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Updated: 11 hours 41 min ago

Snitzel’s Estijaab Takes the Golden Slipper

19 hours 53 min ago

‘TDN Rising Star’ Estijaab (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) led home a trifecta of fillies in the G1 Golden Slipper when going gate to wire to best Tony McEvoy stablemates Oohood (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus} and Sunlight (Aus) (Zoustar {Aus}) by a half-length in the world’s richest juvenile race. Estijaab was a $1.7-million Inglis Easter buy for Emirates Park, and with Hawkes Racing it is the same Slipper-winning combination as Mossfun (Aus) (Mossman {Aus}) in 2014.

$8.84 Million Worth of Stakes Scheduled for Churchill Spring Meet

Fri, 2018-03-23 17:52

A total of 32 stakes worth $8.84 million, headlined of course by the $2-million GI Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve Saturday, May 5, make up the Churchill Downs spring meet stakes schedule. The Louisville oval opens on Apr. 28 and closes June 30. Kentucky Derby day will feature seven graded races totaling $4.2 million. The $1-million GI Longines Kentucky Oaks takes place Friday, May 4 as part of a card that includes six graded events worth a combined $2.35 million. Four races on Oaks/Derby weekend have received $50,000 purse increases: the $300,000 GIII Pat Day Mile Presented by LG&E and KU; $350,000 GI La Troienne S; $200,000 GIII Edgewood S. Presented by Forcht Bank and the $200,000 GII Twin Spires Turf Sprint. Another major highlight of the Churchill spring meet is the $500,000 GI Stephen Foster H. set for a “Downs After Dark” program June 16. Click here for the complete stakes schedule. Triple Crown Throwdown: Louisiana Derby

Fri, 2018-03-23 16:44

Ed DeRosa of takes on TDN’s Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap each prep race leading up to the GI Kentucky Derby. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets – highest bankroll after the Lexington S. wins.

DeROSA: Last Week – I bounced off the Old Time Revival pick and didn’t add much to my score except another chalky place finish on a Baffert runner (Solomoni last week to follow McKinzie the previous week), but we’re ready to fire at the Louisiana and Sunland Derbys as the 100-point (to the winner) races begin and the 50-point (to the winner) races conclude. DeROSA BANKROLL: $2320.

GII Louisiana Derby – I don’t see anything too crazy happening in the Louisiana Derby where the Risen Star trio of winner Bravazo, runner-up Snapper Sinclair, and trifecta filler Noble Indy figure along with Southwest S. winner My Boy Jack. I sided with Noble Indy, who I think will be closer than last time given the extra half-furlong and addition of blinkers by trainer Todd Pletcher. His race two back is about as fast as what any of these have run besides My Boy Jack, who has to replicate his Southwest on a track that has favored speed. Noble Indy for me on top. Selection: #2 Noble Indy (7-2).

SHERACK: Last WeekTough beat with Pony Up, who ran too good to lose (second, beaten a neck, at 6-1) in the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway. Title Ready, meanwhile, gave me a decent run for my money, setting a fast pace and tiring to fourth at 14-1 in the Rebel. Still plenty of time left to find this year’s Sonneteer. SHERACK BANKROLL: $1520.

GII Louisiana Derby – Really wanted to give Retirement Fund another chance in this spot, but there’s just too much early speed signed on for me to pull the trigger on the son of Eskendereya. With the potential threat of a pace collapse, the stretch-running Lone Sailor has every right to move forward at a big price in his third start off a freshening for the very dangerous Tom Amoss barn. He’s quietly run some good races in defeat at two and three, and this stretch out in distance to 1 1/8 miles and projected hot early pace scenario may be exactly what he’s looking for. Selection: #8 Lone Sailor (20-1).

DiDONATO: Last Week – Getting dangerously close to losing my lead now.. . Neither of my picks last week made any impact, but Higher Power still interests me slightly moving forward. DiDONATO BANKROLL: $2590.

GII Louisiana Derby – I’ve attempted to handicap this race probably five different times now, and just haven’t fallen in love with anything. Maybe it’s the pressure of Ed catching up or knowing that Sherack’s one ridiculous 99-1 shot winning a photo for second away from blowing this thing apart like he did last year. My original idea in here was Retirement Fund, so I’m going to stop over thinking it and just commit to him. The negative take on him is that he proved last time that he needs the lead and he obviously won’t get an easy one here. But it’s not like the Southwest didn’t feature a borderline meltdown, and he seemed to really be spinning his wheels in the mud. Maybe he just hated the surface, and now he returns to a dry strip over which he’s two for two. He’s still got too much promise for what his expected odds will be. Selection: #5 Retirement Fund (12-1).

Gallery Racing/Runhappy Named Sponsor of Met Mile

Fri, 2018-03-23 10:20

Gallery Racing–the connections of champion sprinter Runhappy (Super Saver)–will sponsor the 2018 $1.2-million GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. June 9, the New York Racing Association, Inc. announced Friday.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this year’s Metropolitan Mile, a race that I personally have admired for years,” said James McIngvale, owner of Gallery Racing. “The history, the brilliance of past winners and the legacy of this race is what drew us to jump at the opportunity to sponsor the Runhappy Met Mile. We are committed to the wonderful sport of thoroughbred racing and hope to continue our partnership with the great folks of NYRA and horseplayers from coast to coast for many years to come.”

In January, NYRA announced an expanded partnership with Gallery Racing/Runhappy to present the pre-race handicapping show Talking Horses. The Belmont Park spring/summer meet will also feature the $150,000 Runhappy S., formerly the Diablo, a six-furlong sprint to be contested Saturday, May 12.

Runhappy stands at Claiborne Farm; his 2018 fee is $25,000.

Juddmonte Blue Hen Hasili Dead

Fri, 2018-03-23 09:22

Hasili (Ire) (Kahyasi {Ire}-Kerali {GB}, by High Line {GB}), the dam of five Group 1 winners as well as champion sire Dansili (GB) (Danehill), has died at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud aged 27.

Bred and raced by Khalid Abdullah, Hasili won four times in France for trainer Henri-Alex Pantall before joining Juddmonte’s broodmare band. The legacy that followed is nothing short of stellar. Her first foal, born in 1996, was Dansili, a Group 2 winner who agonizingly hit the board six times in Grade/Group 1 company but redeemed himself in that sphere after going on to be champion sire.

Hasili’s next five progeny would all be Group/Grade 1 winners: Banks Hill (GB) (Danehill), Heat Haze (GB) (Green Desert), Intercontinental (GB) (Danehill), Cacique (Ire) (Danehill) and Champs Elysees (GB) (Danehill). Another daughter, Deluxe (Storm Cat), just missed that mark when second in the G1 Prix Saint-Alary. Hasili produced her last foal, an unraced daughter of Oasis Dream (GB) named Responsible (GB), in 2011 and had been enjoying retirement at Banstead Manor. Stud Director Simon Mockridge said, “Hasili has been an integral part of Juddmonte’s history. Her record of producing five Group 1 winners is unsurpassed in the modern era and her powerful influences will continue to be felt through Juddmonte pedigrees and the General Stud Book for many years to come. It has been a privilege to have been associated with such an exceptional blue hen mare.”

More to follow.

Oaklawn Racing Club to Launch

Thu, 2018-03-22 17:03

Following in the mold of similar undertakings at Arlington Park, Churchill Downs and the Fair Grounds, officials at Oaklawn Park will launch the Oaklawn Racing Club Mar. 24.

The Racing Club will offer up to 200 shares priced at $500 each in a horse to be purchased privately and trainer by Oaklawn-based Arkansas native Ron Moquett, who will identify and purchase an unraced 2-year-old with the goal of making several starts as a juvenile before being pointed for a sophomore campaign at Oaklawn.

“One of the best parts of being a trainer is watching the proud moment an owner has after their horse wins a race,” said Moquett. “The Oaklawn Racing Club is a great way for a racing fan to get the experience of this without all the risks that can come with owning a Thoroughbred. We look forward to having a lot of fun with the group and their horse.”

Shares can be purchased through the Oaklawn website at beginning at 9 a.m. Mar. 24. Only one membership per person.

Breeders’ Cup Announces Rules Changes for 2018 BCBC

Thu, 2018-03-22 16:42

Officials at Breeders’ Cup Limited have announced a set of rules changes for the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC), to be held Nov. 2 and 3 at Churchill Downs and at participating simulcast and advance deposit wagering sites. The changes have been effected in consultation with the Breeders’ Cup Wagering Committee, which was developed in order to provide tournament player input on the BCBC and related matters. The committee is co-chaired by Breeders’ Cup Directors Craig Bernick and Mike Rogers, with Joe Applebaum, Jonathon Kinchen, Paul Matties and Tom Quigley providing player input.

“We believe that these new rules will strengthen the overall structure and integrity of the BCBC and provide a fun and highly competitive environment for all players,” said Bernick. “We greatly benefitted from the valuable input and deep expertise of the horseplayers on our committee and thank them for their time and effort to help us improve the BCBC and maintain its positon as racing’s premier live-money tournament. Additionally, we look forward to working with board members and the player representatives to improve and enhance more aspects of the Breeders’ Cup wagering experience for our fan base.”

