Eons Elevated To Victory In Prince George’s County, Bellagamba Earns First U.S. Win In Big Dreyfus, Chub Wagon Takes Alma North At Laurel

Proud of his horse’s effort no matter what, trainer Arnaud Delacour was able to celebrate a victory when Mark B. Grier’s Eons was promoted to his second straight stakes win following the disqualification of first-place finisher English Tavern in in Saturday’s $100,000 Prince George’s County at Laurel Park.

The third running of the Prince George’s County for 3-year-olds and up and $100,000 Big Dreyfus for fillies and mares 3 and older, both 1 1/8 miles on the grass, were among four stakes worth $450,000 in total purses on an 11-race program highlighted by the $150,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs on the main track.

All four races, including the $100,000 Alma North for fillies and mares 3 and up sprinting 6 ½ furlongs, were part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championship (MATCH) Series.

Ridden by Jorge Ruiz, Eons ($6.60) registered his fifth career stakes win and second in a row following a nose decision over Beacon Hill in the June 14 Bensalem at Parx. Beacon Hill, a winner in his only previous try on the Laurel turf, ran last of six as the even-money favorite.

It was Nick Papagiorgio, winner of the June 19 Find at Laurel, that broke on top but Beacon Hill established himself as the leader by the first turn and continued to take the field down the backstretch and into the far turn. English Tavern, who trailed early under jockey Sheldon Russell, began to roll on the outside and engaged with Eons midway around the far turn as they loomed on Beacon Hill.

Eons switched to the outside once straightened for home and dueled with English Tavern down the stretch but came up a nose short after 1:51.97 over an Exceller turf course rated good. Following a jockey’s objection and steward’s inquiry, Eons was moved up to first and English Tavern placed second. They were followed by multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Pixelate, making his first start in 203 days, Nick Papagiorgio, Nathan Detroit and Beacon Hill.

“He ran a great race, regardless of the outcome of the inquiry,” Delacour said. “I thought it wasn’t an easy spot for anyone because we didn’t know how to ride the race. There was not a lot of speed, and he’s a pretty difficult horse to ride. I thought considering everything he ran great, and he’s in good form, for sure.”

Ruiz had yet to be aboard English Tavern, whose most recent stakes win came under former Maryland champion Trevor McCarthy, now based in New York.

“The last time I pretty much didn’t give any instructions to trevor because he rode him so many times that I didn’t have to. This time, I had to be a little more specific with Ruiz because he’s never rode on him. I told him because there’s no pace, he should be a little bit closer.”

Argentine-Bred Bellagamba Drives To Victory In Big Dreyfus

Merriebelle Stable’s Bellagamba, a Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, scored her first win in the U.S. by driving past her rivals down the stretch to win the $100,000 Big Dreyfus by 1 ½ lengths over Deciding Vote. It was a neck back to In a Hurry in third.

Bellagamba, ridden by Vincent Cheminaud and trained by Ignacio Correas IV, covered a good 1 1/8-mile turf course in 1:51.15. The 5-year-old mare arrived in the U.S. last year and was winless in five previous starts but had placed in four of those races, including a second-place finish in the Blushing K.D. at Fair Grounds and a third-place finish last time out in the Romacaca Stakes at Hawthorne.

While the longshot Double Fireball was pressed by Godolphin’s Alms on the lead down the backstretch, Bellagamba raced ninth. But Cheminaud moved the daughter of Grand Reward wide entering the stretch and picked off his competitors being driving to the finish line while racing with blinkers for the first time.

“She run the last time very good [at Hawthorne],” Cheminaud said. “I decided to ride from behind because she had natural speed. The grass was a little soft for her, so I prefer to wait a little bit for a good finish.”

Bellagamba returned $11.40.

Chub Wagon Makes It Four Straight In Alma North

Daniel Lopez and George Chestnut’s speedball Chub Wagon, content to sit off the pace in the early going, came rolling to the front around the far turn and had plenty left to repel fellow multiple stakes winner Kaylasaurus down the stretch to win Saturday’s $100,000 Alma North at Laurel Park.

It was the fourth straight win and eighth in stakes company for the 5-year-old Chub Wagon ($3.80), whose victory came by three lengths in 1:16.03 over a main track turned sloppy by a heavy mid-afternoon thunderstorm. She is now 12-for-13 lifetime, including victories in the 2021 Skipat and Shine Again at Pimlico Race Course.

“You’re never overconfident going into a race especially when the track gets wet like today. You never know,” winning trainer Guadalupe Preciado said. “All these horses today looked like speed. When you run with all these speed horses you see who has the speed. She’s coming around very nice. Hopefully she gets a little stronger.”

Chub Wagon, who has shown more of a willingness to settle in behind horses in her recent races, broke sharply from Post 3 and quickly established command but was content to let Chilean Group 2 winner Cheetara come through from her rail post and take the lead after a quarter-mile in :22.41. Silvestre Gonzalez, aboard for the second straight race, kept Chub Wagon in the clear two wide and eased to the front on the turf following a half in :45.63.

“She was very handy. She responded well to the horse on the lead. She was very relaxed and wasn’t keen on the bit, just settled in nicely and I had a lot of horse to finish,” Gonzalez said. “She does everything right. She’s got a lot of class and she loves to run. She showed her grit today on a sloppy track. She overcame that and she ran well.”

Having dispatched Cheetara, Chub Wagon straightened for home comfortably in front but had to be wary of a looming challenge from Kaylasaurus, late-running winner of the 2021 Willa On the Move and April 23 Primonetta at Laurel.

“The last time I rode her she broke a step slow and today, coming off her first race back, she was a lot sharper. She had some speed on the inside. She didn’t hesitate at all and kind of liked having that company a little bit,” Gonzalez said. “When she put her away I was just letting herself get into stride and once they started coming I asked her and she responded very well down the stretch.”

Kaylasaurus held second, 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Cheetara. It was two lengths back to Buy the Best while multiple stakes winner Fille d’Esprit completed the field after being fractious in the starting gate.

The Alma North is named for the Maryland-bred champion 3-year-old filly and Horse of the Year in 1971 and Maryland-bred champion older filly of 1972. Owned by the late Eugene Mori’s East Acres Stable, Alma North won 23 of 78 career starts with $513,597 in purse earnings from 1970-74. Her victories included graded-stakes scores in the Matchmaker (G1) and Vineland (G2), Margate (G3) and Betsy Ross (G3) Handicaps in 1973.

The post Eons Elevated To Victory In Prince George’s County, Bellagamba Earns First U.S. Win In Big Dreyfus, Chub Wagon Takes Alma North At Laurel appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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