$20,000 Route Claiming Series Final
The $20,000 Final of the O.H.B.P.A. Route Claiming Series will headline the closing day card at Portland Meadows on Sunday December 9th. The series started out back on Sunday October 28th when 27 horses competed at a mile and a sixteenth for a $2,500 claiming tag. Eighteen of those runners continued on to Leg 2 of the series, which involved racing at one mile and one eighth for a $4,000 claiming tag. Now, the Finals are upon us, and a full field of twelve is expected for the one mile and one quarter event that will feature a $20,000 purse.
Leg 1 consisted of three divisions back on October 28th, all going one mile and one sixteenth and featuring a claiming price of $2,500. Strikingly Sinful took the first division coming from just off the pace to get the win under jockey Marijo Terleski. Strikingly Sinful was claimed out of that race by trainer Don Young. Who’s Your Next Ex was also claimed as the big favorite, but finished a dull sixth and didn’t come back in Leg 2, thus is not eligible for the Final. Havin A Good Day went wire to wire to take the second division under jockey Anne Sanguinetti in what was probably the most wide open division of Leg 1. Castle Pines put up a huge performance in Leg 1 and won wire to wire by six lengths under jockey Debbie Hoonan.
Leg 2 consisted of two divisions on November 17th at a mile and one eighth and a $4,000 claiming tag. Overtime Victory, who was a well beaten seventh in his division of Leg 1, came back for new trainer Steve Fisher with a strong victory under jockey Javier Matias. Castle Pines then went wire to wire in the second division of Leg 2, a division that contained all three winners of Leg 1. Strikingly Sinful finished second while Havin a Good Day finished last after being fractious in the gate beforehand.
Castle Pines looms as the probable favorite having dominated in both of his divisions of the first two legs. Claimed out of Leg 1 by trainer Mary Boyle, Castle Pines went wire to wire in that race winning by an impressive six lengths. The nine year old came back just three weeks later and won again in Leg 2, this time going a mile and an eighth. It was his twenty third career score, and a win in the Finals would put him up over $100,000 in career earnings.
“We’ve really enjoyed having Castle Pines in our barn,” said Mary Boyle. “We took him home for a few days after the last race, just to get him away from the track for a bit. But he’s back to training really well and seems to love his job. He and jockey Debbie Hoonan sure seem to be a good match, so we definitely wanted to keep them as a partners. I was honestly shocked when nobody claimed him out of Leg 2, but I was thrilled to be able to keep him for the Final.”
The distance could be a question mark for Castle Pines, as the only time he tried the ten furlong distance was last season’s Route Claiming Series Final, when he finished ninth beaten twenty lengths.
Overtime Victory changed his tactics a little bit in Leg 2 and it seemed to make a big difference. The horse had been an employing a big late kick in all his starts this season, but had been taken back usually twenty to thirty lengths off the pace early on. In Leg 1 that proved far too much for him to overcome as he finished seventh. However in Leg 2, he stayed a bit closer, only ten lengths behind after a quarter mile and fourteen behind at the half mile. He closed in well and got up for the win. A veteran of marathon racing, he was fourth in a mile and a quarter marathon series event at Turf Paradise in January.
“We had to train him a little more so he’d get into the bit a little bit more,” said trainer Steve Fisher who claimed him after Leg 1. “It’s just too hard to close that much ground going that far. We wanted to get him into the race a little bit earlier. Javier Matias is going to ride him again in the Final. If he can lay just a bit closer he won’t have to make that longer sustained move. Horses don’t win long races like this from way far back so he needs to be at least somewhat in contention. He really seems to be on the upswing and enjoying his training right now.”
Matias knows success in the Route Claiming Series as well, as he won last season aboard Swiss Exploit in the $20,000 Route Claiming Series Final.
Strikingly Sinful was one of the top runners in the first two legs, scoring a victory in Leg 1 and finishing a good second behind Castle Pines in Leg 2. He was claimed out of Leg 1 by trainer Don Young from the Jonathan Nance barn. Nance and his partners, Pat and Bob Cosgrove and Barbara Eakin however reached back into their pockets and claimed the horse back for $4,000 to have him for the Final.
