Timber Bay Stable’s History Boy charged through the final fence on Penn National Race Course’s turf course and closed strongly in deep stretch to win a $30,000 optional allowance hurdle by a neck over pacesetter Wanganui on Saturday, June 30. Longshot Birthday Beau, always prominent while prompting Wanganui’s pace, weakened late finished third. Michael Moran’s Staying On, the 2.60-1 second betting choice, finished fourth. History Boy went off as the 2.30-1 favorite in a strong field and ran the optional allowance’s 2 1/16 miles in a course-record 3:35.59 on firm turf.
Racing in the blue and white silks of the Entenmann family’s Timber Bay Stable, History Boy broke on top under jockey Brian Crowley before The Fields Stable’s Wanganui moved up on the outside and took the lead as the field passed the finish line for the first time. Champion jockey Paddy Young kept Wanganui on a comfortable lead as History Boy slipped back into midpack on the outside. As the field approached the final turn on the Grantville, Pa., track, Crowley nudged History Boy into third position on the outside.
They overtook owner-trainer Michele Sanger’s Birthday Beau leaving the turn, and History Boy slashed through the final fence. He hooked up with Wanganui inside the furlong pole and drew ahead in the final 30 yards.
It was the second straight hard-luck defeat for Wanganui, last year’s three-year-old champion who is trained by Tom Voss. In a $30,000 optional allowance at Parx Racing on June 12, the Love of Money gelding led over the last fence but could not hold off Gene Weymouth’s Wild for Gold, who won by a head.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard, History Boy secured his first victory in 20 months. In his prior start, the six-year-old Grand Slam gelding finished fourth in the $50,000 Queen’s Cup MPC ‘Chase near Charlotte on April 28. Last fall, he had finished second in the $75,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle for novices at Far Hills, N.J.
Crowley won two of the three steeplechase races on the Penn National program. In the previous race, he had ridden Gregory Hawkins’ Alajmal to victory in a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle for Racing Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot. The twilight program’s first race, also a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, was won by Magalen O. Bryant’s Southwest. Jacob Roberts rode for trainer Neil Morris.