Hidden Brook's Fasig-Tipton July Topper Come Through in Mecke Stakes

Monday, July 8, 2019

Cowboy's Hero used a rail-skimming ride by Carlos Lugo to score his first stakes victory in Sunday's Mecke Stakes over the Gulfstream Park Turf course. The victory was also the first U. S. stakes triumph for his trainer Francisco D’Angelo, a multiple-stakes winning trainer in Venezuela.

The 51-year-old D’Angelo, a former leading trainer in his native land before venturing to South Florida in 2015, has been a multiple stakes-placed trainer in the U.S. before Charlotte Racing Stable’s 6-year-old gelding broke through in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and up.

“I’m very excited to win my first stakes in the United States,” said D’Angelo, who has saddled 81 winners from 650 starters in the U.S. “This is a good horse. After he went to the turf, he’s a different horse.”

The son of Cowboy Cal was the star of the 2014 Fasig-Tipton July sale, topping the auction with a $550,000 final bid out of the Hidden Brook consignment. 

In the Mecke, Cowboy’s Hero raced between horses off the early pace set by War Giant, who posted fractions of 24.28 and 47.60 seconds for the first half mile. The gelding then advanced to gain an inside position directly behind the pacesetter heading into the far turn. Driven by Thunder, the 3-5 favorite ridden by Hector Berrios, mounted an outside challenge on the turn leaving the backstretch as War Giant drifted off the rail. Carlos Lugo took advantage and sent Cowboy’s Hero through the opening on his way to his first stakes victory.

War Giant, a stakes winner on dirt making only his second start on turf, held second under Emisael Jaramillo, a half-length ahead of late-running Ambassador Jim. Driven by Thunder finished another length back in fourth.

Cowboy’s Hero ran the 1 1/16 miles over a firm turf in 1:40.78 to collect his third career victory.

-edited from www.gulfstreampark.com