Always Sunshine blazes to Maryland Sprint score

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Jen Caldwell

May 21st, 2016

Stonehedge LLC’s Always Sunshine pulled off to a 2 1/2-length victory on Saturday in the $150,000 Maryland Sprint H. (G3) at Pimlico on the Preakness Stakes undercard.

Always Sunshine came out and lightly bumped Cinco Charlie leaving the gate under jockey Frankie Pennington, but quickly settled into a stalking spot just off the rail as that rival went up to lead through the opening half-mile in :23.54 and :46.75.

Drawing closer nearing the quarter-pole, Always Sunshine took command under encouragement from his rider. The duo extended their advantage in the final yards to finish six furlongs over the muddy, sealed track in 1:10.49 as the 9-5 second choice.

Always Sunshine paid $5.80 for the win, his first at the graded level. All Star Red took second by two lengths over 54-1 longshot Rockinn On Bye, who in turn had a length up on Sonny Inspired in fourth. Salutos Amigos, the 6-5 favorite, rallied to just miss the top four by a head and was followed under the wire by Cinco Charlie and Negrito.

Always Sunshine is now 5-3-2 from 11 career starts and has banked $313,950 in lifetime earnings. The Edward Allard-trained son of West Acre opened his career with a five-length maiden debut win at Parx Racing and remained at that track for his next three starts last fall. He made his stakes bow in the November 14 City of Laurel S., finishing sixth, and returned just 12 days later to be a half-length second in a Laurel Park allowance.

Eighteen days later Always Sunshine showed up at Parx to romp by 13 lengths in an allowance, then another 12 days after that the bay colt headed back to Laurel to take the Dave’s Friend S. to close out his sophomore campaign on December 26.

Opening 2016 with a runner-up effort behind Salutos Amigos in the March 12 Tom Fool H. (G3) at Aqueduct, Always Sunshine entered Saturday’s Maryland Sprint H. off an 11-length triumph against allowance/optional claiming foes at Parx on April 17.

Bred in Florida by Gilbert G. Campbell, Always Sunshine is out of the unraced Awesome Again mare Sunny Again, making him a full brother to Grade 3-placed stakes winner My Sunshine Gal. Sunny Again is herself a half-sister to Grade 2 victor Just Rushing and multiple stakes-placed Libretto.

Always Sunshine’s second dam, Daybydaybyday, counts as a half-brother multiple Grade 1-winning multi-millionaire and sire Marlin. This black-type rich female family also includes Grade 1 scorers Madcap Escapade, Dubai Escapade and Stormello.

Always Sunshine photo courtesy of Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club


Ned Allard, trainer, Always Sunshine, winner: “I was very confident going in. I was really up for this horse’s race. He’s such a nice horse. He’s turned into a monster. He’s one of those horses that trains like a good horse, acts like a good horse, and now he has to go out and prove it. He’s on his way to doing that.”

Frankie Pennington, jockey, Always Sunshine, winner: “He broke with (Cinco Charlie). He took the lead, so we figured we’d sit outside. We got there and he was doing it very comfortably and easily. At the quarter-pole, I asked him, he took off and did it easily. The track is great and he handled it beautifully. I like him a lot.”

Rudy Rodriguez, trainer, All Star Red, second: “We were happy to be here. He ran a big race. The race is very, very tough, but he showed he can compete with this kind of horses.”

Luis Saez, jockey, All Star Red, second: “I got a great trip. He really came on and I thought we might get it, but the winner kept running. We just couldn’t catch him. He loves the wet.”

Stephen Casey, trainer, Rockinn on Bye, third: “He ran super. We're really proud of him. He's never run with this type of horse before. And he did (today). He was flying the last part, so we're really proud of him.”

Taylor Hole, jockey, Rockinn on Bye, third: “We got a good trip and settled in nice and he ran real good. The track’s a little bit fast and he ran against it a little bit, but he kept on running. He fires every time.”

John Velazquez, jockey, 6-5 favorite Salutos Amigos, fifth: “I had a good trip, but I had no horse.”