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BENSALEM, PA – Skeedattle Associates’ Just Howard kept his recent hot streak alive, winning his fourth straight race since adding blinkers in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Commonwealth Derby at Laurel Park.
Just Howard raced along the rail in third under rider Feargal Lynch behind heavy favorite Voodoo Song through fractions of :22.97, :46.47, 1:10.33, and 1:34.34. Eased out to the two path entering the stretch, Lynch urged Just Howard to the front, overtaking Voodoo Song near the 1/16 pole and drawing clear to cross first by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:45.81 for the 1 1/8-mile turf event.
“My horse got a great trip,” Lynch said. “Going into the first turn is where we won the race. Just when all those other horses were going to come down, I stuck him right in there. (Voodoo Song) was the horse to track. The whole way, I was just waiting for my gap to come open. It came down to us and we got the better of him.”
Profiteer came across third, a length behind Voodoo Song. Final Copy, Threeohtwocassie, and Dover Cliffs completed the order of finish. Bronson and Master Plan were scratched.
Unsuccessful in three attempts here as a maiden, trainer Graham Motion added blinkers and shipped Just Howard to Pimlico to earn his first win, then returned him to Laurel next out to win his first of three consecutive stakes races. The Commonwealth Derby was his first graded victory in as many attempts and increased his record to 9-4-2-1 with career earnings of $266,520.
“Feargal said this horse is a fighter,” said co-owner Robert White. “He just wants to win. The blinkers going on helped some. Maturing certainly helped some. He’s just getting better and better. Now we have to see what Mr. Motion thinks going from here.”
Just Howard returned $16.80 to win, $4.40 to place, and $2.40 to show. Voodoo Song brought back $2.20 to place and $2.10 to show, while Profiteer paid $2.10 to show.
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