“The owners really wanted to claim him back,” said trainer Jonathan Nance. “They really like the horse and think he has a really good shot in the Final. Plus after the race we’re planning on bringing him down to Turf Paradise where I have a string of horses running this winter.”
Shakereadynroll was one who trainer Jim Fergason brought into the Route Claiming Series and after losing him at the claim box in Leg 1, he went right back after him, putting down $4,000 to get the horse back. He finished third in Leg 1 and fourth in Leg 2, but Fergason knows the horse and knows what he wants.
“The further the better for this horse,” Fergason said. “I claimed him back because I thought he had a huge shot in the Final going a mile and a quarter. I think the tough part for him is that he’s a three year old racing against older horses, so he’s giving away a lot of experience to all of the other horses in this race.”
Shakereadynroll will be ridden by Fergason’s main man, jockey Mark Anderson, who has been aboard the horse for most of his races, including a victory on Labor Day in the $10,000 Tom Two Stakes, going a mile here at Portland Meadows.
Claiming Activity Leg 1-$2,500 Claiming Price
• Claimed by Glory B Stables and trainer Mary Boyle
• Claimed from Charles Holshouser and trainer Nick Lowe
• Claimed by Michael Pollowitz and Jeffrey Wilson for trainer Steve Fisher
• Claimed from Clockwise Racing and trainer Jonathan Nance
• Three Way Shake
• Claimed by Glory B Stables and trainer Mary Boyle
• Claimed from owner/trainer Allen Aldrich
• Two Way Shake
• Claimed by owner/trainer Patti Harris
• Claimed from Mike Wilkins and Just Horsen Around and trainer Jim Fergason
• Three Way Shake
• Claimed by Jose De La Paz for trainer Don Young
• Claimed from Jonathan Nance, Barbara Eakin, Bob and Pat Cosgrove and trainer Jonathan Nance
A Lurie Girl
• Claimed by Roger Hamshar for trainer Nick Lowe
• Claimed from Rancho Viejo and Lisa Baze and trainer Rigoberto Velasquez
• Claimed by owner/trainer Larry Ramnarine
• Claimed from James Nunnally and trainer Chris Nunnally
Who’s Your Next Ex
• Claimed by Carol Dronen for trainer Sam Dronen
• Claimed from Tad Stillwell, Dennis Trenkenschuh, Moon Glow Farms and trainer Charles Essex
Claiming Activity Leg 2-$4,000 Claiming Price
• Claimed by Just Horsen Around and trainer Jim Fergason
• Claimed from owner/trainer Patti Harris
• Claim Back by Jim Fergason
• Claimed by Tammy White for trainer Lynn Homer
• Claimed from Glory B Stables and trainer Mary Boyle
• Claimed in both Leg’s 1 and 2.
• Claimed by Jonathan Nance, Barbara Eakin, Bob and Pat Cosgrove for trainer Jonathan Nance.
• Claimed from Jose De La Paz and trainer Don Young
• Claim Back by Jonathan Nance
• Claimed by Nunnally Racing Stable and trainer Chris Nunnally
• Claimed from owner/trainer Larry Ramnarine
• Claim Back by Chris Nunnally
Point Standings after the preliminary legs:
10 points: Castle Pines
9 points: Strikingly Sinful
7 points: Formula Gold
5 points: Shakereadynroll
5 points: Big Dave L.
5 points: Game Emperor
5 points: Overtime Victory
5 points: Havin a Good Day
4 points: Doctor Pav
4 points: A. Lurie Girl
4 points: Outside Shot
4 points: Steel Blue
3 points: Over and Under
2 points: Thunderclap Newman
1 point: Simperio
1 point: Awesome Toccet
1 point: Zippin E. (Not Eligible for Final)
0 points: Colonel Courtney
0 points: Nick’s Gold
0 points: Proud Illusion