Quick Dagger upsets Heitai in Turf Express

Quick Dagger

Multiple stakes winning sprinter Heitai was upset July 25 at Evangeline Downs by Quick Dagger in the $75,000 Turf Express.

Softened up by Snappy Girl, Heitai was finally able to take the lead at the 3/8-pole but was overtaken by Quick Dagger down the stretch and lost by a head. 

Quick Dagger covered 5 furlongs on the turf in 55.29. Owned and trained by Karl Broberg, jockey C.J. McMahon was aboard the 4-year-old gelding, who won for the eighth time in 20 starts for earnings of $202,994. The $2 win bet returned $9.40.

There were two other $75,000 stakes races on the turf as Potomac River rallied from last to first to win the Sunset Stakes, as did Welcome Aboard in the Opelousas Stakes.

Rider Carlos Marquez guided Potomac River through traffic from five lengths off the lead to win the 1 1/16-mile Sunset by less than a length over Help From Heaven in a time of 1:41.37. The $2 win bet paid $6.80. The two-time Grade 3 winner, trained by Jose Camejo for owner Maribel Ruelas, improved to 7-of-25 for earnings of $382,876.

Welcome Aboard was not to be denied in the Opelousas with jockey Filemon Rodriguez in the saddle for trainer Eric Reed and owners Mike Catalano and Richard Boyer. Setting eighth around the far turn of the 1-mile course, Rodriguez and the 5-year-old mare made their move to surge past the field, including leader In My Time, to win by less than a length in 1:36.29. Paying $15.60 for win bettors, Welcome Aboard is 8-of-21 for career earnings of $190,363.

Live racing resumes at Evangeline Downs every Wednesday-Saturday with a first post time of 5:40 p.m.

American Pharoah returns to track

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah got in his final workout July 28 at Del Mar as he prepares for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational, which will be run Sunday, Aug. 2, at Monmouth Park in New Jersey. His final work tab was a 48.80 breeze as he galloped out to 5 furlongs in 1:01.

“He’ll be ready for anything that gets thrown at him,” trainer Bob Baffert told the media. “Pharoah is easy to manage. These other ones are hard, just getting 2-year-olds going. We work Pharoah, and we won’t even discuss him the rest of the day.”

Just last week, American Pharoah worked 6 furlongs in 1:11 flat at Del Mar. Only a handful of horses are expected to enter the Haskell, including two-time graded stakes winner Competitive Edge; Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes winner Mr. Jordan, who won the Pegasus Stakes (Gr. III) June 21 at Monmouth; multiple graded stakes-placed War Story; and Keen Ice, who finished third in the Belmont Stakes.