Despite some anxious moments down the backstretch, Adam Staple's and Jalin Stable's Page McKenney became a millionaire Saturday afternoon with a 3 1/2-length victory in the $75,000 Native Dancer at Laurel Park.
Claimed by trainer Mary Eppler out of a sixth-place finish at Penn National in July of 2013, Page McKenney has since won 14 races, including multiple stakes, and finished second in the Pimlico Special (G3) and third in the Charles Town Classic (G2) and Cornhusker Handicap (G3).
McKenney's career earnings stand at $1.021 million. The chestnut covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.70.
“It means a lot,” Eppler said. “What can you say. He shows up every time and runs his race.”
The 6-year-old son gelded son of Eavesdropper, who went off the 2-5 favorite, has now won 15 career starts.
Page McKenney broke alertly from the rail and was second behind the pacesetter Warrioroftheroses heading into the first turn. But after Bellarmine and Golden Glint chased the pace from the outside entering the backstretch, jockey Horacio Karamanos and Page McKenney found themselves sixth on the inside behind horses.
“I really thought we were going to get boxed in,” Eppler said.
“I saw the horses running off down the backstretch so I took a hold,” Karamanos said.
Karamanos patiently waited, moved inside horses approaching the final turn, and then moved three-wide around the turn before driving to the front inside the final eighth of a mile.
“I moved outside and he's coming like a machine like he usually does,” Karamanos said.
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