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Updated: 9 hours 6 min ago

Carpe Diem Filly Swiftest at OBS

Wed, 2019-04-17 16:50

The under-tack preview of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, which has been modified to avoid expected heavy rain and winds in Central Florida in the coming days, continued with a third session Wednesday. With Friday and Saturday’s session of the breeze show cancelled, previews will be extended Thursday and a Sunday session has been added. A filly from the first crop of Carpe Diem had the day’s fastest quarter-mile breeze of :20 3/5, while five 2-year-olds shared the fastest furlong-breeze time of :9 4/5.

Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables sent out hip 532 to work the bullet :20 3/5 quarter-mile Wednesday. The $75,000 Keeneland September purchase, from the first crop of GI Toyota Blue Grass S. winner Carpe Diem (Giant’s Causeway), is out of Rebuke (Carson City), a half-sister to Group 1 placed Rebuttal (Mr. Greeley).

“She worked as good as one can work,” Dunne, who sells the juvenile on behalf of Bob Verratti, said. “She is a really straightforward filly and has gotten better every step of the way.”

The filly is typical of the offspring of the young sire that Dunne has handled this winter.

“I was not a fan of them as yearlings and didn’t buy any of them,” Dunne admitted of the Carpe Diems. “But we had several sent to us. They were straightforward to break, but didn’t do anything to really impress you. But the more we’ve done with them, the better they’ve gotten and the more impressive they’ve been. And this filly fits that profile. She was a very unimposing, straightforward and no-nonsense filly when we broke her and then she’s just gotten better and better every step of the way and just seems to want more.”

Wavertree has sent out 18 juveniles to work so far this week at OBS and all but one has worked a quarter-mile.

“We were probably a little lighter at the March sale than we have been in the past because we kept a lot of the bigger, two-turn colts for April,” Dunne explained. “We had the mindset to give them a little extra time and to go a quarter. They are going to breeze over the next couple of days and if they breeze to our expectations, we’ll be very excited about this sale.”

Tommy and Lori Fackler’s Best a Luck Farm sent out a filly from the first crop of GI Arkansas Derby winner Danza (Street Boss) (hip 478) to work the co-bullet furlong in :9 4/5. Out of Polish Silk (Polish Pro), the bay juvenile is a half-sister to stakes winner I Got It All (Tiz Wonderful).

“We were hoping she would work well,” Lori Fackler said. “She’s just done everything right. She is very athletic and she’s just an elegant filly. When we took her over to OBS, she just floated. So we had our fingers crossed that everything would go well and it did today.”

The Facklers purchased the filly for $74,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“She is a classy-looking filly and she’s just gotten better and better every day,” Fackler said. “She’s wonderful to be around and very level-headed.”

In addition to pinhooking two to four juveniles a year, Best a Luck Farm also pinhooks weanlings to yearlings and the operation has a broodmare band of a dozen head. Among the band is Slew’s Quality, who is the dam of 2018 Eclipse champion and GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint winner Shamrock Rose (First Dude). Best a Luck sold Shamrock Rose for $120,000 at the 2017 OBS April sale and will offer her half-brother by Stay Thirsty (hip 638) next week in Ocala. The colt will breeze at OBS Thursday.

“We’ll see tomorrow, but we’re hoping everything goes really well for him,” Fackler said of the juvenile.

In addition to Shamrock Rose, Best a Luck also bred 2014 GI Toyota Blue Grass S. winner Dance with Fate (Two Step Salsa).

“As little as we are, that’s been really exciting for us,” Fackler said of the dual Grade I winners. “It’s kind of neat for the little people because it’s usually the big people that run through a couple hundred a horses a year to break and we just have a handful. It makes it really special.”

De Meric Sales sent a daughter of Quality Road (hip 444) out to work the furlong in :9 4/5. Out of Paris Rose (Accelerator), the bay is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Decelerator (Dehere).

Hip 453, a colt by Speightstown, also worked in :9 4/5. Out of Pay Lady (Seeking the Gold), the bay is a full-brother to Grade I winner Lighthouse Bay and is consigned by Scanlon Training and Sales as agent for Bruno DeBerdt’s Excel Bloodstock.

A filly from the first crop of GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern (Offlee Wild) (hip 517) also shared the bullet :9 4/5 work time. Consigned by Harris Training Center, the bay is out of Queenie Cat (Storm Cat), a half-sister to champion Vindication (Seattle Slew).

Completing the :9 4/5 works Wednesday was hip 538. A daughter of Malibu Moon, the bay filly is out of Red Hot Bertie (Tabasco Cat) and is a full-sister to multiple graded stakes placed Cue the Moon (Malibu Moon). She is consigned by Steve Venosa’s SGV Thoroughbreds.

With severe weather forecast for the coming days, OBS has cancelled the Friday and Saturday sessions of the breeze show, extended Thursday’s session to include hips numbers 609-912, and added a Sunday session for hip numbers 913-1221 to breeze.

“They’re trying to make the best decision on the weather that they can,” Fackler said of the change to the schedule. “A 20-30 mph headwind is a lot to try to overcome.”

Tuesday’s first session of the four-day April sale will begin at noon to give buyers additional time to look at horses. The Wednesday through Friday sessions will begin as scheduled at 10:30 a.m.

Lasix Phase-Out Plan Yet to Involve Horsemen

Wed, 2019-04-17 15:45

A proposed phasing-out of race-day Lasix starting in 2020 that is being discussed by track operators in Kentucky and New York has yet to formally involve representatives from the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA), Eric Hamelback, the group’s national chief executive, told TDN Wednesday afternoon.

“The groups that own racetracks have every right to discuss safety measures for the industry. Any kind of discussions for safety are positive discussions,” Hamelback said. “But there were no direct discussions with the HBPA about this as a proposal. I checked with the Kentucky HBPA, and there wasn’t even a formal discussion. The overall feeling–mine and theirs–is we certainly need to listen to what any track wants to propose as a safety measure.

“But at this point all horsemen are going to take the same stance” regarding Lasix, Hamelback continued. “We are, and are going to continue, to follow what the veterinary leadership tells us is best for the horse. We can continue to be labeled as obstructionists, but I like to think that [by keeping the status quo] we’re acting in the horses’ best interest and acting alongside with the veterinary leadership community on this issue.”

On Apr. 16, Daily Racing Form first reported that officials from Churchill Downs, Keeneland, and the New York Racing Association are set to announce a plan–possibly as early as this week–that would prohibit race-day Lasix usage for 2-year-olds starting in 2020. The ban would “then be expanded to all stakes at the tracks in 2021,” including the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Belmont S.

Joe Appelbaum, the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, confirmed via phone that he knows a phase-out plan is in the pipeline, but he wanted to defer commenting on it until the tracks make an official announcement.

