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Updated: 2 hours 7 min ago

Medaglia d’Oro Colt Finishes Fastest to Take Salty Oaklawn Allowance

Sat, 2018-01-13 17:21

 

7th-OP, $76,000, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($62,500), 1-13, 3yo, 1m, 1:39.62, ft.

HIGHER POWER (c, 3, Medaglia d’Oro–Alternate {SW & MGSP, $550,695}, by Seattle Slew) rallied for third behind a pair of next out winners sprinting at Remington Park Oct. 7 before stretching out to two turns and graduating there Nov. 8. The 5-1 shot was in tight along the rail as a wall of horses in front of him rushed to the early lead. He found room to swing out four wide turning for home and continued to rally down the center of the track, engaging heavy favorite and ‘TDN Rising Star’ New York Central (Tapit) at the sixteenth pole and persevered by 3/4 of a length. Higher Power is a half to Alternation (Distorted Humor), MGSW, $1,064,727; & Interrupted (Broken Vow), MSW & GSP, $251,005. Their dam is a half to 1995 Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore). Alternate is also responsible for a juvenile colt named Redirect (Speightstown) and was visited by Curlin and Ghostzapper last season.Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-1, $68,728. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O/B-Pin Oak Stud, LLC (KY); T-Donnie K. Von Hemel.

Pioneerof the Nile’s Nero Gets It Done at Second Asking

Sat, 2018-01-13 16:45

3rd-SA, $55,359, Msw, 1-13, 3yo, 5 1/2f, 1:04.40, ft.

NERO (c, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Ocean Goddess, by Stormy Atlantic) was beaten as the 1-2 favorite by a nose at Del Mar Aug. 27 behind next-out stakes winner Beautiful Shot (Trappe Shot). The even-money favorite raced to the outside of stablemate Curly’s Rocket (Into Mischief) through a quick opening quarter in :22.07. Those two were still head and head, but felt the on-coming Core Beliefs (Quality Road) right behind them turning for home. They continued to battle, while holding off that challenge, all the way to the wire with Nero getting his nose down first for the graduation. Nero was a $950,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. He is a half to Ocean Knight, GSW, $390,000. Their dam also has a juvenile colt by Medaglia d’Oro and a yearling filly by Curlin. Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $44,400. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-M. Tabor, M. Magnier, D. Smith & Stonestreet Stables LLC; B-Thor-Bred Stables, LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert.

 

Firenze Fire Back to Winning Ways in the Jerome

Sat, 2018-01-13 16:00

Last term’s GI Champagne S. upsetter Firenze Fire (Poseidon’s Warrior) rebounded off a lackluster effort in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last out Nov. 4 with a narrow victory in Aqueduct’s Jerome S. Saturday. The Jerome was downgraded from a Grade III to a listed stakes for 2018, but still awards the winner 10 points towards a spot in the gate for the GI Kentucky Derby.

Hammered down to 2-5 favoritism while cutting back to one-turn here, Firenze Fire was unhurried early, running two-wide at the back of the tightly bunched sextet as second-choice Seven Trumpets (Morning Line) clocked a comfortable opening half-mile in :50.81. The chalk advanced up the outside on the backstretch run to be third as Seven Trumpets retained control, albeit while bearing out a bit on the far turn. The pacesetter settled back onto the rail in early stretch and Firenze Fire came charging after him, determinedly running Seven Trumpets down in the final strides for a half-length success. Coltandmississippi (Pioneerof the Nile) was third.

“Heading into the race, I thought he might be up against it,” trainer Jason Servis said. “It looked like there was a speed bias for most of the day on the track. He didn’t have the easiest of trips. He didn’t break on top and had to deal with some traffic, but I’m not going to knock the ride. Manny [Franco] got the job done. It’s nice when things work it. They don’t usually, but when they do it’s nice.”

Servis added, “The [GIII] Withers [S. Feb. 3] is certainly an option, but I’ll talk to the owners and we’ll decide from there.”

