane the passing lane. One Awesome Moon was left in his exhaust.

(Finish- 1:32.85)- Time to engage launch mode. With Sports Car now clear of slower traffic in front of them, he was prepared to make his competition look like a bunch of SUV’s clogging up room on the highway. Sports Car would be the best in the stretch as the rest of the field tightly jostled for position. With a furlong to go, the entire field (except One Awesome Moon) could have looked like they were just released from the starting gate, as they were seven wide, and less then a length apart. In a one furlong dash, it’s best to go with the sports car. Within that pack, Duke Or Earl was in full stride as well. Unfortunately for Gdp Inc, this one had moderate traffic trouble throughout, and had to wait longer before he run like a Duke Of Hazzard. He showed a lot, and it would be a good photo finish between them, but Sports Car would hit the wire first, a nose up on Duke Or Earl. Grounded In Reality ran well in the stretch too, and gets a third place result for Mb Stables in addition to the victory. Penitentiary slipped by Valiant Charge for fourth, with The Force Awakens and Friday Thirteenth dropping to sixth and seventh. One Awesome Moon had a great view of the race throughout, and places eighth.

About The Winner: Sports Car, trained by Mb Stables, and ridden by the one and only F Pennington, is a four year old gelding by Nail In The Coffin, and is out of Miss Phooey Beech. She was bred in Ontario by Mb Stables as a third quarter two year old, and they have been together throughout. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his fifth in eight starts, his second stake win, and first graded win. His career earnings are now $306.510.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Sports Car Mb Stables Pennington F 6.30   1hd 1:32.85 xx
  Duke Or Earl Gdp Inc Bejarano R 6.65   21/2 1:32.88 xx
  Grounded In Reality Mb Stables Maldonado E 9.15   31 1:32.98 xx
  Penitentiary D J C Racing Stables Velazquez J R 7.20   4hd 1:33.21 xx
  Valiant Charge Threshold Ortiz J L 3.45   51/2 1:33.25 xx
  The Force Awakens Diablo Diablo Garcia Alan 4.60   6hd 1:33.38 xx
  Friday Thirteenth Nakamura Stables Court J K 4.30   73 1:33.41 xx
  One Awesome Moon Allinthegate Ortiz I Jr 8.80   8 1:34.08 xx

Track: Firm

Time: :224  :46   1:091  1:324

$2 Mutuel Prices:

4 – Sports Car 14.60 7.50 5.30
1 – Duke Or Earl   4.00 20.90
3 – Grounded In Reality     6.80

$1 Exacta: 4 – 1 Paid 177.10

$1 Trifecta: 4 – 1 – 3 Paid 778.50

Scratched: No Explanation

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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