Owner-trainer Bay Cockburn’s Maximize, away from the race course for more than 18 months, put together a maximum effort to win Colonial Downs’ steeplechase feature race, a $20,000 open claimer, by 12 1/4 lengths on Sunday, June 12.
Ridden by Jacob Roberts, Maximize went off at 26.80-1, the second-longest price in a field of 10, and stalked the early pace of Irvin S. Naylor’s Dubai Sunday. When the front-runner began to tire after the seventh fence, Maximize seized command and quickly established a daylight lead.
The nine-year-old Mighty gelding opened a 10-length lead at the final fence and widened his advantage to the finish line under a drive by Roberts. Owner-trainer Randy Rouse’s One Sea, 11.90-1, finished second, 13 1/4 lengths ahead of Trillium Stable’s Mischief, the 2.10-to-1 favorite. Maximize paid $55.60 to win, and the Maximize-One Sea $2 exacta was worth $568.40.
Owner-trainer Karen M. Gray’s Cuse, bidding for a third straight win under 16-year-old apprentice Gus Dahl, came away from the start slowly and passed tiring horses to finish fourth, 5 1/4 lengths behind Mischief.
Maximize ran the claiming race’s 2 1/4 miles in 4:10.59 on a turf course rated as good. He was making his first sanctioned start since scoring his maiden victory over fences at the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg on Oct. 4, 2009.
The $20,000 claiming race was the final of three steeplechase races on the Colonial Downs program, and all were won by horses campaigned by owners-trainers. Roberts partnered with owner-trainer Lilli Kurtinecz’ Call Me Sonny to win a $10,000 maiden claimer by 1 3/4 lengths at 5.60-1 odds. Felix J. Nuesch’s Tiefordancen, 21.10-1, finished second.
Owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Well Fashioned, ridden by husband Bernie Dalton, collected a 4 1/4-length victory at 5.80-1 odds in a $15,000 maiden special weight race. Woodslane Farm’s Brave Prospect closed ground for second.