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GRANTVILLE, PA – John Oxley’s Moon Colony waited until room appeared and then blasted off on a rail-skimming ride to the front to win Saturday’s $500,000 Penn Mile Stakes (G2) at Penn National.
Breaking from the rail under Julien Leparoux at 9/1 odds, Moon Colony took back and rated along the inside while Real News posted opening fractions of :22.71, :47.60, and 1:12.63. Beginning to range up as he hit the far turn, Moon Colony stayed inside and lingered patiently until a clear running lane materialized.
Real News began to drift out nearing the 1/8 pole, a move that proved costly as Leparoux urged his steed through the hole. Quickly taking the lead near the 1/16 pole, Moon Colony drew off under brisk urging to win by 1 1/4 growing lengths. The Mark Casse trainee completed the mile-long event over the yielding turf course in 1:37.45.
“I wanted to save the ground,” Leparoux said. “With the one hole, anyway, it was the best thing to do. I kind of made one run. We went pretty quick the first part of the race, so that was good for me. By the 1/2-mile pole, I was just cruising behind them. I just needed room. The draw worked out perfect because the 2, the 3, and the 4 were favorites, so I was behind good horses, and it just opened up for me. It was a perfect trip.”
Casa Creed had to close from the middle of the lane where the grass wasn’t as strong and could only get up for second by 3/4 of a length over Real News. The 7/5 favorite A Thread of Blue weakened after pressing the early pace and finished a disappointing fourth. Fluminense finished fifth ahead of The Black Album, while Conative outnosed Forty Under to complete the order of finish.
Empire of War scratched in favor of competing in the Tale of the Cat Stakes at Monmouth Park, where he finished second.
Moon Colony’s win was his first at the stakes level and his first since taking an allowance event at Fair Grounds on November 29 to improve his record to 7-3-0-0. The 3-year-old son of Uncle Mo, most recently fifth behind Casa Creed in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 5, has now earned $370,635.
“He’s a pretty good horse,” Casse said. “He was kind of an underachiever early on. I thought his last race at Gulfstream was really good. We brought him home to our training center and I saw a different horse. I thought he’d run really well. What made me really feel good and he was sitting there and Julian had a lot of horse. He had a really good work at Belmont with an older horse named Mo Diddley, and he kind of played with Mo Diddley, and Mo Diddley ran 7/8 (and won) at Belmont yesterday in 1:21. To outwork an older horse like that, I knew he was sitting on a really good race.”
Moon Colony returned $21.60 to win, $11.20 to place, and $6.20 to show. Casa Creed brought back $5.60 to place and $4 to show, while Real News paid $5 to show.
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