09/04/2016 11:14AM

Big night for Allen, Houghton, Clemente at Michigan Sire Stakes

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Trainer Ronald Allen Sr. and jockeys T.D. Houghton and Alfredo Clemente each bagged a pair of wins Saturday night during the six races of the Michigan Sire Stakes at Hazel Park.

All six races at the Detroit-area track carried estimated purses of $40,000, and were restricted to Michigan-sired runners bred in any state.

The night’s most dominant performance came from Pink Pajamas in the 3-year-old fillies division, in which the Equality filly took command after the first half-mile and piled on to win by 13 3/4 lengths over Haley Power and Invoice Me. It was the first of Houghton’s wins on the night, for owner Mast Thoroughbreds and trainer Robert Gorham.

Pink Pajamas completed the one-mile, 70-yard race in 1:48.71, and paid $3.20 to win as the overwhelming favorite. It was her fifth consecutive win, and her second in stakes company, to improve her record to six victories in 12 starts for earnings of $96,363. Pink Pajamas was bred in Michigan by Campbell Stables.

The closest race of the night followed when Ante My Annie found a second burst to nose out Trinity Revealed, who had staged her usual come-from-behind move in the final turn and appeared a clear winner in mid-stretch. Under jockey Wayne Barnett, Ante My Annie battled for the early lead with Synfull Tale into an opening quarter in 25.36 and a half in 50.11, and was ahead by two lengths down the backstretch.

Trinity Revealed weaved her way through horses to approach the leader, and easily passed her by on the outside in the turn, taking over the rail position. Barnett moved Ante My Annie to the outside, and started to gain ground on her foe, finally regaining the advantage in the final jump. More Red Roses was well behind for third. Ante My Annie stopped the clock in 1:58.76 for 1 1/8 miles and paid $9.60 to win.

The effort improved Ante My Annie’s record to four wins in 10 starts for $96,618. The Indiana-bred Sky Approval filly is owned and trained by Denis Cluley and was bred by Denis and Cathie Cluley.

2-year-old males division

Blessed Redeemer carried on a long-running tradition of Sire Stakes winners out of dam C R Emmaus Road, becoming the fourth to do so by winning the 2-year-old males division on Michigan’s marquee card.

The Equality gelding pressured pacesetter Request a Lawyer into an opening quarter of 26.34 seconds, then settled into a pocket on the rail across the backstretch. Clemente moved Blessed Redeemer three wide heading into the top of the stretch, and ground-down the lead of a rail-running Request a Lawyer to get up by a half-length, winning the 5 1/2- furlong race in 1:11.01 and paying $5.20 to win. Brother Z ran between the top two down the stretch to finish third.

The Sire Stakes was Blessed Redeemer’s first win in his second start, improving his earnings to $27,858. Daniel McCarthy was the winning owner and Allen picked up his first training win of the card.

“He’s a wonderful horse with an incredible stride, and we look forward to more improvement from this one,” McCarthy said. “For an owner, it’s a wonderful thing when you take care of them yourself, and to have some quality. To be able to visit the winner’s circle is pretty exciting.”

Blessed Redeemer was bred in Michigan by Guy and Deb Russell, and is a full brother to Sire Stakes winners Comeflywithanangel and Trinity Revealed and a half-brother to Power of Titus.

McCarthy has been an active underbidder on the family for nearly a decade, and purchased Blessed Redeemer’s full brother as a weanling last year after buying Blessed Redeemer privately.

“I was going to buy the first one I saw, Power of Titus, who went on to be a big stakes winner,” he said. “I missed out on him and I said I’m not going to do it again.”

Juvenile fillies division

The juvenile fillies division was won by debutante Circle Can Run, who was placed on the lead early by Houghton into early fractions of 26.38 for a quarter and 51.41 for a half, and drew off to win by 4 1/4 lengths over Grab the Loot and Poof Its Magic. The Gun Power filly completed the 5 1/2- furlong race in 1:12.00 and paid $7.80.

Shane Spiess trains Circle Can Run for his father Merril Spiess, and the filly earned $26,368 for her debut score. Daniel Myers bred the filly in Ohio.

“I’ve been working her for Shane over at Thistledown, and when I get on her, she’s so big and a nice, kind 2-year-old,” Houghton said. “When I took her to the gate, I was surprised how quick she was. This filly’s got a lot of potential, and I think she’s only going to get better.”

Older males division

Boo Dutton prevailed in the older males division, deviating from his usual late-closing strategy to take the lead soon after an awkward start, going the widest of the six-horse field into the first turn. Jockey Eric Edwards got him to the rail as the field went under the wire for the first time, and set an opening half in 52.16 seconds.

He faced pressure from a pack of horses through the second turn, led by Al’s Prayer, while Meadow Wise prepared a wide trip of his own four-wide. Meadow Wise got within a neck of the leader in the final turn, but Boo Dutton repelled the challenge under a right-handed whip by Edwards and won by 3 1/4 lengths. Meadow Wise carried on for second ahead of Al’s Prayer. He finished the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:57.49 and paid $6.40.

Boo Dutton, a 9-year-old Equality gelding, is owned by Kala Crampton and trained by Jason Uelmen. He was bred in Michigan by Twin Cedars Farm. The race was his first stakes victory after finishing second in the past two runnings of the older males Sire Stakes, and improved his record to eight wins in 49 starts for $142,468.

3-year-old males division

The only repeat Sire Stakes winner was Gun Powder, who took last year’s juvenile males division and continued to reign over his crop of Michigan-sired runners with a win in the 3-year-old males division.
The Gun Power gelding was put on the lead by Clemente, and opened up fractions of 24.98 and 50.44, before being approached by Battle Drum and Run Dan Run in the stretch. Gun Powder held off Battle Drum by a neck to take the mile and 70-yard race in 1:50.22 and pay $6.20.

Gun Powder runs as a homebred for Lisa Campbell and was Allen’s second stakes winner of the night. He has now won three of five starts for $66,017.

“He’s a nice horse,” Allen said. “Last time he ran here, he got a little tired. It had been his first time out in a couple months, and tonight he’s back to his old form.”

Gun Powder is out of the Campbell-owned Valley Loot, who won four consecutive editions of the Sire Stakes in various divisions from 2007 to 2010 at Great Lakes Downs and Pinnacle Race Course.

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Cindy Davidson 8 months ago
Nice article Joe, great to see you, and as always, Sire Stakes is the best day of racing ever!  Congrats to everyone!