EAST BOSTON, MA – Live racing returned to Suffolk Downs on Saturday, September 2 as the track kicked off the third of four scheduled weekend-long racing and food truck festivals. An enthusiastic crowd of 7,552 was on hand to cheer on Donegal Racing’s Puca to victory in the $75,000 Steve Pini Memorial Stakes.
Trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott, the five-year-old daughter of Big Brown settled off of the pace and launched a bold move as they turned for home. She drew off to win convincingly under Abel Lezcano and stopped the clock in 1:43 3/5 in the mile and seventy yard turf contest.
“I didn’t have a mount in this race and was happy to get a chance to ride such a nice filly,” said Lezcano. “I knew she had one move and when I asked her, I thought to myself that we had it. I want to thank Bill Mott and her owners, she is a classy horse.”
Puca notched her first black-type victory and returned $7.40, 4.40 and 3.00. Queen Caroline paid $5.20 and 3.20 while Princess of Gibralter (GB) returned $3.00.
Mott also sent out Mr. Meister ($6.80) to victory in the ninth race with Wilmer Garcia in the irons.
Also on the card, trainer Jay Bernardini and jockey Erik Barbaran teamed up for three winners on the eleven race card. The pair started the day in the opener with So Miesque ($5.40) and swept the early double with Dero D ($7.20). They closed out the card with a front-running victory with Boppin Anda Weavin ($7.40) in the final race of the day.
Bernardini took home leading training honors at Suffolk Downs in 2014.
The live racing and food truck festival will continue on Sunday, September 3 and again on September 30 and October 1.