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ELMONT, NY – Following a “break neck” early pace, Still Having Fun came out of nowhere to win Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Woody Stephens Stakes Presented by Mohegan Sun at Belmont Park. This was the first graded stakes win for the three-year-old son of Old Fashioned and his third win in 2018.
When the eleven-horse field broke from the gate, it was quickly apparent that it was going to be a speedy race. Morning line favorite, World of Trouble, wasted no time taking up the early lead and was joined by Promises Fulfilled. Just off the pace sat Pure Shot, The Tabulator, and Strike Power with the rest of the field, including 13-1 longshot Still Having Fun, strung out behind. The early fractions of :21.46 and :43.68 were as track announcer Larry Collmus described, “break-neck”. Yet, as they hit the top of the stretch, the front-running pair of World of Trouble and Promises Fulfilled looked like they might have enough left in the tank. It was Engage who first challenged, and eventually passed, the front-running pair but it was the late running Still Having Fun that shocked everyone when he, with jockey Joel Rosario aboard, flew to the front to win by a length. Engage finished a comfortable second followed by Promises Fulfilled and World of Trouble in a photo for third.
“I had a perfect trip because there was a lot of speed in front of me,” said jockey Joel Rosario. “He was very comfortable. He was a little far back but I was just waiting until we were turning for home to set him down and ride him. By the eighth pole, I knew I had it. He has such a big stride.”
Trained by Timothy L. Keefe and owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, and Terp Racing LLC., Still Having Fun has now won four of eight career starts.
“Right now it feels great,” said trainer Timothy L. Keefe. “This is great. I’m just thankful to Gary [Barber] and Adam [Wachtel] for buying into this horse and having the faith to keep him with me, and to Jim Scott and Terp Racing for supporting me with a lot of horses over the years.”
Still Having Fun returned $28.00 to win, $10.80 to place, and $6.10 to show. Engage brought back $6.00 to place and $3.50 to show, while Promises Fulfilled paid $4.20 to show.
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