The Mike Stidham stable is hotter than the hinges of Hades at present, and his sensational run of form continued unabated over the weekend with three winners throughout the nation – Jessica’s Star was the undisputed headline act after a thrilling victory in the Prairie Mile Stakes Saturday.
Jessica’s Star was one of six to line up in the $75,000 race at Prairie Meadows, run over a mile on the dirt. He didn’t get off to the best of starts, however – bobbling a little as he left the gates. Jockey David Mello didn’t panic, settling him four-wide on the heels of the leading bunch. As the field swept into the straight, Mello brought his mount with a run down the outside, swiftly into a narrow lead. Headed again at the three-sixteenths marker, Jessica’s Star showed grizzled determination to claw back the lead, flashing past the post a neck to the good.
This three-year-old son of Magna Graduate is now compiling an impressive resume. This was a third win in only five starts, with two second place finishes to round it off. This was also his first stab at black-type company, and while the winning margin may have been narrow, we’ve clearly yet to see the best of him. Jessica’s Star is yet another shining testament to Stidham’s uncanny knack of bringing young horses along patiently and with understanding, always with one eye on their future.
Over at Churchill Downs, Infant Gold shrugged the monkey from his back with a relatively cosy victory in a maiden claimer. Jockey Brian Hernandez grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck, taking his mount into a narrow lead and gradually winding the pace up from the front. They were never headed thereafter, passing the post 2 3/4 lengths clear of the second place finisher.
With a nice confidence boosting win under his belt and with only four career starts, this three-year-old son of City Place certainly has the potential to progress from here.
Arlington was the venue for Stidham’s third win Saturday and by far his easiest, when Pirate’s Trove made an impeccable racecourse debut, skipping to a jaw-dropping 12 1/4 length victory. As per usual for a Stidham debutante, Pirate’s Cove was faster from the gates than a caged cheetah, straight into the lead. Thereafter, Pirate’s Cove only extended the distance between her and her luckless pursuers. By the time she strolled past the wire, jockey Florent Geroux needed binoculars to see the struggling also-rans.
Pirate’s Cove, a three year-old daughter of Speightstown, couldn’t have been any more impressive, and she’s yet another young exciting Stidham runner to look forward to during the steamy summer months.
At Arlington later this week, Stidham has made entries for George’s Peach Thursday, and Betterthsndiamonds and La Bruna Forte Friday.
Check back in again later this week for a look ahead to the weekend action.