The amazing run of Parx based horses during the fall season continued Saturday when trainer Danny Velasquez went to Aqueduct with his stakes winning two year-old Brooklyn Strong and won the biggest race of his young career, the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes. Owned by Mark Schwartz, the gelded son of Wicked Strong caught the favored front running Ten for Ten near the eighth pole, and then gamely fought to the end, getting past late to win by a neck. It was the second stakes victory in a row for Brooklyn Strong, having gone to Belmont Park back on October 24th for New York’s Showcase Day and winning the $100,000 Sleepy Hollow Stakes.
The win by Brooklyn Strong was the fifth major stakes win for local horsemen in the past six weeks. Velasquez started the run with a victory in the $100,000 Maid of the Mist Stakes, the race prior to the Sleepy Hollow, winning with his two year-old filly, Laobanonaprayer. The 7-1 win in the Remsen gave Velasquez three stakes wins in New York over just that short period of time. Over the past several seasons, he’s also built a reputation as one of the best claiming trainers on the grounds. His win percentage with horses running for him in their first start following a claim have been among the best of any trainer on the backstretch.
Classic Day in New York produced a third win for Parx based horses when trainer Carlos Guerrero won the $100,000 Empire Distaff with Ten Strike Racing’s Lucky Move. The six year-old Lookin at Lucky mare swept from last to first with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard to win by a length and three quarters. Breaking her maiden in 2018 at the Fair Grounds in a maiden claiming event, she’s now won two stakes in 2020, earlier this season capturing the $100,000 Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park.
The biggest win of the run, though, belongs to trainer Butch Reid. His two year-old filly, Vequist, went to Keeneland to compete in the Breeders Cup and most likely solidified her spot as champion filly of the year with a win in the $2 million Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies. With a late rally up the rail under jockey Joel Rosario, Vequist surged past front running Dayoutoftheoffice and then drew clear late to win by two lengths at a nice square price of 6-1. It was the second Breeders Cup win for Butch, winning the Breeders Cup Marathon on 2011 with Afleet Again. Amazingly, the win by Vequist gave Parx a victory at the Breeders Cup for the third consecutive year. In 2018, Jaywalk dominated her race in the Juvenile Fillies, giving John Servis his first Breeders Cup win, and last year, it was Spun to Run. He jumped to an early lead in the Dirt Mile and never looked back, giving Carlos Guerrero the biggest win of his career. Prior to the 2018 Breeders Cup, what kind of odds could you have secured in Las Vegas that Parx horses would win at the Breeders Cup in three straight years?
Congratulations are also due jockey Kendrick Carmouche. A seven time champion here at Parx, Kendrick won the first Grace 1 race of his career Saturday. He rallied from just off the pace and went on to win the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct by six and a half lengths aboard True Timber. A testament to dedication and perseverance, we can only hope there are more coming for one of the most loved members of our jocks room in recent memory.