Updated on 10/27/2012 6:48PM

Laurel: Action Andy noses out Il Villano in Frank De Francis Memorial Dash

Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Action Andy, under Horatio Karamanos, hits the wire almost simulaneously with Il Villano in the Frank De Francis Memorial Dash.

The Maryland-bred Action Andy displayed a tremendous will to win in Saturday’s Frank De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

Racing alongside the 3-year-old  Il Villano down the middle of the track in the stretch, Action Andy, under jockey Horatio Karamanos, reached the wire first by the tip of his nose to earn his fourth stakes victory this season.

The $350,000 De Francis Dash was the last and richest of six stakes on a Fall Festival of Racing program. The other five stakes were all $150,000 races on turf.

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Carlos Garcia for owner Robert Gerczak, Action Andy ($22) ran the six furlongs on a fast track in 1:10.61.

“I was a little worried at the sixteenth pole, but I know when he kicks he keeps coming,” said Garcia. “He trained better than he ever has coming into this race and Horacio rode him to perfection. That was an extremely nice horse he beat today. They both wanted to win; you could see that. But I guess he wanted it more. This is the biggest win of my career."

The race featured a ton of speed and five of the 11 runners in the field were out battling each other early. After early contested fractions of 22.15 and 45.46 seconds, three horses were across the track turning for home – Bet the Power, the 3-year-old Alsvid, and The Hunk – chased by Action Andy and Il Villano. The closers separated themselves from the tiring pacesetters and Il Villano, stepping up to challenge older horses for the first time, appeared to get slightly in front before Action Andy battled back and refused to lose. Immortal Eyes, a 29-1 outsider who stumbled at the start, rallied to get third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the top pair.

“My horse really responded when I used the whip,” Karamanos said. “I’m so happy for Carlos. My horse has improved a lot. He is a much better horse since moving back to dirt and was going with more distance. Carlos made a  good decision to switch back to dirt and less distance.”

Action Andy, a son of Gators N Bears, was coming off a win in the Maryland Million Sprint three weeks ago. He also won the one-mile Da Hoss on turf at Colonial Downs and a pair of sprint stakes early in the year at Tampa Bay Downs. Overall, he is 10 for 29 with earnings of $524,430.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iwant to give a shout out to the ticket maker (drf formulator), which brought home the modest p4 at laurel, today. This is a track I seldom play, but the card, esp p4 sequence, was exquisite, which I thought could produce a decent pay-out. I used 21horses of varying rank (A,B,C), and a $94 investment. I ended up hitting it with a "2A's-2B's ticket with 12 chances ($6), but what is really amazing to me is that I won without the 2A's that I loved the most on the sequence, the final leg, Alsvid and Illvilano. Becaus using ticket maker makes you think in terms of "A's", "B's", "C's", I was able to find a spot (lone "B") for the eventual winner, Action Andy, who was basically my easily forgettable 3rd choice. Without using ticket maker, and using a caveman strategy instead, there is no way I hit this, I'm 99% siure of that. Obviously, there's good handicapping behind it, you have to rank the horses appropriately and yet include only the horses that you think - within reason - have a shot to win. A horse you might include in the final leg of a Tri because you think he might hang on for 3rd or plod into the position is not a "C" in P4 construction. You have to believe there's a reasonable way for a given horse to win in order to include, and then you have to rank him appropriately. So, of course,all of that is part of handicapping well, but I think a lot more people handicap well than cash, which is why I wholeheartedly recommend ticket maker.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Iwould add that TM is best used under the conditions of a sequence that one feels speaks to him, and a minimum investment of, say, $75. Obviously, for P5s, and P6s, much higher investments are involved. This is the first time I ever actually used the ticket maker, so I'm far from an expert, maybe others can chime in with their experiences.
Advance Plumbing More than 1 year ago
the $2 pk 4 pd 6150 bucks. I dont understand ticket maker A"s, B's C's. My pick 4 for .50 was 4deep, 2 deep 4 deep 4 deep total cost $64. total payout 1500. Sheldon russel at 10-1 ML goes off at 22-1in the Turf Classic was my pick of the day. I guess thats a caveman ticket.but it worked for me.Just cant play multiple smaller tickets, it' ll drive u crazy!
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
Looked like a dead heat, where's the finish photo? Speacial K is so underated, he outmuscled Kendrick in that one.
ctgreyhound More than 1 year ago
Immortal Eyes ran the best race. Without the stumble he clearly would have been the winner. Can't believe he was 29-1 with his record.
dud dew More than 1 year ago
Without the stumble, no one can know what the pace and trip would have been for the horse. May have won - may have finished dead last....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay. Maybe you just need to tweak your thinking. IE plodded into the race because of the speed duel, the three best horses finsished 1,2 4. All 3 ran extremely game races, the place horse gave everything he had, but he ran into a tough-minded colt, while the 4th place finisher wa undone by the pace, and wide berth, yet only gave way grudgingly; he was, also, just a 3yo, with a great career ahead of him. He's a major win type. Under a different pace scenerio, or a different track, any of these 3 could beat the other. It looked like the grey was spent after the race, I wouldn't want to see him back quickly. As for IE, don't waste good money on the win end chasing him against this type.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I forgot to mention: this race is an example of the courage and beauty of the thoroughbred race horse, I think we have to acknowledge that when we see it. There was a time when thoroughbred racing was fully accepted by an admiring american public.