Bred in Florida by his owner Ron Lombardi’s Mr Amore Stable, Firenze Fire donned cap and gown on debut at Monmouth Park June 19 and followed suit with a 12-1 upset of eventual GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity S. hero Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) in Saratoga’s GIII Sanford S. July 22. Fourth behind “TDN Rising Star” Sporting Chance (Tiznow) and Free Drop Billy in the GI Hopeful S. on the Spa’s closing weekend Sept. 4, the bay pulled off another upset at 11-1 with a half-length defeat of next-out GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Good Magic (Curlin) in the GI Champagne S. at Belmont Oct. 7. The form of that race was further flattered when third-place finisher Enticed (Medaglia d’Oro) returned to win the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. next out. Firenze Fire was last seen finishing a non-factor seventh when trying two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar Nov. 4.

Pedigree Notes:

Firenze Fire became young sire and 2012 GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. hero Poseidon’s Warrior’s first winner when graduated on debut in June and was also his first stakes winner in the Sanford. Firenze Fire’s dam My Every Wish, second in both of her career attempts, was claimed out of her finale for $16,000 by Mr. Amore Stable and Servis at Aqueduct in April of 2012. Firenze Fire is her first foal. The 9-year-old mare is also responsible for the yearling filly Firenze Freedom (Istan). She was bred back to Fast Anna. Firenze Fire’s second dam is a full-sister to 2011 Broodmare of the Year Oatsee (Unbridled), herself the dam of MGISW Shackleford (Forestry), GISW Lady Joanne (Orientate), MGSW Baghdaria (Royal Academy), MGSW Afleeting Lady (Afleet Alex) and SW & MGSP Stephanoatsee (A.P. Indy).

Saturday, Aqueduct
JEROME S., $150,000, AQU, 1-13, 3yo, 1m, 1:42.88, my.
1–FIRENZE FIRE, 122, c, 3, by Poseidon’s Warrior
1st Dam: My Every Wish, by Langfuhr
2nd Dam: Mille Lacs, by Unbridled
3rd Dam: With Every Wish, by Lear Fan
O/B-Mr. Amore Stable (FL); T-Jason Servis; J-Manuel Franco.
$90,000. Lifetime Record: GISW, 6-4-0-0, $539,100.2–Seven Trumpets, 118, c, 3, Morning Line–Angel Trumpet, by
Cape Canaveral. ($45,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $205,000 2yo ’17
OBSAPR). O-West Point Thoroughbreds; B-St. George Farm,
LLC (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $30,000.3–Coltandmississippi, 118, c, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Selva, by
Forest Wildcat. ($400,000 Wlg ’15 KEENOV). O-Teresa Viola
Racing Stables & St. Elias Stable; B-Alexander-Groves
Thoroughbreds (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $15,000.Margins: HF, 5 1/4, HF. Odds: 0.45, 3.05, 5.40.
Also Ran: Regalian, Factor This, Glennwood. Scratched: Old Time Revival, Smooth B. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Malibu Moon Colt Comes Out Running for Pletcher

Sat, 2018-01-13 15:24

7th-GP, $43,000, Msw, 1-13, 3yo, 6f, 1:10.03, ft.
MAGNUM MOON (c, 3, Malibu Moon–Dazzling Song, by Unbridled’s Song), let go at a relatively generous 7-2 for a pricey Todd Pletcher-trained firster, pressed the pace out into the clear before being joined at the top of the lane by well-supported fellow newcomer Under a Spell (Tale of the Cat). He stiff-armed that foe in the run to the line, and kicked home a convincing 4 1/2-length winner. The winner’s second dam is GSW Win McCool (Giant’s Causeway), and his third dam is GSW Win Crafty Lady (Crafty Prospector), who in turn produced Grade I winner Harmony Lodge (Hennessy) and millionaire Graeme Hall (Dehere). Dazzling Song, an unraced $825,000 KEESEP yearling purchase, had a filly by Uncle Mo last year and was bred back to War Front. Sales history: $380,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $25,800. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Lawana L. & Robert E. Low; B-Ramona S. Bass, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

 

Sweet Purchase For Kelly

Fri, 2018-01-12 02:08

Jon Kelly continued his Magic Millions spending spree on Friday with the late-session purchase of Arrowfield’s full-sister to Group 1 winner Sweet Idea (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) (lot 733) for A$1.8-million.

