BENSALEM, PA – Slam Dunk Racing’s Axelrod took full advantage of the fact that several top 3-year-olds were running elsewhere on Saturday, romping home in a major way to win the Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx.
Breaking a bit slowly from the far outside post 8 under Joe Bravo, Axelrod quickly recovered and rushed up to race just off of the front-running group headed by Diamond King, who set splits of :24.93, :48.48, and 1:13.04. Lacking room to run as he gained steam in the far turn, Bravo tipped Axelrod out to run five-wide at the top of the stretch, but the extra ground wasn’t enough to slow the Michael McCarthy trainee. Rallying strongly while not being asked for his best, Axelrod took command in mid-stretch and quickly drew off, running away under a late hand ride to win the 1 1/16-mile main track event by 4 lengths in a final time of 1:45.34.
Diamond King was able to hold second by a neck over First Mondays, with that pair over 4 lengths ahead of Transistor in fourth. Wait for It, Title Ready, the 9/5 favorite Flameaway, and Cowboy Night completed the order of finish.
Axelrod’s win was his second straight in a Grade 3 event following his Indiana Derby score and improved his overall record to 9-4-1-1. The 3-year-old son of Warrior’s Reward has now earned $540,925 in his career.
Axelrod returned $10 to win, $5 to place, and $3.40 to show. Diamond King brought back $5 to place and $3.40 to show, while First Mondays paid $4.60 to show.