by Jim Freer
Saturday, Aug. 17 -- The juggernaut team of Miller Racing and trainer Marty Wolfson won yet another South Florida distaff stakes race on Saturday, this time with their newly acquired My Pal Chrisy.The 5-year-old mare’s victory came in the $100,000 Paseana Stakes at six furlongs on dirt at Gulfstream Park.
It was My Pal Chrisy’s first race for her new connections since Miller Racing bought her late last month from trainer-owner Padarath “Tony” Lutchman for an undisclosed price.
My Pal Chrisy took the lead from Capitalism At Risk entering the final furlong and romped home to win by 6 3/4 lengths over the late-running Isabelle’s Thunder. Capitalism At Risk finished third, a head behind Isabelle’s Thunder. My Pal Chrisy was ridden by Jonathan Gonzales and won in the fast time of 1:11.03 on a track listed as fast. She has three other stakes race victories—all at Calder Casino & Race Course for Lutchman who races his horses under the name Tony’s Investments.
“I always liked her,” said Wolfson, who had faced My Pal Chrisy more than a dozen times with several horses. “We tried to buy her last year, but the price wasn’t right,,” he said. ”This year, the price was right." It likely was $100,000 or more, based on My Pal Chrisy’s value on the track and her potential as a broodmare.
The $60,000 winner’s check in the Paseana was a first step in recouping the purchase price.
Miller Racing is owned by the father-son team of Rob and Myron Miller who both live in Palm Beach County. They also own Farnsworth Stables, a breeding and training farm in Ocala.
The Millers use Wolfson to train all of their approximately 20 horses that are racing. Wolfson also trains for several other owners.
The vast majority of the Millers’ horses are fillies and mares. Almost all of them are stakes caliber like My Pal Chrisy or high-level allowance horses. Most of their horses were acquired in private sales, similar to My Pal Chrisy. They plan to soon start racing some daughters and sons of their broodmares. Starship Truffles, winner of the Grade 1 Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder on July 6, is the Millers’ biggest star in the Wolfson barn at Gulfstream.
The Millers also own stakes winners Golden Mystery, Spectacular Sky and E B Ryder along with South Florida stakes regulars Canadian Mistress, Centrique and Oh Carole.
Those horses have a versatile new stablemate in My Pal Chrisy.
She was known primarily for distance races because her three stakes wins were at 1 1/16 miles for Lutchman.
But following the Paseana, Wolfson said “I always thought she was best as a sprinter.”
He noted that she seems to have “a fuse” that helps her accelerate quickly—which is very important in sprints. My Pal Chrisy finished third in a 12-horse field in this year’s six-furlong Princess Rooney—6 ¼ lengths behind Starship Truffles.
The Paseana had just five entrants, including Bringingdown Babel from the Miller-Wolfson team.
Small fields often happen in fillies’ dirt stakes at Calder, and that might be the situation during Gulfstream’s summer-fall meet. One reason is that the Wolfson dominance sometimes discourages some trainers from entering horses.
Following the Paseana, Wolfson said he ran Bringingdown Babel mainly to challenge Capitalism At Risk for the lead and help closer My Pal Chrisy. Capitalism At Risk led through the quarter mile in 22.30 seconds and the half mile in 45:53 seconds.
My Pal Chrisy, the 3-5 favorite, was fifth and last at both points, She began passing horses around the turn and then pulled away to her ninth win in 39 career starts.
With Isabelle’s Thunder at 18-1,the $2 exacta paid $15.00. Bringingdown Babel finished fourth.
My Pal Chrisy;s win was especially impressive because in six of Saturday’s seven other Gulfstream races the horse that won was no worse than third after a quarter mile.
Wolfson is not certain whether My Pal Chrisy’s next race will be a sprint or a route.
But he added that “it will be something down here.”
With both South Florida tracks running every Saturday and Sunday there will be more stakes races in the $50,000 to $100,000 range, especially at Gulfstream, that are suited for horses like My Pal Chrisy. The Paseana was this weekend’s only stakes race at either Gulfstream or Calder.
On Sunday, Calder will have eight races with first post time of 12:50 p.m. and Gulfstream will have nine races with first post time of 1:15 p,m.