08/05/2017 2:07PM

Meadowlands: Manchego cruises to victory in Jim Doherty Memorial

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Nikki Sherman
Manchego continued her impressive rookie campaign with a win in the Jim Doherty Memorial

Manchego is now a perfect five-for-five in her career after winning the $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial for rookie trotting fillies on Saturday afternoon at the Meadowlands in a career-best 1:52 4/5.

There was a tussle for the lead on the first turn with Dab Hanover (Jimmy Takter) coming on between horses to get the top spot away from Lily Stride (Tim Tetrick) before the 28 2/5 opening quarter.  Lily Stride settled into an open pocket, and while doing so Manchego (Yannick Gingras) went on the attack out of the third position, and she would get the lead well before the 56 4/5 half went on the board.

Lily Stride made a first-over move out of third past the half, but Manchego was still clear at the 1:25 1/5 three-quarters, and she would sprint away at the top of the lane, opening up a wide gap on the field with an eighth of a mile to go.  Phaetosive (Trond Smedshammer) made up some ground through the stretch after experiencing traffic trouble on the final turn, but Manchego was not giving way on this day, winning by about 2 1/2 lengths.  Lily Stride would finish third.

"I thought the race was over at the top of the stretch," offered Gingras.  "She felt great at that point."

Manchego, a daughter of Muscle Hill, is owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman, and she now has a bankroll of $218,168 to go with her unblemished record.  Purchased for $120,000 at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Manchego was bred by Brittany Farms and is the third foal out of the Cantab Hall mare Secret Magic ($198,260).  This makes Manchego a half-sister to In Secret (Deweycheatumnhowe, $233,385), and the dam Secret Magic is a half-sister to the likes of millionaire Possess The Magic (Self Possessed).  Manchego was the 1-2 favorite and returned $3.00 to win.

"She's a really special girl," said Takter, who won his third consecutive race on the card.  "We liked her from the get-go, and she's just kept on developing.  She's not a very big filly, but she sure has a very effective way of going, and she has that tremendous inner strength that very few horses have."