Two Hidden Brook Florida Grads Score in Saturday Stakes

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Lightning finally struck for John D. Gunther and Tanya Gunther’s Love And Thunder (Ire), who captured her first graded stakes win with a last-to-first move, storming down the stretch to collar pacesetter Evvie Jets in the Athenia Stakes (G3) going 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.

Love And Thunder (Ire) is a graduate of the famed Hidden Brook Florida training center and Evvie Jets was sold by Hidden Brook Farm at the 2019 Keeneland September sale.

Love And Thunder (Ire) arrived off a pair of troubled third-place efforts in one-mile turf stakes, rounding out the trifecta in Belmont Park’s July 3 Perfect Sting Stakes and the Aug. 7 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

“I want to thank the owners John and Tanya Gunther for their patience, they’ve always stuck with this filly and took some of the frustrating trips with a positive attitude and kept moving forward to get this filly a graded win. Their patience was rewarded today,” Brown said.

Love And Thunder (Ire) is among the 15 current year blacktype runners and 8 blacktype winners to graduate from Hidden Brook Florida. Carotari is among the others and the veteran turf sprinter captured the Laurel Dash the same afternoon.

The 24th running of the Laurel Dash for 3-year-olds and up sprinting five furlongs on the grass anchored four stakes worth $400,000 in purses on the final Saturday program of the nine-day fall meet.

Six-year-old Carotari, a gelded son of Grade 1 turf winner Artie Schiller captured five-furlong Jim McKay Turf Sprint May 21 on the undercard of the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1), earlier this year. That victory, like the Laurel Dash, came in front-running fashion though by a comfortable 1 ½ lengths.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of options, to be honest,” Erin Lynch, wife and assistant to trainer Brian Lynch, said. “There is no turf at Churchill at the moment, which is where we’re based, so it was either [run] here or go against the big guns at Keeneland and we know he likes this track because he won here on Preakness day. So, this was the obvious choice.”

Sent off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of seven, Carotari was guided to the front by jockey Kendrick Carmouche, who was also aboard Smash Ticket two races earlier. They went the opening quarter-mile in 22.06 seconds chased by Comedy Town, who closed the gap to a half-length after four furlongs went in 44.53 seconds.

The two were inseparable as they straightened for home, with Carotari digging in along the rail and Angel Cruz encouraging Comedy Town to his outside. They separated from the field and approached the wire together with Carotari winning the head bob after covering the distance in 56.20 seconds over the firm course.

All told Hidden Brook Florida grads have captured 36 races in 2022 and won or placed in 21 blacktype events.

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