Pavel Romps in G3 Smarty Jones

Imperial Hint Threatens Track Record in Le Vine

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PAVEL IMPRESSIVE IN WINNING G3 SMARTY JONES Imperial Hint Preps for Breeders Cup in Le Vine

Parx Racing capped off its Labor Day weekend with a terrific Monday afternoon program that featured four stakes including three of its major stakes of the year. Topping the card were the G3 $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at one mile and one-sixteenth for three year-olds, the G3 $300,000 Turf Monster Handicap, a five furlong turf sprint, the G3 $200,000 Greenwood Cup, a mile and a half main track marathon, and the $100,000 Don Le Vine Memorial Stakes, a six furlong main track sprint.

The latter part of the racing season in the three year-old division often spawns new talent, horses that were not ready to run in the spring classics and instead waited the opportunity to show their potential. Reddam Racing’s Pavel may prove to be one such colt as he put on a terrific display Monday afternoon, convincingly pulling away from five rivals to win the Smarty Jones Stakes by 6 lengths. Trained by Doug O’Neill, the Creative Cause colt did not debut until July 1st at Santa Anita where he somehow went off at 7-1 and made short work of a special weight, field winning by four and a half lengths. In just his second start, O’Neill decided to immediately try the big time, sending him to Saratoga for the G2, nine furlong Jim Dandy Stakes. Still in with a chance at the top of the stretch, he faded a bit late but still managed to finish a respectable fourth. His next stop, Parx, and most certainly an easier spot in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones. Racing just off early leaders, recent West Virginia Derby winner Colonelsdarktemper and the well regarded Battalion Runner, Pavel settled into third around the first turn before beginning to make slow but steady progress heading to the half mile pole. About two and a half lengths behind at that point, jockey Mario Gutierrez then asked his colt for run and he responded in kind. Quickly moving to the leaders around the far turn, Pavel took command just outside the quarter pole. In full stride, he roared off the turn and began pulling away with every stride. Geared down at the end, he came home six lengths in front, a margin that could have been much more. Off as third choice at 7-2, he paid $9.80 to win and finished out in 1:42.27.

The Turf Monster Stakes was won for the second time by Patricia Generazio’s Pure Sensation. The six year-old gelded of Zensational won the race in 2015 and came into the race a perfect three for three over the local course. Breaking from post two, jockey Kendrick Carmouche used the early speed of Pure Sensation to get position down on the inside while racing in the second flight behind a line of three horses battling up front. Bold Thunder held a slight lead through a quarter in 21.99 with long shots Uncle Leo and Snowday applying pressure on the outside. Able to stay on the inside of the course, Pure Sensation came to the last furlong still with ground to make up, almost three lengths back as the speed began to come back and the late runners started to get involved. Mongolian Saturday was closing in the center of the course while Snowday fought gamely and kept coming while racing between horses. With room near the fence and a late surge, Pure Sensation came charging through, took the lead nearing the wire and held off the fast closing Mongolian Saturday to win by a neck. Trained by Christophe Clement, he went off as the favorite at 7-5 and paid $4.80 to win. The final time over a course labeled good was :57.13. He became the third horse to win multiple Turf Monsters, Chamberlain Bridge having won in 2009-10 and the late, great Ben’s Cat in 2011-12.

The Greenwood Cup set up beautifully for Todd Pletcher trainee Madefromlucky. The five year-old son of Lookin at Lucky had a chance to sit an inside trip behind a contested pace, comfortably took the lead with about three furlongs to run and then won by as much as jockey Javier Castellano pleased. Last year in the Greenwood Cup, Scuba was the only speed in the race and he took advantage of the tactical edge and led gate to wire. Back today looking for a repeat win, Scuba faced much different circumstances. Pressed early by long shot Let Me Go First, the fractions proved much more demanding, the first quarter in 23.99 and a half in 47.33. Meanwhile, Madefromlucky simply bided his time behind the front runners and moving to the final turn, got his cue to go challenge the softened up leaders. By the time the field turned for home, he had opened a three length lead and the margin was growing with each jump. The big lead allowed Castellano to wrap up his horse with better than a sixteenth to go and Madefromlucky coasted under the wire, winning by an official margin of just over 12 lengths. Owned by Cheyenne Farms and Mac Nichol, he went off as the 8-5 second choice and paid $5.80 to win. The final time for the mile and a half was 2:32.72.

After winning back to back Grade 3 races in Maryland and Florida with top sprinter, Ray Mamone’s Imperial Hint, trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr. decided to use the $100,000 Don Le Vine Memorial Stakes as a final prep before sending his four year-old Imperialism colt west for a start in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Sprint. On the basis of what he did here today, one would have to think he’ll have a legitimate shot. He could not have been more impressive. Despite being under firm restraint from jockey Javier Castellano, Imperial Hint still stayed in close pursuit behind leader Lewys Vaporizer after a quarter in 21.74. Rounding the far turn, he then cruised by the front runner with about two and a half furlongs to go and with seemingly little effort, was clocked for a half mile in a blistering :43.81. Without being asked to ever run even a step, Imperial Hint flew down the stretch and stopped the timer in 1:07.55, the second fastest six furlongs ever at Parx and just .04 off the track record. Bet down to 1-5, he returned a win mutual of $2.40.