Margano Wins Dramatic Running of the PTHA President’s CupSometimes indeed quality outshines quantity and that was most certainly the case in Saturday’s running of the $200,000 PTHA President’s Cup at Parx Racing. Despite a short five horse field, the race produced one of the most dramatic stretch runs of the year at the local track with Lael Stable’s Margano battling Holiday Star head and head to the wire, winning by what would be called a nose, but more exactly was maybe an inch at best.
The one mile and one-eighth test over a turf case labeled good began uneventfully. Our Emerald Forest, a 9-1 shot, took the lead in the first sixteenth of a mile and cantered along uncontested on the front end through opening fractions of 23.95 and 48.84. Margano would sit second, Winning Cause, the overwhelming favorite at 2-5 sat third with Holiday Star, an unhurried and ground saving fifth. But with a half mile to go, the drama started to unfold.
Winning Cause made the first move, ran past Margano and up to engage Our Emerald Forest. Long shot Sailor’s Revenge (13-1) also made a sudden move three wide from fourth and was now up with the leaders and in a blink, Margano had lost two spots, was now fourth with Holiday Star still fifth as they moved to the far turn. Now it was Holiday Star’s turn to make his move. He also ran past Margano but with Sailor’s Revenge quickly dropping out of it and the early leader tiring, Margano was able to run on to be third and was ready to try to stay with Winning Cause and Holiday Star, both of whom had gotten first run on him. The three would then come to the eighth pole together. Winning Cause on the inside, Margano in between and Holiday Star on the outside. Winning Cause would be the first to give way and as they came to mid-stretch, Holiday Star had forged a short lead of about a neck, but Margano was as game as they come. Refusing to surrender, he edged back on even terms with Holiday Star as the two came to wire absolutely side by side. Even the keenest eye could not have determined the winner as the two flashed under the wire, heads down, driving, mirror images of each other. When the photo came up, Margano had won the scantest of noses in an absolutely thrilling finish.
Owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, Margano is a 5 year-old gelded son of Dynaformer and a full brother to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Trained by Arnaud Delacour and under Kendrick Carmouche, he went post ward at 7-1 and paid $17.00, 7.40 and 2.40. Holiday Star (3-1) did everything but win, was terrific in defeat and paid 4.20 and 2.10. Winning Cause could do no better than third and returned 2.10. The final time was 1:52.19.