Hamelback said the HBPA would be comfortable participating in Lasix discussions with Kentucky tracks so long as veterinary leadership groups like the American Association of Equine Practitioners are also consulted.

In 2017, when proposed Horseracing Integrity Act legislation sought to end national use of race-day Lasix, the AAEP released a statement that read, in part, “The AAEP’s current policy on race-day medication administration endorses the use of furosemide [Lasix] to help mitigate the occurrence of exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage in the racehorse. This policy is based on the overwhelming body of international scientific and clinical evidence.”

When asked if he thought the proposed Lasix phase-out was more of a public-relations reaction to a potential national welfare crisis brought about by 23 recent equine fatalities at Santa Anita Park instead of a true “what’s best for the horse” plan of action, Hamelback chose his words carefully before responding.

“I agree that the situation that we’ve been placed in has been exacerbated in a public reactionary form,” Hamelback said. “But I think we can all agree that Lasix isn’t the cause. What happened at Santa Anita is multi-factorial. The only thing that we probably all know is that Lasix wasn’t a factor. So what I would encourage people to do is not make a reactionary response and paint yourself in a corner by removing something that A) Is in the best interest of the horse; B) We know didn’t cause the breakdowns, and C) What will happen when a fatality does occur in a race where there was no Lasix administered on race day? I don’t want to be driven by public perception if it’s not in the best interest of the horse.”

Hamelback continued: “I do have a strong opinion about not caving to public pressure just because someone clamors or uses an incorrect semantic that Lasix is ‘dope.’ I take offense to that. Lasix is a choice. You don’t have to use it. I don’t want [any potential policy] it to be a knee-jerk reaction. And I don’t think our industry should cave to public pressure from those outside the industry on something that they’re not involved with and may not have as much working knowledge of as those of us in the industry have.”

Carpe Diem’s First Starter a Winner and ‘Rising Star’ at Keeneland

Wed, 2019-04-17 15:36

Nayibeth (Carpe Diem), whose first-crop sire (by Giant’s Causeway) loved Lexington himself as evidenced by his romps in the 2014 GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity and GI Toyota Blue Grass S. the following year, became the WinStar resident’s first winner from his first starter and a ‘TDN Rising Star’ to boot Wednesday. Having fired a number of bullets at Turfway and over this strip, the 1-5 favorite beat the gate like a typical Wesley Ward trainee and had only stablemate Owlette (Frac Daddy) at her heels as she zipped along. Getting away from that runner a bit heading for home, she cruised to the line 4 1/4 lengths to the good. There was a large gap back to third place. Nayibeth stopped the clock in :51.54–fellow Ward firster Chili Petin (City Zip) took :52.65 to complete the same trip in the day’s second race. The winner is a half to Soldat (War Front), MGSW, $622,760. Stonestreet–who also campaigned fellow Rising StarCarpe Diem after purchasing him for a co-sale-topping $1.6 million at the 2014 OBS March sale–bought dam Le Relais for $800,000 in foal to Blame at the 2011 Keeneland November sale. The half-sister to GSW/MGISP Mulrainy (Star de Naskra) produced a Ghostzapper filly last April but was not bred back that season.

5th-Keeneland, $56,096, Msw, 4-17, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, :51.54, ft.
NAYIBETH, f, 2, Carpe Diem
1st Dam: Le Relais, by Coronado’s Quest
2nd Dam: Malbay, by Apalachee
3rd Dam: Sawmill Lady, by Marshua’s Dancer
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,000. Click for the chart, free catalogue-style pedigreeor VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Ramon Tallaj; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward. *$230,000 Ylg ’18 FTKOCT.


Uncle Mo Filly Green But Good in Big A Baby Race

Wed, 2019-04-17 13:44

1st-Aqueduct, $96,500, Msw, 4-17, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, :54.22, ft.
MO MYSTERY (f, 2, Uncle Mo–Tabitha, by Tale of the Cat) finished with a flourish to take the first 2-year-old race of the NYRA season. Part of a 2-1 entry coupled with Micromillion (Micromanage), the homebred broke well and tracked from third out in the clear as favored Tesorina (American Pharoah) rushed away to lead. Mo Mystery needed to do better in upper stretch as she dropped back and Tesorina looked long gone, but the dark bay eventually figured it out. Once she did, she took off with an impressive kick to run by the leader and score by a widening 3 1/4 lengths. Micromillion, who was away awkwardly from the rail, rallied to reel in the pacesetter for second. The winner’s third dam is Tizso (Cee’s Tizzy), a full-sister to Tiznow and the dam of GISW and young sire Paynter (Awesome Again). Mike Repole purchased unplaced and maiden Tabitha for $50,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton February Winter Mixed Sale. She produced an Outwork (Uncle Mo) colt last May, and sold for $3,500 while barren at last year’s Keeneland November sale. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $50,000. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Repole Stable; B-Repole Stable Inc (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.


OBS Alters Breeze Schedule

Wed, 2019-04-17 13:41

With a forecast of heavy rain and high winds in the coming days, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company has altered the breeze schedule for its upcoming Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training. The company has cancelled both Friday and Saturday’s sessions of the under-tack preview. Thursday’s session has been expanded to include hip numbers 609-912 and a Sunday session has been added for hip numbers 913-1221 to breeze. The Thursday and Sunday sessions will begin at 8:00 a.m.

The sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday. Tuesday’s first session will begin at noon to provide buyers additional time for inspection. The remaining sessions will begin as scheduled at 10:30 a.m.

DRF: New York, Kentucky Tracks Considering Partial Lasix Ban

Wed, 2019-04-17 12:50

In the wake of The Stronach Group’s ban on race-day Lasix announced last month, tracks in New York and Kentucky are in discussions on a plan to instate the same restriction in stakes races and races for 2-year-olds, according to a report from the Daily Racing Form Tuesday. The story goes on to say that the plan “would go into effect for 2-year-olds in 2020 and then be expanded to all stakes at the tracks in 2021” according to three anonymous officials with knowledge of the talks. Officials at NYRA and Keeneland did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In response to its spate of breakdowns over the winter, Santa Anita moved to ban Lasix Mar. 14 in a decision that seemed certain to have ripple effects across the country. The announcement came in an open letter from The Stronach Group Chairman and President Belinda Stronach that called on all of racing’s participants to respond boldly to the public pressure being put on the sport, largely by animal rights activists.

This story will be updated as it develops.

Fasig-Tipton Catalogs 600 for Midlantic Sale

Wed, 2019-04-17 11:14

Fasig-Tipton has cataloged 600 entries for its Midlantic Two-Year-Olds in Training Sale, to be held Monday and Tuesday, May 20-21, at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland.

“We will have a barn area full of 2-year-olds once again next month in Timonium,” said Midlantic Sales Director Paget Bennett.  “Successful results in the sales ring and on the racetrack continue to improve the profile of this sale each year. Our consignors have once again stepped up to support us with quality horses for buyers of all budgets.”

