ATHENA SCORES SECOND STRAIGHT IN AMERICAN BEAUTY
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017) – Mary Grum’s Athena, coming off a hard-fought victory Jan. 13 at Oaklawn, survived a tough battle to the wire and a lengthy stewards’ inquiry to win Saturday’s $125,000 American Beauty before a crowd of 12,000.
Athena raced in fourth place early as Super Saks led the charge through opening fractions of :22 1/5 and :46 1/5 for the first half mile. As the field entered the stretch, Marquee Miss came four wide into the stretch to engage the leader and lugged in forcing D R C’s Pretty Sky and Super Saks, especially, to check. In the meantime, the winner, ridden by Joe Rocco Jr., began her rally up the rail, brushed with Marquee Miss in the final sixteenth and drew off to win by three-quarters of a length. The winning time was 1:10 3/5 for six furlongs over a fast track.
Marquee Miss was disqualified and placed last. A Gala Day was promoted to second from third and D R C’s Pretty Sky was promoted to third from fourth. Wheatfield, the 2-1 favorite, Super Saks and Marquee Miss complete the official order of finish.
Athena, a five-year-old Street Sense mare, improved her record to 7-2-3 from 20 starts and has now earned $402,697. She returned $9.20, $4.60 and $3.80 as the 7-2 co-third choice.
Live race resumes Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first post.
American Beauty Quotes:
Winning trainer Helen Pitts, Athena – “I’m so proud of her. She’s been doing so good. I think it (inquiry) made my heart stop, it didn't just pitter-patter. But, it was very nerve-wracking, whether it was to do with us or not. I'm just very happy for Mrs. (Mary) Grum, and Joe (Rocco Jr.) rode her absolutely beautifully.”
Winning Jockey Joe Rocco, Athena – “She was great. Really brave. I was able to get to the fence and save all the ground. Lukas’s horse was kind of lugging out. We were able to get in there before the other horse shut us off too bad. She showed a lot of guts. Really proud of her.”
Did the race run as you planned?
“Yeah, I was hoping someone would go with Super Saks and they did. I didn’t want to be too wide, I was able to get to the fence and it worked its way out.”
2nd Place Jockey Kevin Roman, A Gala Day – “Everything turned out pretty good, because I was just sitting in the right spot waiting for my horse to kick in. When I saw they got in trouble, I went a little wide to make sure we didn’t get in trouble. My horse ran well.”
5th Place Jockey Ramon Vazquez, Super Saks – “I thought we could maybe finish 1st or 2nd until the stretch. We had a lot of trouble with the 6 coming over and I had to take hold of my horse.”
Trainer Ingrid Mason, Marquee Miss, disqualified from second and placed last – “It was a disaster. She should have won the race.”