09/16/2017 7:15PM

Puntsville clearly best in Richard Scherer Memorial Stakes

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ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Puntsville broke so hard in the $66,200 Richard Scherer Memorial Stakes that before 50 yards of the race had been run she had a couple lengths on her nearest pursuer. Puntsville has always been very fast. Now, at age 5, she has another weapon in her arsenal, the ability to rate, and those qualities make Puntsville a fairly formidable Illinois-bred sprinter.

Certainly she was much the best in the Richie Scherer, winning by 2 1/2 lengths after taking a four-length lead to the stretch call.

“The first three times I rode her, she would get out of the gate and didn’t want to relax,” said winning rider Victor Santiago. “It was go, go, go. Now, mentally, she breaks, and it's go, go, and then she comes right back to me and stays quiet till I asked her to take off again.”

Santiago asked Puntsville to take off at the top of the Arlington stretch, and take off she did. Puntsville might be at her very best racing up to 5 1/2 furlongs, but the midstretch lead she opened Saturday proved insurmountable. Puntsville, who paid $3.20 to win, was timed in 1:10.32 for six furlongs on Polytrack.

“She’s very professional now,” said trainer Michele Boyce. “She and Victor fit each other like a glove.”

Thoughtless finished second, a half-length in front of Diadura in the overnight stakes for older fillies and mares.

Puntsville might prefer short sprints, but she has been very successful at six furlongs, and Saturday’s win pushed her record at the distance to an impressive 8-1-0 from nine starts. Overall, Puntsville’s career mark stands at 10-4-0 from 20 races. A homebred, Puntsville is by Cashel Castle and out of Deville, by Petionville. Her 3-year-old brother, Devileye, has won twice this meet and has started his career with five wins. Steve Holland et al’s S.D. Brilie Limited Partnership bred and owns both horses. Holland said the plan is to race Puntsville again next year at 6, and Boyce said she hoped to get one more race into Puntsville before giving her a winter break.