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Updated: 9 hours 3 min ago

World of Trouble To Hill ‘n’ Dale

Wed, 2019-06-12 11:00

World of Trouble (Kantharos-Meets Expectations, by Valid Expectations) will stand alongside his sire at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms upon the conclusion of his racing career.

The 4-year-old World of Trouble is unbeaten in four starts in 2019, including the seven-furlong GI Carter H. over the dirt on Apr. 6 and the GI Jaipur H. going six furlongs on the turf at Belmont Park last weekend. A press release from Hill ‘n’ Dale, ownership group Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, and BSW Bloodstock, which represented both buyer and seller in the stallion deal, indicated that World of Trouble will race on next year at five before going to stud in 2021.

Dubb, managing partner of World of Trouble, said, “My partners and I are excited World of Trouble will stand stud at such a world-class facility as Hill ‘n’ Dale. He is the fastest horse I have ever owned, by far, and we will look forward to continuing to run him in the best sprint races America has to offer. We are equally excited to support him at stud, and will start to assemble mares for the 2021 breeding season.”

John Sikura, President of Hill ‘n’ Dale, said, “To watch World of Trouble run is to see effortless brilliant speed on both dirt and turf at the highest levels of racing. He is so unique as a Grade I winner on both surfaces and is by Kantharos, who is a rising star in the sire ranks. He has Seattle Slew, Blushing Groom and In Reality in his pedigree, so his entire pedigree page is replete with quality speed. World of Trouble is completely correct and medium in size so he is compatible with every type of mare. Brilliant, consistent and versatile are great requisites for a new sire.”

Jason Servis, who has saddled World of Trouble for eight stakes victories, said, “I’m looking forward to training some of his offspring. If I had a mare, I’d want to breed to him with that speed.”

The post World of Trouble To Hill ‘n’ Dale appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Agent Aims To Repeat Happiest Of Accidents

Wed, 2019-06-12 08:36

“I behaved appallingly,” Gaie Johnson Houghton declares happily. “So terribly over-emotional!”

Nobody begrudged her, of course. She had not only bred a Group 1 winner, and his first four dams, but also the trainer. Moreover she had bought in the horse as a yearling, at a reserve of just 8,000gns, and named him after the war memoir of her father John Goldsmith, who had been dropped behind the lines with the S.O.E. And here was Accidental Agent (GB) (Delegator {GB}), a 33-1 shot beating a field expensively assembled by sheikhs and magnates for the Queen Anne S., opening race of Royal Ascot.

Now, high on the Oxfordshire Downs, the champion of Woodway is limbering up for the defence of the same prize on Tuesday. Johnson Houghton’s husband Fulke once trained one of the most powerful strings in the land on these gallops, before handing over to their daughter Eve in 2007. And that, ultimately, was what made his success last year so lachrymose: the sense that Eve had both spurred and embodied its rejuvenation.

“Things hadn’t been so good for a while,” her mother recalls. “We’d been hit by a lot of different things. The Aga Khan had left. That was his prerogative, of course, and he was very reasonable: didn’t take any horses away, just told us he wasn’t going to send any more yearlings. But still, pretty devastating. And then, when Dolly de Rothschild died, Serena took her horses elsewhere. