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Stewards elevate Gentlemen's Bet to victory in De Francis Memorial Dash
LAUREL, Md. - Winners are always happy and losers are generally sad, but emotions were higher than usual after the $350,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park on Saturday when Trouble Kid was disqualified from first to second and Gentlemen's Bet was awarded the win.
Trouble Kid has been a tremendous claim by Ramon Preciado. He took him for $15,000 out of a maiden-claiming race at Parx in July and had won four consecutive races - including the Grade 3 Gallant Bob - and $300,000 with him since.
When his horse was taken down after a long inquiry, Preciado and rider Joshua Navarro were clearly not happy.
Ron Moquett, the trainer of Gentlemen's Bet, who watched the race from Churchill Downs, although gracious about the disqualification when reached via telephone, was thrilled with the win. In some ways, the De Francis was Gentlemen's Bet's Breeders' Cup. Moquett had wanted to run him in the BC Sprint but he was excluded from the oversubscribed field.
At the start of the De Francis, four horses lined up on the lead. From the inside out it was Stallwalkin' Dude, Palace, Gentlemen's Bet, and Trouble Kid, who broke from the outside gate in the nine-horse field. Navarro, aboard Trouble Kid, steadily angled inward and things tightened up. Gentlemen's Bet bumped with Palace, who then made contact with Stallwalkin' Dude.
Gentlemen's Bet and Daniel Centeno took back out of the situation, while Cornelio Veasquez steadied Palace and held his position. Trouble Kid came away with the lead and Gentlemen's bet chased him home, finishing second by three-quarters of a length.
It was 1 3/4 lengths back to Palace in third, and another three-quarters of a length to fourth-place Stallwalkin' Dude.
The stewards lit the inquiry sign and Centeno lodged a claim of foul against Trouble Kid and Navarro. After a lengthy inquiry, Trouble Kid was taken down and placed second. It appeared to be the right call.
"I originally thought we might go down," Moquett said. "But then again I'm the horse's trainer and I'm so close to him I can't look at it unbiased. I did think he deserved to be put up."
Navarro saw it differently.
"I knew it was tight, but I was clear," he said. "It's a big race. He could have gotten out of there earlier."
Gentlemen's Bet paid $12 as the fourth choice in the eight-horse field. He was timed in 1:09.34.
Stallwalkin' Dude reared in the gate before the start and unseated jockey Trevor McCarthy. He was taken out of the gate and then reloaded.
The path to Gentlemen's Bet's De Francis victory began over two years ago. Gentlemen's Bet grabbed a quarter when finishing third in the 2013 Breeders' Cup Sprint and didn't race again for 15 months.
"It took a long time to grow that foot back," Moquett said.
Gentlemen's Bet's comeback started off promisingly. In his second start back, he won the $100,000 Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March.
But things did not go as well in the Churchill Downs Stakes on Derby Day or in the Aristedes on May 30 at Churchill when Gentlemen's Bet backed up to finish fourth and fifth.
Moquett scoped him after each of those races but the results came back clean.
"We finally worked him with a dynamic scope and it showed that a tie-back procedure we had done on him was failing when he was stressed," Moquett said.
Following another tie-back, Moquett tried to get Gentlemen's Bet to this year's Breeders' Cup by prepping him in the Phoenix Stakes a Keeneland. He finished fifth but Moquett was pleased with the race.
"It was strictly a prep and he raced on a dead rail and made a good move," he said.
Unfortunately, the Breeders Cup Sprint overfilled and Gentlemen's bet didn't get in.
"He's such a good horse," Moquett said.
Moquett winters at Oaklawn Park. He declined to speculate on a next race.
"As you know, horse trainers can be superstitious," he said. "I'll just bring him back and rehab him from this race and get him happy."
Safely Kept: Hot City Girl goes wire to wire
Hot City Girl went wire to wire to win the $100,000 Safely Kept Stakes by 8 1/4 lengths under Cornelio Velasquez. The victory was her third in a row.
Velasquez also won the City of Laurel Stakes earlier in the day on El Kabeir
Hot City Girl came off a summer break to win the Grade 3, $350,000 Charles Town Oaks by 2 1/2 lengths on Sept. 19. She returned to win a second-level optional claimer at Belmont Park by 4 1/4 on Oct. 29. She was much the best in the seven-furlong Safely Kept.
