Delta Downs kicked off its stakes schedule for the 2018-19 Thoroughbred season on Friday night with the $100,000 Magnolia and the $50,000 My Trusty Cat serving as the main events on a 10-race program.
The Magnolia, a one-mile test for Louisiana-bred 3-year-olds and upward, was won by Pacific Pink under jockey Colby Hernandez. The My Trusty Cat, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies, was taken by Taylor's Spirit with Thomas Pompell in the saddle.
Pacific Pink used her customary late-running style to get the victory in the Magnolia as she sat well off the early pace set by Yes Gorgeous, who carved out early fractional times of 23.59 seconds for the quarter-mile and 47.90 for the half. The front-runner accomplished three-quarters of mile in 1:12.76 before tiring in the stretch.
For a brief time it appeared that 40-1 longshot Fleet Halo might shock the crowd as she took a short lead in deep stretch before Pacific Pink got clear and charged to the wire to win by ¾ of a length while Safari Calamari followed the winner for second. Fleet Halo held on for third, another ¾ of a length behind the top pair.
Pacific Pink, who is owned by Keith Plaisance and trained by Edward J. Johnston, covered the mile in a time of 1:39.62 over a fast track.
The win by Pacific Pink was the 12th of her 32-race career and she earned $60,000 for the effort. Her overall bankroll now stands at staggering $717,770.
Bred in Louisiana by Brandon Adcock, Pacific Pink is a 6-year-old dark bay or brown mare by Private Vow, out of the Robyn Dancer mare Truly Romantic.
Sent to the gate as the 3-2 wagering favorite, Pacific Pink paid $5 to win, $3 to place and $2.60 to show. Safari Calamari returned $11 to place and $6.40 to show. Fleet Halo paid $11.20 to show.
The My Trusty Cat Stakes turned into a runaway as Mark Norman and Norman Stables, LLC's Taylor's Spirit dominated six rivals in the seven-furlong test for 2-year-old fillies.
Under jockey Thomas Pompell, the Scott Gelner trainee vied for the early lead alongside Cover Charge as the pair set an early pace of 23.46 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.77 for the half. As the field approached the second turn Taylor's Spirit drew clear before pouring it on the homestretch and winning by 6-1/4 lengths over Eskendar, who rallied for second. Cover Charge held on for third, another 2-1/4 lengths behind the top pair.
Taylor's Spirit reported home in a final time of 1:26.83 for seven furlongs.
The win by Taylor's Spirit was the fourth of her five-race career. She earned $30,000 for the effort on Friday night and now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $125,480.
Bred in Kentucky by David Lickhalter, Taylor's Spirit is a bay filly by Algorithms, out of the Dehere mare Spirit Rising.
Sent to the post as the odds-on favorite, Taylor's Spirit paid 3.20 to win, $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show. Eskandar paid $2.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Cover Charge was worth $6 to show.
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