Raging Smoke took the $150,000 Sugar Maple Stakes presented by CANTER Mid-Atlantic wire-to-wire April 23, and in the process gave trainer Mike Salvaggio the biggest win of his career.
The 5-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of More Smoke went off at odds of 36-1 in the seven-furlong race for older fillies and mares at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, but that didn't stop her from winning by 1 1/4 lengths.
Harry Nye, owner and co-breeder of Raging Smoke along with Tom McClay, said the strategy all along was a front-end attack.
"I told Mike to tell (jockey) J.D. (Acosta) we've got to be up front in this race," he said. "Just get the lead and go for it. She has got a lot of heart, because she had never run seven furlongs before. I really believe she has talent."
Raging Smoke held off Sweet On Smokey, who closed from fifth. Athena was third, followed home by Lake Sebago, Making Havoc, Dallas Cowgirl, Walk of Stars, Flattering Bea, and Magnificent Margo. Final time was 1:25.66 on a fast track.
The winner returned $75.80, $22.40, and $8.40. Sweet On Smokey brought $5.80 and $4, and Athena paid $3.40.
Raging Smoke's sire won the 2005 Lafayette Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland for Nye and co-owner McClay. She picked up her first stakes score when improving her record to 7-8-1 from 21 starts. She is out of the Marquetry mare Marquee Kelly.
"Tom McClay and I have bred horses together for years. This is just wonderful," Nye said.