PARX POST-CHRISTMAS STAKES TREAT
When those five new stakes, worth $100,000 each, were announced for the Tuesday and Wednesday after Christmas at Parx, the anticipation from owners and trainers was an older version of kids waiting on Christmas presents. The difference was that, yes, it was new money, but it would have to be earned.
And there were the bettors who responded by generating a handle of $4.3 million Tuesday, followed Wednesday, with the aid of a $389,200 carryover and mandatory payout in the Big 5, a handle of $6 million, $2 million of which was bet into the Big 5. That payout was $7,875.40 for each winning ticket.
All five stakes winners earned the cash by beating large, competitive fields. The three Tuesday stakes were all won by former Parx champion jockeys, each of whom took advantage of in-race circumstances to get to the wire first.
Jakarta was 18-1 in the Mrs. Claus for fillies and mares going 7 furlongs. Her published lines were all on grass, except for her most recent start on Tapeta at Turfway Park. She had not won a race all year.
The 6-year-old mare was 8-for-26 lifetime, but she was 5-for-8 on fast dirt tracks. And this was a fast dirt track. Just as she did at Penn National in 2019 when she had four wins, two seconds and a third in nine starts, Jakarta came out running from her inside post and never stopped, winning by 3 lengths in the end.
“She broke so good, I put my hands down and she was awesome,’’ said jockey Mychel Sanchez. “I felt like I was just galloping.’’
The jockey was very confident because he had gone back on Jakarta’s form and saw she “was destroying those fields on dirt.’’
Making her Parx debut after racing in Kentucky, Florida, New York and Canada for Three Diamonds Farm during the year, Jakarta won by a comfortable 3 lengths in her first start for trainer Michael Trombetta.
Kendrick Carmouche, finishing off the best year of his career between New York and Parx, rode the final three Parx cards of the year. He gave a classic KC ride in The Kris Kringle for 3-year-olds and up going a mile and 70 yards. With 3-1 Rock on Luke and 5-2 favorite Davidic Line engaged in a long battle for the lead, Carmouche, riding 3-1 Why Why Paul Why, sat just off those leaders.
When the jockey gave the signal, Why Why Paul Why was there for him and raced away to win by 2 1/4 lengths for trainer Penny Pearce and owner JKX Racing. Davidic Line held on for second.
“They had a very tough pace in here,’’ Carmouche said. “I thought they would go pretty quick up front. The two horses up front hooked up. I just sat the trip and when I was ready to go, the horse did most of the work and I just had to guide him, keep him clear.’’
The first two finishers had been claimed earlier in the year at Churchill Downs. Davidic Line had improved dramatically for trainer Jamie Ness, winning twice in two starts at Parx. Why Why Paul Why now has five wins and a second at Parx.
Trainer John Servis thought so much of Dreams Untold last year that he was thinking of running the son of Smarty Jones in the Preakness. That did not work out, but the now 4-year-old showed his talent in The Blitzen for 3-year-olds and up going 6 furlongs. Positioned perfectly by Frankie Pennington in third behind dueling leaders, Dreams Untold, owned by Pat Chapman’s Someday Farm and sent off at 5-1, exploded on the turn and cruised home by 3 3/4 lengths.
“John Servis really got him ready for this race,’’ Pennington said. “John told me `sit in a good spot and he’ll give you everything.’ Sure enough, he was right.’’
Pennington was thrilled to win but especially so for Pat Chapman.
“She’s the sweetest lady you will ever meet in horse racing,’’ the jockey said. “You’ve got to love her.’’
The 2-year-olds took center stage Wednesday with The Parx Futurity for fillies and The Parx Juvenile for colts and geldings.
Trainer Butch Reid added to his career year when 5-2 Stand Up Comic remained perfect in three main track starts by running away from the field in the Futurity to win by 4 lengths. Frankie Pennington gave her a dream trip over the 7 furlongs for Chuck Zacney’s Cash Is King and Glenn Bennett’s LC Racing.
The filly, a half sister to the stable’s solid runner Dr B, was purchased privately and appears to have a very good future.
“I went down (to Florida) last spring and we were able to strike a deal,’’ Reid said.
Stand Up Comic had not raced in nearly two months. That she was pulling away at the finish gave Reid the confidence that more distance will not be a problem.
The final of the five stakes went to 3-1 Dance Code who wired the field in the 7-furlong Juvenile for trainer Juan Vazquez and owner Richies World Stables LLC. The son of Honor Code was ridden expertly by Nik Juarez.
After breaking his maiden in a June debut at Parx, Vazquez immediately sent the colt to Saratoga to run in the Sanford and Saratoga Special. That didn’t work out very well, but it was a strong indicator the trainer thought he had something special.
Vazquez was between Saturday’s Jerome at Aqueduct and the Juvenile for Dance Code
“I waited until almost 11:15,’’ he said with a smile. “I was supposed to go to The Jerome. I don’t want to scratch at Philly. Philly is my house. I like him a lot. I made the right decision.’’
Yes, he did.