Trainer Linda Rice said after the race, Hot City Girl would be freshened and considered for the Grade 2 Barbara Fritchie at Laurel in February.
Stroke Play was up in the final strides to nip Paulassilverlining by a nose for second.
Hot City Girl paid $3 to win. She completed seven furlongs in 1:22.70.
Lewis Stakes: Awesome Speed game in stretch
Awesome Speed turned in a determined effort to win the $100,000 James F. Lewis III Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds.
Awesome Speed pressed the early pace outside 4-5 favorite King Kranz, took a short lead on the far turn, and then dug in during the stretch run to score by three-quarters of a length. It was a neck back to second choice Never Gone South in third.
Awesome Speed, owned by Richard Santulli and trained by Alan Goldberg, paid $15.80 to win in the nine-horse field. He was ridden by Horacio Karamanos, who also won the Richard Small earlier on the card on Page McKenney. Awesome Speed was timed in 1:09.67 after fractions of 22.41 seconds, 45.79, and 57.47.
Awesome Speed had won his maiden at Laurel in his prior start by 3 3/4 lengths.
King Kranz, still a maiden, came into the Lewis off a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Futurity at Belmont Park.
The stewards constantly look for reasons to take a horse down instead of leaving it up......which is opposite of what they should do: 1) Centeno was conceding position down the backside....When Navarro got 1/2 way past him his horse really got competitive and tried to take off......Not Navarro's problem 2) If Navarro was to come down he should have been placed 4th.....He either started the whole chain reaction or did nothing Moquett actually admitted he thought Centeno might come down....refreshing honesty
It may have been karma not the stewards. We are talking Ramon Preciado here. No dog in fight parimutuelly and I like to have races settled on the track not upstairs. Preciado runs 3 on day at LRL. One wins (DQ), one second at 22-1 losing in monster effort by nose to El Kabeir, and other was second behind a jet in another stakes. Preciado could take a 80 year old power walking grandpa and have him win in the 100 meters in the Olympics in three weeks. His work with the $15K claimer Trouble Kid qualifies either for the Hall of Fame or Hall of Shame your call.
horrible call,i had no horse in this race so my opinion is unbiased. navarro was in the process of crossing over and centeno tried to keep him outside while clearly about 3/4's behind . centeno had the last 3/8's of a mile to get by and could not. best horse won fair and square the stewards plain and simple made a mistake of judgement. centeno never lost a step and was never going to win. that is why this game is so tough,not only do you have to win but than survive the judgement of a steward who may have an ax to grind. navarro had position ahead, what are the stewards thinking?? you cant run to a spot that is not there
Also note that the $1 exacta paid only $24 with the 5 to 1 shot unfairly placed 1st, while it would have paid almost as much $20 the other way, with the 5/2 winner on top. they can give the win to the loser, but he clearly lost.
Sal has it out for Ramon, the Parx Juicer. Only reason he went down plain and simple. If Trouble Kid should come down, so should have Stopchargingmaria
Gentlemen's Bet could not go by Trouble Kid and perhaps if they went around the track again he may never had passed Trouble Kid. Yes there was some closeness and shuffling around as per normal when horses break fast for a sprint......but, all the jocks were aware of the situation and acting accordingly placed their horses safely but, when Gentlemen's Bet went after Trouble Kid there was no doubt who the fastest horse was for 6 furlongs...In this case I can imagine no scenario in which Gentlemen's Bet would beat Trouble Kid...none! Trouble Kid is the winner and in this case should have been declared the winner!
9 horse beat him to the spot, 8 horse then ran up to his heels and took back 9 was well clear that is a very bad dq
Let me tell you the story about Shifty Sheik and Slew O Gold....I mean when Cutlass Reality won the Gold Cup dusting Alysheba AND Ferdinand by 6 1/2...and the horse claimed off Ambrose for $15K mdn clm, still with all his conditions, that had been over lasixed.....then improved...slightly....
too bad so sad ramon but your horse caused a foul.now keep your juice at parx a track I never play.
The two horses on the inside were simply outrun to the turn - - - AND to the wire.