Still Having Fun Wins Snowy Miracle Wood
Closes After Slow Start
By Dick Downey
In the one-mile Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Parkwith heavy snow falling on a track rated good, Still Having Fun won at even money, followed by 34-1 longshot Old Time Revival, Wentz (3-1) and He Hate Me (2-1).
Old Time Revival initially led by open lengths through splits of 23.41, 46.94 and 1:11.6 while Still Having Fun was content to lay several lengths back, fifth of seven runners through the first half-mile. In the stretch, Old Time Revival and Steve Hamilton wouldn't quit but lost by a neck after Still Having Fun and Feargal Lynch come through on the inside.
Wentz and He Hate Me battled just behind the pacesetter into the stretch, when Wentz, under a left-handed whip from Kendrick Carmouche, veered out and bothered He Hate Me, ridden by Manny Franco. Wentz stayed on to finish third, just a neck behind Old Time Revival. He Hate was fourth, beaten 7 3/4 lengths. The final time was 1:3-7.51.
The Miracle Wood was the second straight stakes victory for Laurel-based Still Having Fun. It was his fourth career start and first beyond seven furlongs.
The winner is owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Terp Racing and was bred in Maryland by Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnes and the colt's trainer Tim Keefe. He's a son of Old Fashioned out of the Dehere mare Casual Kiss.
Trainer and co-breeder Tim Keefe: “He’s just taking a while to kind of figure everything out. The first couple races have been, I don’t want to say easy for him, but today he had to overcome breaking slow and the rail, and this was a tough race for him. This was his hardest race. He had to really run to make up that extra ground and to overcome those things. It’s still a process. He’s still very immature. He’s still learning. Physically he’s changing, still so hopefully there’s still more to go with him. We always knew he had (heart). I’ve always said that you can’t teach that in a horse, the desire to want win, and he really has that. He has the ability and the desire to really want to win.”
Keefe said the Private Terms Stakes in Maryland could be next. "I’ll talk with Adam and Gary and Jimmy and make the decision. We’ve purposely tried to keep him here. It’s much easier, obviously, when you can walk right out of your stall. I think he got everything he needed to get out of a race today. I don’t see the sense in having to ship him somewhere to do what he can do right here. I’m thinking that’s probably going to be our philosophy moving forward, but I’ll talk to the guys and see what they want to do.”
Feargal Lynch: “The whole thing about this race today was to get him to settle. Stepping up from seven furlongs, we needed to find out. He was a little keen down the backside, but I had a great trip the whole way. I always had a lot of horse. Once you set him down, he knows what to do.”