Harron Secures Invincible Colt

Fri, 2018-01-12 00:40

I Am Invincible (Aus)’s third seven-figure yearling of the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale went the way of James Harron for A$1.9-million on Friday. Consigned by Segenhoe Stud, lot 686 is out of Electric Dreams (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}), and is a half-brother to Group 3 winner Broadband (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}).

Another Millionaire For I Am Invincible

Thu, 2018-01-11 22:40

Popular young sire I Am Invincible (Aus) registered his second millionaire of the sale at Magic Millions on Friday when Damion Flower went to A$1.45-million for Vinery’s colt out of Commanding Jewel (Aus) (Commands {Aus}) (lot 624), a Classic-winning half-sister to champion Atlantic Jewel (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}).

Shaman Ghost to Stand in California

Thu, 2018-01-11 21:22

Shaman Ghost (Ghostzapper–Getback Time, by Gilded Time), a two-time Grade I winner and Canadian champion 3-year-old colt for Stronach Stables, will stand his first season at stud in California at Tommy Town Thoroughbreds LLC for the 2018 breeding season, it was announced late Thursday evening. His stud fee will be $10,000, live foal stands and nurses. There will be special consideration for young stakes-winning mares at a reduced stud fee of $7,500, live foal stands and nurses. The Stronach family owns two racetracks in California, Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco and Santa Anita Park in Arcadia.

“We as a family need to demonstrate California racing is very important for the state of California,”  Stronach said. “It is necessary that there are enough quality horses in California. The racehorse industry is a very beneficial economically for the state of California. The horse industry currently is responsible for 50,000 jobs, directly and indirectly, and the Stronach family wants to work together with breeders, owners and trainers to increase these values. Together, we can improve horse racing and create thousands of additional jobs.”

Shaman Ghost, produced by the multiple stakes-placed Gilded Time mare Getback Time, retires with a record of 17-8-3-2 and earnings of $3,859,311. He was bred in Ontario by the Stronach Family’s Adena Springs.

“Shaman Ghost is a multiple Grade I stakes winner who obviously liked Santa Anita, having won the GI Santa Anita H.,” Stronach continued. “The Stronach family’s commitment to California is to improve and preserve the beautiful race tracks. Without a large quality horse population, the race tracks cannot exist. By sending Shaman Ghost to California, we want to demonstrate that, besides owning the racetracks, we also will do our share to breed and race in California.”

Keeneland January Concludes

Thu, 2018-01-11 19:58

LEXINGTON, Ky – The Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale, shortened to four days this year, concluded its run in Lexington Thursday with double-digit increases over the five-day 2017 renewal of the auction.

“I think the excitement that started in September and then November has continued on,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “I think there is a great interest and hunger in the market.”

The 2018 January sale catalogue included 1,583 head, down from 1,892 in 2017. Despite the reduction, the gross for the sale was $34,996,000–up from $28,785,5000 in 2017. In all, 909 horses sold for an average of $38,499–up 28.53% from a year ago, while the median of $12,000 was up 14.29%. Twenty eight horses sold for $200,000 or more in 2018, up from 17 in 2017.

Prior to the start to January sale, Keeneland’s Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said one of the goals of the sales team was a higher clearance rate. Elliston declared it was mission accomplished Thursday as the buy-back rate dropped to 25.9% from 31.4%. The figure was 20.27% during Wednesday’s session and just 18.61% during Thursday’s final session.

“Quantity isn’t necessarily our guidepost anymore,” Elliston said. “Yes, we would like to have as many offerings as we can, but we really wanted to see commerce getting done.”

Elliston said, “Even though we had 300 or 400 hips fewer in our catalogue, to sell this number of horses and to get this clearance rate up suggests to us that, in partnership with our consignors and our breeders, we are getting the right kind of offerings to this market.” Elliston continued, “Wednesday, even though the average and median weren’t where they were last year, our clearance rate was much better. We were seeing the RNA rate down to the 20-21% versus 33% last year. So there are a couple of indications, both at the high end and at the middle and low end, that business is getting done.”

