Key divisional matchup in Farer Belle Lee Handicap
Heading into this year, it looked like Michigan’s older females division would be a fairly safe bet for last year’s champion, Valley Loot to repeat. Though Valley Loot has had stakes success elsewhere in 2009, Yawm Estoora has staked her own claim to the title by taking both three-year-old and up stakes races for fillies and mares at Pinnacle Race Course.
The pair will face off for what will likely be the last time this year in Saturday’s $50,000 Farer Belle Lee Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.
The defending champion older female, as well as Michigan Thoroughbred of the Year, Valley Loot has earned most of her credentials this year outside of Michigan. The five-year-old Demaloot Demashoot mare’s lone start at Pinnacle in 2009, the June 27 Larkspur Handicap, saw her get hung wide the entire race on her way to a third place finish behind Yawm Estoora. Elsewhere, Valley Loot won the June 16 Golden Sylvia Handicap at Mountaineer and finished third in the July 25 Windward Stakes at Presque Isle Downs. Last year, Valley Loot won the Farer Belle Lee by a convincing 7 1/2 length margin. She enters this year’s installment off a fifth place finish in a Sep. 2 optional claimer at Presque Isle. Valley Loot is owned by Lisa Campbell and trained by Ronnie Allen, Sr.. Federico Mata will be in the irons on Saturday.
Valley Loot’s primary challenger to the title is Yawm Estoora. The six-year-old Dayjur mare holds a one-to-nothing head-to-head advantage against Valley Loot at Pinnacle this year, after beating her by 2 1/2 lengths in the Larkspur. Because Dayjur is not a Michigan-based sire, Yawm Estoora is not eligible for October’s Sire Stakes. This will be the last opportunity she will get for stakes competition at Pinnacle this year, and a chance to sweep the defending champion in Michigan stakes races for 2009. Yawm Estoora enters the race off a dominant 4 1/4 length victory in the Aug. 8 Moonbeam Handicap at Pinnacle. Angel Stanley will be in the saddle for owner Twin Cedars Farm and trainer Ron Inman.
Also entered is Valley Loot’s stablemate Wave Pool. The four-year-old Sea Legs filly, one of last year’s leading three-year-old females, enters Saturday’s race off a runner-up finish in an Aug. 22 Allowance race at Pinnacle. Wave Pool is trained by Ronnie Allen, Sr. for owner Lisa Campbell. Rick Knott will pick up the mount for the race.
#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Wave Pool / R L Knott / R D Allen, Sr. / 6-1
2. Glory Bea / A A Marin / J A Lewis / 20-1
3. Moon Charmer / G Laurente / R M Gorham / 10-1
4. Twilighted Thistle / A Ortiz / R Spiess / 20-1
5. Nell’s Enjoyment / JJ Delgado / S M Spiess / 8-1
6. Valley Loot / F Mata / R D Allen, Sr. / 8-5
7. She Could Be Good / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 5-1
8. Yawm Estoora / A O Stanley / R P Inman / 3-1
Meadow Vespers looks to begin stakes streak in Frontier Handicap
Like his running style, Meadow Vespers’ typical campaign through any given year is a slow burn, with respectable finishes working their way toward a big victory in the Sire Stakes. So far, that method has netted him four consecutive Sire Stakes wins.
That is why it is so surprising to see last year’s champion older male in a position to enter October’s major contest riding a two-race stakes wining streak, should he prevail in Saturday’s $50,000 Frontier Handicap at Pinnacle Race Course.
As previously mentioned, Meadow Vespers enters the Frontier off a deep-closing 1/2 length victory in the Aug. 15 Michigan Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Pinnacle. The seven-year-old Meadow Prayer gelding missed by a nose to Rockem Sockem in last year’s installment of the Frontier. Richard Rettele trains Meadow Prayer for owner J Mack Enterprise Inc. JJ Delgado will be in the saddle for Saturday’s race.
Fiery Lake surprised the field and the bettors when he pulled a 17.60-to-one upset in the July 4 Wolverine Stakes at Pinnacle. The four-year-old Devil His Due gelding drove off to a 4 3/4 length victory in that race, five lengths ahead of Meadow Vespers, who finished third. The rivals are tied in their head-to head matchup for 2009 with a win each. Fiery Lake enters the Frontier off a fourth place finish in the Michigan Breeders’ Cup to Meadow Vespers. Evelyn Griffin trains Fiery Lake for owner Samaron Stable. Ricardo Barrios will have the assignment.
Also entered is Michigan Breeders’ Cup runner-up All I Can Get. The five-year-old Slew City Slew gelding returns to Pinnacle after a road trip to Thistledown, where he finished second by a neck to Hot Chili in an Aug. 29 allowance race. Hot Chili is also entered in Saturday’s race. Federico Mata will ride All I Can Get for owner Michael McQuade and trainer Gerald Bennett.
#. Horse / Jockey / Trainer / Odds
1. Bishop Casey / J Skerrett / R M Gorham / 6-1
2. Fiery Lake / R Barrios / E Griffin / 4-1
3. Born to Tango / A Ortiz / J R Jackson / 20-1
4. Al’s Best Man / L R Frazzitta, Jr. / R J Richardson / 20-1
5. Meadow Vespers / J J Delgado / R J Rettele / 2-1
6. Candid Image / M Ccamaque / L E Boggess / 15-1
7. All I Can Get / F Mata / G S Bennett / 5-1
8. Hot Chili / A O Stanley / J R Jackson / 9-2
9. Hooched Express / L Wade / C Dorris / 12-1