Posted in Main Section (Latest News)
You can probably count on one hand how many modern era Thoroughbreds have won three stakes races in 29 days. Well you can add the name of Accredited Ohio-bred Leona’s Reward to one of those digits. In winning Mahoning Valley’s $75,000 Bobbie Bricker Memorial Handicap for the third straight year she accomplished that feat.
“Michael Friedman and I are partners and we talk as a team,” said co-owner, breeder and trainer Tim Hamm. “After looking at the stakes schedule our plan was to be ready at the end of the season. We pointed to the Best of Ohio races and the late Accredited races at the end of the season. If it worked out, we figured we would have a great season with a fresh horse.” Right they were. After the win in the Bricker, Leona’s Reward closed out the season with four stakes wins, five stakes placed finishes for earnings of $252,750. At the year’s end it added to her career record of 38-14-7-5 for a lifetime bankroll of $677,106.
The start of the stakes winning skein was the $75,000 Ohio Debutante on November 3 at Mahoning Valley, a race she won by 4 ½ lengths last year at odds of 4 to 5. Facing only four rivals she was dispatched at 1 to 9 in this edition and she ran to her backing, drawing off in hand to win by eight lengths under new rider Luis Colon. She travelled the 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy sealed track in 1:46.12. Grizabella rallied from last to finish second 5 ¼ lengths in front of Birdacious.
The middle of Leona’s Reward’s trifecta of stakes took place in the $75,000 Ruff/Kirchberg Memorial Handicap at Mahoning stretching out to 1 1/8 miles versus the boys, a race she passed on last year. “We skipped a race or two in mid-season because of our late season plan and she came out of the Debutante like it was a workout, so it just made sense to enter her in there,” said Hamm.
With the added distance, Luis Colon elected to take her off the pace and from fifth place early he harnessed her speed and waited for the stretch where they made their move. They brushed briefly with Mobil Solution at the 1/16th pole and edged clear of him by 2 ¼ lengths with Mobil At Last rallying for the third spot. She travelled the 9 furlongs on another sloppy sealed track in 1:54.48.
Not many Accredited Ohio-bred fillies were eager to match strides with Leona’s Reward in the Bobby Bricker and only four showed up to challenge her. Stablemate Linda N Michelle set the early pace and Luis Colon was content to track the leader until the top of the stretch until Leona’s Reward quickened her stride and quickly pulled away by four lengths and eventually hit the wire seven lengths in front. This event was contested at 1 1/16 th miles over a muddy sealed surface in 1:47.59. Grizabella, finished second behind her again and was clear of Linda N Michelle in third.
That impressive late season run should not only seal Leona’s Reward another Accredited Ohio-bred championship, but it throws her hat in the ring for Horse of the Year honors. She is a daughter of Ohio stallion Parent’s Reward, one of the last four sons of Mr. Prospector still at stud, out of Prime Time Dancer by Montbrook.
The $75,000 Joshua Radosevich Memorial Stakes for Accredited Ohio-bred 2-year-olds going six furlongs, is named in honor of the promising jockey whose life was tragically cut short at age 16 from a race-riding accident at Beulah Park Nov. 16, 2005. It is fitting that a race has been named after a shining star from a family that runs long and deep in Ohio racing.
Going back decades, you will see the name Radosevich connected to Ohio farm owners, exercise riders, jockeys and trainers. Meet any, at every aspect of the sport, and you realize you are dealing with experienced, hard working and talented people. On December 1 at Mahoning Valley a family member would take home the trophy in a race named after Joshua.
Pat’s Karma is owned by Michael Annechino and trained by Jeff Radosevich. Prior to the Best of Ohio Juvenile, his career improved with every start, breaking his maiden impressively in his third outing. You have to put a line through his Juvenile as it was the first time he raced on a sloppy track and tried going two turns. Throw in a bumpy and rough trip and it was a recipe for disaster that saw him finish next to last.
The gelding’s next two starts were back to sprints at Mahoning Valley where he finished fourth and second respectively. In the Radosevich Memorial, jockey Luis Colon got a leg up for the first time and breaking from the rail he elected to race in fifth position getting Pat’s Karma to relax while saving ground. When the time came to run, they continued their inside trip and burst past the pacesetters into the stretch to draw away to win by five in 1:11.78. Sammy Da Bull held on to take the second spot by a nose over Pat’s Karma’s stablemate Verissimo on a muddy/sealed track.
Pat’s Karma is a son of Cowtown Cat out of Jump Raise by I’ll Raise You One, he was bred by Raimonde Farm LTD. Trainer Jeff Radosevich is a man of few words, but his smile in the winner’s circle spoke volumes of what this win meant to him and his family.