The four-day auction was topped by the $1.6-million sale of broodmare prospect Mrs McDougal (Medaglia d’Oro), who was purchased by bloodstock agent Steve Young from the Eaton Sales consignment. Also bringing seven figures at the January sale was a short yearling by American Pharoah, who was purchased for $1 million–third highest colt in sale history–by Coolmore from the Paramount Sales consignment. It was the first time since 2013 that the January sale had more than one million-dollar sale.

The weanling market at last year’s November bloodstock sales was strong and the trend continued into the New Year with short yearlings at Keeneland.

Led by the $1-million American Pharoah colt, 353 yearlings sold during the January sale for a total of $13,786,100. The average was $39,054–up from $27,643 a year ago–and the median was $13,000. The top-priced yearling in 2017 was a $385,000 son of Uncle Mo and the colt was one of five to sell for $200,000 or over. That figure increased to 11 in 2018.

“The short yearlings guys were saying it was very competitive,” Russell said. “And the competition pushed prices up. We had end-users buying and also pinhookers buying and we obviously enjoy when they all get together. People were complimentary of the quality of the short yearlings, too. I think the buzz word that we heard last year, and continues on this year, is quality. The perceived quality weanlings bring more prices.”

The strength of the yearling market was no surprise to bloodstock agent Mike McMahon, who was active as both a buyer and a seller during the four-day auction.

“I’m never surprised what good foals can bring,” McMahon said. “Good foals bring yearling prices and then 2-year-old prices as yearlings. Good foals are in demand always.”

Of the mare market, McMahon added, “I think good mares are okay. There still seems to be some reluctance among Americans to own mares. But we bought a nice mare from the first book and partnered her out fairly easily. So maybe the market is coming back, but it’s still slower than the foals obviously.”

Doug Arnold of Buck Pond Farm, who was also active on both sides of the ledger at the January sale, found plenty to be optimistic about going forward into 2018.

“I think that there is a lot of momentum and I think the more money that people can get, as they can pay their bills and get on solid footing, you’ll see things start trickling down to other horses,” Arnold said. “We’re seeing a lot of people who sold horses [earlier in the sale] who are back here buying horses today. Why would they be doing that unless they feel really good about what is going on.”

Arnold continued, “A lot of times now, when you’re bidding on a horse, you won’t get it for what you thought you would and then the opposition and then you will bid once or twice more. Which is a confidence thing. I think all indicators are really strong. I see a lot of new faces and a lot of old faces, too, so, while we still need to attract new buyers, I think it bodes well for the industry.”

Chus Add to Broodmare Band

Charles and Susan Chu’s Baoma Corp., through bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, added three broodmares to its burgeoning band during the Keeneland January sale this week. Lanni, who signed the ticket at $140,000 on Lindeza (Harlan’s Holiday) (hip 505) during Tuesday’s second session of the sale, purchased the top two broodmares during Thursday’s final session of the auction, going to $80,000 to acquire Tabulation (Giant’s Causeway) (hip 1456) and $72,000 for La Nonna (Unbridled’s Song) (hip 1282).

“We are looking to expand our broodmare band,” Susan Chu confirmed Thursday. “We are mostly looking for mares to breed to our stallions–we have Chitu and we have a new stallion coming soon, so we’re preparing for that.”

Chitu, who will stand the 2018 season at Bridlewood Farm for $4,500, will be joined at the Ocala nursery this year by Baoma Corp.’s Valiant Minister (Candy Ride {Arg}). That 5-year-old, a $680,000 OBS June graduate, was an impressive winner of his only start at Santa Anita last January (video) for trainer Bob Baffert.

The Chus currently have 15 broodmares and are planning to add to that number as the right offerings become available.

“I don’t really have a limit on the number to buy,” Chu said. “I just have Donato make the decision on which mares he likes. We are looking for strong mares with good racing performances. We prefer young mares and also good pedigrees.”

Chu laughingly admitted she was hoping her bloodstock agent will find more mares for the band soon.

