By Dick Jerardi
Days of rain led to more than half the horses entered to run in the two $100,000 stakes for Pennsylvania breds at Parx Monday being scratched, but ended with wonderful stories that would have been difficult to anticipate prior to the races.
Hey Mamaluke won the Power By Far Stakes in 2021 and finished a close second last year to the great Chub Wagon, both times when the race came off grass. The 7-year–old, making her 36th start, was kind of an afterthought this time on the sealed, muddy surface, sent off at 6-1 after two poor performances, the exact scenario before the mare won at Aqueduct in March. Well, Hey Mamaluke did it again and did it the hard way.
Empress Deona almost seemed to beat the gate and was loose on the lead instantly, with Hey Mamaluke and Andy Hernandez chasing; 1-1 favorite Midnight in Alaska, after three straight gate to wire wins, farther behind than expected in the 5-furlong race
When Empress Deona faded in the stretch, it was Hey Mamaluke who took over. When the closers were charging late, it was Hey Mamaluke who held on to win it by a head.
Hey Mamaluke has 11 wins and seven seconds for Parx Hall of Fame trainer Patricia Farro and owner/breeder Joseph Capriglione. Nine of those wins have come at Parx, two at Aqueduct.
“She’s like the favorite,” Farro said of the stable star. “She’s very competitive. She’s just a racehorse…We’re so proud of her.”
Hey Mamaluke’s racing story, which began Dec. 17, 2018, with a nearly 11-length win at 8-1, is wonderful. Her back story is fascinating. Her dam, Pu Dew, raced 78 times with 18 wins, 21 seconds, 9 thirds and earnings of $409,030. She was claimed 14 times, the last time for $5,000 by Capriglione on Dec. 3, 2009 at the Meadowlands. She was 4-for-29 for her new owner who decided to breed her to star Pennsylvania stallion Jump Start. That foal became Hey Mamaluke who, in addition to career earnings of $621,139, has also generated $187,142 in breeder awards for Capriglione and $45,868 in stallion awards for Northview Stallions’ which stood Jump Start until his death at age 20 in 2019.
The Crowd Pleaser was scratched down to four after also coming off the grass. Ninetyprcentmaddie was bet down to 1-5 for trainer Butch Reid, owner LC Racing and scorching hot jockey Paco Lopez (39 percent at Parx in 2023). On paper, it looked like no contest as Ninetyprcentmaddie had won or placed in four open stakes after winning at Pa. bred stakes last August.
For a while, it looked like a match race _ until it didn’t. Ninetyprcentmaddie and Winnin’onweekends hooked up on the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race and went off as a team on the run down the backstretch. And then, with the rail wide open, jockey Adam Beschizza, in from Kentucky, sent Movisitor, the longest shot at 11-1, flying up the rail, and the son of Uncle Mo, making his first start on dirt, broke the race wide open in a few strides.
It was long over by the stretch, with Movisitor eventually winning by 5 1/2 lengths. Time to Cruise came on to be second, with Ninetyprcentmaddie fading to third.
Movistor is owned by F L I Racing and was bred by Forgotten Land Investment, Inc., an entity used by owner/breeder Christian Black of Blackstone Farm. Black also bred Arkansas Derby winner Angel of Empire who was third in the Kentucky Derby.
Movisitor is trained in Kentucky by Ed Vaughan who was a very successful stakes-winning trainer based in Newmarket, England before coming to America in 2020, three years after Beschizza who was his stable jockey in England.
Movisitor spent a few days at Parx in trainer Ed Coletti’s barn and then ran like his first main track experience won’t be his last.
“He’s always been a pretty genuine horse, even in open company,” Beschizza said. “He’s run in the Penn Mile. It might have been a bit beyond him, but he’s always trying. Credit to Ed; he’s got him here in good condition.”
And Movisitor displayed serious acceleration.
“It was getting a bit lonely there at the quarter pole,” Beschizza said. “I wasn’t sure how much he was going to find.”
Movisitor found more than enough to turn out the lights on the field and after four starts on grass and three on Tapeta, may have found a home on the main track.
“He ran a great race in the Grade II (Penn Mile) up at Penn National,” Vaughan said. “It was the first time with blinkers. He came back a man after it. He trained very well. I breezed him once on a track that was pretty wet and you know what, he skipped away over it.”
Just like the colt did in the Crowd Pleaser. Vaughan has 10 horses in Kentucky as he tries to make his way in America. Well, he has a very nice Pa. bred 3-year-old colt, so Movisitor should not be a stranger in the Commonwealth.