Ground Transport’s sensational win at Belmont Park today was the jewel in the crown of an unforgettable weekend of action for the Stidham stable.
One and one fourth miles is a long way around the wide turns of the New York track, but Jockey John Velazquez wasn’t fazed. He sent Ground Transport straight to the lead in the $100,000 Drosselmeyer Stakes, and the pair were never to be headed, despite the persistent challenge of the talented runner-up Ever Rider, who eventually succumb by a head to Stidham’s valiant runner.
This is Ground Transport’s second stake win in succession. Last time out, Ground Transport produced a similar front-running performance to land the Harrison E. Johnson Memorial Stakes at Laurel Park. The four-year-old colt by Big Brown was winning his fifth race in total, and the tasty $100,000 Drosselmeyer purse pushes his career earnings well over the $350,000 mark.
Stidham has always thought the world of Ground Transport, and it’s safe to say that his faith is being rewarded this season in no uncertain terms.
Local One Thirty completed an across the card double today for Stidham when he cruised to victory in a claimer at Arlington. Jockey James Graham seized the lead at the top of the far turn, and the pair pulled steadily clear to record a four length victory at the wire.
While California Chrome was the undoubted star of the show at Churchill Downs yesterday, Jessica’s Star produced her own facile performance on the undercard to pick up a tidy $65,000 in the optional claimer. Jessica’s Star was a little tardy from the gates, but jockey James Graham soon had her positioned on the heels of the leader. As they entered the final furlong, Jessica’s Star slipped up a gear and skipped to a comfortable 1 1/4 length win over Twang.
Jessica’s Star’s resume boasts an enviable two wins, two seconds record from only four career starts. And this three-year-old daughter of Magna Graduate is clearly a filly with a whole galaxy of untapped potential.
On Friday, Istanford ran a cracker to finish second in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs. Istanford was clearly lit-up after a little early race argy-bargy, and she quickly pulled herself into the lead. She remained at the head of affairs until A Little Bit Sassy collared her at the top of the stretch. Despite wasting much of her energy reserves with her early race shenanigans, Istanford stuck to her guns well to maintain a clear second place finish. Given a little better racing luck, Istanford clearly has a race of a similar nature well within her compass.
Masquerade and Every Way are the next entries from the Stidham stable, when they’re scheduled to line up at Arlington Park Friday.
Check back in again later this week for a look ahead to the weekend action.