“I am hoping Donato can get more, but he’s very serious,” she said. “I push him and tell him to hurry. He said, ‘Sure, sure, but I’ll only buy the good quality mares,’ and I say, ‘I understand.’ He’s very, very careful. I know. I totally count on him.”

Baoma Corp., which was represented in 2017 by graded stakes winners Lord Simba (Discreet Cat) and Faypien (Ghostzapper), recently parted ways with 2016 Eclipse champion sprinter Drefong (Gio Ponti), who will begin his stud career in 2018 in Japan.

“We are going to fly to Japan very soon to see him,” Chu said of Drefong.

Galvin Strikes Late

As the Keeneland January sale was winding down Thursday evening, Hunter Valley Farm’s Fergus Galvin struck late to purchase a pair of racing prospects on behalf of Chicago businessman Marc Detampel.

“He’s a little light on his racehorses right now, so we are filling the stable back up a little bit,” Galvin explained.

Galvin made a final bid of $80,000 to secure Mr Classical (Bernardini) (hip 1573) and three hips later came back to acquire Red Kite (Harlan’s Holiday) (hip 1576) for $53,000. Both were consigned by Mill Ridge Sales on behalf of Juddmonte Farms.

The 4-year-old colt Mr Classical was third and fourth in a pair of starts in New York last summer for Juddmonte and trainer Chad Brown. A 4-year-old gelding, Red Kite finished second behind subsequent Grade I winner Gormley in his only start to date at Del Mar in September 2016 for trainer Bob Baffert.

“It is hard to find these kind of horses,” Galvin agreed. “The appeal of both of them is that they are lightly raced, they all have their conditions. There is plenty of prize money when you get to the spring for maiden and allowance horses. So that’s what we’re targeting with both of them–maybe Keeneland in the spring.”

Mr Classical is expected to join the barn of trainer Brendan Walsh and Red Kite will join Andrew McKeever’s string.

Violence Filly Goes Gate-To-Wire In Stylish Debut

Thu, 2018-01-11 18:25

5th-SA, $56,070, (C), Msw, 1-11, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:10.08, ft.

MS DUPREE (f, 3, Violence–Magic Pearl, by Stormy Atlantic) broke sharply at 5-2 and was guided to the front alongside favorite Gracious Me (Into Mischief) through a quick opening quarter in :21.97. Still under a tight hold from Evin Roman, Ms Dupree was a length in front at the quarter pole before kicking clear and holding strong in the stretch to graduate by 1 3/4 lengths. Gracious Me held on for second. Ms Dupree sold for $80,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale to her current connections. This is the 33rd winner from Violence’s first crop (by Medaglia d’Oro). Maiden dam Magic Pearl is a half to MSW Call Her Magic (Caller I.D.), who produced GISW J P’s Gusto (Successful Appeal), and Pacific Spell (Langfuhr), who’s the mother of 2008 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Proud Spell (Proud Citizen). Magic Pearl also has a juvenile colt by Cairo Prince and was bred to Palace Malice last season. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $32,400. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-Turnley Farms Louisiana LLC; B-Mueller Thoroughbred Stable, Ltd. (KY); T-Philip D’Amato.

 

Take Charge Indy Colt Stays Unbeaten and Becomes Newest ‘Rising Star

Thu, 2018-01-11 17:06

Noble Indy battled gamely all the way to the wire to remain unbeaten Thursday at Gulfstream Park and become the newest ‘TDN Rising Star’.

The bay broke smoothly as the 4-5 favorite, but was forced to go three wide around the clubhouse turn. Going stride for stride with second choice Mississippi (Pioneerof the Nile) down the backstretch through fractions of :23.82 and :47.33, the two were clear from the rest of the field at the top of the lane. Noble Indy put his head in front straightening for home, but Mississippi fought bravely along the rail to draw on even turns inside the final furlong. Noble Indy found an extra gear in the final stages, however, to get up for the 3/4-length score.

“I thought it was a big effort,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “You’re always concerned making your first start against winners, some pretty well-thought-of horses in the race, and stretching out around two turns. I though he did everything we’d want him to do.”

