Mens Grille Racing's Enchanted Ghost, headed at the top of the stretch by Indy's Lady, scared up a rally along the inside and edged clear through the lane to spring a half-length upset of the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media Stakes on a special Presidents Day holiday program Monday at Laurel Park in Laurel, Md.
Trained by Hamilton Smith and ridden by Jevian Toledo for his third victory of the afternoon, Enchanted Ghost ($15.60) ran about 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.84 over a muddy and sealed main track for her fourth career win and first since the Maryland-bred 4-year-old daughter of Hall of Famer Ghostzapper captured the Wide Country Stakes last February at Laurel.
Toledo, Maryland's leading rider in 2015 and 2017, was aboard Enchanted Ghost for the first time in her 13th career start. Breaking from Post 2, they were able to set comfortable fractions of 24.80 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 49.19 for the half, pressed to her outside by Indy's Lady, a two-time New York-bred stakes winner as a 2-year-old, as Saint Main Event saved ground along the rail and 6-5 favorite Timeless Curls raced in the clear three wide.
Saint Main Event dropped back as Indy's Lady moved up alongside Enchanted Ghost and Timeless Curls began to launch her bid around the turn, going six furlongs in 1:13.72. Indy's Lady and jockey Angel Suarez forged a short lead as the top two straightened for home, but Enchanted Ghost found another gear under Toledo's urging and was able to turn back the challenge.
“Hammy told me, 'Try to go to the lead,' and that's what I did. When I asked her in the stretch, she gave me everything she had,” Toledo said. “He passed me by a head, but as soon as she saw it she was coming back. She didn't want to let him go by again.”
It was the second win in as many tries over an off track for Enchanted Ghost, the other coming in the Wide Country, which was followed by an eight-month break between races. She was winless in five starts since, the most recent coming in a third-level optional claimer going 5 ½ furlongs Jan. 10 at Laurel.
“She handled it pretty good,” Toledo said. “She relaxed really nice on the lead, she put her ears up and I felt like I had a ton of horse. When I asked her in the stretch, she just kept going and kept going.”
Indy's Lady was a clear second, 2 ¼ lengths ahead of Nellie Morse Stakes winner Timeless Curls, who had a four-race win streak snapped. They were followed by Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes winner Isotope, Blue Union Rags, Sweet Maggie Mae, Mzima Springs and Saint Main Event.
Founded in 1937, the Maryland Racing Media Association is the oldest state-level racing media organization in the country. It created and maintains a valuable scholarship program aiding members of the racing industry and furthering their educations, and was co-founder of the Maryland Thoroughbred Hall of Fame.
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