Monday Morning Trainer: Three-peats

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Eighttofasttocatch wowed in the Maryland Million and wowed again Saturday at Laurel Park, winning the Jennings Handicap for the third consecutive time and getting his name mentioned alongside one of the Mid-Atlantic region’s recent legends.

Sylvia and Arnie Heft’s 7-year-old Not For Love gelding won the Jennings by 6 lengths, his largest margin of victory in his three successive scores after winning by 5 1/2 in 2012 and 4 3/4 in 2011. Eighttofasttocatch joined Little Bold John as a three-time winner of the Jennings, something trainer Tim Keefe said was flattering for the speedy gelding.

Little Bold John, who won 38 races from 105 starts and $1,956,406, won the Jennings from 1987 to 1989.

The Jennings was one of four $100,000 stakes Saturday at Laurel, along with the Smart Halo, Dave’s Friend and James F. Lewis III.

Bacopa Breeze upset the Smart Halo, defeating even-money choice Co Cola and 3-2 second choice Who’s In Town. The 2-year-old filly by Visionaire is owned by Michael Foster and trained by William Cowans. Ben’s Cat scratched as expected from the Dave’s Friend and Service for Ten went on to win the 6-furlong event for older horses. Jessethemarine posted the biggest upset of the four stakes, winning the Lewis at odds of nearly 36-1. Grade 2 winner Corfu, shipping in from New York for Todd Pletcher, finished fifth as the favorite. …

Eighttofasttocatch wasn’t the only three-peat winner on the weekend as trainer Shug McGaughey added his own version at Aqueduct.

McGaughey won the Grade 3 Red Smith for the third straight time, albeit with two horses, as Imagining came from off the pace and finished faster than Hangover Kid and Tannery to win the grass event named for the late Turf writer.

Imagining, a 5-year-old by Giant’s Causeway who won a pair of overnight stakes earlier this year, won his first graded stakes in the Red Smith. McGaughey won the Red Smith the last two years with Boisterous, who was sold as a racing or breeding prospect at the recent Keeneland November sale for $350,000. …

Watch Imagining win the Red Smith.

Race for stakes

Hyper was the beaten favorite in the Red Smith with owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey looking to add another stakes victory to their Eclipse Award resume. They were able to add one back home at Churchill Downs, however, as Emotional Kitten got the job done in the Mrs. Revere.

Emotional Kitten’s victory, officially by a half-length over Effie Trinket, didn’t move her sire Kitten’s Joy closer toward the goal the stallion’s owner outlined earlier this year but helped the season’s leading sire keep pace in the race for most graded stakes winners of 2013.

Ken Ramsey hopes Kitten’s Joy can sire 25 stakes winners in 2013 and he sits at 23 after the weekend. Emotional Kitten is one of 23 stakes winners for Kitten’s Joy and she came into the Mrs. Revere with a victory in Pimlico’s Hilltop the day before the Preakness. She is also the 11th group or graded winner for Kitten’s Joy, who trails Giant’s Causeway by two in the race for most in that category.

Giant’s Causeway added his 13thabout five hours earlier when Imagining won the Red Smith.

For those scoring at home, the race for North America’s leading sire honors is a tight three-way battle between Kitten’s Joy, Speightstown and Giant’s Causeway, with the trio separated by less than $600,000 heading into the big holiday weekend in less than two weeks.

Nicholas Gonzalez shipped Tucci Stable’s River Seven down from his Woodbine base to win the other graded stakes on Saturday’s Downs After Dark card at Churchill, the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds. The Johannesburg gelding wore down a stubborn Frac Daddy, who seems to have found a home on grass himself, in deep stretch for his second straight stakes win.

Runner-up earlier this year in a pair of Canadian classics – the Prince of Wales on dirt and Breeders’ on turf – River Seven won the Grade 3 Grey last fall at Woodbine on synthetic.

Read about the history of the Mrs. Revere Stakes.

Auction action

The resurgence of the American bloodstock market continued to show itself last week as Keeneland wrapped its November breeding stock sale with hefty increases in all indicators. The sales pavilion won’t stay quiet for long though with the inaugural sporting art auction set for Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

A release from Keeneland says 174 lots will be offered, including pieces by such greats as Sir John Frederick Herring Sr., Sir Alfred J. Munnings, Edward Troye, Franklin Voss, Peter Curling, Andre Pater and N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth.

Check out the catalog.