Eldaafer Gets the Nod in Greenwood Cup Photo


Eldaafer got the nod in a photo finish Sept. 2 at Parx Racing, nosing out Indian Jones for victory in the $200,000 Greenwood Cup (gr. III) .

The $120,000 winner's share of the purse pushed the 8-year-old A.P. Indy gelding's earnings in 46 starts over the $1 million mark. He is best known for his win in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Marathon.

Trained by Diane Alvarado and ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. for owners Jim Atwell and Kevin Jacobsen, Eldaafer entered the 1 1/2-mile Greenwood Cup after a freshening, having last raced in the July 11 Stymie Stakes at Delaware Park. The Greenwood was his first victory in five starts in 2013, with the 1 1/16-mile Stymie–a runner-up finish by 1 1/4 lengths to Ponzi Scheme–his previous best effort of the season.

Eldaafer was favored at 5-2, and he ran to his odds on a muddy track after racing fifth in hand off a pace set by 30-1 shot Sky Venture. That one led the field of seven by one to two lengths through an opening quarter-mile in :24.31, clocking a half-mile in :49.86 and three-quarters in 1:15.94 before conceeding the advantage after a mile in 1:41.53.

Eldaafer advanced steadily on the inside heading into the final turn and cut the corner well turning for home, but had Indian Jones to reckon with after that rival closed wide to launch a solid stretch run. Those two hooked up to duke it out in a ding-dong battle through 1 1/4 miles in 2:07.60, with Eldaafer just prevailing in the final strides.

Grade I winner Pool Play was 3 1/2 lengths back in third behind a final time of 2:33.73 on a sealed track.

The winner returned $7, $3.80, and $2.80 while Indian Jones brought $4.80 and $3.20 with Pool Play paying $3 to show. Suns Out Guns Out, Sky Venture, Charlie Bull, and Chief Energy completed the order of finish. 

Eldaafer is no stranger to the Greenwood Cup, having finished third in the stakes in 2009. Bred in Kentucky by Shadwell Farm out of the Tabasco Cat mare Habibti, the four-time Breeders' Cup Marathon participant now has a 13-3-7 record, with earnings of $1,031,835.

Earlier on the card, Silverette took the $200,000 Turf Amazon Handicap under Robby Albarado. The 4-year-old Street Sense   filly sprinted five furlongs on yielding turf in :57.73, stalking three-wide, taking the lead in midstretch, and edging away late to a 1 1/4-length margin of victory.

Silverette returned $5, $3.40, and $2.40 while runner-up Subtle paid $3.80 and $3 with Sensible Lady bringing $2.60 to show. Mosaicist, Wellingtons Appeal, Too Clever by Half, Lorelei's Song, Little River, and Ms. Cruisen' completed the order of finish. Madrilena and Sounds of the City scratched.

Silverette, trained by Dale Romans for owner Paul Pompa Jr., came off a win in the Aug. 2 Sportech Caress Stakes at Saratoga Race Course to register her fourth victory from six starts in 2013, three of them stakes scores.Overall, she improved her record to six wins with four seconds from 11 starts for earnings of $390,802.

Bred in Kentucky by Grousemont Farm out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Lightning, Silverette was a $290,000 purchase from the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale when consigned by Eaton Sales, agent.