11/12/2013 1:48PM

Dick Jerardi: Res Judicata earns vacation with impressive stakes win

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Laurel Park
Res Judicata will get a break after winning the $100,000 City of Laurel Stakes by 4 1/4 lengths Saturday.

Last fall, John Servis had a 2-year-old Pennsylvania-bred son of Smarty Jones whom he liked so much that he was thinking the colt might get him back on the Kentucky Derby trail. Res Judicata finished second in the Pennsylvania Nursery at Parx Racing, and Servis sent him to Florida.

“Once I got him down there, the more I started doing with him, I realized he just wasn’t going to get that distance,” Servis said. “We elected to keep him sprinting.”

Res Judicata chased and tired in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream and then ran strongly in a small stakes at Aqueduct. The horse has had other solid efforts in 2013 but usually would follow them with subpar races. It was puzzling.

The colt became a gelding this summer and promptly ran the fastest race of his career at Parx on Aug. 6. Res Judicata then ran terribly Sept. 21 in the Researcher Stakes at Charles Town. He got behind horses in the slop, rushed up, got tired, and shut it down.

The stable knew Res Judicata was better than that. In the $100,000 City of Laurel Stakes, the last of four consecutive stakes on a card last Saturday, Res Judicata was way better than that and quite a bit better than all the other horses in the race. Under Kendrick Carmouche, wearing the familiar blue and white silks of Pat Chapman’s Someday Farm, the horse broke sharply, prompted the pace, blew open the seven-furlong race on the turn, and won by 4 1/4 lengths.

That was Res Judicata’s final race of 2013. Servis is going to give the horse some time off and get him ready for some Pennsylvania-bred stakes in 2014. Ten years after Smarty Jones’s run through America, one of his sons will get a run through Pennsylvania. If he performs in those races anything like he did at Laurel Park, Res Judicata will be very difficult to beat.

Maryland draws top apprentices

Top apprentice jockeys, from Chris McCarron to Kent Desormeaux and Rosie Napravnik, seem to gravitate to Maryland. Four of the top six in the Laurel Park fall standings are apprentices.

Trevor McCarthy, 19, was second in the Laurel winter standings. He won six races during opening week at Pimlico, broke his left leg during training, and missed almost five months.

McCarthy, son of former jockey Mike McCarthy, started at Parx in the fall 2012 and lost 70 races before finally winning. He has not stopped winning since then.

Maryland-based apprentice riders have won nine of the 42 Eclipse Awards. Before his injury, McCarthy was a contender for the Eclipse Award.

Victor Carrasco, who is battling for the Laurel lead with McCarthy, is second nationally in wins among apprentice riders and is likely to be an Eclipse finalist.

“Just being there would be great, but winning the Eclipse would be amazing,” Carrasco said.

Perfect at Charles Town

Amherst Street has run four times, all at Charles Town, and has never been behind at any call. The 2-year-old West Virginia-bred gelding won his maiden at 4 1/2 furlongs July 14, came back to win a statebred stakes at the same distance Sept. 21, and won another West Virginia-bred stakes Oct. 19, this time at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Last Saturday, 1-5 favorite Amherst Street took the lead again and held off all comers in the $100,000 Tri-State Futurity, running seven furlongs in 1:26.84 and winning by a length. The horse is trained by Javier Contreras and has been ridden in every race by Charles Town regular Antonio Lopez. The horse’s Beyer Speed Figures are as consistent as his form: 72, 71, 75, and a 71 in the Tri-State.

Small Giant changes hands often

Small Giant arrived at Penn National from Mountaineer Park on Aug. 1 off a big drop from a claiming price of $10,000 to $4,000. He was promptly claimed. Since then, the 5-year-old horse has run for $6,250, $8,000, $10,000, and $8,000 and has been claimed every time, once by David Wells, who had him originally, and twice by John Locke. Nobody has made a mistake yet. In the five races at Penn, Small Giant has three wins, a second, and a third.