Gene Weymouth’s homebred Wild for Gold battled through Parx Racing’s stretch and got up in the final strides to win a $30,000 optional allowance hurdle by a head on Tuesday, June 12. The Fields Stable’s Wanganui led at the final fence but could not hold off the charge of the Pennsylvania-bred Wild Rush gelding ridden by Brian Crowley. William E. Riddle’s Dr. Wheat finished third in a field of nine at the Bensalem, Pa., track.
Trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Janet Elliot, Wild for Gold went off as the 7-2 third betting choice and ran the 2 1/16 miles in 3:41.70 on a firm turf course.
Nine-year-old Wild for Gold went to the lead at the start but ceded the advantage after the initial furlong to Monteagle, who led to Parx’s final turn before fading. Wild for Gold resumed the lead but surrendered it as 2011 three-year-old champion Wanganui charged from midpack under his regular rider, Paddy Young, who is coming back from a broken arm suffered in March.
Wild for Gold, a length behind at the final fence, made up ground through the stretch under Crowley’s drive and regained the lead in the final strides. Wanganui, the 2.30-1 second betting choice, held the place spot over Dr. Wheat by a length, who was a length in front of Arctic Reach in fourth. Owned by Irvin S. Naylor, Arctic Reach was half of a 2.10-1 favored entry with Memorial Maniac, who finished sixth.
The optional allowance was one of three steeplechase races on the Parx program. In the first hurdle race, the $25,000 Roger Legg Classic for Pennsylvania-bred maidens, Augustin Stables’ homebred Sillium prevailed by 2 1/4 lengths under Matt McCarron. The Saint Ballado gelding ran the 2 1/16-mile distance in 3:44.05.
The second jump race, a $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle, was named in memory of Paul Rowland, a popular trainer who died Friday at age 44. Gillian Johnston’s 6-5 favorite En Fuego rallied through the stretch to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Trained by Jack Fisher and ridden by Xavier Aizpuru, En Fuego ran the 2 1/16 miles in 3:46.30.