Highlights of the rules changes include:

• Focus on Championship Racing: Players will be required to wager $600 per race on a minimum of 10 of the 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championships races over the two days (three of the five Breeders’ Cup races on Friday and on seven of the nine Breeders’ Cup races on Saturday).

• Stronger Penalties: If a player fails to make one required wager he/she will be penalized 10,000 points, and if a player fails to make more than one required wager he/she will be disqualified. Additionally, a player must wager a minimum of $7,500 over the two-day tournament otherwise he/she will be disqualified.

• Anti-Collusion Rules Reinforced: The revised rules provide further details on how collusion between players is defined and interpreted. Among other things, the new language clearly states that all players must make their final selection independently of every other player in the BCBC and that they are prohibited from coordinating their play with other players. If Breeders’ Cup or the host track determines, in their sole discretion, that collusion occurred, the participating player(s) will be disqualified. The BCBC will sanction an independent integrity official to assist in monitoring the tournament.

• Unprecedented Transparency: In an effort to provide complete transparency surrounding tournament play, following the conclusion of the BCBC, Breeders’ Cup will publish all tournament wagers made by players who participated in the BCBC.

“As one of the horseplayer representatives on the Breeders’ Cup Wagering Committee, I am encouraged by the positive changes made to the BCBC rules and believe they will result in a more competitive and transparent tournament,” said Matties, winner of the 2016 NTRA National Horseplayers Championship.

The complete 2018 BCBC rules can be found at

Ping Hai Another ‘Star’ for Highden Park

Thu, 2018-03-22 14:25

Libby and Sam Bleakley’s boutique operation at Highden Park in Manawatu, New Zealand, located about two hours northeast of Wellington and some 300 miles southeast of Auckland, has been in existence for just seven years. But during that time, the operation has had wild success with its graduates, particularly those that have been exported to Hong Kong. The Bleakleys were on hand at Sha Tin last Sunday when Ping Hai Star (NZ) (Nom du Jeu {NZ}) became the second farm graduate in the last three years to take down the prestigious BMW Hong Derby (video).

“It was pretty impressive, a lot of people who have seen a lot of those races said it was one of the most impressive Derby wins they’ve ever seen in Hong Kong,” Bleakley said by phone earlier this week. “It was desperately breathtaking and it looked like he could have pulled away even more if he’d wanted.”

The Bleakleys were joined in Hong Kong by breeders Glenn and Lisa Morton, who also bred and raced Nom de Jeu. Bleakley recalled being smitten by Ping Hai Star from the time he was foaled Nov. 6, 2013.

“I am of the opinion that good horses are born good,” she said. “We breed a few here and every now and then one is born and you say, ‘Wow! This horse is top shelf.’ I rang the owners at 2 a.m. when he was born and I said, ‘Wow, guys, this is such a good foal.’ He was born with so much natural muscle, he had a really lovely leg on him and as he grew out over the first few months, he had a beautiful temperament. He was always very calm, relaxed and intelligent. There’s a lot of pressure with yearling preparation, but he just rose above and thoroughly enjoyed it. He really thrived on and to me, when they thrive in the yearling preparation–because we work them quite hard–that leads to them being something special on the track.”

But those on hand at the 2015 NZB Select Yearling Sale weren’t exactly sold on lot 775, as he was led out unsold when bidding stalled out at just NZ$40,000.

“I would put my hand up and say that he was one of the nicest yearlings I’ve ever taken out to the sale,” Bleakley said. “If anything, it was his sire. People were just put off by the sire, nobody wanted [his progeny]. I tell you I was blue in the face just saying to people, ‘shut the catalog and look at what’s in front of you.’ It doesn’t matter what it’s by. He might be by an unfashionable sire, you couldn’t tell me that this wasn’t going to be a nice horse. From there it was frustrating, because we select our draft for Karaka every year based on type. We are not about the fancy pedigree pages, we will only take a horse if it’s a nice type, and to me, I was disappointed no one else could see what I saw in him as a yearling.

“Being by Nom du Jeu, he just needed that extra time to get the very best out of him,” Bleakley continued. “Physically, you could have been swayed to push him a bit earlier than what he has been, but it worked out that they let him do things his way when he was ready. And I think being in the right hands along the way has made such a difference as well.”

Convinced that she had prepared a nice horse even if there were no takers at Karaka, Bleakley encouraged the colt’s owner to eschew racing at home and to send the horse overseas.

“Back at the farm here when we got him broken I spoke with the owners and said, ‘take him to Australia.’ Let’s put it this way: we have a banner that has all our top graduates on it and I one for ‘Ted’ printed out, that’s how confident I was,” she said.

Trained by Stuart Kendrick, the horse then known as Ted won a pair of races by a combined 11 1/2 lengths at the Sunshine Coast in February 2017 before being sold to Zeng Shengli and transferred to leading trainer John Size. The rest, as they say, is history, as Ping Hai Star was running his current winning streak to four with his barnstorming score in the Derby.

But Highden Park is no one-hit wonder. In addition to Ping Hai Star, they have raised the likes of 2016 Derby hero Werther (NZ), G1 Longines Hong Kong Mile winner Beauty Generation (NZ) and MGSW Amazing Kids (NZ). Werther’s 3-year-old full-sister Milseain (NZ), a NZ$300,000 graduate from the Highden Park draft at the 2016 Premier Sale, was also third in last Saturday’s G1 New Zealand Oaks. So what is the secret to all this success?

“I was born with a passion, actually I think it’s a little bit more than a passion,” she explained. “This is what I was always going to do. Luckily, my husband, who was a mechanic for a very long time and is only just picking up five years with horses, he is an absolute natural and has a bit of a gift with them as well. For us it’s all about selecting the right type of horse, educating them to the highest standard, because a horse is nothing without a good brain.

Bleakley added, “From when they are foals, we teach them confidence and self-belief. You come to our farm, these foals that are just being weaned, they think they are the bee’s knees. If you’ve got a horse that believes in itself and thinks it can do anything, they can. As far as our topography, we have beautiful, rolling country, so our horses are raised on rolling hills, some of which can be quite steep. So right from the time they’re born, they’re building muscle, they’re building strong skeletal structure. I think there is something to both, in education and being raised on these hills. John Size was saying to us the day after the Derby that he couldn’t believe the graduates we’ve had and said, ‘there’s something in your ground!'”

And the Bleakleys see nothing but blue skies ahead.

“These horses are really the start of our business, these are the very first horses that have been born and raised on our farm and they’re doing that. The first ones out the gate are doing it for us, how fantastic!” she said, adding that the farm boards about 15 mares. “We had a fantastic sales season at Karaka [in 2018], we ended up as the top vendor by average [in Book 1, led by a NZ$500,000 full-sister to Werther and Milseain] and sold the [NZ$200,000] top lot in the second book (lot 885). And I would say there are three horses from that draft that I would go ahead and have their name printed on our banner. We certainly have some nice ones coming.”

Given the success in such short order at Highden Park, which one of us is to argue?

Sunlight A Beacon In Golden Slipper

Thu, 2018-03-22 13:42

Unbeaten in her last five starts, which includes victory in the lucrative Magic Millions 2YO Classic as well as the G2 Silver Slipper and the G2 Reisling S., Tony McEvoy’s star filly Sunlight (Aus) (Zoustar {Aus}) has the runs on the board to start favourite in Saturday’s A$3.5-million G1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and give the fillies back-to-back wins after She Will Reign (Aus) (Manhattan Rain {Aus}) achieved victory last year.

McEvoy also sends out Oohood (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}), and the trainer who has been involved with many Slipper winners through various industry roles told, “This race is what the Australian racing industry is all about. It’s without a doubt the most important race in the country for our industry. Sunlight is certainly up there with the good 2-year-olds I’ve been involved with. When you get a filly as good and as big and strong as the Miss Finlands or Sunlights, that two kilo allowance is gold because they are as strong as the colts, they have as good a bone as the colts, they eat like a colt and go as fast as them.”

Drawing perfectly in barrier five, jockey Luke Currie has the option of going forward with the filly who races handy, and with some speed on her inside, including the hardest to beat in Written By (Aus) (Written Tycoon {Aus}), it should be a great race if the pair can come away to fight out the finish.

One of only two unbeaten runners in the race, G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Written By has already assured his place at stud, as a Group 1-winning son of one of the hottest stallions in the land, but a win in the Golden Slipper will emulate Sepoy (Aus) (Elusive Quality) as the most recent winner of the juvenile Group 1 double. While he was not as dominant in his G2 Pago Pago win last weekend as he was in the Blue Diamond, trainer Grahame Begg has indicated that the colt was only given one hard gallop in between those two races, and will come into the Slipper ready to run the race of his life.

Somewhat of a surprise packet, unbeaten colt Aylmerton (Aus) (Siyouni {Fr}) was the subject of an ownership change during the week, and the Jean Dubois-trained colt is set to race in the Coolmore silks on Saturday. His last-start win over Ef Troop (Aus) (Spirit of Boom {Aus}), who had previously finished fourth to Sunlight in the Magic Millions, in the G2 Todman S. had many standing up and taking notice of the colt.

Tommy Berry, veteran of two Slipper wins, jets in from Hong Kong to ride Aylmerton and he told, “The thing that stands out to me the most about this colt is he’s strong to the line, very gutsy. When Ef Troop came back at him the other day he really stuck his head out and to me he looks like he’ll run further than 1200m; that’s a given I reckon. He’s got a lovely action, looks to travel really well, [and has] got a real nice style about him.”

With the expected wet track conditions for the meeting, the Chris Waller-trained Fiesta (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) has been the subject of some large pre-race bets due to her wet form. She was a half-length second behind another leading chance in Seabrook (NZ) (Hinchinbrook {Aus}) last start in the G2 Sweet Embrace S., and a win would give Star Thoroughbreds their second after Sebring (Aus) (More Than Ready) back in 2008.

Having finished closer to Sunlight than any other horse during her winning streak, the Hawkes Racing-trained $1.7-million yearling and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Estijaab (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus})-who is the most expensive runner in the race–loves to race forward, and if barrier 17 causes no issues for the filly, she could sit up handy and show plenty of fight when needed.

Gai Waterhouse is looking for her seventh win in the race, while co-trainer Adrian Bott is chasing his first, and they send out Santos (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}), impressive in the G2 Skyline S. last time out, and the well-related colt will assure himself a home at stud if successful in the race.

Winx For Ryder Hat Trick

Thu, 2018-03-22 13:10

Talk during the week that Godolphin’s colt Kementari (Aus) (Lonhro {Aus}) may cause an upset over Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}) in the G1 George Ryder S. sees the last-start G1 Randwick Guineas winner start under double figure odds against the glamour mare, but really, she couldn’t seriously be beaten…could she?

Aiming for her third consecutive victory in the George Ryder, and 24th straight win, there is no reason to think that Winx will not take the prize again and set herself up for the G1 Queen Elizabeth S. (2000m) followed by what could be an international campaign. Trainer Chris Waller was fielding queries this week about Winx going into the Ryder second-up this campaign as opposed to third-up this time last year, and he told it could be a moot point.

“I remember this time last year we were questioning whether she’d be sharp enough to run against the better horses coming back in trip third-up that preparation, so I think she dispelled any doubt that year. And I think this year having just the one run into the race, she’d be close to the best she could be over the shorter distance before stepping up to the Queen Elizabeth in three weeks’ time.”

“She’s a very adaptable horse, she’s good fresh, she’s good in the last run of her preparation–there’s not many chinks in her armour.”

While super impressive this time in, 3-year-old colt Kementari does look capable of running a big race, but the conditions of the race sees the colt carrying just one kilo less than Winx, something that really does not lean in his favour over the 1500m. Connections have indicated that this race is the ideal prep for the G1 Doncaster H. (1600m) in two weeks.

Last-start G1 Canterbury S. winner Happy Clapper (Aus) (Teofilo {Aus}) has obviously returned in fantastic order based on his victory over Global Glamour (Aus) (Star Witness {Aus}) fresh, with trainer Pat Webster always indicating that he is more than content in running second to the great mare, and the rising 8-year-old looks ready for another top-class effort on Saturday.

Relative New Shooter ‘Meah’-ns Business

Wed, 2018-03-21 16:33

Part exercise rider, part assistant trainer and part fledgling bloodstock agent who comes with a deep pedigree, 35-year-old David Meah is fast making a name for himself as a keen identifier and reseller of young horses.

Having cut his teeth as a rider under the tutelage of such prominent English trainers such as the legendary Sir Michael Stoute and James Fanshawe overseas, the British-born Meah arrived in this country for good about 15 years ago and over the last 3 1/2 years or so, has been increasingly successful on the bloodstock side of the business, figuring prominently in the purchase of horses like GISW Union Strike (Union Rags), for example. With his future every bit ahead of him, Meah celebrated a remarkable feat over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, when Mr Melody (Scat Daddy), a horse successfully pinhooked at the 2017 OBS April Sale, and Madam Dancealot (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}), acquired as a racing prospect at the Goffs Champions Sale in 2016, won graded stakes on either side of the Pacific Ocean.

Having relocated permanently to this country in 2003, Meah worked for trainers like Ben Cecil, Don Chatlos, Neil Drysdale, Ron Ellis and Doug O’Neill, giving him access to and/or galloping such horses as Golden Apples (Ire), GI Breeders’ Cup Mile hero Singletary, champion Declan’s Moon, Kentucky Derby hero I’ll Have Another and Goldencents. After seven years with the O’Neill barn, Meah found himself at a crossroads and departed that outfit to join trainer Richard Baltas. Almost simultaneously, his interest in bloodstock grew and he purchased his first yearling at auction in 2014.

“The transition to bloodstock has been kind of natural, it’s been a work in progress, but thankfully, I’ve been very, very lucky and I’ve had great backing from my clients and others,” Meah said. “John Sadler, Kosta Hronis, Pete Miller have all supported me and we’ve been fortunate to pick up some nice horses.

“I started learning some about the bloodstock side of things from Dennis O’Neill,” he added. “I wouldn’t necessarily shadow Dennis, but I’d keep an eye on him and how he does things, pick his brain every so often about how he picks out horses and things like that. Obviously, Doug has always been very influential in my career as well, he’s always pushed me as well. From the day I left, he’s always been so supportive. Richard’s first Grade I winner, Big Macher, beat Goldencents in the Bing Crosby and the first text message I got before I even got down to the winner’s circle was from Doug saying, ‘massive congrats, super proud of you. If we had to get beat, I’m happy it was by you.'”

Meah credits Baltas, a quiet force on the Southern California circuit, with making him a better overall horseman.

“Since I’ve been working for Richard, I feel like I’ve learned a lot,” he said. “He’s a very hands-on guy and he’s taught me a hell of a lot. He took me under his wing and has really helped and push and encourage me to reach for better every day. Richard has helped build the bloodstock business, given him some of his clients, has told them that ‘David buys my horses.’ And it works the other way–if I run into clients or friends–I’ve always said that Richard is one of the best trainers around. If you want to be out there competing in the nice races, I think he can get the horses to the top level. I strongly believe we have such a strong team that it’s a great spot I’m in and we work really great together.”

It was on behalf of first-time client, George Yeager’s B G Thoroughbreds, that Meah signed the ticket for a colt from the penultimate crop of the late Scat Daddy, going to $100,000 for the son of Trusty Lady (Deputy Minister) from the VanMeter-Gentry consignment at Keeneland September in 2016.

“With a baby, I try to picture them six or eight months down the line,” Meah explained. “How are they going to develop, how are they going to look, how are they going to move with that saddle on them? Mr Melody looked like he was going to have a bit more length, but he also had a good, strong body to him, so I figured he would be a lovely looking 2-year-old. He really presented himself well when he walked. He was a very proud horse. He had that look about him like ‘I’m something special, I know it and I’m going to prove it to you.’ Sometimes you just have a feeling about some horses and we had a good feeling about him. He came in well under what we expected, so we were super excited about the price we got him for.”

Meah said the late March foal was a quick study.

“Pretty much from four weeks in of having tack on, [2-year-old consignor] Robbie Harris said this horse is something special,” Meah said. “He started to grow and everything he did–from getting his tack on to jogging in the field to the first time he saw the race track to the first time he saw the gate–it was a one-day process. He’d see the gate one time, he’d be good with the gate forever afterwards. He’d jog on the track, he’d be good with that. He was a very fast-learning horse, everything came fast to him. Everything you asked of him he would do effortlessly.”

That was the good news. The not-so-good news was that he was cataloged as hip 1205 of 1208 at OBS April and there was a material impact.

“There were a lot of people that had bought horses 100 or 200 hips prior that had left the sale,” Meah said. “We lost a lot of money at the sale that day, because a lot of the clients didn’t want to wait until the end, they’d already gotten their horses.”

Despite the late hour, the Scat Daddy colt–who breezed an eighth of a mile in :10 flat–fetched $400,000 from Emmanuel de Seroux’s Narvick International buying on behalf of Japanese clients (click for sales coverage).

“We were over the moon, because four times your money is pretty good and it actually paid for the whole venture,” adding that Yeager bought three horses that September for $327,000.

Named Mr Melody, Meah’s purchase proved equally adept as a racehorse, not only winning his maiden on the dirt at Tokyo at first asking, but doing so in track-record time (video).

Another win and two runner-up efforts on the main track followed, but Mr Melody was stepped up to the G3 Falcon S., a 1400-meter grass test, for his latest at Chukyo Racecourse Mar. 17. The results were equally spectacular, as the 7-1 chance powered home late to defeat fellow American-bred Asakusa Genki (Stormy Atlantic) in his turf bow.

