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Stopchargingmaria wins the Coaching Club American Oaks by five lengths. (Photo by NYRA/Coglinese Photos)

Skipping the Mother Goose so Stopchargingmaria would be ready for the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks proved to be a smart move by the filly’s connections when she won the July 20 race by five lengths.

Earlier in the week, trainer Todd Pletcher said that the decision was made to go to the Coaching Club American Oaks in order to get Stopchargingmaria a Grade 1 win, which would be easier in the Saratoga Race Course race. Stopchargingmaria proved that decision right when the field entered the far turn and she took the lead as they hit the stretch. Stopchargingmaria had an easy first part of the race, stalking the leaders in fractions of 24.03 and 48.08 during the first half before Javier Castellano asked her to make a move as they entered the far turn. The Tale of the Cat daughter took over the lead from Miss Besilu as the field straightened out with Castellano sitting still on the filly.

By mid-stretch, Stopchargingmaria was playing a game of ‘catch me if you can’. While Unbridled Forever made moves to put herself solidly in second she had no chance of catching Stopchargingmaria. The winning filly pulled away and made the race look like an early morning gallop, complete with pricked ears, covering the 1 1/8 miles in a time of 1:49.80. Unbridled Forever put on a show of her own, beating third place Miss Besilu by 4 ½ lengths.

"I told [owner] Mike [Repole] that this filly has never trained better than she has here in the last month. She seems to really like Saratoga. She has been training much more powerfully than she did this winter, so we expected a big effort from her," said Pletcher

"The huge thing was to win a Grade 1. A filly of her résumé to get that Grade 1 was huge. I thought she ran well enough today to certainly earn a spot in the [August 16] Alabama."

This is Stopchargingmaria’s second consecutive victory and fourth stakes victory. The filly started her career almost exactly a year ago, winning her debut by 5 ½ lengths on July 19, 2013 at Saratoga. The filly is trained by Todd Pletcher, who won his sixth Coaching Club American Oaks with this victory. Owned by Mike Repole’s Repole Stable, she was bought for $220,000 at a 2-year-olds in training sale after selling for $47,000 as a yearling.

The winner went off at odds of 6/5, paying $4.40 for a $2 win ticket. For an Equibase chart, click here.

Tom's Tribute Earns First Graded Stakes Victory in Eddie Read

Toms Tributw

Photo by Eclipse Sportswire

Tom’s Tribute lost the lead early in the $300,000 Eddie Read Stakes but had nothing to worry about late in the race, beating even money favorite Summer Front to win his first graded stakes race.

Tom’s Tribute gunned it in an effort to make the lead out of the gate but Horizontalyspeaking got there first, relegating Tom’s Tribute to second. The pair stayed in their positions during most of the race with even-money favorite Summer Front in third. Horizontalyspeaking set a solid pace and set the race up perfectly for jockey Mike Smith to push Tom’s Tribute’s to challenge the leader in the turn and take the lead as the rest of the field swarmed Horizontalyspeaking. Summer Front finished second with Spring Up in third.

While it looked for a second like Summer Front may give Tom’s Tribute a run for his money in the stretch, the Lion Heart son showed that he had nothing to worry about as he easily kept command of the race to the wire. The victory gave Smith back-to-back wins on the card while also giving Tom’s Tribute his second win of the year.

Bought for $310,000 at a 2-year-olds in training sale, the now-4-year-old is owned by Tom and Marilyn Braly. Trainer James Cassidy was originally aiming the colt at the Del Mar Mile this summer but called an audible and went to this race instead, a decision that paid off. After the race, Cassidy said that the Breeders’ Cup is the end goal for the horse.

Tom’s Tribute went off at odds of 2-1 and paid $6.60 for a $2 win ticket. 

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Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Melissa Bauer-Herzog was born and raised in Vancouver, Wash. where she grew up riding horses in all-around events. After graduating from West Texas A&M with a B.S. in Mass Communication she spent the summer of 2012 interning at the United States Equestrian Federation and working at the Paulick Report. Melissa joined America’s Best Racing in December 2012 while interning with Three Chimneys Farm in their marketing communications division.

Image Description

Melissa Bauer-Herzog

Melissa Bauer-Herzog was born and raised in Vancouver, Wash. where she grew up riding horses in all-around events. After graduating from West Texas A&M with a B.S. in Mass Communication she spent the summer of 2012 interning at the United States Equestrian Federation and working at the Paulick Report. Melissa joined America’s Best Racing in December 2012 while interning with Three Chimneys Farm in their marketing communications division.

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