Noble Indy was an impressive debut victor sprinting here

Dec. 3 when he led all the way to score by 8 3/4-lengths. Repole Stable bought into a share of this colt with breeder WinStar Farm following that debut. The bay RNA’d for $45,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September sale and is out of MSW Noble Maz. This is the first ‘Rising Star’ for Take Charge Indy, who has 26 winners in his first crop.

 

9th-GP, $44,000, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 1-11, 3yo,

1 1/16m, 1:42.52, ft.

NOBLE INDY (c, 3, Take Charge Indy–Noble Maz {MSW, $327,340}, by Storm Boot) Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $51,600. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-WinStar Farm LLC & Repole Stable; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

Super Claimer Mended Tries Big Girls in La Canada

Thu, 2018-01-11 16:55

Sometimes, you just have to go for it.

Having won all ten of her starts since being claimed for $12,500 by trainer John Martin and owners Troy and Maritza Onorato, Mended (Broken Vow) might just be able to keep winning forever if her connections kept aiming low. She remains eligible for starter allowance races, spots where her losing would be close to impossible. Instead, she will put her wining streak on the line in by far the toughest race she has ever competed in, Saturday’s GII La Canada S. at Santa Anita.

“Obviously, this race is a lot tougher than the ones she’s been running it, but I don’t know how good she is and I know she will try and I know she won’t embarrass herself,” said Martin, who is based at Golden Gate Fields. “I think she has a chance but she’s not going to be a huge favorite because it’s better horses this time.”

Martin admits that he and his owners are not always in agreement and that was the case when Troy Onorato asked him to claim Mended out of a Jan. 6, 2017 race at Golden Gate, a $12,500 conditioned claimer.

“The owner picked the horse out, which he does a lot looking for claims,” Martin said. “I thought the horse was just ok. She did not win the day we claimed her [she finished fourth] so I was a little concerned as to the value of the horse. Basically, when we claimed her I just thought we were getting a ‘twelve-five’ horse to put in the barn. I didn’t think it was a good claim.”

He could not have been more wrong. In her first start for Martin, Mended won another $12,500 claimer at Golden Gate and has not lost since. She worked her way up the class ladder, winning a couple of $20,000 claimers and, eventually a optional claimer-allowance at Del Mar. The same horse that had run a 59 Beyer figure in her last start for her previous connections was consistently running in the high eighties.

“I think what happened is that I took advantage of the synthetic surface here at Golden Gate, where you can really train a horse,” Martin explained. “We got her super fit and she has a lot of stamina. Maybe the jockey [Ricardo Gonzalez] also figured her out, the right tactics to use when riding here.”

Mended came east for the Dec. 2 Claiming Crown at Gulfstream and whipped 13 rivals to win the $110,000 Claiming Crown Glass Slipper by 6 3/4 lengths. That not only extended her winning streak to 10 but gave her 10 wins on the year. That tied her with a horse named Cantchaco (Ochoco) for most wins by any horse on the year, but Martin resisted temptation to give her one more start before the end of December and instead geared her up for the La Canada.

There was a $12,500 starter allowance run Jan. 5 at Golden Gate that Mended was eligible for and likely would have won by a couple of poles while extending her winning streak to 11. Martin hints that if it were up to him, that’s where Mended would have run, instead of the La Canada.

“The owner believes the horse is a really good horse, so I’m getting pressure to run the horse in better races now,” he said. “It’s nice to run in the easier sports, but eventually you have to upgrade and take a shot. We don’t know how good the horse is, truthfully. The win streak is definitely a concern to me but eventually you have to do the right thing and go for the better value.

“I’m with the horse every day so I won’t feel good if she gets beat. I try not to overmatch her. I’ve always been that way. There were some easier spots to run in but obviously the purses were a lot less. But, to me, personally, making close to $200,000 a year [Mended earned $186,620 in 2017] is not a bad year. Sometimes I have to deal with the client who thinks otherwise. I could sit there and pick off a lot more cheap ones if I desired to. The owner isn’t comfortable with that.”