Among the sale’s recent Grade I-winning sales graduates are Discreet Lover (Repent), Fourstar Crook (Freud), and Secret Spice (Discreet Cat).

“This year’s catalog cover features graded stakes winners at two and three, and as older horses,” said Bennett.  “Our graduates are winning from coast-to-coast, and over all surfaces.”

The under tack show will be held over three sessions, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, May 14-16.  Each under tack show session will begin at 8:00 am. The 144th Preakness Stakes will be held at nearby Pimlico Saturday, May 18 and the sale will follow May 20 and 21. Each sale session will begin at 11 am.

The catalog may now be viewed online and will be available via the equineline sales catalog app. Print catalogs will be available beginning Apr. 23.

CHRB Files Complaint Against Morey

Tue, 2019-04-16 22:04

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) announced that they had filed a complaint against trainer William Morey, alleging that his assistant trainer administered a substance containing an alkalinizing agent via a “dose syringe” to three horses that were entered to race at Santa Anita Park on Friday Mar. 29, 2019.

Mar. 29 was the day Santa Anita re-opened its doors to live racing after a hiatus of nearly three weeks, due to a rash of equine fatalities at the track this winter.

The three Morey-trained horses—Tick Tock, Gate Speed, and Lord Guinness—were scratched about 30 minutes before the first race on Mar. 29.

According to multiple sources familiar with the case, Morey’s assistant was seen administering a substance orally to the horses that morning—a violation of CHRB rules—via the video surveillance system installed throughout the Santa Anita backstretch.

According to the press release, the stewards at Santa Anita will conduct a hearing on May 2.

Morey, who has held a license since 2001, has not started a horse since Mar. 29. According to the DRF, Morey subsequently dispersed his stable among a variety of different trainers. Tick Tock, for example, is now with Andrew Lerner.

Morey did not immediately respond to a call and text message.

Smith Chooses Omaha Beach; Geroux Named on Roadster

Tue, 2019-04-16 18:36

In what he called the most difficult decision of his Hall of Fame career, jockey Mike Smith has chosen to rider GI Arkansas Derby winner Omaha Beach (War Front) in the GI Kentucky Derby, he told the TDN. His other choice was to ride TDN Rising Starand GI Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster (Quality Road).

“[Omaha Beach] is coming off races where he beat two of the very best 3-year-olds out there in Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) and then Improbable (City Zip),” Smith said. “The connections of both horses fully understood my decision and there were no ill feelings. [Roadster’s trainer] Bob [Baffert] was great about it. I know how much talent Roadster has. I just hope I’m not put in a position where I see him running right by me in the stretch in the Derby.”

Baffert has won five Kentucky Derbies and Omaha Beach’s trainer Dick Mandella has never had a horse finish on the board in six Derby tries. Smith said that Baffert’s record was definitely something he weighed when making his decision. Last year, Smith rode Justify (Scat Daddy) to a Triple Crown sweep for Baffert.

“Bob’s record is one of the things that made this decision so difficult,” he said. “I chose to take off a horse trained by one of the greatest trainers of all time.”

Via text, Baffert confirmed that he had chosen Geroux to take over on Roadster.

Smith’s decision could very well tilt the odds in the Derby as his decision will carry a lot of weight with handicappers and could make Omaha Beach the race favorite.


Winds Die Down, Times Pick Up at OBS Breeze Show

Tue, 2019-04-16 16:46

A day after horses worked into a significant headwind, times picked up noticeably Tuesday at the second session of the under-tack preview of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s April Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, with four horses sharing the bullet furlong time of :9 4/5 and a pair of juveniles working a quarter-mile in :20 1/5.

Torie and Jim Gladwell’s Top Line Sales sent out two of the bullet furlong workers. A son of Sky Mesa (hip 242) covered the distance in :9 4/5. The bay is out of Lady Lavery (Elusive Quality), a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Skylighter (Sky Mesa). Top Line consigns the youngster on behalf of Zayat Stables, which purchased him for $75,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October sale.

“When he came off the trailer after the October sale, I fell in love with him immediately,” Torie Gladwell said of the colt. “He is a beautiful horse and has always done everything right. We almost sent him a quarter today. He galloped out really good.”

Top Line also sent out hip 281, an English-bred filly from the first crop of multiple Group 1 winner Make Believe (Makfi {GB}), to work in :9 4/5. The dark bay is out of stakes winner Lisselan Diva (Ire) (Barathea {Ire}) and sold for 27,000gns ($37,379) at last year’s Tattersalls October sale.

“We traveled over to Newmarket to the Tattersalls sale last year and [bloodstock agent] Justin Casse showed us around and helped us short list horses a little bit,” Gladwell explained. “We ended up buying two with the goal in mind to bring them back to breeze at the April sale. We tried to buy horses that we thought were kind of turf families that we thought would breeze really well here at OBS on the synthetic track.”

Also from its Tattersalls shopping spree, Top Line will offer hip 883, a son of Pivotal (GB) who was purchased for 65,000gns ($89,756) last October.

“We went over there to focus on fillies because I think there is a demand for European-pedigreed fillies here for broodmares to cross with the American stallions,” Gladwell said. “But we fell in love with the Pivotal colt over there as well. He’s just a beautiful colt altogether.”

Make Believe, who stands at Ballylinch Stud in Ireland for €12,000, won the 2015 G1 Prix Le Parisien and G1 Prix de la Foret before concluding his racing career with a fifth-place effort in that year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Mile.

His first-crop daughter has impressed Gladwell.

“She is a really compact filly,” Gladwell said. “She is smart and laid back and does everything right. She actually surprised us–we didn’t know she was going to go that fast today. That was a pleasant surprise.”

Due to quarantine restrictions, the two European imports got a later start in their training than their American counterparts.

“These horses were all a little bit behind the eight ball just because the quarantine process took so long to get them over here,” Gladwell explained. “We didn’t actually start breaking them until November and the other horses get broke pretty soon after the yearling sales. That’s why they are a little behind everybody else. That was reflected in [hip 281’s] gallop-out. She went fast, but then she kind of got tired on the gallop-out and that’s probably because she’s a month behind everybody else that we have. She’s a May foal, so we tried to go pretty easy on her getting her ready for the sale. She does everything right and does it easy, so we didn’t have to over-train her.”

Hip 319 also worked the furlong in the co-fastest :9 4/5. Consigned by Crupi’s New Castle Farm, the bay colt is by Blame out of Marie Antoinette (Stormy Atlantic), a half-sister to stakes winner Crimson China (Giant’s Causeway) and from the family of Elusive City.

Completing the :9 4/5 bullet furlong workers was hip 386, a filly by The Factor out of multiple stakes winner My Redbyrd (Royal Academy). The 2-year-old is consigned by Nice and Easy Thoroughbreds.

