ESPLANANDE EMULATES HER BIG BROTHER IN THE $75,000 HOOVER STAKES
Almost a year to the day, Esplanande duplicated the performance of her brother in the 5 1/2 furlong Hoover Stakes in a very similar running style and almost exact time of finish at Belterra Park. Her brother is Liberate, Ohio’s top 2-year-old male who won 4 of his 5 starts and three stakes while racking up earnings of $206,250. Both runners broke their maiden vs. open company and went wire to wire in the Hoover. Both are trained by Tim Hamm and owned and bred by the partnership of WinStar Farm LLC and Blazing Meadows Farm LLC.
While she was a filly against the boys it made no difference when the gates flew open, with Gerardo Corrales on her back, she willingly went to the lead and established a comfortable one-length lead throughout. When Uptown and King B B launched their run at the furlong marker, Corrales roused Esplanande who responded at command and drew away by 2 ¼ lengths. “Being in the 1 hole we wanted to get out of there and she had no problem,” said Corrales. “I rode her in her first race and I knew I was sitting on a good horse. Into the stretch I had a good feeling and was 100% sure she would respond when called upon.”
Hamm, who has increased his presence at Belterra Park this year by filling 36 stalls, was very confident in his filly. “We had about 75 horses in training at our Ocala facility and she was so laid back in her training she did everything right and I’d have to rank her in the top five.” Esplande, a daughter of Daredevil out of Southern Silence by Dixie Union stopped the timer in 1:05.31 (Liberate’s time was 1:05.20). Uptown held off King B B by ½ length for the minor placings.
We haven’t seen the last the last of this family on the Ohio racing scene. Southern Silence has a yearling by Speightster, a weanling by Commissioner and is currently in foal to Preakness, Santa Anita Derby winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Exaggerator. Expect this family to have an impact in the Buckeye State for years to come.
TING TANG NIPS HER STABLEMATE AT THE WIRE IN GRASSY $75,000 CINCINNATIAN STAKES
At this time of the season, when 3-year-olds take to the turf, its usually a first-time experience – as it was for the entire 10-filly field in the 1 1/16 mile Cincinnatian for 3-year-old accredited fillies at Belterra Park. As it turned out, trainer Robert Gorham and Mast Thoroughbreds found out they have two runners who can handle the greensward. The poster girl for the Ohio Mixed Sale, Edge of Night, appeared the stronger half of the duo. The $6,500 sale purchase came into the race with a resume that listed two stakes victories and a stakes second for the highest earnings in the field of $149,640.
Stablemate Ting Tang came into the race sporting a record of 9-2-0-2 for earnings of $48,316. She ran against Edge of Night unsuccessfully three times last season and was dismissed in the wagering at 15-1. True Light (the 2018 Ohio Mixed Sale sales topper at $17,500) was made the second choice behind Edge of Night and the Mike Rone trained and owned filly seems to relish the turf footing and sped to the front and held the lead into the stretch. Her closest pursuer was Edge of Night with Christian Pilares who got by her with good energy and appeared heading to victory – but don’t pop that champagne cork yet as Ting Tang got loose after having to steady inside on the far turn.
The final yards of the race turned into a “Battle Royale” between the stable mates and it appeared Edge of Night would last, but after examination of the photo finish, in the final stride Gerardo Corrales and Ting Tang got the head bob by a nose. It would be 2 ¾ lengths back to Lovely Lady Linda who got a neck decision for the third spot. The dueling duo ran the 1 1/16 in 1:43.79. The win pushed Ting Tang’s earnings to $93,316 and the $15,000 second prize pushed Edge of Night’s bankroll to $164,640, not bad for a $6,500 investment.
Ting Tang was bred by Bob Gorham and Mast Thoroughbreds, sired by their stallion City Weekend out of Tangueray Miss, so not only will they collect the $45,000 winner’s share, but the stallion and broodmare awards as well. After the race Gorham stated, “City Weekend has a limited reputation for siring grass runners, but I am familiar with the mare from her Michigan days and she does have turf credentials. Edge of Night ran a solid race, but I think she’s better on the dirt at slightly shorter distances.” It is early in the season, so we will have to watch where these stablemates display their talents next. We DO know that the 2020 Ohio Mixed Sale is October 15 at the Delaware County Fair and there may be more $6,500 bargains going under the gavel.