Miracle Wood the Right Spot for Gimmeawink

Trainer Tim Ritchey entered Gimmeawink in two Saturday stakes, the Whirlaway Stakes (at Aqueduct) and the Miracle Wood Stakes at his home base of Laurel Park. Ritchey opted for the closer race and Gimmeawink rewarded him with a victory.

Gimmeawink earned his first stakes win and fourth victory in seven career starts, taking the $50,000 Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel. The 3-year-old son of Elusive Quality completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.07 to notch his first win in a two-turn race.

"We decided to stay and race here instead of shipping to New York," said Ritchey. "He's stabled here. He trains here. Not having to travel was easier on him although the race did come up tougher than we thought. Also, by staying here, it gave us a chance to get a gauge on whether he could handle two turns. He answered that question."

Slightly favored over pacesetter Gators N Bears, Gimmeawink rallied under jockey Jeremy Rose to earn the 1 1/4-length victory.

"I didn't think the horse could go long off his most recent sprint but both the horse and the trainer proved me wrong," said Rose. "He did all the hard work saving ground and getting through when he had to. When we turned for home I knew I had a really good chance to win it. Although I could hear someone coming behind me, but I could tell they weren't a threat. He finished really strong."

Runner-up Penobscot Bay was the horse closing in on the winner late. "We are very happy with the way he ran but that nine horse (Gimmeawink) was awfully tough," said Jozbin Santana, who rode Penobscot Bay. "He had trouble keeping focused so I think we'll be adding blinkers because when it looked like we might go by Jeremy he just didn't want to do it."

Gimmeawink earned $30,000 for owner Walter Wienkowitz for the win.

Ritchey said the Private Terms Stakes (Laurel, March 29) might be Gimmeawink's next start.

"He's been very professional since the beginning," said Ritchey. "He's kind about any maneuver you want to do during a race and that could prove to be a real asset."

Gators N Bears finished four lengths farther back in third, followed by Skycrossing, Dr. Phil, Intensive Dancer, and Skamper.

Gimmeawink was bred in Kentucky by Nellie M. Cox and Rose Retreat Farm and sold for $70,000 as a 2-year-old. (Chart, Equibase)