“Breaking the track record the first time out was a bit of a surprise, because as much as he looked like he could be an early type, I didn’t think he’d do that,” Meah admitted. “When he did that I was like, ‘wow, he really is something special.’ It hasn’t surprised me that the horse has gone on and done well.”

Less than 24 hours later, Meah’s resume was padded when the Baltas-trained Madam Dancealot, overcame a slow pace and double-digit deficit to win the GII Santa Ana S. at Santa Anita. Meah teamed with Lillingston Bloodstock’s Barry Lynch to purchase Madam Dancealot for €260,000 as a horse of racing at the 2016 Goffs Champions Sale.

“I had one client that was interested and I thought I was going to do it with him, but he literally backed out one day before the sale,” Meah said. “Funny enough, we were just getting done that morning and I saw [Slam Dunk Racing’s] Nick Casato and figured if I don’t at least mention it to him, I’m not doing my job. I tell him literally less than 24 hours before the sale. He says to me that he’s interested and asked when the sale was. I said it’s tomorrow and he’s like ‘whoa’, but thankfully he went home and watched the replays and we chatted several times. We had to call Goffs and see if they could help out on short order, and they were very kind and helpful and sure enough we got the horse. And the rest is history, she’s been awesome, she’s been a flag-bearer for the barn.”

Upset winner of the GII San Clemente H. and beaten a neck into third in the GI Del Mar Oaks, Madam Dancealot could remain in California for the GI Gamely S. May 26, but will also be considered for the GI Coolmore Jenny Wiley S. at Keeneland Apr. 14.

Meah admits that his accomplishments have far exceeded his modest expectations.

“When I first got into it, I knew it was something I really wanted to get involved in, but I would have been quite happy buying three, four or five horses a year,” he said. “To be in this position right now, it’s crazy. It’s been a roller coaster, but it’s been mostly highs. That weekend is one I’ll never forget and hope there’s more in the future.”


Study Finds Horse Racing Facility Would Generate Billions for Georgia

Wed, 2018-03-21 14:33

One horse racing facility in Georgia would have an economic impact of more than $1.2 billion a year while bolstering the agricultural and tourism industries and providing new revenues for health care, education and rural development programs, according to an economic study commissioned by the Georgia Horse Racing Coalition. State Rep. Brett Harrell (R) said he would present the proposal to the House Rural Development Council and work with state Sen. Brandon Beach (R) to introduce legislation in the 2019 legislative session that would allow for three venues in different parts of the state.

“A horse racing facility would create thousands of jobs, deliver tens of millions in new state and local tax dollars and bring new revenues and business development to rural Georgia through its equine industry,” Harrell said. “Georgia is one of only six states that have no gaming outside of its lottery, and I believe horse racing would bring together different strengths our state has in tourism and agriculture.”

The full study can be found here.

Flameaway Heads Late Triple Crown Noms

Wed, 2018-03-21 14:26

Flameaway (Scat Daddy), winner of the GIII Sam F. Davis S. and GII Tampa Bay Derby runner-up, and last weekend’s GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks hero Blended Citizen (Proud Citizen), were among 10 3-year-olds that were made eligible to compete in the 2018 Triple Crown with a late $6,000 payment that was due Monday.

There are now 370 horses eligible to participate in the Triple Crown’s three-race series. The early nomination total was 360 at $600 per horse.

The other late Triple Crown nominees include: All Out Blitz (Concord Point); Arawak (Uncle Mo); Determinant (Tapit); Gold Town (GB) (Street Cry {Ire}); Making a Marc (Uncle Mo); Prince Lucky (Corinthian); Runaway Ghost (Ghostzapper); and Yulong Warrior (Street Cry).

Flores Remains on Life Support As Of Midday Wednesday

Wed, 2018-03-21 13:56

Jockey Jose Luis Flores, who was gravely injured in a Parx Racing spill Mar. 19, is still being kept alive by life-support machinery at a Philadelphia hospital as of midafternoon Wednesday.

His longtime agent, Dave Yanuzzi, told TDN around 1:30 p.m. that there have been travel complications for family members trying to come north from Florida to see Flores, delaying the 56-year-old’s expected removal from life support.

Another factor in the family’s decision over when to stop life support, Yanuzzi said, is that Flores had long ago signed paperwork expressing a desire to be an organ donor, and the timing of his passing must be coordinated with doctors so that they can follow through with those wishes.

“His parents were coming in from Florida,” Yanuzzi said. “They had a flight scheduled but it was cancelled. They’re in their eighties, and subsequently had to [have relatives drive them]. They were supposed to arrive here around 7:00 a.m. [Wednesday]. I spoke to Jose’s wife around 11:00 a.m., and they hadn’t arrived yet.

“Basically he’s on life support. They’re going to disconnect him. The parents want to see him. He has no brain activity, so there’s basically nothing the doctors can do. But they still want to keep him [alive] for now because he’s an organ donor, and there are concerns about being able to harvest what organs they can. His wife [Joanne McDaid-Flores] is taking it really hard. She has a seven-year-old son. His parents are going to take it really hard.”

Flores is hospitalized at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital in Philadelphia. He has been in a coma since Monday, when both Flores and his mount, Love Rules (Not For Love), suddenly crashed to the dirt as they were dueling between two other horses on the lead entering the far turn of the ninth race.

“I was home, I had just gotten done eating dinner, and I saw [the simulcast feed],” Yanuzzi said. “And right away I said, ‘Oh, man this is bad. I’ve got to go to the hospital.’

“He didn’t clip [heels],” Yanuzzi continued. “He was in between horses, tightly grouped. The horse broke its shoulder. Normally when a horse breaks its shoulder, they hit the ground very quickly. When a horse [suffers a lower leg injury] they can sometimes get the horse pulled up. But he went down so quickly that probably the force of the horse going down dragged his face and head into the ground. And then another horse ran directly over him.”

Love Rules was euthanized. The horse and jockey that fell over Flores and Love Rules, plus another mount that dislodged its rider trying to avoid the accident, all escaped serious injury.

“According to what the doctors said, when Jose hit the ground he felt no pain,” Yanuzzi said. “He was, basically, for all intents and purposes, gone. He had internal bleeding. They brought him in, his heart stopped, then they got it started. But he had massive cranial injuries. His brain stem was compromised, and he also had catastrophic injuries to his spine. He had no brain function at all.”

Yanuzzi said plans are in the works to establish a GoFundMe online fundraising page to assist Flores’s family and children. Details will be published as soon as they are available.

Aidan O’Brien Talks 2018 Prospects

Wed, 2018-03-21 10:40

Aidan O’Brien is simply a phenomenon in the world of racing. A record-breaking National Hunt trainer in the initial stages of his career, his abundant talents didn’t go unnoticed and he was appointed as the trainer in the historic Ballydoyle complex in 1996 at the age of just 26. He quickly established himself as a dominant force in Irish racing and since then has broken every record worth breaking and won every race worth winning in Europe and beyond. Most recently, he broke the world record for the number of Group/Grade 1 winners trained in a calendar year by enjoying 28 such victories in 2017.

As always, O’Brien has an array of stars under his care for the new season headlined by a strong team of older horses including Capri, Hydrangea and Order Of St George. Even more promising is his team of 3-year-olds, with Saxon Warrior, Clemmie and Gustav Klimt being just three of his potential Classic winners.

Aidan was good enough to sit down with Kevin Blake to discuss Ballydoyle’s prospects for the 2018 season.

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Gooseberry Fool (GB), by Danehill Dancer (Ire).

Amedeo Modigliani made it second-time lucky when winning a maiden at the Galway Festival in impressive style.

“He looks a very nice horse,” O’Brien said. “He only had two runs last year and we only learned a bit about him in those. In an ideal world, we would have got more experience into him later in the season, but that wasn’t to be as he had a little setback and we didn’t want to force him to get another run into him. He’s a horse that travels so strongly at home and in his races that you’d say he probably goes more like a miler than a middle-distance horse, but he’s by Galileo and that always gives them a chance of staying. He’s only had the two runs, so his exuberance in his races might just have been babyishness. We’ll probably start him off gently in a Derby trial and we’ll evaluate him from there. We just wouldn’t want to light him up to be a Guineas horse as we’d find it easier to start him off over further and bring him back in trip if we needed to rather than the opposite. He has won on soft ground, but he’s a very good mover and good ground or better should suit him well.”

gr, c, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Dialafara (Fr), by Anabaa.

Rated 120, he won the G1 Irish Derby at The Curragh and the G1 St Leger at Doncaster last year.

“He is in full work and everything is well with him,” O’Brien said. “He did particularly well during the winter, so I’d expect it will take him a run or two before he is really right. He could be one for the [G1] Coronation Cup at Epsom and we’d hope to get a run or two into him before then. He clearly stays a mile-and-a-half well, but he could have the pace to come back to a mile-and-a-quarter as well. Even though he got the trip in the St Leger, we didn’t ever think we’d have to go that far with him. He was below form in the Arc, but I probably ran him back too quick after Doncaster at the backend of a busy season.”

b, f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Meow (Ire), by Storm Cat.

