Super Saturday Runners Doing Well
Margolis reports Santa Super Saturday runners doing well
Trainer Steve Margolis, whose horses DUE DATE (El Prado [Ire]) and EARLY RETURN (Carson City) finished first and second, respectively, in the $60,000 Bonapaw S. on Santa Super Saturday, reported that both of those Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein-owned five-year-olds came out of their Fair Grounds engagement without problems. Margolis also said that they will likely return in future stakes events during the current racing season in New Orleans.
'All of my horses that ran yesterday came back fine,' Margolis said Sunday morning after celebrating over an Italian dinner with Richard Klein Saturday night. 'We'll probably give Due Date a little break and wait to run him back in the (February 19) Colonel Power, but Early Return might come back before that in something like the (January 22 F.W.) Gaudin (Memorial).
'Of course, we also have Cash Refund (Petionville) (another Klein color bearer who won last year's Gaudin) getting ready to run, and he might end up in the Gaudin as well.'
In addition to Due Date and Early Return, Margolis also saddled Right Time Racing's STREET STORM (Storm Atlantic) to a third-place finish in her stakes bow in the Letellier Memorial S.
'I also thought Street Storm ran a good race yesterday,' Margolis said of the juvenile miss. 'She's fine today and we'll probably look at the three-year-old filly series with her.'
Margolis was expected to send out Cheyann Belief (D'wildcat) in the Sugar Bowl S., but the undefeated two-year-old was scratched. His only other runner in the stakes events on Saturday, last year's Sugar Bowl S. winner COOL BULLET (Red Bullet), wound up seventh in the Bonapaw while making his grass bow.
'Jake Ballis' horse (Cheyann Belief) came up with a little problem,' Margolis said. 'He worked good the other day but then he wasn't acting quite right, so we took a look at him and discovered a little chip. That's why we had to scratch him out of his race yesterday.
'As for Cool Bullet, I thought he'd like the grass better than he ran over it yesterday because he won so easily on synthetic, but it's back to the drawing board with him.'
Considering the impact the Margolis barn has had on Fair Grounds' stakes program recently, it's hard to believe that it was exactly two years ago on Saturday that the trainer saddled his first winner at Fair Grounds when Gold Square's Lady Chace (Tiznow) reached the winner's circle.
Margolis wasn't the only trainer celebrating on Saturday, though. Conditioner Greg Geier was all smiles the morning after his charge COUNTRY FLAVOR (Empire Maker) closed strongly to win the Tenacious H. by a neck.
'The horse was sick when we got here from Chicago,' Geier said, 'but he's doing fine now, even after running such a good race yesterday.'
Owner Jim Tafel, a Barrington, Illinois, resident who won the 2008 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Travers S. (G1) with Street Sense, was equally pleased, according to Geier.
'He was tickled to death,' Geier said. 'This horse is one of his homebreds -- out of one of his mares -- so that makes it even better. I think we'll look at the (January 22) Louisiana H. for (Country Flavor's) next start.'
Boyce, Grove wrap up year-end Maryland titles
Maryland natives Forest Boyce and Chris Grove wrapped up year-end titles at the major Maryland tracks for the calendar year in the jockey and trainer divisions, respectively, following Saturday's final card of the season at Laurel Park.
Despite riding only 18 winners during the first two meets of the season, Boyce won her first riding championship in the state with 104 victories at Laurel and Pimlico during 2010. The 26-year-old won the riding title for the Laurel fall meeting with 71 scores where she had 23 multiple win days, including a career-best four trips to the winners' circle on December 2 and 16. Erick Rodriguez finished second in the overall standings with 99 first place finishes.
'It is absolutely amazing,' said Boyce, who also won the riding title during the Laurel summer meet.
A graduate of Garrison Forest School and the Maryland Institute College of Art, Boyce spent the majority of the year as an apprentice and credits her support system, including agent Jay 'Shug' Burtis, for much of the success. She began working for the late conditioner Mikey Smithwick at the age of 11 and galloped horses for trainer Dickie Small before making her professional debut in the summer of 2009. Former riders Mario Verge and Jimbo Bracciale serve as mentors.
'I have a terrific support system,' Boyce explained. 'The guys in the room have been really helpful as well, especially Mario Pino, Harry Vega and Erick Rodriguez. I also have to thank all the trainers that we were able to ride for, Dickie, Ferris Allen, Hammy Smith and Alex White. You need to be on the right horses to win races.'
Grove, a Frederick native, saddled 57 winners at the major Maryland tracks during the campaign, four more than Scott Lake, who had won five straight training titles in the state. The Grove barn captured the Laurel winter and Laurel summer titles.
The 41-year-old Grove won the Barbara Fritchie H. (G2) and General George H. (G2) at Laurel Park on February 15 with Sweet Goodbye (Louis Quatorze) and Greenspring (Orientate), respectively, and saddled four consecutive winners at Laurel on August 14.
'Those two and when Silmaril beat Ashado (in the 2005 Pimlico Distaff H. [G3]) are the three biggest days of my career,' said Grove, who ranks in the top 50 nationally with a career-best 95 victories and $2.1 million in earnings so far this year. 'This is a nice accomplishment for the entire barn and it was helped by Lake re-routing his horses out of the state but we were there to pick up the pieces. I don't know what is going to transpire for 2011 and beyond but I want to continue racing in Maryland. This is home.'
Dickie Small and John Rigattieri shared the Laurel Park fall training title, each visiting the winners' circle 18 times during the 57-day stand. Hamilton Smith and Ferris Allen finished one back.