BY Dick Jerardi
PTHA president Sal DeBunda and top Parx trainer Jamie Ness had big days out of town Saturday.
One DeBunda homebred won a race at Pimlico and another finished second. Ness, the runaway leader at Parx in wins, won three races on Owners’ Day at Delaware Park.
Foalsfillyspecial (a great play on words of the Nick Foles Philly Special from the Super Bowl), bred by DeBunda’s Dun Roamin Farm and the Rosemore Farms of Harriette Waldron, won the seventh at Pimlico, a maiden $10,000 claimer. There was only one issue: DeBunda pointed out the filly was claimed out of her first start in July, also a maiden $10,000 claimer.
Two races later, Colonel Juan, an older half brother to Foalsfillyspecial out of the DeBunda and Waldron mare Senorita Louisa, finished second in his race. Colonel Juan, still a DeBunda horse, is 5-3-8 from 30 career starts, with earnings of nearly $200,000.
Senorita Louisa has foals with earnings of nearly $1 million. Her dam, Senorita Cielo, also raced by Dun Roamin and Rosemore, was an even better producer. Every one of her foals that got to the races was a winner.
Keeping it all in the Parx family, Colonel Juan finished second at Pimlico to Runningforhome, owned by Chuck Zacney’s Cash Is King and Glenn Bennett’s LC Racing. The horse is trained by Tyler Servis who is having a great 2020, just his second year as a trainer.
Servis is 14-6-6 from 43 starters, a 33 percent strike rate. At Parx, he has won 11 races from 30 starters, a cool 37 percent. He had 12 wins last year so the younger son of John Servis looks like he is on his way.
Ness is already there. The runaway leader at Parx this year, Ness has 64 wins at the track to 32 for second-place Joe Taylor. Overall, Ness is 162-117-110 from 611 starters this year, with earnings of $3.7 million. He is winning with 33 percent of his starters at Parx.
Ness won races 2, 4, and 11 at Delaware. It was V.I.P. Code, followed by Madam Meena and Wild About Deb. Three wins days have been the norm for Ness this year especially since racing stopped for three months. His horses were ready when racing returned and they have stayed ready in the three months since the return.
JUST NEEDED SOME TIME
Remember Improbable, the favorite in last year’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Pennsylvania Derby. The colt finished fifth, sixth and fourth respectively in those races. Turned out the experience needed to catch up to the talent. It has.
Improbable has now reeled off three consecutive Grade I wins _ The Gold Cup, Whitney and, Saturday, the Awesome Again. Improbable likely will be favored in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland. And, if he wins, he will be Horse of the Year.
Maximum Security finished second to stablemate Improbable, but got all the worst of it after being involved in a race-long speed duel. It was only the second time in 13 starts Max has not finished first. Both of those losses were seconds with an excuse. If Max gets a clear lead in reasonable fractions in the Classic, he will be dangerous because he is so hard to pass in the stretch. Even when it was obvious the colt had nothing left Saturday, he refused to let Midcourt pass him for second.