Easter Gift Opens Up in Smarty Jones Victory
Robert V. LaPenta's Easter Gift ran away with the Grade 3, $350,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx by 4 1/2 lengths on Monday. Sent off as the 9-2 fourth choice, the Nick Zito trainee overtook Traffic Light in midstretch and drew off in the slop. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche guided the three-year-old son of Hard Spun to his first career stakes victory in this local prep for the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby September 22.
The 8-5 favorite Teeth of the Dog jumped out to the early lead, hitting the opening quarter in :23 3/5 and half in :47 3/5 under pressure from Traffic Light, who jumped in front after three-quarters in 1:12. By that point, Easter Gift, a close-up fourth early, loomed into contention. Traffic Light tried to fend him off down the stretch, but Easter Gift was too strong inside the final furlong.
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