BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Lea Farms LLC’s Lightening Larry took the $148,500 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash on July 29 at Laurel Park, winning his third consecutive stakes at three different tracks. Ridden by Daniel Centeno for trainer Jorge Delgado, Lightening Larry covered six furlongs in 1:09.29 on the fast track in defeating four other 3-year-olds and older.
Wondrwherecraigis and jockey Sheldon Russell set the pace with a length advantage on Sir Wellington in second and Lightening Larry another half-length back in third on the outside through a quarter mile in :21.84. Wondrwherecraigis took a length-and-a-half lead into the stretch but Lightening Larry chased him down inside the sixteenth pole for the half-length victory.
Wondrwherecraigis, who finished second in the Frank J. De Francis for the third consecutive year, finished four-and-a-half lengths clear of Holy Synchronicity in the show spot with Sir Wellington and Threes Over Deuces completing the order of finish.
Ladneedsahandler and Synthesis were scratched.
“He ran big,” Centeno said of Lightening Larry. “Jorge [Delgado] called me this morning and said just to try to be close to the lead. He didn’t have to be on the lead, but he can be really close. We knew there was speed inside and we had the outside position so that was perfect for us. It set up perfect. I know the track was fast today and speed was holding a lot. And I know [Wondrwherecraigis] is strong, so I moved a little early to try to catch him and he fired big to the wire.”
Sent to the post as the odds-on choice at 3-5, Lightening Larry paid $3.40 to win.
Lightening Larry began his winning streak at Monmouth Park on May 29 with a four-and-a-half-length victory in the $102,000 Mr. Prospector and continued by taking the $100,000 Alapocas Run at Delaware Park by a length-and-a-half on July 1, both at six furlongs.
It was the eighth career win, including six stakes, with five seconds and two thirds in 18 starts for Lightening Larry and the $90,000 first-place check increased his lifetime earnings to $607,080. The 4-year-old colt also counts among his victories the Grade 3 Chick Lang at Pimlico and the $100,000 Limehouse at Gulfstream Park in 2022 and the $75,000 Sunshine Sprint at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 14.
Lightening Larry is by Uncaptured out of Moon and Sun, by Malibu Moon and was bred in Florida by Michelle Redding. Lea Farms LLC is the nom de course of Bill Cosgrove of Cleveland, Ohio, who purchased Lightening Larry for $50,000 out of the Pick View consignment at the 2021 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale.
Moon and Sun has produced six starters, of which three are winners, from seven foals. Lightening Larry is her only black-type earner.
Lightening Larry is the second Florida-bred winner of the Frank J. De Francis in three years as Jalen Journey won in 2021. There have been 12 Florida-bred winners of the race going back to Montbrook in 1993. Others include Cherokee Run in 1994, Lite the Fuse (1995-’96), Kelly Kip (1998), Delaware Township (2001), Wildcat Heir (2004), Benny the Bull (2007), Vineyard Haven (2009) and Immortal Eyes (2012).