Updated on 10/02/2013 12:18PM

Dick Jerardi: Immortal Eyes enjoying best season yet at age 8

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Immortal Eyes surpassed $1 million in earnings by winning his 17th race in the Frank De Francis Memorial Dash..

Racing millionaires are no longer an oddity. In an era of inflated purses, it is hard to separate the horses that just were in the right place at the right time from the horses that really earned the money.

That is not an issue with Immortal Eyes. An 8-year-old gelding, Immortal Eyes earned his $1 million the hard way, race by race, through a 47-race career at 14 different tracks from Florida to New York, but mostly in Maryland and West Virginia.

Immortal Eyes very nearly won the 2011 De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park. Without a terrible start in 2012, the horse almost certainly would have won it at 29-1. This year, the Dash was never in doubt. Immortal Eyes jumped right to the front and kept extending his lead to nearly seven lengths at the wire. He ran the six furlongs in 1:08.47, earning a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure while winning for the 17th time and going past $1 million.

Immortal Eyes began his career on June 30, 2007, at Belmont. He also has run at Belmont Park, Aqueduct, the Meadowlands, Monmouth Park, Gulfstream Park, Calder, Colonial Downs, Mountaineer, Charles Town (where he is 9 for 11), Penn National, Timonium, and Pimlico. No Delaware Park or Parx Racing, but there is still time.

[MID-ATLANTIC RACING: Complete DRF coverage, weekly video previews]

The horse has run distances from four furlongs to six furlongs only. He raced once on grass, the rest on dirt. He has run at 4 1/2 furlongs 13 times and six furlongs 29 times. What you get every time is a horse who really tries and what you also get is a horse who is having his best year as an 8-year-old.

The horse was originally trained by Rick Violette. Then, Angel Penna Jr. had him. Damon Dilodovico got Immortal Eyes early in 2010.

“He’s built like a Michael Phelps,” Dilodovico said. “Have you ever seen swimmers? Solid muscle.”

Phelps, who grew up just north of the Baltimore city line, became a worldwide swimming legend. Immortal Eyes’s legend is limited to the insular worlds of Maryland and West Virginia racing, but there he is incredibly popular.

Prior to the 2013 De Francis, Immortal Eyes had hit triple digits on the Beyer scale twice and lost both – the 2012 Fabulous Strike at Penn National to Ben’s Cat and the 2011 De Francis to Candyman E.

That the horse finally got his elusive De Francis, with the performance of a lifetime, was not lost on the trainer who first came to the Maryland tracks as a bettor.

“I remember what Mr. [Frank] De Francis brought to the game,” Dilodovico said.

Somehow, Immortal Eyes just keeps getting better. After winning a Charles Town stakes in February, he won two Monmouth stakes in July, including the Teddy Drone on Haskell Day. The horse has earned nearly $400,000 in 2013.

Immortal Eyes simply loves all of it.

“My wife rubs him,” Dilodovico said. “He might leave the barn and be gone for 45 minutes to an hour. She’ll panic.”

Turns out the horse just takes his time getting to the track.

“Maybe he’s lazy, maybe he’s sightseeing,” Dilodovico said. “Once he starts work, it’s work. He doesn’t get distracted.”

And when Immortal Eyes comes out of a starting gate, he surely does not get distracted. He just runs for the finish line.

Carmouche heading to Gulfstream

Kendrick Carmouche, the dominant jockey at Parx since 2008, plans to head to south Florida in December for the opening of the Gulfstream Park winter meet. He has no more worlds to conquer at Parx, so he is going to make a run at the big time during one of the year’s most competitive meets.

Princess of Sylmar targets 2014 Del Cap

It appears as if Ed Stanco’s brilliant 3-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar is done for the year after an amazing run of four consecutive Grade 1 wins, culminating with the upset of Royal Delta in last Saturday’s Beldame. Stanco said one race on the 2014 radar is the Grade 1 Delaware Handicap. Royal Delta won it the last two years. The Princess would be a very worthy successor.

◗ Trainer Kevin Patterson is 50 for 115 (44 percent), with 83 (72 percent) in-the-money finishes this year. He is 30 for 74 (41 percent) at Charles Town.

◗ Reign Suzanne ran three times last year at Woodbine and was beaten a combined 45 lengths. She won her maiden in a $7,500 claimer at Penn National on March 14. She has now won 6 of 10 this year and nearly $100,000 for trainer Sandee Beattie. She won one race by 14 1/2 lengths and another by 23 lengths.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Immortal Eyes made his career debut at Saratoga. The race was at Belmont Park.