Rated 115, she was crowned the European champion 2-year-old filly following her three wins, which included the G1 Cheveley Park S. at Newmarket.

“We have our eye on the [G1] 1000 Guineas for her, but we won’t put any pressure on her to make it there and we’ll make a decision closer to the time,” O’Brien said. “We always thought she was a filly that going seven furlongs would be right up her alley and that she should get a mile, though we wouldn’t be sure she would get much further than that. We could have stepped her up in trip last season, but we had plenty of other fillies for those races and we didn’t think she needed to step in amongst them just yet when she was doing so well over six furlongs. For her to have done what she did over six furlongs as a daughter of Galileo makes her quite unique, but the Galileos can do anything. The faster the ground the better for her.”

b, c, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Wave (Ire), by Dansili (GB).

Rated 117, he finished second in the G1 Investec Derby prior to running well without winning for the remainder of the season.

“Things went a bit wrong for him after he was second in the Derby last year,” O’Brien said. “I think and hope that we can get him back to that form this year. He has done very well over the winter, so like Capri, he might take a couple of runs before he’s at his physical best. We were always worried about him getting a mile-and-a-half and as well as he ran in the Derby, I’d say going shorter will suit him better. We’ll look at all the big races over a mile-and-a-quarter for him and he should start off soon enough.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Again (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire).

Rated 104, he made a winning debut at Leopardstown in July prior to twice finishing in the frame in group races at Leopardstown and Naas.

“He’s a big, strong, galloping horse that should stay at least a mile-and-a-quarter,” said O’Brien. “He’s in good shape and will start off in the Derby trial. He looked very raw in his first few starts and I think because his stride is so big and that we never asked him to open it up at home, it just took him a while to get himself organised off the bridle in his races.”

b, f, 3, Dabirsim (Fr)–Danseuse Corse (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire).

Rated 110, she was formerly trained in France to win the G3 Albany S. at Royal Ascot and twice place in Group 1 company. She changed hands for 1,500,000gns in December.

“We have her now and she’s going well,” O’Brien said. “She’s a lovely, big filly with a powerful stride and good temperament. I’m not sure how far she’ll stay, as she shows plenty of pace in her work. We might have a look at the 1,000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown over seven furlongs, but she’s very pacey and it’s very possible that she might not stay that far. She’s a big powerful filly that is built like a sprinter.”

ch, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Sant Elena (GB), by Efisio (GB).

A half-brother to the Group 1 winner Reckless Abandon that cost 420,000gns as a yearling, he made a winning debut in a seven-furlong maiden at Gowran Park in September.

“He’s a grand, straightforward, kind horse,” O’Brien said. “He was green when he won on his debut and should improve well from that. He’ll start off in a Derby trial and we’ll see how he goes. I would see him as a middle-distance horse, but there is a chance he could end up in the [G1] Irish 2,000 Guineas.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Hawala (Ire), by Warning (GB).

Rated 102, he won a maiden at Naas and the Eyrefield S. at Leopardstown.

“He’s a grand, solid horse,” O’Brien said. “He looks a middle-distance horse and he handles an ease in the ground. We sent him to Newmarket as we thought he’d learn a lot there and while it all happened a bit quick for him there, I’d say he really learned from it. We’ll start him off in a Derby trial.”

b, c, 3, War Front–A Star Is Born (Ire), by Galileo (Ire).

Rated 115, he won a maiden and a conditions race at The Curragh prior to finishing a close second to U S Navy Flag in the G1 Middle Park S. at Newmarket.

“He’s a fast horse that we think is going to be a nice sprinter,” O’Brien said. “Five or six furlongs on good or better ground will be what he wants. We tried him over seven furlongs at York and I remember Donnacha saying to me that he wasn’t sure he’d get it and he probably didn’t stay that day.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Queenscliff (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire).

Finished in mid-division on his debut, but showed much-improved form to finish second to Flag Of Honour in the G3 Eyrefield S. at Leopardstown.

“He’s still a maiden and is a big, solid horse,” O’Brien said. “He was quite raw last season and I’d say he’ll improve with racing and stay further than a mile. He has really thrived from two to three and for that reason he could be one that takes a couple of runs to get fully fit. We’ll start him off in a maiden.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Massara (GB), by Danehill.

Rated 111, he won a maiden at The Curragh and overcame trouble in running to win the G2 Superlative S. at Newmarket in July.

“He’s in good shape and everything is going smooth with him so far,” O’Brien said. “We unfortunately didn’t get to run him at the highest level in the Dewhurst last season as he just had a slight muscle issue that held him up. We would have learned more about him if we’d had a chance to run him in that, but that would have been more for our benefit than his as he’d learned plenty in his last start in particular. He travels well at home here and while he came off the bridle a bit early in a couple of his races, we’ve always concentrated on keeping him relaxed at home rather than revving him up, so I think it was just greenness when he came off the bridle in his races. I’d expect him to travel more strongly as he gets more experience. We think he’s a miler and I’m not sure how much further than that he’ll get. He has plenty of class and good or better ground will suit him well. He has physically done well since last year and we are looking at either starting off in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial or going straight to the [G1] 2000 Guineas. Traditionally we would have sent nearly all our 2000 Guineas colts straight to Newmarket, but with Leopardstown and HRI having dropped their 2,000 Guineas Trial from a mile back to seven furlongs, that is a real option for us now. We always thought a mile was too far for their first run back and taking on older horses over seven furlongs in the Gladness was too tough an ask, so this race gives everyone a perfect opportunity to get a run into their Guineas horses. It’s a massive, forward-thinking initiative from Leopardstown and HRI and we’ll be supporting it if we can.”

b, f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–You’resothrilling, by Storm Cat.

Rated 113, she won four of her seven starts last season including the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at The Curragh and the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Chantilly.

“She’s a filly that we always liked and she was very good last year,” O’Brien said. “Her run in the Breeders’ Cup was a non-event as she didn’t have a great draw and it never really happened for her on the day. She’s very straightforward, relaxed and genuine, so she might get further than a mile. She clearly handles soft ground, but I never thought she wanted it like that. We are aiming her at the [G1] 1000 Guineas and she could run in a trial before then. She’s a filly to look forward to.”

b, f, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Beauty Is Truth (Ire), by Pivotal (GB).

Rated 119, she won the G1 Matron S. at Leopardstown and the G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares S. at Ascot last season.

“We are taking our time with her and are moreso focusing on the second half of the season for her,” O’Brien said. “What is so exciting about her is that she has shown that she gets a mile-and-a-half really well. It’s very rare to see a filly that reached such a high level over a mile, then turns out that she could be even better over a mile-and-a-half. She worked all spring and through the summer with Winter and when she got her chance to really shine later in the year, it was like she grew another leg and found improvement. She handles soft ground and fast ground well. We’ll take her along in gentle steps and if you were dreaming, you’d hope she might end up in the Arc, but we’ll see what happens before then.”

b, f, 3, Fastnet Rock (Aus)–Madonna Dell’Orto (GB), by Montjeu (Ire).

Rated 103, she made an impressive winning debut at Dundalk in September prior to finishing third in the G3 Oh So Sharp S. at Newmarket in October.

“She’s a lovely filly that we’ve always liked a lot,” O’Brien said. “We sent her over to Newmarket to get some experience into her and maybe she was gone a little bit weak at that stage, but she ran a lovely race. She’s a big, rangy filly that is doing her work very easy. We’ll look to start her off in a Guineas trial and she could be one that stays a bit further later in the year. She’s a good mover and should like a bit of nice ground. She’s a filly to look forward to, she could be very nice.”

b, c, 5, Galileo (Ire)–Hveger (Aus), by Danehill.

Rated 119, he won the G2 Hardwicke S. at Royal Ascot last year and went on to run well without winning in Group 1 company.

“He came out of [the G1] Japan [Cup] well and is in good form,” O’Brien said. “The plan is to run him in the [G1] Dubai Sheema Classic. It took us a while to get his travelling routine right, but his last trip was his best one, so if that continues to work well with him he could be one that does a fair bit of travelling. He could potentially try further than a mile-and-a-half again this year.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Red Evie (Ire), by Intikhab.

Rated 91, he built on his promising debut when winning a maiden at Leopardstown in October.

“He’s in full work and will start back in a Derby trial,” O’Brien said. “We think he’s done well over the winter and should be a lot better as a 3-year-old. He was green when he won at Leopardstown, all he did when he got to the front was look around and look to pull himself up. We knew that he didn’t want to be in front too soon, but that was just how it panned out on the day. I’d say he’ll be a lot better when he can be ridden a bit more quietly. He’s a good mover and doesn’t go like a horse that wants soft ground.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Tender Morn, by Dayjur.

Rated 105, he won a maiden at Cork and the G3 Killavullan S. at Leopardstown.

