Sunny Ridge Shines in $100,000 Richard W. Small

Sunny Ridge Shines in $100,000 Richard W. Small

Vault Becomes Stakes Winner in $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go

LAUREL, MD – Dennis A. Drazin’s multiple Grade 3-winning millionaire Sunny Ridge got a ground-saving trip under jockey Trevor McCarthy and split horse in deep stretch to capture the $100,000 Richard W. Small Stakes by three-quarters of a length Saturday at Laurel Park.

The 1 1/8-mile Small for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go for fillies and mares 3 and older going about 1 1/16 miles were among four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on the nine-race program.

Racing for the first time since finishing third in the Charles Hesse III Handicap Aug. 25 at Monmouth Park, Sunny Ridge ($6.80) gave McCarthy his second stakes win on the day, following Honest Mischief in the $100,000 Force the Pass City of Light. The winning time was 1:51.88.

“It was almost a walk in the park for him today. He did it really professionally and really impressed me today,” McCarthy said. “I was so delighted to be aboard him.”

Han Sense, twice graded-stakes placed as a 2-year-old, was sent to the lead by jockey Tyler Conner out of the gate and got away with leisurely splits of 25.89 seconds for the first quarter-mile and 50.91 for a half. Grade 3 winner Golden Brown led the trailing group with Sunny Ridge on the rail and Jefazo, riding a two-race win streak, to his outside.

Conner urged Han Sense along after six furlongs in 1:16.24 as Golden Brown continued to apply pressure. McCarthy gave Sunny Ridge his cue in mid-stretch, splitting the top two and continuing on to the wire for his seventh career stakes victory.

Han Sense finished second, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of late-running long shot Bobby G with Jefazo fourth. Multiple stakes winner Bonus Points, compromised by the slow pace, was fifth.

“I got a great trip. We just got a nice, easy pace and we were able to get a nice draft and sit inside and just wait,” McCarthy said. “They told me to just be extremely patient with him and he’ll give a turn of foot when needed. Everything worked out very well. I was very privileged to ride this horse today.”

The Richard W. Small honors the successful and colorful longtime Maryland trainer and ex-Green Beret who died of cancer at age 68 in April 2014. Among his many stakes winners were four-time Grade 1 winner Broad Brush and Broad Brush’s son, 1994 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Concern. Small won a stakes race in Maryland every year but one from 1974 to 2014.

Vault Becomes Stakes Winner in $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go

Barlar LLC homebred Vault, racing for the first time outside of her native Pennsylvania, extended her win streak to three races with a popular 3 ½-length triumph in the $100,000 Thirty Eight Go Go.

The win was the fifth from 13 starts and fourth against older horses for Vault ($4.60), based at Penn National with trainer Bernie Houghton. Under regular rider Julio Hernandez, they hit the wire in 1:44.06.

“She’s a nice promising 3-year-old filly and we wanted to give her a shot. She’s going to go back to Florida now for a couple months and have a little rest and hopefully bring her back for her 4-year-old year,” Houghton said. “We wanted to test her and we wanted to give her a little test against older fillies. I didn’t want to go seven-eighths. I wanted to go two turns, so that’s why we ended up in here.”

Hernandez settled Vault in mid-pack as Jehozacat, one of three trained by Arnaud Delacour, set fractions of 23.96 and 48.60 seconds. Hernandez kept Vault in the clear on the outside leaving the backstretch and around the turn, when they pounced on the pacesetter and sprinted clear.

Jehozacat was a decisive second, 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Trolley Ride, who edged Layla Noor by a neck for third. Vault, Trolley Ride and last-place finisher Trace of Grace are all trained by Houghton.

“I gave [Hernandez] some instructions in the paddock. I said, ‘Just remember it’s a long stretch. When she makes her move you want to be careful that you have enough horse,’” Houghton said. “He said he had a ton of horse at the head of the lane.”

The Thirty Eight Go Go is named for the two-time Maryland-bred champion bred and trained by Hall of Fame horseman King Leatherbury that raced 46 times from 1987-91 with 10 wins and $871,229 in purse earnings. She won seven stakes including the Gardenia (G2) and Tempted (G3) in 1987 and the Geisha Handicap from 1988-90.