Ridin With Biden overcomes ground loss to win Kris Kringle Stakes

Ridin With Biden overcame a very wide trip to just hold off Amatteroftime’s late surge in Wednesday’s Kris Kringle at a mile and 70 yards at Parx Racing.

The Kris Kringle was one of three $75,000 stakes races for 4-year-olds and upward with the Mrs. Claus and Blitzen.

All three were postponed one week after racing was canceled due to unsafe track conditions caused by frigid temperatures.

Ridden by Paco Lopez, Ridin With Biden was hung out five wide on the first turn as Ruby Bleu stepped the opening quarter in 23.33 tracked by American Patrol, Tough Tickets and Expensive Cut.

Ruby Bleu completed the half in 47.05, but Tough Tickets pounced and took the lead entering the second bend. Here, Ridin With Biden began a serious challenge, and he grabbed command under a confident Lopez after six furlongs in 1:13.16.

Ridin With Biden turned for home in front, but Amatteroftime, who was pinched back badly at the start, gathered steam on the wide outside. Amatteroftime rallied boldly but fell a nose shy of Ridin With Biden after 1:45.56 over the sealed, sloppy track.

Tough Tickets was another two lengths back in third. Then came Ruby Bleu, New Commission, Expensive Cut and American Patrol. Eloquist and Far Mo Power scratched. Ridin With Biden paid $5.80 as the second choice.

For the last two weeks, Reid debated where to run Ridin With Biden. The 5-year-old gelding entered the original edition of the Kris Kringle before the postponement, scratched out of a rescheduled Robert T. Manfuso Stakes at Laurel last Friday, then had a scheduled New Year’s Eve start in the Queens County at Aqueduct shelved due to heavy fog that forced that program’s cancellation after five races.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ridin With Biden found the perfect placement as the Reid barn has won 12 stakes races at five different tracks since July 16. Ridin With Biden earned four of those victories, including Parx’s Grade 3 Greenwood Cup on Sept. 24, and the Turkey Trot on Nov. 22, his final start of 2022.

Bred in Kentucky by William Harrigan and Mike Pietrangelo, Ridin With Biden is by Constitution out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Allemande. Owned by Cash Is King LLC and LC racing LLC, he has won 7 of 20 starts for earnings of $475,000

Blitzen Stakes

Repo Rocks won his second consecutive stakes at Parx when he rallied resolutely down the center of the track to nip pacesetter Five Dreams in the Blitzen at six furlongs.

A 6-year-old gelding by Tapiture, Repo Rocks was asked for speed by jockey Andrew Wolfsont, but was outsprinted to the lead by Five Dreams, who raced the opening quarter in 21.86 seconds flanked by a rail-skimming Smooth B and a three-wide Twisted Ride.

Repo Rocks found a seam between Smooth B and Twisted Ride on the turn and burst into contention outside of the leader after a half-mile clocking of 45.36.

Five Dreams still had plenty of fight turning into the stretch, however, and he clung tenaciously to the lead at the furlong pole. Repo Rocks had all the momentum, though, and he powered past Five Dreams inside the final sixteenth to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:11.39.

Wendell Fong was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third, followed by Yodel E. A. Who, favored Twisted Ride, Smooth B and No Cents. Marvalous Mike scratched.

Repo Rocks returned $7.20 as the third choice in the wagering and is now 2 for 2 since being transferred to trainer Jamie Ness by owner Double B Racing Stables.

Repo Rocks only prevailed in one of his first fourteen starts but quickly turned things around after being claimed by Double B and trainer Juan Vazquez for $40,000 during the summer of 2021.

After winning two of his first four starts for the new connections, Repo Rocks finished second in the 2021 Blitzen as the lukewarm 4-1 favorite, then hit the board in the Toboggan and Tom Fool, both Grade 3 races at Aqueduct, to kickstart his 2022 campaign.

Repo Rocks switched barns last spring and faced some tough competition for new trainer Greg DiPrima, finishing third to Life Is Good in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud at Belmont, and second in the restricted Tale of the Cat at Saratoga.

In his first start for Ness, Repo Rocks utilized a similar closing style as in the Blitzen to run down Twisted Ride by a neck in the Let’s Give Thanks Stakes at Parx on Nov. 23.

Bred in Virginia by Mrs C. Oliver Iselin III, Repo Rocks has won 6 of 31 starts for lifetime earnings of $488,371.

Mrs. Claus Stakes

A little class relief coupled with a cutback in distance propelled Empire House to a game victory in the Mrs. Claus for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

Piloted by Ruben Silvera, Empire House showed good speed from the start to set a rated opening quarter in 23.12 while three wide and outside of rail-drawn Centre Court Champ and Pistol Liz Ablazen.

The pace noticeably picked up during the second quarter with favored Centre Court Champ and a three-wide Deco Strong ratcheting up the pressure. Empire House raced the half in 46.23 and turned for home in a head and head battle with Centre Court Champ.

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Centre Court Champ, making her first stakes start after two allowance victories, tried her best, but Empire House was simply too strong.

The winner completed her task in 1:25.61, and prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths over Centre Court Champ, who held second by three-quarters over Buy the Best. Next were Pistol Liz Ablazen, Trolley Ride, J D’s Vista, Moma Tiger, Deco Strong and My Kentucky Girl.

Liscolvin and Ninetypercentbrynn scratched.

A 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, Empire House returned $24.60 to win as the sixth choice in the wagering.

Trained by Jonathan Wong for Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, who purchased Empire House for $500,000 as a 2019 Keeneland September yearling, Empire House faced quality competition during the summer and through the fall.

She captured the California Governor’s Cup traveling six furlongs at Sacramento on July 23, then finished fourth in Del Mar’s Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo on Aug. 28.

After a runner-up effort three weeks later in the Dark Mirage at Los Alamitos, Empire House finished a strong third in Santa Anita’s Grade 2 Zenyatta at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 2.

In her final start before the Mrs. Claus, Empire House was caught up in a wicked speed duel before tiring to fifth, 25 1/2 lengths behind the winner, in the Grade 3 Chilukki at Churchill on Nov. 19.

Bred in Kentucky by Lakland Farm, Empire House has won 5 of 25 starts for earnings of $238,995. Her, third dam, champion Eliza, won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 1992.