12/03/2016 6:23PM

Bennett sweeps juvenile stakes with Chance of Luck, R Angel Katelyn

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Chance of Luck, ridden by Erick Rodriguez, holds off Dont Come Knockin to win the Inaugural Stakes by a neck Saturday.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – Trainer Gerald Bennett experienced the highs and lows of racing at two different tracks during a 15-minute span Saturday, as Chance of Luck remained undefeated by taking the $60,000 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the stakes winner Fast Flying Rumor endured a brutal trip while finishing sixth in the $107,800 Claiming Crown Canterbury Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

And just a short while later back at Tampa Bay Downs, Bennett was flying high again, as R Angel Katelyn wired the field in the $89,000 Sandpiper Stakes, giving the veteran trainer a sweep of the day’s two stakes for juveniles here.  

“It’s a lot of pressure off,” Bennett said in the winner’s circle. “You get a little bit too high on some of the 2-year-olds sometimes when everybody likes them.”

With Erick Rodriguez aboard, Chance of Luck made a bold three-wide move around the turn in the six-furlong Inaugural, forged to a 2 1/2-length lead in the stretch, and held off a rallying Dont Come Knockin to win by a neck.

Chance of Luck had pressed the pace three wide as Stapleton led the field of eight 2-year-old males through a quarter-mile in 22.51 seconds. Chance of Luck claimed a half-length lead after a half-mile in 45.53 seconds, and down the stretch, only Dont Come Knockin emerged as a threat, quickly making up ground under Albin Jimenez before coming up just short.

“I tried to get him into the race without asking him early,” Rodriguez said. “He was pretty sharp and put me in the race early. When I asked him to go, he kicked pretty well. My horse was looking around when he made the lead. The other horse was closing, but I still had horse left.”

Chance of Luck ($9.80) stopped the clock in 1:10.84 on a fast track. Dont Come Knockin finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of Bennett’s second starter, Triumphant Joy, in third. Obvious One, the 7-10 favorite after starting his career with two impressive wins at Thistledown, finished fifth after prompting the early pace.

Chance of Luck, a son of Skipshot and the Alphabet Soup mare Winning Chance, is now 2 for 2, having won a $40,000 maiden-claiming race by 5 1/2 lengths at Laurel Park on Oct. 28. He’s earned $48,810 for J J Brevan Stable LLC. Bennett said the $100,000 Pasco Stakes, a seven-furlong race for newly turned 3-year-olds here Jan. 21, likely will be next for Chance of Luck.

“I’ve always been high on this horse,” Bennett said. “He’s coming along really good. He’s got a great mind, and at this point in time, nothing too much upsets him. He’s got the pedigree for distance.”

In the Sandpiper Stakes, R Angel Katelyn ($5.40) delivered as the favorite in a field of nine 2-year-old fillies, leading from start to finish under Edwin Gonzalez for a 3 1/2-length victory. R Angel Katelyn led by 2 1/2 lengths after fractions of 23.33 and 45.24 seconds and wasn’t seriously challenged down the stretch, finishing the six-furlong race in 1:10.67.

“This is a very nice filly because she relaxes so good,” Bennett said. “She’s got a lot of ability. She’s got plenty of speed, and she knows how to win. [Gonzalez] said he had a lot of horse and he wasn’t really worried. When he asked her, he could feel a lot of horse under him. She’s got the game down now pat, and she’s one that doesn’t have to be on the lead, so you just play it however it comes up each time.”

Jumby Bay, a Todd Pletcher trainee, pressed the pace in second for much of the race and was the runner-up, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Rashette.

R Angel Katelyn, a daughter of High Cotton out of the Southern Halo mare Send for an Angel, now has three wins and a runner-up finish in four career starts. She’s earned $147,120 for owners Averill Racing LLC and CCF Racing Stable.

“I knew she was the best going in,” Richard Averill said. “I wouldn’t have traded places with anybody else. She showed her colors today. She’s got a bright future.”

Averill said the $100,000 Gasparilla Stakes, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies here Jan. 21, might be next for R Angel Katelyn.