LAUREL, MD – Apprentice Weston Hamilton, the youngest son of multiple graded-stakes winning journeyman Steve ‘Cowboy’ Hamilton, picked up his first two professional wins with his only mounts of the day Monday at Laurel Park.
The 19-year-old shares the Laurel jock’s room with his dad, a winner of more than 1,300 career races who returned to the irons last year following a decade’s absence in part to help raise his sons, including older brother Garrett.
Hamilton had ridden in three amateur races, winning a seven-furlong claiming event on My Uncle Al for trainer Patricia Farro Nov. 5 at Parx, before making his pro debut with a runner-up finish on Durango Girl Dec. 2 at Laurel. His first win came in his 10th professional mount.
“I feel great. That was the best feeling ever,” Hamilton said after guiding David Carter’s I Just Wanna Win ($8.60) to a neck victory over favored Have Hope in Monday’s fifth race, a $17,000 claiming event for fillies and mares 3 and up. The Pat McGill-trained 5-year-old mare ran 5 ½ furlongs in 1:05.98 over a fast main track.
Steve Hamilton, sixth in the current fall meet standings with 23 victories, finished another three lengths back in fourth aboard 4-year-old filly Include a Check, the program favorite.
“I saw the light at the end and saw we had an open shot and went on with him. We had a lot of horse under us so we finished up good. I’m really happy,” Hamilton said. “I was thinking we were going to make it. I got up next to my dad, he was outside of me, and he said, ‘Go on with him.’ Sure enough we went on with him and we had a good race.”
Hamilton, a 10-pound apprentice, picked up his second winner with Sola Dei Gloria Stable’s Stella Nova ($14.40) in Race 7, a $25,000 starter allowance for females 3 and up. Despite dropping his whip and briefly losing the lead in mid-stretch, Hamilton persisted on the 3-year-old filly and got her to the wire a neck ahead of Lemon Lover in 1:05.46 for 5 ½ furlongs.
“I knew we had a good horse. I looked at the program and there’s been some pretty good rides. She’s made the lead and never looked back a few times, so I knew we were on a good, fast horse,” Hamilton said. “I wasn’t trying to worry about it too much. I just stayed calm and rode my race.”
“He did a good job,” winning trainer and former jockey Hugh McMahon said. “He didn’t need the stick. He used his hands and kept it coordinated and kept it going and he prevailed.”
Angel At War Stays Undefeated with Feature Allowance Win
Old Coach Farm’s Angel At War ran her record to a perfect 6-0 with a gutsy front-running three-quarter-length victory in the featured eighth race, a $45,000 second-level optional claiming allowance for fillies and mares 3 and up.
Favored at even money in the field of six, Angel At War ($4.20) completed six furlongs in 1:11.09 to earn her fourth consecutive victory since being claimed by trainer Mike Gorham for $40,000 in August at Delaware Park.
“She ran great. It was a big step up,” Gorham said. “She gutted it out last time and kind of did the same today. They tried her every step of the way today and she was equal to the task.”
Jockey Sheldon Russell had Angel At War in front through a quarter-mile in 22.77 seconds and a half in 46.36 with Jessica Krupnick pressing her on the inside. Angel At War was able to put Jessica Krupnick away once straightened for home and dug in to hold off a game Bioterp on her outside for the win.
Angel At War, a 3-year-old daughter of Preakness (G1) winner Shackleford out of the Awesome Again mare Down by Law, was unraced at 2 before debuting with an 11-length romp July 27 at Delaware. All of her wins have come against older horses and each of the last five have been on the front end, including a nose decision in an open six-furlong allowance Nov. 12 in her only previous try at Laurel.
“She was impressive first time out and we took a shot and took her for 40, knowing she had conditions and that should get her paid for if things worked out, and they’ve really worked out very well,” Gorham said. “I think eventually we will definitely try her long. Being by Shackleford out of an Awesome Again mare, she should run at least a mile and I think she will because she will rate pretty good. She got a lot of try in her, so no matter what distance she’s going to give 100 percent.”
Notes: Fall meet-leading jockey posted a riding double with 11-year-old Classic Wildcat ($9) in the second race and 9-year-old Sam Sparkle ($6.20) in the ninth.
The 20-Cent Rainbow 6 went unsolved Monday, growing the jackpot carryover to $6,260.05 when live racing returns with a nine-race program Friday, Dec. 15. First race post time is 12:30 p.m. The Rainbow 6 begins in Race 4.
Tickets with five of six winners in Monday’s Rainbow 6 each returned $85.22.
Credit: Maryland Jockey Club Photo