A filly from the first crop of multiple graded stakes winner Commissioner (A.P. Indy) (hip 365) shared the quarter-mile bullet breeze time of :20 1/5 Tuesday. She is out of Money Madness (Rahy), a half-sister to stakes placed Feminine Girl (Kingmambo) and Payday Peril (Officer), and is consigned to the April sale by Jenn and Quincy Adams’s Q Bar J Thoroughbreds. The Adamses purchased her for $40,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton July Sale.

“We believed she was very fast and she’d prepped very well,” Quincy Adams said of the filly. “She has been a rock star all year.”

Of the youngster’s appeal as a yearling, Adams said, “She had all the pieces she just needed to grow and come into herself. And she has. She has filled in in all the right places and is just a beautiful filly to look at on the shank.”

Also working in :20 1/5 was hip 240, a colt from the first crop of multiple graded stakes winner Amira’s Prince (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}). Consigned by Blue River Bloodstock, the dark bay is out of Lady Halite (Medaglia d’Oro).

Adams said conditions had improved for the preview’s second session Tuesday.

“The headwind was a little tough to fight through Monday, but I thought it was pretty even all day today,” Adams said. “No headwind today made all the difference in the world. When that headwind blows in the babies faces, it’s hard on them.”

Gladwell agreed the wind had a major effect on Monday’s works.

“People were talking about the track surface, but I think it was mostly about the headwind,” she said. “Today there was a tailwind all day and yesterday the headwind was just brutal. Horses that are immature, they really haven’t experienced anything like that on the farm before. I think it shocked a lot of horses and it rattled them.”

The under-tack show for the April sale continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 8 a.m. Hips 407 through 608 are scheduled to breeze Wednesday. The four-day auction will be held next Tuesday through Friday with bidding beginning each day at 10:30 a.m.

Berry Named New BGFC Executive Director

Tue, 2019-04-16 15:17

Blue Grass Farms Charities (BGFC) announced Julie Berry as their new executive director, effective Mar. 28. Berry came from Kentucky Educational Television (KET), bringing fundraising, event planning, and administrative experience to the organization.

“I am excited to be working for the Blue Grass Farms Charities, which provides health and human services to the those who work in Thoroughbred industry,” said Berry.

BGFC provides assistance to farm workers, including the fulfillment of day-to-day needs like non-perishable foods and household products, while also helping with rent, utility and medical bills.

“Many farms and training facilities are burdened with the high cost of feed, veterinarian and training bills, and maintenance costs. They appreciate their help but sometimes need a hand,” said Berry. “We are here for the industry. We give the farm workers stability when needed along with goodwill throughout the year.”

Besides benevolent care, Blue Grass Farms Charities hosts gatherings and events for farm workers and their families. Each year the charity has a week-long soccer tournament where area farm workers can compete. This year’s tournament will run June 9-15 at Tower Hill Sports located at 3025 Blake James Drive in Lexington.


LA County DA Forms Task Force to Investigate Santa Anita Deaths

Tue, 2019-04-16 15:15

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Tuesday that she has formed a task force to investigate the rash of 23 horse deaths that occurred at Santa Anita Park from December through March.

“I have formed a task force of experienced deputy district attorneys and sworn peace officers with varied expertise within my office who will thoroughly investigate and evaluate the evidence to determine whether unlawful conduct or conditions affected the welfare and safety of horses at Santa Anita Park,” she said in a statement.


Maximus Mischief, Once Top Derby Prospect, Retired

Tue, 2019-04-16 14:54

TDN Rising Star Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief–Reina Maria, by Songandaprayer), who entered his 3-year-old season with a perfect three-for-three record, which included a win in the GII Remsen S., has been retired due to a soft tissue injury.

The news was first reported by the Daily Racing Form.

Trained by Butch Reid, the $340,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-old started his 2019 season off with a third-place finish at odds-on in the GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S.

“It’s a real shame,” said Chuck Zacney, whose Cash is King Stables owns the horse in partnership with Glenn Bennett’s LC Racing. “We had high hopes for this horse. It’s a tough sport, a tough game.”

The connections did not give up on the colt after the Holy Bull and kept him in training in an attempt to make the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth. He even had a workout on Feb. 24, 22 days after the Holy Bull. But Reid could see that his horse was not right and he was soon thereafter taken out of training.

“Quite frankly, it’s tendon tear,” Zacney said. “We went to vets and looked at it and they said he would need a minimum of six to nine months off. Then there would be training after that. We had already been getting calls from farms in Kentucky, so we had to make a choice between retiring him and trying to get him back racing. It was very unlikely that he would come back to his old status; it was highly unlikely he’d be as good. They said he’d be maybe 80 to 90% of what he was and it would not have been fair to do that to the horse.”

Maximus Mischief is currently at Eisaman Equine in Ocala, FL, and Zacney said they will begin showing him to farms starting next week. It is too late in the breeding season to rush him off to stud this year.

“We had raised the possibility that he might race again,” Zacney said. “Now that that is off the table, we’re hearing again from farms in Kentucky and looking forward to finding him a nice home there and him having a great breeding career there.”

Zacney, who owned 2005 GI Preakness and GI Belmont winner Afleet Alex, appeared poised to have a spectacular 2019. He is also the co-owner of 2018 2-year-old filly champion Jaywalk (Crosswalk). She is still on target for the GI Kentucky Oaks, but will come into the race off defeats as the heavy favorite in the GII Davona Dale and the GI Ashland.

“With Maximus Mischief, it ended way too soon,” Zacney said. “We came into the year thinking we had the best 3-year-old on the East Coast and we certainly thought we’d be in the big race in early May. It just wasn’t meant to be.”


Heart to Heart Retired

Tue, 2019-04-16 14:26

Terry Hamilton’s multiple Grade I winner Heart to Heart (English Channel–Ask the Question, by Silver Deputy) has been retired at the age of eight. The streaking Brian Lynch trainee, who racked up more than $2 million in earnings and whose highest-level wins came in the 2018 GI Gulfstream Park Turf and GI Maker’s 46 Mile, most recently finished seventh in defense of his Maker’s 46 title at Keeneland last week.

The bay, who sports a distinctive heart-shaped marking on his head by which he got his name, posted an overall record of 41-15-6-4 including 11 graded stakes victories and two more at the listed level. The Ontario-bred was named Canada’s champion 3-year-old colt in 2014, and retires sound.

“I’m very proud of that,” Lynch told the Keeneland press department. The C$25,000 CTHS yearling is currently at Hidden Brook Farm in Paris, KY as he awaits stud plans.

“He was a joy to own, he gave us incredible thrills and the memories of a lifetime,” said owner Terry Hamilton. “29 of his last 31 starts were against graded company and he always gave his all. He retires from racing remarkably sound–a testament to both the constitution of the horse and the care he received from trainer Brian Lynch. We’ll certainly miss seeing him around the barn.”


