by Jeremy Plonk
November 20, 2023
It’s the biggest racing day of the year at Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, where five stakes dot the schedule, topped by the $300,000 Steel Valley Sprint for 3-year-olds. Nationally recognized jockeys and trainers converge on this normally blue-collar, weekday venue.
1/ST BET and Xpressbet players enjoy up to a $10 money-back special on win bets on any race on the Mahoning Valley card today, if those bets finish second or third.
Let’s meet the contenders for the 6-furlong Steel Valley Sprint, which goes as Race 10 with a post time of 4:20 pm ET:
#1-Frosted Departure (8-1 ML): While he hasn’t won in 8 starts this year, he cashed checks in graded-stakes company on Derby and Preakness undercards for trainer Kenny McPeek. First bid against older horses.
#2-Damon’s Mound (5-2 ML): His Grade 2 Gallant Bob victory at Parx signified that this 2022 summer phenom was back on his best game. Trainer Michelle Lovell keeps NY-based Junior Alvarado aboard, 2-for-2 in tandem with stakes wins at Charles Town and Parx.
#3-Meadow Value (30-1 ML): Romping debut winner against maiden claimers at Horseshoe Indianapolis takes a big step up in class for trainer Michelle Elliott.
#4-Ryvit (8-1 ML): No match in his last two for Damon’s Mound in the Robert R. Hilton at Charles Town and the Gallant Bob at Parx, but won Pimlico’s Grade 3 Chick Lang earlier this year as part of a five-race winning streak. Steve Asmussen turns the reins over to his son Keith, who is 3-for-3 aboard this colt.
#5-Agnello’s Dream (30-1 ML): Locally based son of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming has won just 1 of 12 this year and was beaten 40 lengths in the Ohio Derby at 104-1. Another tough ask on class.
#6-Recruiter (10-1 ML): Trainer Cal Lynch pulls the blinkers off after giving up the lead late in a pair of summer stakes at Laurel and Monmouth and brings this one back fresh. Caught up in a total pace meltdown in the Gotham at Aqueduct, but otherwise his form looks awfully competitive sprinting.
#7-Nautical Star (7-2 ML): Damon’s Mound got the jump on him in the Gallant Bob at Parx but was a solid runner-up despite a wide trip. Late-running sprinter benefits the faster the pace and should get a beneficial set-up on paper.
#8-Super Chow (6-1 ML): Eleventh straight stakes start for Lord Nelson colt who has raced exclusively in stakes company this year, winning the Hutcheson at Gulfstream. Consistent speedster tends to find a few with a better finishing kick, but always factors.
#9-Halmstad (12-1 ML): Keeneland third-start maiden breaker spread-eagled the field last time out over this same distance, but meets what figures to be a tougher cast. Tyler Gaffalione named on the Nyquist colt, who scratched from the also-eligible list in a Churchill allowance on Saturday for this.
#10-Uncashed (4-1 ML): The Larry Rivelli barn is having a breakout year on the national scene, winning on Breeders’ Cup Saturday with Turf Sprint hero Nobals and finishing second in the Kentucky Derby with Two Phil’s. This one has made the front in five straight starts and is pure early speed with aspirations of going wire-to-wire. Stakes wins at Saratoga and Prairie Meadows dot the resume.