On paper, particularly when taking Beyer numbers into account, Mended looks to be up against it in the La Canada. She ran an 87 and an 85 in her last two races. Likely favorites Majestic Heat (Unusual Heat) is coming off figures of 94 and 91 and the last two numbers for Mopotism (Uncle Mo) were a 94 and a 90.

But since Mended has won most of her recent races so easily there is the chance that she is capable of running faster if the need arises. There’s also the intangible, that she has a will to win that might be enough to overcome the obvious obstacles that come with facing class horses for the first time.

“It’s very important as a horse trainer to have a horse in a mental condition where they’re trying to go out there and win,” Martin said. “It’s a good feeling to know you have a horse that wants to win badly, regardless of the class level. I realize this won’t be easy, but it could happen. She could pull this off.”

 

Irish War Cry Nearing Return

Thu, 2018-01-11 14:37

‘TDN Rising Star’ Irish War Cry (Curlin), winner of last term’s GII Wood Memorial S. and unraced since finishing eighth in the GI Pennsylvania Derby Sept. 23, continues to gear up for his 4-year-old debut.

The New Jersey-bred, also second in the 2017 GI Belmont S., has breezed twice at Palm Meadows this winter, most recently covering four furlongs in :48.65 (17/83) Jan. 6.

“I’m very happy with him,” trainer Graham Motion said of the Isabelle de Tomaso homebred. “I think he’s grown up and filled out, all the things I hoped for. [Grade III winner] Irish Straight (English Channel), his brother, was a different horse from four to three. He made leaps and bounds, so I’m hoping that might be the case with this guy. He really physically has improved a lot.”

Motion added, “He’s really filled out in his shoulder and his girth and his chest. Fingers crossed we’ll have a good year with him. He’ll probably be ready to start at the end of February, beginning of March. My inclination is to start him at Gulfstream where he’s run well before.”

1.6-Million For Sizzling Brother

Thu, 2018-01-11 02:43

A full-brother to Group 1 winner and young sire Sizzling (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) will go into training with Ciaron Maher after the partnership of Maher with Aquis Farm, Yulong Investments and Phoenix Thoroughbreds went to A$1.6-million to secure the colt (lot 480) at Magic Millions on Thursday.

Kelly Gets Two Million Dollar Colt

Wed, 2018-01-10 23:11

Jon Kelly will race an I Am Invincible (Aus) colt out of stakes winner Tai Tai Tess (Aus) (Magic Albert {Aus}) after spending A$2-million on the Yarraman Park Stud offering (lot 373) at Magic Millions on Thursday. The colt will be trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

Stellar Wind on Target for Pegasus

Wed, 2018-01-10 20:02

Champion Stellar Wind (Curlin), who topped last year’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale when selling for $6 million to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier, remains on target for the Jan. 27 GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, trainer Chad Brown confirmed Wednesday. A six-time Grade I winner for Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler, Stellar Wind worked five furlongs in 1:10.50 at Palm Meadows last Sunday.

“So far so good,” Brown said. “She seems to be training really well.”

Stellar Wind will face a daunting task in the $16-million race, facing a competitive field that will include likely Horse of the Year Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}).

“It’s a very tough field,” Brown admitted. “I think she’ll probably be the only filly in the field, so it’s a tall order. But she’s a champion and a very talented racehorse obviously. On her best day, I could see her being competitive.”

The Pegasus is scheduled to be Stellar Wind’s final career start. She is expected to be bred to Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh this spring.

 

NYRA Announces Belmont Spring-Summer Stakes Schedule

Wed, 2018-01-10 18:05

The New York Racing Association has released its stakes schedule for the 2018 spring/summer meet at Belmont Park, featuring 62 stakes races worth $19.3 million throughout the course of the 54-day meet. The meet, which begins Apr. 27, is anchored by the GI Belmont S. June 9 and a surrounding barrrage of graded stakes races deemed the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. Eight additional graded stakes will be held on Belmont day. Tickets for the event can be found here.

