My Little Captain looks to stay perfect in Saturday’s PASS at The Meadows

Washington, PA — My Little Captain has launched her career in most impressive fashion, winning her first three races, all stakes. She captured her debut in a sparkling 1:52.4 in a Pennsylvania Sires Stake at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows.

Just as noteworthy, though, is the way she won those races. Not once has she been in front before the stretch. She’s shown the ability, unusual for eager freshmen who often are hell bent for leather, to rate and respond to regular pilot Mike Wilder.

“She loves the work, loves her job,” says her trainer, Andrew Stafford. “From the beginning, she’s understood the game.”

My Little Captain captured her debut in a sparkling 1:52.4 in a Pennsylvania Sires Stake at Hollywood Casino at The Meadows. Chris Gooden photo.

My Little Captain will try to extend her unbeaten streak Saturday at The Meadows in the Meadow Cheer, a $162,566 PASS for 2-year-old filly pacers. She’ll go from post five, race nine, with Wilder at the helm. Saturday’s card also includes a $60,000 PA Stallion Series event for freshman filly pacers. First post is 12:45 p.m.

Stafford has no doubt that My Little Captain can front the mile if asked to.

“She can do it on the front, but she hasn’t had to be there yet,” he says. “She never lets a horse pass her when she’s training. She’s brave, and she’s stayed healthy. That’s a big part.”

My Little Captain also represents a success story for owner Ed Mendez, who races as EVM Racing LLC. A newcomer to yearling sales, Mendez stepped up and gave $95,000 for the youngster at Lexington. Now, he follows her to every race and cheers like mad.

“I have to give him a lot of credit,” Stafford says. “I would never advise someone to spend $95,000. That’s a lot of money. My operation is on the conservative side; $15,000 to $30,000 is enough. All I knew about her was what I heard — her family is impeccable.”

Stafford knows about impeccable families. His dad, Art Stafford, was a prominent trainer/driver at mid-Atlantic tracks before retiring while Andrew’s brother, Art Stafford Jr., ranks second in driving wins this year at Harrington Raceway & Casino, where the Andrew Stafford operation is headquartered. His uncle, trainer Ben Stafford, has won more than $10 million in purses. Ben’s son, Ben Stafford Jr., was a talented, popular driver who died tragically in 2016 at the age of 45.

At his Harrington base, Andrew Stafford trains 15 head, all 2- and 3-year-olds, all campaigned conservatively. My Little Captain is eligible to the Three Diamonds and the Breeders Crown, but Stafford is looking at the big picture.

“She’s got a big future if she holds up,” he says. “But I don’t want her to race more than eight or nine times this year. You can ruin them if you race them too often.”

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