As Saturdays go, they don’t come much better than the one just passed for Mike Stidham, as it yielded a sensational stake-race double for his-in form stable.
First up was Ground Transport who was never headed in the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park, worth a cool $100,000. In true Stidham fashion, Ground Transport was lightening out of the gates, jumping straight into the lead where he stayed throughout, only getting pressured on the far turn before surging clear in the home straight to pass the post a comfortable 3 1/2 lengths clear of the second horse. Trevor McCarthy was on board.
With this victory, Ground Transport bagged his maiden stake win after a number of black type forays. Indeed, Stidham thought enough of him this time last year to consider him a potential Kentucky Derby candidate. And it appears that, at the age of four, he’s still on the upgrade.
A little over an hour later over at Fair Grounds, I Dazzle showed that at the age of six, she’s definitely no back number with a dazzling display in the Red Camelia Stakes, worth $60,000. Settled on the outside early in about fourth, Robbie Albarado brought I Dazzle with a run at the top of the stretch, and after collaring long-time-leader Ladyzarbridge at the furlong marker, she stretched clear to record an easy-on-the-eye 1 1/4 length victory at the wire.
Now two-for-two with Stidham, I Dazzle has already shown herself capable of decent form while in the care of various other trainers. Taking into consideration Stidham’s fine record with older horses, and fillies in particular, there’s no reason why I Dazzle shouldn’t improve upon her graded stake record yet again.
Looking to the week ahead, Stidham has made entries for In Tall Cotton on Thursday, while on Friday he’s four handed: Betterhandiamonds, Voluptuous, Masquerade and Every Way.
Check back in again later this week for a look ahead to the weekend.