Apr. 17 Insights: Ward Sends Out First U.S. American Pharoah Runner at Big A

Tue, 2019-04-16 14:08

1st-AQU, $100K, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, 1:30 p.m. EST

It’s been 36 years since the first foals from an American Triple Crown winner raced on U.S. soil, going back to when Affirmed’s initial crop of 2-year-olds hit the track in 1983. The wait is over, as American Pharoah’s first two Stateside runners are entered in the Wednesday opener at Aqueduct for trainer Wesley Ward. Only one is expected to run, however, and the filly will try to follow in the auspicious footsteps of Monarch of Egypt, who kicked things off for ‘Pharoah’ progeny Saturday at Naas in Ireland and was promptly named a ‘TDN Rising Star’ with a 2 3/4-length debut score (video).

With morning-line favorite and GISW Hootenanny (Quality Road) half-sister Lady Delaware expected to scratch, that leaves Ice Wine Stable’s TESORINA to carry the flag. The chestnut, bred by Ward, is out of GISW Nonsuch Bay (Mr. Greeley) and shares a second dam with MGSW/GISP Samraat (Noble Causeway). She’s trained steadily, and got a feel for the local track with a half-mile breeze in :50 flat (2/14) Apr. 14.

“She is quick,” said Ward of Tesorina. “I trained a Scat Daddy that also is out of Nonsuch Bay [Brittas Bay]. Body wise, she appears to be more a sprint type of filly.”

Overall, Ward was beaming about the opportunity to train American Pharoah’s first North American runner, who he hopes can get the Coolmore stallion’s second career off to a sharp start in his native land.

“I’m excited,” Ward said. “Coolmore has always been good to me. American Pharoah was a tremendous racehorse and hopefully [will be] a tremendous sire as well.”

Elsewhere in the field, the precocious Fast Anna also gets his stallion career off the runway with Rudy Rodriguez pupil Women Not Easy. Owned by Frank Calabrese, Fast Anna won his first two starts by a combined 15 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream in 2014 and was a neck second in that summer’s GI King’s Bishop S. He also ran well to be fifth, beaten just 2 1/2 lengths, after setting blistering fractions of :21.19 and :43.34 in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint two starts later. Standing for $7,500, his progeny have been generally well received in the sales ring, and Women Not Easy hammered for $130,000 after breezing a furlong in :10 2/5 at OBS March. The New York-bred is a half to multiple state-bred SW Miss Narcissist (Freud) and has the same second dam as GSW/GISP Faypien (Ghostzapper).

3rd-KEE, $60k, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, 2:12 p.m. EST

Ward won’t just have action at Aqueduct Wednesday, as he enters a pair of fillies to kick off the day’s juvenile action at Keeneland. Hat Creek Racing’s CHILI PETIN (City Zip) is the first foal out of SW Cat’s Claw (Dynaformer). Bought for $32,000 at Keeneland September, her second dam is a half-sister to MGISWs Point of Entry (Dynaformer) and Pine Island (Arch), and she shows a typically-sharp Ward worktab, capped by a three-furlong move in :35 4/5 (4/30) Apr. 10. The other half of his uncoupled entry is Letsstaypositive (Palace Malice), the first starter for her GI Belmont S.-winning freshman sire (by Curlin). The chestnut is the initial foal out of SP Jazzminegem (Mineshaft), a half-sister to MGSW Notacatbutallama (Harlan’s Holiday). Also opening her freshman sire (by Offlee Wild)’s stallion account is the fast-working Biddy Duke (Bayern). The $22,000 Keeneland November buy drilled a half-mile from the gate here in :46 3/5 (1/11) Mar. 22 for trainer John Ennis and is out of a dam who won her only start in February 2016 at Santa Anita with an 81 Beyer.

5th-KEE, $60k, Msw, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, 3:18 p.m. EST

The Ward 2-year-old interstate blitz continues as he runs Ramon Tallaj’s promising juvenile filly NAYIBETH (Carpe Diem), the first starter for her freshman sire (by Giant’s Causeway), in the second division of Wednesday’s Keeneland baby race. Picked up for $230,000 as a Fasig-Tipton October yearling, the bay is a half-sister to MGSW Soldat (War Front) and has been lighting up the local main track in the mornings, most notably rattling off a three-furlong bullet in :34 3/5 (1/30) Apr. 6. Her sire’s two Grade I wins both came at this oval, romping by 6 1/4 lengths in the 2014 GI Breeders’ Futurity and notching a three-length score in the GI Blue Grass S. the following spring. Castleton Lyons’s Diamonds Are A (Street Sense) looms as a potential upsetter for the Ben Colebrook barn. A $120,000 Keeneland September graduate, she is out of SW/GSP Dr. Diamonds Prize (Pure Prize), a half-sister to Friday’s GIII Fantasy S. upsetter Lady Apple (Curlin). She also shares a second dam, GSP juvenile Miss Mary Apples (Clever Trick), with GSW Nootka Sound (Lonhro {Aus}), who captured her debut by 5 1/4 lengths over this track in 2017.

OBS April Breeze Show Opens

Mon, 2019-04-15 18:39

The first of six sessions of under-tack previews for next week’s OBS April sale took place Monday in Central Florida with the first of 203 catalogued juveniles battling a persistent headwind throughout the day. Three fillies shared the day’s fastest quarter-mile breeze time of :21 flat.

A bay filly by Twirling Candy (hip 109) recorded the :21 flat time for de Meric Sales. The youngster is out of Henley (Corinthian), a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Commons (Artie Schiller).

Envision Equine sent out hip 115 to work in :21 flat. The bay filly is from the first crop of Grade I placed Fast Anna and is out of graded placed Hermione’s Magic (Forest Wildcat).

Completing the trio of :21 flat works was hip 167. Consigned by Wavertree Stables, the chestnut filly is from the first crop of Grade I winner Danza and is out of multiple stakes placed Irish Ridge (Cactus Ridge).

Four juveniles shared the day’s fastest furlong time of :10 flat.

Hip 6 is a daughter of Shanghai Bobby out of stakes winner Fast Resource (Bob and John). The :10 flat worker is consigned by Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds LLC, agent. Hartley DeRenzo also sent out hip 129, a filly from the first crop of Grade I winner Daredevil, to work in :10 flat. Out of Holy Blitz (Holy Bull), the juvenile is a half-sister to sprint champion Judy the Beauty (Ghostzapper).

From the Off the Hook consignment, hip 31 also worked in :10 flat. By Tapizar, the dark bay colt is out of the unraced Franchesca (Henrythenavigator), a half-sister to stakes winner Abbey Bridge (Irish River {Fr}).

