04/20/2013 5:19PM

Pimlico: Bold Affair repeats in Primonetta despite bad start

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Bold Affair, with Abel Castellano aboard, goes from last to first as the favorite in the Primonetta Stakes.

Neither some extremely bad gate manners nor a slow start could prevent Bold Affair from winning the $75,000 Primonetta Stakes at Pimlico for the second straight year.

Bold Affair ($3), the best older female sprinter in Maryland, normally gives the assistant starters trouble loading into the gate. But she was more temperamental than usual Saturday. Jockey Abel Castellano had to dismount and it took five men to finally get the 5-year-old Bold Affair into the gate.

“She always has a hard time to get into the gate,” Castellano said. “I was just glad we finally got in.”

Bold Affair was away sluggish and was last of six in the early stages of the six-furlong Primonetta, but only about four lengths behind. She moved up to third with a half-mile remaining and made a move in the stretch to take aim at pacesetter Irish Exchange, a Parx shipper seeking her fourth straight win. Bold Affair looked poised to blow past Irish Exchange, but she hung tough under Kendrick Carmouche. Despite drifting in after gaining a narrow advantage, Bold Affair finally prevailed by a half-length, completing the distance in 1:12.19.

Irish Exchange was clearly second best with New York shipper Scrumdiddlyumptious third.

Trained by Howard Wolfendale for owners Chip Reed and Mike Zanella, Bold Affair, a daughter of Two Punch, is now 12 for 19 lifetime, including 5 wins in 6 starts at Pimlico. She will be pointed to a defense of her title in the $100,000 Skipat on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard on May 17.

Jewel of a Cat takes Stormy Blues

Jewel of a Cat, making her first start since October, drew clear to a 2 ¾-length victory in the $75,000 Stormy Blues Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The five-furlong race had been scheduled for turf, but was moved to the main track, resulting in three scratches.

Ridden by Chris DeCarlo, Jewel of the Cat ($3.60) moved between horses at the top of the stretch to take the lead and drew clear while completing the distance on a fast track in 59.09 seconds. She is now 3 for 5 for trainer Ben Perkins and owners J & J Stables and GSP Stable.

“Benny really had her ready,” said DeCarlo. “I had a handful of horse the whole way. She actually was kind of waiting on the horse outside a little bit. I thought she might get a little tired because the track is deep and she hadn’t run in a little while.”

Perkins said Jewel of a Cat could run next in $100,000 The Very One Stakes on Black-Eyed Susan Day.

Ek Haseena finished second and Sense of Reality got up by a head over Shenandoah Lady for third.

Eighttofasttocatch uncatchable in Clark

Front-running Eighttofasttocatch ($3.80), one of only five horses left from a field of 16 after the race was taken off the turf, scored an easy victory in the $75,000 Henry Clark Stakes.

Ridden for the first time by Forest Boyce for trainer Tim Keefe and owner Sylvia Heft, the 7-year-old Eighttofasttocatch ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.91 while winning by five lengths.  Lubango finished second and Concealed Identity was third.

“I was happy it came off the turf because we would have had to break from the 14-hole in a 14 horse field, so getting the 3-hole in a five- horse field was nice,” said winning trainer Tim Keefe. “He is set in his ways and everything has to go right for him and it did today.”

The last two years, Keefe has run his star in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes and Grade 3 Pimlico Special but indicated he will not do so this year. Instead, he will focus the next six months on getting the 7-year-old Eighttofasttocatch to the Maryland Million Classic in October at Laurel, where he has won six stakes.