“He’s going very nicely,” O’Brien said. “We always thought he was going to be a middle-distance horse, but he’s showing up well at home and might not need to go that far just yet. He handles an ease in the ground well as he bends his knee a bit. We might start him off in a Guineas trial.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Chelsea Rose (Ire), by Desert King (Ire).

Rated 110, he won a maiden at Killarney and the Listed Zetland S. at Newmarket.

“He’s a lovely horse,” O’Brien said. “A straightforward, good-minded, good-moving horse. He won very nicely at Newmarket and you’d imagine he’ll stay middle distances very well. We’ll start him off in a Derby trial and see how he goes from there.”

b, c, 4, War Front–Sun Shower (Ire), by Indian Ridge (Ire).

Rated 117, he finished second in the G1 St James’s Palace S. at Royal Ascot, the GI Woodbine Mile in Canada and the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar last year.

“He goes for the [G1 Dubai Turf] at Meydan,” O’Brien said. “He’s a hardy horse and we’re happy with how he has progressed from three to four. Nine furlongs might be as far as he wants to go, but we’ll see how he goes at Meydan. He’s a horse that could travel plenty this season. He ran well on the dirt in Dubai last year and that could be an option for him out in America later in the year.”

b, c, 3, Scat Daddy–Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek.

Rated 116, he won a maiden at The Curragh and the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar as a juvenile. He made a winning return to action in the Listed Patton S. at Dundalk in March.

“He came out of Dundalk well and the plan is to run him in the [G2] UAE Derby at Meydan next,” O’Brien said. “We’ll learn more about him there, particularly about how well he stays, as he’s a strong traveller and you couldn’t be sure how well he’ll stay. If all goes well there, he’d go on to the Kentucky Derby if he got in there.”

b, c, 3, Fastnet Rock (Aus)-Legally Bay (Aus), by Snippets (Aus).

Rated 117, he formerly raced in Australia where he won the G1 Coolmore Stud S. at Flemington in November. He finished third in the Mar. 10 G1 Newmarket H. and will ship to O’Brien to prep for the G1 Diamond Jubilee S.

“He hasn’t arrived here yet, but he’ll be an exciting horse to train,” O’Brien said. “They say he’s straightforward and we’re looking forward to getting him here. The hope will be to run him in one of the sprints at Royal Ascot and we’d ideally like to get a run or two into him before then to learn about him, but we’ll see how we go when he arrives.”

b, c, 3, Scat Daddy–Mostaqleh, by Rahy.

Rated 107, he won a maiden at Tipperary in May and went on to finish third in the G2 Coventry S. at Royal Ascot and in the G2 Railway S. at The Curragh.

“He’s going nicely at home,” O’Brien said. “He’s a big horse and I might have just run him back a bit quick in the Railway. I didn’t want to push him much more after that, so I left him off. He should get seven furlongs and might get a mile, but he has plenty of pace. We might start him off in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial and that will give us an idea of whether we should try him at a mile or not.”

b, c, 3, Frankel (GB)–Moonstone (GB), by Dalakhani (Ire).

Rated 112, he won a maiden at Leopardstown and a Group 3 at Leopardstown prior to finishing second in the G2 Royal Lodge S. at Newmarket.

“He looks like a horse that will stay middle distances and maybe even further,” O’Brien said. “He’s doing everything well at the moment and will probably start off in a Derby trial. I think he’ll prove versatile with regard to ground.”

b, h, 6, Galileo (Ire)–Another Storm, by Gone West.

Rated 123, he is a two-time winner of the G1 Irish St Leger at the Curragh and won the G1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 2016.

“He’s in good shape and everything seems well with him,” O’Brien said. “We’ll look to give him a similar sort of campaign as last year leading up to the Ascot Gold Cup and we’ll see what happens there before we make any more plans for him.”

b, f, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Halfway To Heaven (Ire), by Pivotal (GB).

Rated 116, she won the G1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket as a juvenile and the G1 Prix de l’Opera at Chantilly last year.

“We’re happy with her and she’s in good shape,” O’Brien said. “We might have run her back a bit quick after the Oaks in the [G1] Prix de Diane in France, but for her to burst a blood vessel so badly was a freak thing really. We weren’t sure that she’d ever come back after that, but she did and it was great to see her go back to France later in the season and win as she did. We entered her for Naas this Sunday and she might start off there, but she’s only just ready to start back and will improve a lot from it. The thought is that we have the [G1] Prix Ganay in mind for her and if she was going to go for that, we’d like to get a run into her before it. I don’t think she quite gets a mile-and-a-half, so I think a mile-and-a-quarter on nice ground is probably her optimal conditions, but she could come back to a mile at some stage.”

b, f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Thai Haku (Ire), by Oasis Dream (GB).

Out of a mare that won a listed race, she made a winning debut in a maiden at Leopardstown in October.

“She’s a grand filly and won nicely at Leopardstown,” O’Brien said. “She was badly drawn that day and Michael gave her a good ride to win on her. We’ll go gently with her and might start her off in a Guineas trial.”

b, c, 3, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Maybe, by Galileo (Ire).

Rated 119, he is unbeaten in three starts including the G2 Beresford S. at Naas and the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

“He’s a big, powerful, relaxed horse and has physically done really well over the winter,” O’Brien said. “I was really happy with what he did in the Racing Post Trophy. In an ideal world, Ryan would have liked to have waited a bit longer with him, but the way the race fell he ended up getting there early enough and he had to come back again after being challenged. Really, he had to win the race twice and it’s rare to see a horse come back like that again in a Group 1. We are very much looking at the [G1] 2000 Guineas with him and I’m not sure if he’ll run in a trial or not just yet. He looks like one that will progress a lot with racing. He’s going through all his work in second gear at the moment. I don’t think he’s short of pace, even though we think there’s a chance he will stay a mile-and-a-quarter or even a mile-and-a-half. It’s very possible that he could be a Derby horse. He has a lot of class and I think he’ll be versatile with regards to ground.”

b, c, 3, Scat Daddy–Fools In Love, by Not For Love.

Rated 111, he won a maiden at Naas and the G2 Champagne S. at Doncaster last year. He made a satisfactory reappearance when third in the Listed Patton S. at Dundalk in March.

“He ran a good race at Dundalk and just didn’t help himself by being slowly away,” O’Brien said. “We are looking at going to Dubai with him and while he has an option in England too, if he is going to go to the Kentucky Derby afterwards then Dubai is probably the better stepping stone for him. We always thought that he’d stay a mile-and-a-quarter and he’s a big rangy horse that should improve with age.”

b, f, 3, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Peeping Fawn, by Danehill.

Rated 112, she won the Listed Chesham S. at Royal Ascot prior to finishing in the frame in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. at The Curragh, the G1 Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket and the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar.

“We’re happy with where we are with her. We are looking at the 1000 Guineas for her and she might run in a trial before it. I think she’ll stay further than a mile later in the season and there’s every chance she could be an Oaks filly. She isn’t overly big, but she has a big pedigree and a big personality. I don’t think her size will hold her back.”

b, c, 3, Scat Daddy–Dream The Blues (Ire), by Oasis Dream (GB).

Rated 115, he won the G2 Norfolk S. at Royal Ascot and the G1 Phoenix S. at The Curragh.

“He’s doing everything right at the minute,” O’Brien said. “I’m not sure whether he’ll get a mile, but we might start him off in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial. There’s every chance he could end up being a five or six furlong horse. He’s a big horse and should be better at three than he was at two. He enjoys good ground.”

b, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Vadawina (Ire), by Unfuwain.

Rated 113, he won the G3 Tyros S. at Leopardstown prior to finishing third in the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

“He had a bit of a small setback after winning the Tyros and we had to go gentle with him for a while,” O’Brien said. “We were lucky to get a run into him at the backend of the season in the Racing Post Trophy as we thought it was important for his progress that we did and Seamus was very happy with him there. We have left him in the 2000 Guineas even though he probably looks more of a middle-distance horse. If he doesn’t go there, he’ll go for a Derby trial. He’s a good mover that should handle fast ground well.”

b, c, 3, War Front–Liscanna (Ire), by Sadler’s Wells.

Rated 111, he won a maiden at Fairyhouse prior to finishing fourth in the G1 Dewhurst S. at Newmarket. He made a promising reappearance when second to Mendelssohn in the Listed Patton S. at Dundalk in March.

“He ran a very good race at Dundalk,” O’Brien said. “It probably wasn’t ideal to make the running on him and he was green enough, so he should improve from it. We are looking at the [G2] UAE Derby at Meydan for him and we are hopeful he’ll stay a mile-and-a-quarter, but we can’t be sure of it until we try him over it.”

b, c, 3, War Front–Misty For Me (Ire), by Galileo (Ire).

Rated 122, he was crowned European champion 2-year-old colt after winning the G1 Middle Park S. and the G1 Dewhurst S. at Newmarket.

