An explosive move from Augustin Stable's Spring Season resulted in a three-length victory in Saturday's $100,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap on the turf at Philadelphia Park.
It was the first win of the year for the 6 year-old Seeking the Gold
mare and pushed her career earnings to better than $244,000.
Fifth in the field of 11 fillies and mares with a furlong to go, Spring Season was clearly going best but had to steady with jockey Victor Molina behind tiring horses before a seam appeared. When that hole opened up, she shot through in a blink and the race was over. Spring Season took command with about a sixteenth to go, quickly drew clear and went on to post a convincing victory, finishing the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:46 1/5 on a course labeled soft.
With plenty of pace developing up front, Molina quickly took his mount toward the back, eighth in the ten horse field into the first turn. City Fire and Valley of the Gods were matching strides up front, hitting the quarter in :23 2/5 and the half in :48 1/5. Spring Season began to make slow but steady progress down the backstretch. City Fire was finished early and as she began to back through the field, Molina had to steady his mount briefly to avoid the retreating horse. After swinging around her, Molina quickly went back to the fence and saved every bit of ground around the second turn while closing in on the leaders.
My Lordship, the 8-5 favoirte, finished fifth.
Slipping off a 5-1, Spring Season, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, returned $13.80, $8 and $5.80. Sunup, part of a 19-1 field entry also closed well from far back but could not stay with the winner and had to settle for second, paying $14.80 and $6.80. Ernabel, a 27-1 outsider who was close up throughout, stayed on well in the final stages and took the show dough while paying $9.