Other highlights of the schedule include a five-stakes card May 12, highlighted by the GI Man o’ War S. with an enhanced purse of $700,000. July 7 features another card packed with graded stakes as the GI Belmont Derby Inv. and GI Belmont Oaks Inv. highlight the Stars and Stripes Festival card, which falls on the Saturday after the Fourth of July. The complete graded stakes schedule can be found at NYRA.com.

EHV-1 Positive Reported at Belmont

Wed, 2018-01-10 17:51

Officials at the New York Racing Association and New York State Gaming Commission have received confirmation that one horse has tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus-1 in Barn 44 at Belmont Park, it was announced Wednesday. The horse, an unnamed, unraced 3-year-old male, was sent to the Cornell Ruffian Equine Hospital near Belmont Park after developing a fever and a mild respiratory issue. On Tuesday afternoon, he tested positive for EHV-1. The horse, trained by Linda Rice, has shown no neurological symptoms of the virus.

The colt remains at the Ruffian Center for observation and is scheduled to return to Belmont in the coming days, where he will be put into quarantine in an isolated barn as a precautionary measure. Plans call for the horse to be closely monitored and retested.

Additionally, in conjunction with the New York State Veterinarian and New York State Gaming Commission officials, NYRA will move all horse in Barn 44 to quarantine, where they will be monitored daily for fever and other signs of illness. All horses exposed to the affected horse are afebrile and asymptomatic, but the horses will not be permitted to run or enter races and will have isolated training hours.

 

‘Snow’ in the Desert?

Wed, 2018-01-10 14:14

Godolphin’s Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) aims to kick off his 4-year-old season on the right hoof on Thursday, and the winner of the G1 Criterium International at two is the highest-rated horse in the $250,000 G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 at 118, the second group race on the opening day card of the Dubai World Cup Carnival.

A two-time group winner over the Meydan dirt last term, the bay’s sophomore highlight was a victory in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly in July after an eventful non-effort in the GI Kentucky Derby, and, although running with credit to take third in the G1 Prix Jacques Le Marois in August, Thunder Snow was unplaced in his finale in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. on QIPCO British Champions Day. He is joined by fellow Saeed bin Suroor stablemate Confrontation (War Pass), who scooped the 2016 G3 Firebreak S., but was unplaced in his next two runs at Meydan, including in the wake of North America (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) while defending his Firebreak title almost a year ago in February.

“We have given him a nice break since Ascot when the ground was very soft and did not suit him,” said bin Suroor to the Meydan notes team. “He has been working well recently and we are really looking forward to running him on Thursday. We know he likes the Meydan surface, so that is not a concern and we are very happy with him.”

Heavy Metal (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}) enjoyed his day in the sun on Super Saturday last March, running out a 6 1/2-length winner of the G3 Burj Nahaar going this distance and he warmed up for this with a victory over track and trip in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile on Dec. 21. Long River (A.P. Indy) finally snagged that elusive Group 1 in the 2017 G1 Al Maktoum Challenge R3, the same day Heavy Metal struck in the Burj Nahar for their trainer Salem bin Ghadayer. However, the newly turned 8-year-old ended his 2017 campaign with an 11th behind champion Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) in the G1 Dubai World Cup on Mar. 25 and has not graced the racecourse since.

Pegasus Contender Leavem in Malibu Euthanized Following Injury

Wed, 2018-01-10 12:50

Gary Barber and Conrad Farm’s GSW Leavem in Malibu (Malibu Moon), a contender for the Jan. 27 GI Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, was euthanized after being injured during a workout Monday at Palm Meadows. The news was first reported by the Daily Racing Form. According to the report, Leavem in Malibu suffered an injury to a hind ankle while galloping out after a five-furlong workout completed in 1:00.40.

A full-brother to the ill-fated GISP Danzig Moon, Leavem in Malibu competed in all three races in Canada’s 2016 Triple Crown, placing second in the Prince of Wales S. and third in the Breeders’ S. He wrapped up his 4-year-old season in 2017 with a score in the GIII Valedictory S. at Woodbine Dec. 10. Monday’s workout was the bay’s second workout since the race and his first at Palm Meadows.

 

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