06/22/2013 3:48PM

Parx: Traffic Light displays versatility in 10-1 upset of Donald LeVine Memorial

Barbara Weidl/Equiphoto
Traffic Light, with John Bisono aboard, wins his second straight seven-furlong race to start his 4-year-old campaign in the Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap.

As a 3-year-old last season, Traffic Light was at his best going two turns, winning a restricted stakes and finishing second in a Grade 3 event. Now he’s 2 for 2 going seven furlongs to start his 4-year-old campaign.

Five weeks after scoring as the 7-5 favorite in a third-level optional $40,000 claimer, Traffic Light upset the $100,000 Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap at Parx Racing when he held off Brujo de Olieros by a neck.

Ridden by Parx’s leading jockey, John Bisono, Traffic Light ($22.60) stalked in second, 1 1/2 lengths behind pacesetter Luckysdream through a half-mile in a swift 44.30 seconds and then took a short lead with a quarter-mile remaining. He was clear by a length with a furlong left and was all out to withstand a rally by Brujo de Olieros to prevail in a time of 1:22.03.

“When they started coming,” said Bisono, “he dug in and kept going.”

He didn’t want to go into the gate,”  Bisono said, "and I had to hit him a couple of times to make him go in and I think that got his attention and he broke real sharp.” 

A son of Peace Rules trained by Freddy Velasquez for John Tripi and William Thayer, Traffic Light is now 7 for 15 with earnings of $406,430. His four wins as a 3-year-old were highlighted by a six-length score over Pennsylvania-breds going 1 1/16 miles in the Crowd Pleaser Handicap. Two races later, he finished second to Easter Gift in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones at a mile and 70 yards.

Brujo de Olieros, a Grade 2 winner in Uruguay, was making his first start since last September and first start since Rick Mettee took over training the Team Valor stable in May. Part of a coupled entry that went off the slight favorite at 4-1, Brujo de Olieros was a length in front of Hello Lover, a 10-time winner at Parx who rallied from ninth to finish third.