Kid causes Trouble, Gentlemen's Bet given win in De Francis
The 5-1 fourth choice in a field of eight, Gentlemen's Bet earned a winner's share of $210,000 for owner Harry Rosenblum, trainer Ron Moquett and jockey Daniel Centano.
"This was his Breeders' Cup, because he didn't get in this year," Moquett said. "This by no means was a letdown. This race is so historic. It's something I've always wanted to win. It's been on my bucket list. It's a race I watched growing up with huge interest, and it's an honor to win it. I'm over the moon."
An impressive winner of the $100,000 Hot Springs at Oaklawn in March, Gentlemen's Bet went unplaced in his next four starts, although a recent fifth in the Phoenix (G3) was much better than his previous three attempts. The six-year-old son of Half Ours won the 2013 Iowa Sprint H. and placed in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) that season, but was out of action throughout 2014 due to injury.
The final time of the De Francis, six furlongs in 1:09.34 over a fast track, was only moderately faster than the 1:09.67 posted by the up-and-coming two-year-old colt Awesome Speed, who overtook 4-5 favorite King Kranz around the turn and held off Never Gone South to win the $100,000 James F. Lewis III by three-quarters of a length.
Owned by Colts Neck Stables, trained by Alan Goldberg, and ridden by Horacio Karamanos, Awesome Speed paid $15.80 after winning for the second time in three outings. The son of Awesome Again was a nondescript seventh in his debut at Parx, but the $335,000 juvenile-in-training purchase rebounded to win by 3 3/4 lengths at Laurel on October 10.
King Kranz, who weakened to third, remains a maiden for owner Ahmed Zayat. A close third to subsequent Nashua (G2) winner Mohaymen in September, he entered the Lewis off a second in the Futurity (G2).
Zayat had more luck earlier in the $100,000 City of Laurel when his multiple graded stakes winner El Kabeir rebounded from a poor showing in the Bold Ruler H. (G3) to prevail in a three-way photo by a nose over longshots Roxbury N Overton and Duff.
Under Cornelio Velasquez, El Kabeir's late grind succeeded in a time of 1:23.58 for seven furlongs. The gray son of Scat Daddy, trained by John Terranova, was the 11-10 favorite.
Last of five in the October 31 Bold Ruler, his first start since running third in the Wood Memorial (G1) in April, El Kabeir captured the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) last November and kicked off his sophomore campaign with a win in the Jerome (G3), a second in the Withers (G3) and a victory in the Gotham (G3), all at Aqueduct.
"He ran a couple a weeks ago in the Bold Ruler -- a tough race to come back in. Today, he had to grind it out a little late," Terranova said. "Once we put him back in route races, that's when I think we'll see him coming back into top form."
In the $100,000 Safely Kept for three-year-old fillies, Hot City Girl rolled to her third consecutive win by a margin of 8 1/4 lengths under Cornelio Velasquez. Owned by Lady Sheila Stable and trained by Linda Rice, Hot City Girl completed seven furlongs in 1:22.70.
The daughter of City Zip kicked off her present skein with a 2 1/2-length victory in the Charles Town Oaks (G3) on September 19, and followed up with a 4 1/4-length allowance score at Belmont late last month.
Page McKenney was among the four winning favorites in Saturday's stakes when taking the $100,000 Richard W. Small. The 9-10 choice in a field of eight older horses, the five-year-old gelding made the lead in upper stretch and drew off to a 4 3/4-length victory under Horacio Karamanos in a time of 1:50.26 for nine furlongs.
Owned by Adam Staple and Jalin Stable, and trained by Mary Eppler, Page McKenney captured the John B. Campbell H. and Harrison E. Johnson Memorial at Laurel last winter, as well as Pennsylvania-bred stakes on the turf at Penn National in August. The son of Eavesdropper also placed in the Charles Town Classic (G2), Pimlico Special (G3), and Prairie Meadows Cornhusker H. (G3) this term.
The stakes action on Saturday kicked off with 9-10 favorite Lost Raven taking the $100,000 Smart Halo for two-year-old fillies by three lengths under Manny Franco in a time of 1:11.09 for six furlongs.
Owned by Mike Repole and trained by Todd Pletcher, the daughter of Uncle Mo had won at first asking by 4 3/4 lengths last month at Belmont in a $50,000 maiden claimer.
(Photos: Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)