“We are looking at the 2000 Guineas for him and he might run in a trial,” O’Brien said. “He’s doing all the right things in his work. He’s relaxing well and we’re happy with him. The Breeders’ Cup was a bit of a non-event for him on the dirt, they went hard up front and he was below his best. He’s not short of pace, but we’ll probably give him a chance to show us if he gets a mile. He seems versatile with regard to ground as long as it isn’t very testing.”

b, c, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Six Perfections (Fr), by Celtic Swing (GB).

Rated 110, he finished second in the G1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster as a juvenile and went close in two Derby trials at Leopardstown prior to picking up an injury that kept him off the track for the rest of the season.

“He had a setback after running in his second Derby trial and he never got back to the track,” O’Brien said. “He’s a nice middle-distance horse that should be back on the track fairly soon. We always thought he’d get a mile-and-a-half, but we’ll go gently with him and see where he ends up.”

The Knowledge…
CAPRI – Two-time Classic winner that will take high rank amongst the older horses.
HYDRANGEA – Top-class filly that will be tough to beat in open Group 1 company.
SAXON WARRIOR – Unbeaten Group 1 winner that is a 2000 Guineas and Derby prospect.
GUSTAV KLIMT – Group 2 winner that looks sure to compete in the 2000 Guineas.
CLEMMIE – Exciting filly that looks a leading contender for the 1000 Guineas.
HAPPILY – Top-class juvenile that should compete in the fillies’ Classics.
DIFFERENT LEAGUE – A new recruit that could be a high-class sprinter.

This piece first appeared on and has been reproduced here with their permission.

TDN Readers ‘Ask Alan’

Tue, 2018-03-20 15:39

Each week, TDN Managing Editor Alan Carasso answers readers in-depth questions about content they’ve seen (or would like to see) in the TDN. To submit a question, email

“I was reading about the Violence colt, Jasper Prince, that won by 12 lengths in Japan on the dirt, in the TDN Mar. 20. This is his fifth start. Is this his first dirt try?” -Tom Ryan

Tom–Yes, Jasper Prince was making his dirt debut as the 1-10 favorite going a two-turn seven furlongs at Sonoda on the National Association of Racing circuit Mar. 14 (video). He had placed once in four previous tries on the turf, completing a US-bred 1-2 behind the Speightstown filly Mozu Superflare on debut last August. A $60,000 KEESEP yearling turned $100,000 OBS March juvenile, Jasper Prince is the first Japanese winner from two runners for his sire in the country. The other, the US-bred sophomore filly Kitasan Daisy, has posted a pair of third-place efforts from three appearances on the dirt.

Kirkwood Galloping into Gulfstream Sale

Tue, 2018-03-20 15:25

When the five horses consigned by Kirkwood Stables as agent for Gulfstream Gallop LLC take to the Hallandale track next Monday for the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale’s under tack show, Kirkwood’s Kip Elser hopes the focus of prospective buyers is on the juveniles themselves and not on the clock. The group was purchased last fall with the intention of reselling at the Gulfstream sale, but they will eschew the traditional one or two-furlong all-out blitz Monday and instead gallop down the Gulfstream stretch.

Elser purchased two fillies and two colts at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Sale and an additional colt at the Fasig-Tipton October Sale on behalf of a longtime client with an old-school idea.

“I ran into an old friend and client at Saratoga who I hadn’t had horses for in a while and we were talking about this and that at the races,” Elser explained Tuesday. “He called me a couple of days later and he said, ‘What about this? I think maybe it’s time that we went back to the old way of doing things. Let’s see how it works.’ So we went and bought this group of yearlings in the name of Gulfstream Gallop. They were never going to breeze. It was always going to be for this venture.”

The most expensive yearling purchase in the group is a son of Exchange Rate (hip 88) who is out of Cayman Sunrise (Petionville), a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Sailors Sunset. The dark bay was purchased for $60,000 at the Turf Showcase.

On behalf of the unnamed client, Elser paid $30,000 at the Turf sale for daughters of Data Link (hip 26) and Blame (hip 137) and $27,000 for a colt by Noble Mission (GB) (hip 2). At the October sale, he signed the ticket at $7,000 for a son of Liaison (hip 136).

Elser said, despite the decision not to breeze the 2-year-olds, he did not change his approach to buying yearling.

“I didn’t do anything different,” he said. “I just looked for horses that I liked and I would have bought at any time to sell as 2-year-olds. I did not buy horses that looked any different. We just didn’t start the breezing process. There are a lot of people out there that say, ‘We wish these horses didn’t have to go so fast to get sold.’ Or people will say, ‘I can pick out a horse just off of a good strong gallop.’ We always used to pick them out that way anyway.”

The Kirkwood consignment had its first gallop at Gulfstream Sunday and it’s so far, so good for the group.

“They galloped very nicely on Sunday and Monday,” Elser said. “Today is Tuesday, Kate [Stolyar] told me from down there, they had a good morning this morning.”

While still several days out from the under-tack show, Elser has already received well-wishers as participants in the juvenile auction scene get ready to observe if a less speed-based program can still produce a successful result in the sales ring.

“I think there is some degree of puzzlement, but I’ve gotten no negative reactions,” Elser said. “I’ve gotten quite a few people wishing us luck. If this goes well, I think it will be easier on horses, buyers, sellers everybody. We can take half a step back. I believe we can present these horses fairly and give people all the information they really need to make a decision without going down there as fast as they can go.”

The Kirkwood contingent won’t be the first group of Gulfstream sales prospects to gallop at the under tack show. At the auction’s first two renewals in Hallandale, Adena Springs offered juveniles who galloped into the sale. In 2015, the Stronach operation sold 39 horses for $2,353,500 and an average of $60,346. The Adena graduates of that sale include multiple graded stakes winner Shakhimat (Lonhro {Aus}), a $60,000 purchase who now has earnings over $400,000; as well as multiple stakes winner Winter (Awesome Again), who sold for $95,000. Also in that class were graded stakes-placed Born to Be a Winner (Einstein {Brz}) and Scholar Athlete (Einstein {Brz}).

In 2016, Adena sold four horses for $425,000 and an average of $106,250. Included in that group was graded stakes-placed Jamyson ‘n Ginger (Bernardini).

“If we can all back off a little bit, maybe it will broaden the market,” Elser said. “Maybe if the demands for speed aren’t quite so great, we can broaden the base of buyers and broaden the base of horses that will get a fair chance and then go and perform–we’re all trying to find the horse that performs in the afternoon.”

The under-tack show for the Gulfstream sale will begin Monday at 9 a.m. The auction will be held Wednesday in the Gulfstream paddock beginning at 3 p.m.

Coolmore Buys Aylmerton Half Share

Tue, 2018-03-20 12:26

Coolmore has bought half of G2 Todman S. winner Aylmerton (Aus) (Siyouni {Fr}), who lines up as a 16-1 chance in Saturday’s G1 Golden Slipper. Trained by Jean Dubois, Aylmerton won on debut at Canterbury on Feb. 21 for owner/breeder Woodpark Stud before taking the Todman 11 days ago over stakes winner Ef Troop (Aus) (Spirit of Boom {Aus}). Those also listed as new owners in the colt include John Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds, Emmaroo Bloodstock, Ramsey Pastoral and Clairden Racing.

Aylmerton, out of the Smart Strike mare Aloona, is from the family of The Queen’s G2 Hardwicke S. winner Dartmouth (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Arcangues (Sagace {Fr}), G1 Prix de Diane winner Aquarelliste (Fr) (Danehill) and GI Charles Whittingham Memorial S. winner Artiste Royal (Ire) (Danehill). He was conceived in France and is the lone runner Down Under for Siyouni, who stands at the Aga Khan Studs and was France’s leading sire last year.

“A lot of people don’t know about this stallion from France but he is very, very good and the leading stallion over there,” Coolmore spokesman Michael Kirwan told Sydney Morning Herald. “Alymerton caught our eye when he won at Canterbury and the Todman has always been a good guide to the Golden Slipper. He is a magnificent type and has the formula to go on and become a very good horse. He ticked all the boxes for us.”

Pedigree Insights: Magnum Moon

Tue, 2018-03-20 11:57

Back in the fall of 2013, when breeders were contemplating the matings responsible for this year’s classic crop, Malibu Moon had a total of 29 foals of racing age out of daughters of Unbridled and Unbridled’s Song. Only one of the 29 had become a black-type winner, but that black-type winner was none other than Orb, the 2013 Kentucky Derby hero who was recruited to the Claiborne stallion team.

While one black-type winner from 29 foals was less than compelling, Orb’s successes in the GII Fountain of Youth S., the GI Florida Derby and the GI Kentucky Derby were more than enough to ensure that breeders continued to explore this type of cross with Malibu Moon. The Spendthrift veteran now has 25 foals out of Unbridled mares, plus another 35 out of daughters of Unbridled’s Song.

While Malibu Moon’s partnership with Unbridled mares has failed to pay any further major dividends, his Unbridled’s Song team is shaping up extremely well. When Magnum Moon justified his ‘TDN Rising Star’ status with his clear-cut defeat of Solomini (Curlin) in the GII Rebel S., this unbeaten colt became this nick’s third graded stakes winner and fourth black-type scorer. He follows in the footsteps of those fine fillies Farrell and Moonshine Memories.

