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LOYALTY STAKES AND MICHAEL MACKEY MEMORIAL SERVE AS “BEST OF OHIO” PREPS

Alexis Annechino

HAPPY AS YOU GO TAKES LOYALTY – MACKEY MEMORIAL TO CIRCUS RINGS

OTBO SALE PURCHASE CAPTURES LOYALTY STAKES – CIRCUS RINGS CLEAR IN THE MICHAEL MACKEY

                        CONTROVERSIAL LOYALTY STAKES CAPTURED BY HAPPY AS YOU GO

A traffic jam at the start almost cost the impressive winner a disqualification in the $75,000 Loyalty Stakes at Belterra Park on September 18.  Breaking from the outside post with Christian Pilares in the irons, Happy as You Go came over on favored Weekend Buzz that caused a chain reaction hampering several horses on the inside.  Happy as You Go was straightened after the incident and went on to duel on the front end, eventually pulling away by a length at the wire to best the boys in the race for 2-year-old Accredited-breds.  Rallying behind her was her stablemate Weekend Buzz passing First Song who got clear of the trouble and fought on the front end with the winner.

Happy as You Go with Christian Pilares up survived DQ in Loyalty. Photo: Coady Photography

Veteran rider T.D. Houghton, who celebrated his 6,000th career win earlier in the week, immediately lodged an objection against the winner.  According to the official Equibase chart, “Weekend Buzz had tons of trouble early on, with the rider almost coming off while checking badly, floated wide at the quarter pole with a game effort to the wire after a horrible eventful trip.” He came over so fast and hadn’t cleared us, that I thought we were going to the ground,” stated Houghton. “My horse went down a ways and I went up on his neck. I thought Perry Ouzts was going down, too. He really had to check hard to get his horse (What a Rumor, 6th) out of there. We ended up second-to-last early and the fact we still ran second says a lot. He was the best horse out there and I wanted the stewards to look at it.

That, they did. And for an extended period of time, Finally leaving the official order of finish stand. Trainer Bob Gorham didn’t fret too much, even if they switched the order, he was going to train the top two finishers. “She lives up to her name, just a happy horse. I bought her at the Ohio Sale and I’m a believer in the sale, that’s where I bought two-time stakes winner Edge of Night. This filly has filled out and matured nicely. Put a line through her first start. She had gate issues and spotted the field 10 lengths. We schooled her in the morning, including a nice work and she went wire to wire in her next start and won by 8 ¾ lengths.”

Happy as You Go was purchased by Gorham at the Ohio Mixed Sale as a yearling last year.  She races in the colors of his sister Marion. She is a daughter of Mobil out of Preservation Hall by Dixieland Band and was bred by Mapleton Thoroughbred Farm. She has won two of three starts and now has earnings of $61,716.

      MICHAEL MACKEY MEMORIAL WAS A ONE RING CIRCUS

The $75,000 Michael Mackey Memorial, named in honor of the long-time Racing Secretary at Thistledown, was contested September 10. A field of seven Ohio-bred fillies and mares went to post, and with the exception of the well-travelled Magna Rose, Thistledown was home to the rest and all have shown a fondness for the North Randall oval.  None more than Circus Rings, who has scored there in 8 of her 9 lifetime victories.

 

Circus Rings and Hector Berrios pull away in Mike Mackey Memorial. Photo: J.J. Zamaicko

Totally Obsessed was sent away as the 4 to 5 choice and fought with Magna Rose on the front end for the first half of the 6-furlong test.  At that point regular rider Hector Berrios put Circus Rings into the battle and wrested the lead from Totally Obsessed at the head of the lane.  With a little left-handed urging from Berrios, the 5-year-old mare drew away to win by three lengths.  Totally Obsessed held off a solid late rally from longshot Cali Dream, at they remined in that order under the wire with the winner clocking 1:12.62.

Circus Rings was recording her second stakes victory in five outings and the Valerie Shanyfelt trainee moved her career record to 25-9-3-2mfor earnings of $277,181.  The daughter of Wilburn out of Ring Ring Ring by Petionville was bred by Michael and Penny Lauer.  She is owned by Knights A to Z Racing LLC.

 

 

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