July Stakes Tomboy and Buckeye Native
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MOONLIT MISSION AND VERISSIMO EXCELL ON THE TURF IN CINCINNATI
You can’t keep a good woman down. Last year’s top 2-year-old filly Moonlit Mission is back to her winning ways and she looked bigger and better than ever in the $75,000 Tomboy Stakes at Belterra Park on July 17. She took on older rivals in her 2020 debut in the J.W. Petro on June 18 and ran third behind older state champions Drillit and Leona’s Reward.
The striking daughter of Shackleford returned to face ten 3-year-olds and try turf for the first time in the 1 1/16 Tomboy. Three in the field raced as an entry out of the Robert Gorham for barn for Mast Thoroughbreds and the public took advantage of the angle and made his runners the 4 to 5 choice. Gorham had an additional starter owned by Marion Gorham. Charlie Williams’ Moonlit Mission was sent postward as the second choice.
The Gorham group came out of the gate as though they were working in company with Penny Shots keeping a short lead over Tiz What who was just ahead of Edge of Night. Moonlit Mission had to break from post position 9 and jockey Erik Barbaran did a nice job of getting her down near the rail to save ground, while ahead of only one filly at the ½ mile marker. Barbaran angled her out around the turn and roused her to move from 10th to 3rd as they entered the stretch behind Tiz What and Penny Shots. Moonlit Mission continued her momentum and surged past Penny Shots by ½ length at the wire with pacesetter Tiz What holding on for the third spot.
Charlie Williams has handed the title of trainer to his longtime assistant Silvano Gonzalez. “We’ve worked together for 15 or 16 years,” said Williams from his home in Detroit. “The whole team is what makes it work. We work together. Sandra Marie Adkins, who trained champion Ohio Gold for us is there, we’ve had the same grooms and Jill Ross is not only our van driver, but she is our pony girl and hotwalker. Everyone knows their role and what has to be done. I’m still there at 6:00 a.m. several days a week, that drive from Detroit to Thistledown isn’t an easy one, so I know Silvano has everything under control on the days I’m not there.”
Williams purchased the filly for $18,000 from the Fasig-Tipton October Sale in October 2018. The daughter of Shackleford out of Moonlit River by Maria’s Mon was bred by Belvedere Farm. “She always was well put together but coming back this year she’s much bigger and stronger, a little heavier and stouter,” Williams continued. “She does put her game face on when it’s race day and we now have to have two people walk her over. Well, now we know she likes the grass, too. So, we’ll just keep her happy until the Best of Ohio Series at Thistledown.” The win in the Tomboy pushed her career record to 8-5-0-1 for earnings of $234,550.
VERISSIMO REMAINS PERFECT IN TURF STAKES
In Belterra’s $75,000 1 1/16 mile Buckeye Native Stakes, only three of the eleven starters had won over the turf course at that distance. When all was said and run, they ended up finishing 1-2-3. Verissimo, captured the Horizon against 3-year-olds last season; Funnel Cake upset the field in this race for accredited-breds last year at 25 to 1 and Birdacious won the Vivacious against fillies and mares in 2019 and finished a strong second in this year’s Vivacious, only a week prior to the Buckeye Native.
Verissimo was making his third start of the season, with his second-place finish to Mobil Solution in the George Lewis Memorial being his last start. Breaking in the middle of the field. jockey Luan Machado let his mount get easily into stride, improving his distance towards the leaders at every call. He made a 4-wide swoop around the turn and caught pacesetting Funnel Cake through the stretch to draw off by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:41.29. Funnel Cake held a fast finishing Birdacious off by a neck to round out the top three. Favored Mobil Solution was poised to pounce on the pacesetters, getting to 3rd in the lane, but failing to fire and finished fifth.
The winning 4-year-old gelding hails from the talent laden barn of Jeff Radosevich, who has started him exclusively in stakes events since the August 11 Horizon last season. The win pushed him beyond the quarter million-dollar mark in earnings with a lifetime record of 17-6-6-1. Bred and owned by Richard Spicer and William Spitler, Verissimo is a son of Vertiformer out of Blue as the Nile by Spunky Rascal. O.T.B.O. board member Robin Murphy was welcomed in for the winner’s circle photo as her Poplar Creek Horse Center stands both Vertiformer and Birdrun, sire of Birdacious.