For Top Punch, a Rollicking time; Roan colt wins by 2 1/2 in wire-to-wire fashion; HORSE RACING


Top Punch quickly cleared the field, then sailed to a wire-to-wire victory yesterday in the $60,000 Rollicking Stakes for Maryland-bred 2-year-olds.

The roan -- whose coloration is actually a reddish brown -- was never threatened despite drifting out slightly in the lane and won by 2 1/2 lengths over Lovesmelovesmenot.

"This colt really matured since his last race," said winning jockey Mario Pino. "He ran a little green then, but today he moved with authority when I asked him. When the horses got close to him, he just took off. He runs more like an older horse than a baby."

Trainer Graham Motion was impressed with a Tuesday workout by the son of Two Punch and said, "He's very laid-back, very easy to work around."

The winning time for seven furlongs was 1 minute, 24 4/5 seconds.

Laurel notes: Four-time stakes winner G. O'Keefe was never a factor in the eighth race, a $35,000 allowance that marked her return to the track 6 1/2 months after giving birth. She broke last in a six-horse field and steadily dropped back in an event won by favored Halo's Security, finishing last. Laurel will have a special post time of 11: 05 a.m. Thanksgiving Day and will celebrate the holiday by giving away family-sized pumpkin or mincemeat pies to the first 7,000 patrons. Another 2,000 will be distributed at Pimlico.

Churchill Downs: Even-money favorite Comic Strip wore down pacesetter Aboriginal Apex in the final furlong and pulled away for a 1 1/2-length win in the $171,150 Grade III River City Stakes for 3-year-olds in Louisville, Ky.

The 4-year-old son of Red Ransom covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1: 50.71.

Aqueduct: Magicalmysterycat, unbeaten in her first four starts and winless in four tries after that, resumed her winning ways with a one-length victory in the $83,0125 Valley Stream Stakes for 2-year-old fillies in New York.

Sahara Gold, the favorite in the field of eight, finished second, two lengths ahead of Silentlea.

Magicalmysterycat went six furlongs in 1: 10 2/5, carrying co-high weight of 121 pounds with Mike Smith to her fifth victory in nine career starts. The winner earned $49,815 for Joseph Iracane and Padua Stable.

Hollywood Park: Astra closed strongly in between horses to beat Camargo by two lengths in the $72,700 Matiara Stakes for 3-year-old fillies in Inglewood, Calif.

Ridden by Chris McCarron, Astra covered 1 1/8 miles on the turf in 1: 49 3/5.

In the ninth race, Laffit Pincay Jr. won the 8,820th race of his career aboard Aly McBear, putting him within 14 victories of breaking Bill Shoemaker's career record.

Astra survived a claim of foul by Garrett Gomez, aboard fourth-place Aviate, after a bumping at the head of the stretch.

McCarron said it was caused by Bright Magic at the head of the stretch. The stewards decided that the tiring Bright Magic, who finished fifth among six horses, had set off a chain reaction.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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