Hip 198 completed the list of :10 flat workers. Consigned by Whitman Sales, the bay colt is a son of Bodemeister out of Just Fabulous (Include). He is a half-brother to graded placed Midnight on Oconee (Midnight Lute).

The under-tack show continues Tuesday at 8 a.m. with hips 204 through 406 scheduled to breeze. The April sale will be held next Tuesday through Friday with sessions beginning daily at 10:30 a.m.

Darren Fox Talks About Astern

Mon, 2019-04-15 14:57

Darley has a potential successor to the formidable throne of the great Medaglia d’Oro in his young son Astern (Aus), a speedy Group 1 winner who is standing his second season at Jonabell in 2019. With high hopes that this well-pedigreed sprinter will make his mark on American soil, Darley America Sales Manager Darren Fox sat down with the TDN to discuss his prospects.

TDN: Can you start by telling us what your thoughts are and what you’ve been hearing from breeders on Astern’s first foals?

DF: I’ve been hearing great reports on Astern’s first foals, and that’s certainly been backed up by our visits to our clients’ farms. To summarize, they just have a lot of quality which he has as an individual himself. I would say they’re freshly marked, strong foals-they have great hips and just have a lot of presence and quality. One filly in particular that comes to mind who went to one of our clients who is a leading owner and breeder. They had an Astern filly out of a Grade III-winning Giant’s Causeway mare and she was everything I just described. All the size, all the leg you would want, immense strength through her shoulder, great hip–just an attractive filly. But, the cherry on top was getting to watch her move in the paddock. She was so light on her feet, and just watching her move to her gait, she just floated. She was so light on her feet.

TDN: Can you tell us about his first two books? How many mares did he cover last year?

DF: In his first year we had a limit of 120 mares, which he was booked full in his first season. You know we are very excited about him being a speedy, precocious son of Medaglia d’Oro, who we can then cross over with two-turn American dirt mares. That’s something that we’re particularly excited about. Obviously, with Medaglia d’Oro we have a really extensive body of work upon which to judge what broodmare sire lines work best with him and his sons…His book is comprised of a high percentage of impact mating. So, we’re very excited that there was no guesswork, and we really could funnel high impact mares to him. Hopefully that will bear out in his first crop.

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TDN: In that same light, how important is it for you guys to have a potential heir to Medaglia d’Oro on the roster?

DF: Hugely. I cannot understate how important it is. Obviously he is the linchpin of our stallion operation, but he is 20 years old. So, to find his heir and successor is something we are very focused on. Obviously Astern with his looks, female family, and race record-he was a natural face to slot in, and hopefully assume that mantle and carry on the line for us.

TDN: Of all his accomplishments on the racetrack, is there anything in particular that stands out to you?

DF: He was a very fast and precocious horse. That really sums him up. He won the G2 Silver Slipper, which is a prep for the G1 Golden Slipper, which is obviously the biggest race in Australia, and the richest 2-year-old race in the world. So, it’s a hugely important commercial race for the Australian industry. But, his big win came as a 3-year-old in the seven-furlong G1 Golden Rose. So, it’s the equivalent of our GI H. Allen Jerkens S. He won that in authoritative fashion, and just stamped himself as one of the best sprinters in the country.

TDN: Can you describe the physical attributes that stamp him as a potential standout stallion?

DF: His jockey declared that he has never ridden a horse that moved like Astern. Let’s not forget this is the high-class jockey, James McDonald, who at 27 years young has 35 Group 1 wins to his credit. So, he’s certainly a high-class jockey who knows what he’s talking about. But, to hear him talk about Astern’s movement, and when you watch his action, such an efficient, fluid, beautiful action. When you watch him at the end of his races, particularly the [2016 G1] Golden Rose, when he was fully extended, he almost has a moment of suspension in between each stride. That just indicates his athleticism and his incredible balance, which I feel are characteristics which will hopefully transfer to the US dirt racing or dirt surface, and hopefully allow him to be effective on both surfaces like his sire.


On To The Craven

Mon, 2019-04-15 14:24

“Happy New Year” used to be the traditional greeting at Newmarket’s Craven meeting and for aficionados of racing on the level it was apt, even allowing for the excitement of the Cheltenham festival and Grand National that preceded it. Tuesday sees it come around again on racing’s welcome continuous cycle with a storm of some of the world’s finest bloodstock cutting through the vibrant spring air. This year, due to the nature of a late Easter, the Suffolk venue’s first major feast of the season takes place after Newbury and ParisLongchamp’s Classic trials so there is a sense that we are already well underway. Nevertheless, these three days at “HQ” have a unique appeal as the true high-board of the flat and a glance down the honour roll of the Nell Gwyn and Craven S. certainly says so.

The former, a Group 3 contest over seven furlongs for the fillies whose connections are set on the 1000 Guineas, graces the opening fixture on Tuesday with it now being 13 years since Speciosa (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) won it and the main event. Despite that statistic, it is always a trial of substance, more so for the beaten fillies of late with the Hannon-trained pair of Billesdon Brook (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) and Sky Lantern (Ire) (Red Clubs {Ire}) turning around reversals in the 2 1/2-week gap between this and the mile Classic.

Roger Varian has a strong contingent this time, with the stable’s G3 Oh So Sharp S. winner Mot Juste (Distorted Humor) carrying the famous silks of Robert Barnett just three days after the owner-breeder’s Star Terms (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) ran a creditable fourth in the Fred Darling. Alongside her is Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani’s course-and-distance maiden winner Qabala (Scat Daddy) and despite the gulf in experience that exists between the duo their trainer is highly complimentary of both.

“Mot Juste has wintered well and strengthened up considerably,” he said. “I am pleased with the way she has been working but, although she is ready for a run, the Nell Gwyn will bring her on and we are treating it as a stepping stone to the rest of the season for her. She has a fast ground action–the ground is quite important to her–so the dry forecast is in her favour. I hope that she is a filly good enough to merit a place in the 1000 Guineas line-up.

“Qabala is a filly full of potential and I think that she is a group-race performer of the future. This will tell us a lot about her current level and if she is more of a filly for later in the season.”

Racecourse savvy is supplied in abundance by Saif Ali’s Main Edition (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), who was out last May and scooped the prizes on offer in the G3 Albany S. at Royal Ascot and the G3 Sweet Solera S. on the July Course here before winding up third behind Just Wonderful (Dansili {GB}) and Saturday’s Fred Darling winner Dandhu (GB) (Dandy Man {Ire}) in the G2 Rockfel S. over this track and trip in September. Charlie Johnston, assistant to father Mark, is in confident mood. “She’s the highest-rated filly in the race and on her Albany and Sweet Solera runs, she’s the one they all have to beat,” he commented. “It looks a decent opportunity for her and hopefully she can give us some confidence that we can come back to Newmarket next month with a realistic each-way chance.”

