Mere Inches Separate Winners of Saturday Stakes Races
On Saturday, November 16th, two sets of juveniles competed for $75,000 each at Parx Racing. The special stakes races were restricted to horses who had spent ninety days in South Carolina and paid a nomination fee to the South Carolina Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (SCTOBA).
The Donna Freyer Stakes drew a field of ten two-year-old fillies that would go six and a half furlongs on the dirt. Post time favorite was Kawfee Fa Marfa, who had broken her maiden in her debut in a stakes race at Delaware Park. Second choice was Miss Bullistic, who won the Selima at Laurel Park on the turf in September. Also drawing interest in the betting was the undefeated Mondor, who broke her maiden by more than ten lengths in her debut at Laurel.
Stakes-placed Saluda took the early lead at the start, with Keith Nations’ Pattitude prompting the pace alongside Mike Pino’s Lust for Diamonds. When entering the stretch, Saluda began to fade as Pattitude surged to the front and the closers began to move. At the wire, less than a neck separated the top four horses – Miss Bullistic, Mondor, Pattitude and Lust for Diamonds.
Winning filly Miss Bullistic was trained by Hamilton Smith for owner Kathleen Willier. She was ridden to victory by Jevian Toledo. The dark bay daughter of Bullsbay stopped the clock in 1:20.26.
One race later, the 6 1/2 furlong Christopher Elser Memorial produced a similarly close finish. The overwhelming favorite was Someday Farm’s Nasa, a PA-bred son of Smarty Jones who had broken his maiden by nearly ten lengths on September 27th at Laurel. The only stakes winner in the field was Duff, another PA-bred colt by Candy Ride, who won the Mark McDermott Stakes at Presque Isle Downs two starts back.
The stakes-placed gelding Stonebriar jumped out to the lead under Sheldon Russell, and nearly took the race wire to wire, battling first with Ramon Preciado’s Kensington Kid and then with the fast-closing Duff. At the finish, Duff held a head lead over Stonebriar, thus pushing his career earnings over the six-figure mark.
Daniel Centeno guided Duff to victory for The Elkstone Group LLC and trainer Ron Potts. The duo finished the Christopher Elser Memorial in 1:19.25.