11/25/2015 9:16PM

Favorite Tale delivers in Fabulous Strike Handicap


Favorite Tale came into Wednesday night’s $200,000 Fabulous Strike Handicap at Penn National as the horse to beat and turned in a solid performance to take down the win.

The Fabulous Strike was one of three stakes on Penn National’s second-biggest night of the year.

Favorite Tale, based at Parx Racing with Lupe Preciado, came into the Fabulous Strike off a gallant third-place effort to Runhappy and Private Zone in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. That effort was all the more impressive since Favorite Tale had to overcome post 14 in the bulky field. In July, Favorite Tale won the Grade 2 Smile Sprint, a Win and You’re In qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup.

Jockey Javier Castellano sent Favorite Tale right to the lead in the Fabulous Strike. On the far turn, pressure was being applied by Amelia’s Wild Ride, who is trained by Preciado’s brother Ramon. Favorite Tale put away Amelia’s Wild Ride nearing the stretch and then held his advantage to the wire, winning by two lengths.

Favorite Tale paid $3 to win. He covered six furlongs in 1:11.00.

Majestic Hussar angled to the inside and was up for second at 85-1. The filly Galiana rallied to be third, a neck behind Majestic Hussar. Amelia’s Wild Ride finished fourth.

Favorite Tale is now 8 for 18 with earnings of just under $900,000 and seems set up for a very good 5-year-old campaign next year. Earlier this week, Lupe Preciado said a trip to Dubai for the Golden Shaheen was a possibility.

Ben’s Cat, who had won the Fabulous Strike in each of the previous three years, had a rough trip and finished seventh. Ben’s Cat was racing between horses nearing the far turn when jockey Julian Pimentel had to steady him. He lost position and never appeared to fully recover.

Swatara: Page McKenney takes care of business

Page McKenney is as honest as they come. In upper stretch of the $100,000 Swatara Stakes, four horses had a chance to win. Page McKenney persevered and prevailed by a half-length over Kid Cruz.

Since being claimed for $16,000 by trainer Mary Eppler in July 2013, Page McKenney has won 13 times, including seven stakes. He is just short of $1 million in earnings.

Page McKenney came into the Swatara 11 days after dominating the Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park. Eppler debated about whether to run him back so soon but ultimately made the right choice, just as she has done time and again with Page McKenney over the past two years.

Page McKenney settled well off the legitimate early pace in the 1 1/16-mile Swatara. He advanced under regular rider Horacio Karamanos on the far turn, then dug in during the stretch run to outfinish Kid Cruz. He paid $5 to win and was timed in 1:44.08.

Kid Cruz, as is his style, raced far back early. He made a strong inside move to reach the leaders in upper stretch but lacked the needed fortitude late. It was two lengths farther back to Catron in third.

Stormin Monarcho, who was bidding for a Swatara repeat, raced forwardly to the stretch and then tired to finish fifth.

Blue Mountain: Behrnik’s Bank is a monster

Behrnik’s Bank followed up her 18 1/2-length maiden win with an almost equally impressive victory in the $75,000 Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies while simply out for a breeze under jockey Edwin Gonzalez, who kept her under a snug hold for the length of the stretch.

Behrnik’s Bank went to the front immediately in the Blue Mountain, a six-furlong race for 2-year-old Pennsylvania-bred fillies, and steadily increased her advantage to win by 13 lengths.

Behrnik’s Bank, trained by Dimitrios Synnefias, cruised through splits of 22.36 seconds, 44.95, and 57.17 before completing six furlongs in 1:10.22. She paid $2.40. Its a Journey was second, and Hey Monba finished third.

Behrnik’s Bank’s dam, Behrnik, was claimed for $25,000 by owner and then-trainer Peter Kazamias in 2006. She finished second in her lone start for Kazamias, then was retired.

Behrnik’s Bank is her fourth foal. The first three are Earnings Release, 3 wins, $120,000; Mighty One, 5 wins, $139,000; and Behr in the Woods, 3 wins, $91,000. Behrnik’s Bank is now 2 for 2 and has earned $65,000.