Charlie Appleby’s performance at this meeting 12 months ago was outstanding and his pair of fillies by Dubawi (Ire), Nashirah (GB) and Orchid Star (GB), will provide a guide as to where he stands with his Classic crop. Nashirah has the benefit of a Dubai winter behind her and is obviously considered better than her latest fifth in the Jan. 31 Meydan Classic Trial over this trip, while Orchid Star has been on the all-weather during the cold months. An impressive winner of a mile novice contest on Newcastle’s Tapeta last time Feb. 15, she may have a touch of last year’s winner Soliloquy (GB) about her. “We feel that going back up in trip will probably be on the cards for Orchid Star in time,” Appleby commented. “She has made all on her last two starts and will be ridden forwardly again, especially as she is coming back to seven furlongs.”

It is 28 years since the winner of the Listed European Free H. went on to 2000 Guineas glory and while it seems fanciful to suggest that any of this year’s cast of seven can end the drought, there is a promising type in the John Gosden-trained Azano (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). Last seen finishing runner-up to Saturday’s impressive G3 Greenham S. winner Mohaather (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) in Newbury’s G3 Horris Hill S. over this seven-furlong trip, Martin and Lee Taylor’s bay gets six pounds from Saeed bin Mohammed Al Qassimi’s G3 Tattersalls S. winner Arctic Sound (GB) (Poet’s Voice {GB}) with the racing weights determined by the horses’ positioning in the World Rankings. Despite having to give weight to all, Arctic Sound carries high hopes into his comeback. “He’s a course-and-distance winner and I’d like to think he’s the one they all have to beat,” Charlie Johnston said of him.

Nestled between the Nell Gwyn and European Free is the Listed Feilden S., where Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Kadar (Scat Daddy) will be seen for the second time after missing two group engagements last season due to rain-softened ground. Having beaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ and strong-staying type Waldstern (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) in a mile novice race at Haydock in September, he is moving up to nine furlongs rather than tackling the speedier Classic trials. “We’ll learn a lot about him,” trainer Karl Burke commented. “I’ve said plenty about him in the last year–probably too much–but I think he’s a lovely horse.”

Burke has made no secret of the regard in which the €700,000 Arqana May Breeze-Up graduate is held, but said he feels that the Guineas may be on the sharp side. “I hope I’m wrong, but he is just showing that a mile in the top grade might just catch him out for a turn of foot which is why I’m happy to run him over an extra furlong.,” he added. “For me he’s a mile-and-a-quarter-horse plus. If he wins then we have the option of coming back for the Guineas, because he’ll have had a look at the track as well. I was probably over cautious last year–he was a big baby of a horse, but he’s much more mature now.”

Kadar’s material will be measured in his performance against Aidan O’Brien’s G1 Futurity Trophy third Western Australia (Ire) (Australia {GB}) and he is race-fit after a return second in Dundalk’s Listed Patton S. Mar. 6.

Newmarket’s Craven meeting is not just about the black-type races, however, with abundant promise in evidence in the various maidens and novice races. Last year, Sea of Class (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) managed to get beaten on her debut in the second division of the mile fillies’ maiden on this card and the next time she tasted defeat was at the hands of Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the Arc. Even the closing 10-furlong handicap has proved a surprisingly fertile source of classy individuals in recent times, with Papal Bull (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}), Wigmore Hall (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}), Main Sequence (Aldebaran) and Old Persian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) all winning before achieving on a more grandiose scale. Perhaps Papal Bull’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute has high hopes for Saeed Suhail’s Newcastle novice winner Solid Stone (Ire) (Shamardal) in this year’s renewal, with the colt being his only runner on the opening card. In the five-furlong 2-year-old fillies’ maiden, Charlie Appleby unleashes Godolphin’s 750,000gns Tattersalls October purchase Chasing Dreams (GB) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) as the operation’s first juvenile runner of 2019.

On Aftercare: Under Thomas, the MMSC Forges a Unique Path in Aftercare

Mon, 2019-04-15 14:22

The Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center (MMSC) is located in the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Founded in 2004, with major donations from Marylou Whitney, the late Dr. Frank Lyons, and Maker’s Mark, through their Triple Crown commemorative bottle sales, the MMSC gives off-track Thoroughbreds a world stage in the heavily trafficked horse lovers destination. Retraining at MMSC is based on the Horse Centered Reschooling Program, developed by MMSC Director Susanna Thomas. I caught up with Thomas, who just recently announced a new satellite location for MMSC in Illinois. The MMSC is a TAA-accredited organization.

DP: What is your background in horses and how has it influenced the mission and work at MMSC?

ST: Horses have been my lifelong interest and passion. I grew up a horse crazy little girl in New York and in Europe, and was constantly seeking out ways to be close to and to learn about horses. Because of where I have lived, I have an eclectic background with horses. In addition, I am ceaselessly curious and forever fascinated by the art, philosophy and science of horses and horsemanship. Over the years I have competed in dressage and hunt seat, done extensive groundwork training, foxhunted, driven carriages and I’ve ridden sidesaddle. I taught riding, spent many years writing for horse magazines, worked in many aspects of the racing industry from working with broodmares, breaking yearlings, working at the sales, being a vet tech, night watching, and breeding a few sport horses. Add all of this to my holistic approach to wellness in life–a constant balance of–mind, body, spirit, relationship–and what we get is the Horse Centered Reschooling Program, a training methodology where each of these factors is addressed to give the horse the best chance of success in whatever job it is being asked to do.

When I took over the Center in 2008, I wanted to move as many horses as possible but in doing so, I had to stay true to my personal beliefs and make sure that we were fulfilling our duty to the horses in every way. You sometimes feel in the business of racing, the best interest of the horses isn’t or can’t always be the number one priority. The horses have to fit into the racehorse mold–perform or move on. That makes sense at the track, but not so when putting horses up for adoption.

The end goal is to make sure that these horses have successful new careers and homes. The best way to achieve that in my opinion, is to make sure that each horse is prepared for a new job, and placed properly. Instead of running horses through the center speedily because that is the foremost need of the industry, we flip the ratio and make each horse’s individual needs the focus first. Taking the time it takes, as expeditiously as possible–we do whatever is necessary to give every horse the best chance to succeed in a new job and to have longevity in a new home.

Education matters, right? As Alois Podhajsky, head of the Spanish Riding School always said, “one makes haste slowly with horses.” So we go as fast and as slow as we can and it has really paid off because we have adopters who love our methods and approach, very few mismatches and many, many repeat customers who want an additional MMSC horse in their barn.

DP: Let’s talk about MMSC by the numbers. How many stalls do you have at MMSC? Does that determine the number of horses in training at MMSC? How many horses are in the MMSC barn at this time?

ST: We have 10 stalls at MMSC, all named for donors who sponsored them, and 10-15 horses on the grounds at a time throughout the year. We try to keep them outdoors as much as possible, although we generally have five or six up at night if they need special attention. Over the year, we will move between 40 and 50 horses through our program.

DP: How many staff and volunteers does it take to keep it running?

ST: We have four full-time employees who handle the horse care, training, adoptions, marketing, educational outreach, fundraising and office management. We all do barnwork, and groundwork, whatever it takes, and we have a covey of the most wonderful volunteers and amazing interns to help us keep the place up.

DP: Are you launching any new initiatives in 2019?

ST: I am thrilled about a new program conceived of by our chair, Dorothy Crowell, an international level event rider and Olympian, granddaughter of Leslie Combs, a Thoroughbred aficionada, called the Allstar Program which aims to bring the Thoroughbred back to the highest levels of sport. There are many owners who get into the business of racing because of the love of the horse and seeing it compete. Dorothy’s thought was why does the fun have to stop when the racing days are done? For a cost that is minimal in comparison to racing expenses ($4,000 a year), the owners can support their horse–if it seemingly has the talent–in a competition syndicate and cheer it on, perhaps even to the highest levels of equestrian sport.

We have one international level rider already, Jonathan Hollings and his MMSC graduate Ragtime Rebel (Union Rags) who was given to us by Charlie LoPresti. And we have received quite a few calls from upper level riders all over the country who want to join the effort to showcase the Thoroughbred as America’s elite sport-horse. Now, all we need are more owners to join in.

DP: The MMSC is located in the much-revered Kentucky Horse Park. Tell us how that affects the day-to-day operations of the MMSC and how has that location helped or hurt your mission?

ST: The great thing about being in the Horse Park is that Lexington is not only the Horse Capital of the World, it is the Thoroughbred Horse Capital of the World. That gives us a huge stage from which to shout out the wonders of this amazing breed and the value of our industry. The challenges are that we have a very small campus, so we are limited to the amount of horses that we can take on. We also do tours and get many drop-in visitors which one might call “interruptions” because it does curtail our work routine. I take them not as interruptions at all but, as opportunities to share our passion and knowledge and make new friends for the MMSC and for racing. We are very proud of our location and we want to do anything we can to showcase the Kentucky Horse Park as the amazing facility that it is. We have discussed a variety of ways that the Horse Park and the MMSC can work together for the mutual goal of educating and celebrating the horse-in this case, the Thoroughbred horse. I would welcome the TB industry reaching out to us more and using our stage to broadcast their good works in aftercare.

DP: What is unique or special about the training program at MMSC?

ST: What is special about the MMSC is our laser-like focus on each horse–what it tells us with its body, its reactions, its actions. Then we make an individualized plan using the deductive skills of Sherlock Holmes and the compassionate tact of Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller’s companion, to search out the mysteries of each horse and to teach it in a way that it can best understand. Every horse receives, not only the dental and farrier care it needs, we also do bodywork, chiropractic adjustments, integrative therapies, proceed through desensitization and trust–building exercises using natural horsemanship, problem solving skills by introducing Tellington-Jones techniques. We start from the ground, lunging, and long-lining, and free jumping.

When we ride, we give them a curriculum based on the fundamental principles of dressage, introduce them to cavelletti and small jumping courses, take them trail riding, and even sometimes foxhunting or to horse shows. Finally, we insist that people come ride the horses they are interested in before they can adopt one. We don’t get as many horses adopted this way as those organizations which allow horses to be adopted sight unseen, but we believe it is the best way for the horse, the adopter, and the reputation of the breed. Think about it–if a horse is shipped to a new home and the fit is not right, the adopter could get hurt, the horse could get hurt or confused, and you reinforce the belief that “Thoroughbreds are only fit for racing.”

DP: What is the biggest challenge facing your organization in 2019?

ST: We have two huge challenges. The first is funding. I am honored that professionals and amateurs alike have called us the “Gold Standard of Thoroughbred Reschooling,” but Gold Standards are pricey to uphold. The racing industry is beleaguered by charities doing good work, but clamoring for the same funds. It is a constant struggle to be able to afford to give these horses what they need.

The second challenge is that our campus is really small–17 acres of paddock. This limits the number of horses we can take in. Not only that we don’t have an indoor arena so training is often limited by the weather and the season. If we had more funding, we could solve both of those things, so I guess, the biggest challenge is truly funding.

DP: You recently announced a satellite facility. Can you tell us a little about it?

ST: It seemed to us that the way to help more horses was to open additional facilities. This was something the board had discussed over the years, but it seemed really challenging to find a way to ensure that our “Gold Standard” would be upheld. Over the last two years, the MMSC has adopted out five horses to the lesson program at a showcase facility in Frankfort, Illinois called the Ranch. As a result we have come to know Rick Bulthuis, owner of the Ranch in Frankfort Illinois and his general manager, Daniele Turner, really well and we realized that they were very much in line with our philosophy. We began talking about a satellite arrangement in the spring of last year and we are super excited to announce that we are open for business now in Illinois. In fact, in the short time since the announcement, we have adopted out two lovely reschooled horses from the MMSC at the Ranch.

DP: Is there a horse you have in training today to whom you’d like to introduce us?

ST: Yes, War of Ideas. He was a $470,000 sales yearling, who ran a bit, and was felled by a guttural pouch infection that threatened his life. With the support of Dr. Liz Barrett at Hagyard Medical Center, he was nursed back to health at the MMSC and is the RRP Makeover horse of our talented trainer, Kara Toye. He’s a gorgeous, gray masterpiece of a horse–which goes English, or western, has a great jump, and is wonderful field hunter. Please follow him on our social media and come cheer him on at the Makeover!

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Diana Pikulski is the editor of the Thoroughbred Adoption Network.


Monmouth Taps Beem As Interim Racecaller

Mon, 2019-04-15 11:48

Jason Beem, a veteran racecaller with more than a decade of experience, will handle Monmouth Park’s announcing duties until the return of Frank Mirahmadi following the conclusion of the Santa Anita meet June 23, general manager Bill Anderson announced Monday.

Beem, a Washington state native who called races at Portland Meadows for 10 years starting in 2006, will begin his new assignment when Monmouth Park kicks off its 74th season of Thoroughbred racing Saturday, May 4. Mirahmadi will return for his fifth season at the Jersey Shore track starting with the June 28 card. He was hired as the full-time announcer by Santa Anita last fall.

“I was happy to recommend Jason for this opportunity,” said Mirahmadi. “Jason does an excellent job calling races and I know the fans and horsemen will appreciate his talents.”

“If you look at Monmouth Park’s last three announcers–Larry Collmus, Travis Stone and Frank Mirahmadi–you’re talking about the guy who calls the Breeders’ Cup, the guy who calls the Kentucky Derby and the guy who calls Santa Anita,” added Beem. “So I’m flattered even as a fill-in to get the opportunity to call there. I’m certainly nervous but it’s a good nervous. I’m excited for this opportunity.”