Farrell collected a trio of Grade II successes as a 3-year-old last year, taking her total to four, while Moonshine Memories officially ranked third among last year’s juvenile fillies, on the strength of her victories in the GI Del Mar Debutante and GI Chandelier S. Those Grade I wins made her favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, ahead of another Grade I-winning Malibu Moon filly, Heavenly Love, but neither filly reproduced their best form.

Clearly, Magnum Moon is by no means the first smart performer to emerge from Malibu Moon’s 2015 crop. He joins the likes of Moonshine Memories, Heavenly Love, the recent GII Davona Dale S. winner Fly So High, the GIII winner Greyvitos, the Graded-placed Hollywood Star and Sultry, the Grade I-placed Maya Malibu and the stakes-winning Malibu Saint, so this 2015 crop could be one of Malibu Moon’s finest. This isn’t too surprising as Orb’s Kentucky Derby success had helped boost Malibu Moon’s fee to a new high of $95,000 in 2014.

His 2016 and 2017 crops were also sired at $95,000, so there is every reason to expect 2018 and 2019 to prove very rewarding for the now-21-year-old son of A.P. Indy. Three of his yearling sons sold for $700,000, $650,000 and $625,000 last year, with his top-priced filly selling for $500,000. Significantly, the $625,000 colt, now named Outshine, and the $500,000 filly are both out of daughters of Unbridled’s Song, so this particular partnership also looks set to add to the nick’s reputation.

Magnum Moon’s chances of becoming a GI winner–and a major player in the Triple Crown events–look even better when you remember that he has a May 9 birthday, so is far from the finished article. Then there’s the Rebel’s terrific record. Its roll of honor features Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality), Lawyer Ron (Langfuhr), Curlin (Smart Strike), Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike), The Factor (War Front), Secret Circle (Eddington), Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song), Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday), American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) and Cupid (Tapit). That adds up to ten winners at the highest level among the last 14 winners of the Oaklawn Park trial.

Not all of those Rebel winners possessed the necessary stamina for a Triple Crown contender, but there seems to be enough encouragement to be found in Magnum Moon’s style of racing and in his pedigree to suggest that he won’t be one of them. In addition to being by a stallion with a Kentucky Derby winner already to his credit, his broodmare sire Unbridled’s Song has been responsible for such as Arrogate, Will Take Charge and Octave and represents a sire line which has been highly effective in the Triple Crown events.

Bred by Ramona S. Bass, Magnum Moon was bought for $380,000 as a yearling, when he was consigned to the sales by Claiborne Farm. His dam Dazzling Light never raced but you can get a good idea of the strength of her pedigree from the fact that Seth Hancock had signed for her when she made $825,000 as a yearling in 2009.

She owed part of her popularity to being a daughter of Win McCool. This daughter of Giant’s Causeway was the third graded stakes winner produced by Crafty Lady when she won the GIII Floral Park H. over six furlongs as a 3-year-old. Her predecessors were Graeme Hall, a smart Dehere colt who won the GII Arkansas Derby over a mile and an eighth, and the fast Hennessy filly Harmony Lodge, who fully justified the $1,650,000 she cost in the February of her 2-year-old season.

The emphasis here seems to be on speed, but Win McCool represented a highly successful partnership between Giant’s Causeway and Crafty Prospector mares. This nick’s 13 foals included four black-type winners, headed by Giant Oak, a dual Grade I winner over a mile and an eighth who was once second in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon over 1 3/4 miles.

If there proves to be a weak link in Magnum Moon’s stamina, the finger of suspicion would point to his third dam, Win Crafty Lady, winner of the GIII Interborough H. over six furlongs as a 5-year-old. Her half-brother Diligence, by the sprinter Miswaki, was arguably at his best over seven furlongs, the distance of his wins in the GII Tom Fool H. and GIII Churchill Downs H.

While that may be a worry, Magnum Moon has a pedigree which features A.P. Indy, Unbridled’s Song, Seattle Slew, Unbridled and Giant’s Causeway among the six stallions in his second and third generations, so he must have a good chance of getting a mile and a quarter.


Jockey Flores Clings to Life in Philly Hospital

Tue, 2018-03-20 10:45

Jose Luis Flores, the all-time leading money-earning jockey at Parx Racing and the former Philadelphia Park, remains hospitalized and in a coma with a grim prognosis as of noon Tuesday after suffering traumatic head and spine injuries in a spill at the Bensalem, Pennsylvania, track in the ninth race Mar. 19.

“He’s on life support and his wife is waiting for some family members to arrive from Florida to see him,” Sam Elliott, the Parx director of racing, told TDN via phone. “Then they’ll make the decision to do whatever they’re going to do. As of now, he’s still with us.”

Flores, 56, had attained the lead aboard 14-1 Love Rules (Not For Love) in a starter-allowance six-furlong sprint, but was engaged on both sides by challengers nearing the seven-sixteenths pole. His mount suddenly fell between those rivals, and it appears as if he was struck by a midpack horse, The Pooch (City Zip), who also fell and unseated jockey Ruben Silvera. Easy River (Not For Love) dislodged jockey Carol Cedeno when swerving to avoid the spills, and two other horses were eased in attempts to avoid further collisions.

“If you look at it, the horse in back of him just made really solid contact with him,” Elliott said. “I haven’t spoken to the doctors, so I don’t want to speculate on the exact nature of his injuries. I didn’t see him on the racetrack, but I saw him when they transferred him to an ambulance, and he was unconscious then.”

Flores is hospitalized at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital in Philadelphia, where scores of members of the Parx racing community have kept a vigil since Monday evening alongside his wife, Joanne McDaid-Flores.

“This is a well-loved, top-flight guy,” Elliott said. “Always helped younger riders. If they were all like him, boy this would be a real easy business. He’s 56 years old, still came out and worked hard every day. His wife used to be a jockey, and she still gallops horses. They have a seven-year-old [son] together, and Jose has older children.”

Elliott said Love Rules was euthanized, and that a necropsy scheduled for Tuesday might reveal more about what caused the horse to fall.

“If you look at the form of [Love Rules], he just won a $25,000 starter [allowance],” Elliott said. “Nothing indicates this would happen. I’m not sure anybody is really clear yet how it happened. The horse ended up with a broken shoulder. That’s usually from a fall. The horse is out for a post-mortem today at the New Bolton Center, so we’ll let them make the determination about how it happened. But ‘how’ isn’t really that important at the moment.”

Jason Klouser, an enforcement official with the Pennsylvania Bureau of Thoroughbred Horse Racing, would not confirm that the bureau is involved in any pending necropsy, but he did say other jockeys in the race would be interviewed by the bureau’s officials. “Any time there’s an incident on the track, it’s thoroughly investigated, and that’s as much as I can share with you at this time,” he added.

The other two fallen riders and horses escaped serious injury, Elliott said.

“Ruben Silvera walked back into the jocks’ room after it,” Elliott said. “He was shook up, and I think he’s probably a little body sore this morning. Carol Cedeno had pain in her neck. She had an MRI, they kept her overnight, and she was released this morning. I spoke to her, and they say she can return to work tomorrow.

“[The Pooch] was okay. And [Easy River], the outrider caught him and brought him back to the paddock,” Elliott continued. “He was sore enough that the veterinarian had the horse ambulance come get him. But he was able to walk onto the van, and as of this morning he’s probably a little body sore, but otherwise okay.”

Parx management made the decision to call off live racing Tuesday in the wake of the tragic accident. A notice on the Facebook page of the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (PTHA) said Parx would be closed for training Wednesday, Mar. 21, but that’s because a snowstorm is in the forecast. Similarly, the Parx horsemen’s awards banquet Wednesday evening had already been rescheduled for Mar. 28 because of the expected inclement weather.

Flores was inducted into the Parx Hall of Fame five years ago. A biography on the PTHA website explained that his father was a jockey in his native Peru, and once the younger Flores showed an interest in riding, he learned the trade at a farm before serving his on-track apprenticeship. As a journeyman, he moved to Panama in 1983, competing at Hipodromo Presidente Ramon for four years before settling in Miami and riding at Calder, Hialeah and Gulfstream.

In the early ’90s, Flores was a dominant standings-topper at Penn National. He switched his main base to Parx shortly thereafter. Equibase lists him with 4,650 wins from 28,684 starts with over $64 million in earnings.

Elliott said that beyond asking for prayers, the Parx racing community hasn’t yet outlined a definite way others can help.

“I think everyone’s kind of coming to grips with what happened here, and I’m sure some sort of fund will be set up for his family,” Elliott said. “We’ll figure that one out as we go along here. I went in this morning, and I just thought out of respect for Jose and his family that we shouldn’t operate today. Most of the riders were at the hospital comforting his wife, Joanne. It was good to see. Personally, I don’t think the riders would have been able to answer the bell today. On Saturday, weather permitting, we’re just going to regroup and go out and race–it’s what we do.”