The Poker Stakes (Grade 3)- $250.000 Purse
BEL- For Four Year Olds and Upward
One Mile on the Turf
June 18, 2022
Banshee Star keeps on getting the job done! The Grade 3 Poker Stakes was the 58th start in the career for this gelding who is now midway through his eight year old season, and the results keep on coming. He had already won two stakes this year, and now we can make it three! He would be the post time favorite, and was our second choice in the preview. It remains very impressive what he is still doing at his age, and now with this win, he has eclipsed $2,000.000 in career earnings. Over six years ago, he made his debut. How many horses were doing the same and have long since been retired and even forgotten about? Simply, incredible. He is trained by Calia Stable, who wins the race for the first time. I Ortiz Jr was aboard and wins for the second time. The winning time was 1:32.50, putting him in a dead heat with last year’s winner, and a middle of the road winning time for the race, overall. Let’s take a look!
(1/4 Mile- :23.27)- The three horses on the outside are the quickest out of the gate in this one. By The Night O Bay claims the top spot for Oval Express Farms, and moves out to a length advantage over Angelos Stable’s Four Leaf. The Mad King, our pick to win from Simmer Down Stable is third and holds a stalking position. Running in the middle of the field, we got a three wide group that contains our eventual winner, the wily ol’ veteran, Banshee Star, for Calia Stable. He runs on the outside, with Socrates to his immediate inside for Mb Stables, and Hard Discretion, out of TwinTowersRacing, running on the rail. The final three are right behind them and also three wide. From inside to outside there, it’s Blue Koala (D J C Racing Stables), No More Haggis (YME Stable), and Hollywood Hero (Nakamura Stables).
(½ Mile- :46.23)- By The Night O Bay remains the leader down the backstretch, and continues to hold an uncontested length lead. Four Leaf is second, running well on the rail, but The Mad King looks to be in trouble and is not able to keep up. He begins to drop back, and Hard Discretion takes over the third position. Banshee Star has been around the block many times, so knew that he did not need to push forward quite yet, so he continues to hold his line in the middle of the field. Socrates does as well, but is in danger of The Mad King falling back into him. Hollywood Hero was showing some interest, and looked to position himself for a run along the rail in the turn.
(Top of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- At the front, By The Night O Bay is holding on to the lead and it doesn’t seem as though he is going to give it up very easily. His advantage is still a length on the new second place horse, which is now Hard Discretion. Since about midway down the backstretch, that one had gradually been getting closer, and looked like a good threat for the stretch. However, so too, would Banshee Star, and he would explode with run over the second half of the turn, and utilizing a wide trip in order to do so. He was now third and within two lengths of the leader. Four Leaf was hanging on to the lead group, for now, anyway. Socrates moved up to fifth, and was able to stay out of trouble from the backpedaling The Mad King. Plenty of room seemed to be available on the rail for Hollywood Hero, but E J Wilson looked to move his ride into the lane following Hard Discretion. Blue Koala and No More Haggis needed to get moving now to have a chance.
(Finish- 1:32.50)- In the stretch, both Hard Discretion and Banshee Star were looking good and the race would be decided between these two once they both made it by By The Night O Bay. Approaching the wire, Banshee Star had the most power to his stride and would win while drawing away by a length over Hard Discretion. Hollywood Hero did come on to be third with By The Night O Bay getting the fourth place check by a neck over Socrates. The rest of the running order is No More Haggis, Blue Koala, The Mad King, and Four Leaf.
About The Winner- Banshee Star, trained by Calia Stable and ridden to victory by I Ortiz Jr, is an eight year old gelding by Star Admiral and is out of Bella Banshee. He was bred in New York as a yearling by Grimley, and was acquired by Calia Stable, via Arindel, with a $16.000 claim in July 2021. Congratulations to the connections! The win is his seventeenth in 58 starts, his sixth stake win and fifth graded win. His career earnings are now $2,061.360.
Time: :231 :461 1:09 1:322
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 4 – 1 Paid 44.70
$1 Trifecta: 4 – 1 – 2 Paid 153.70
Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES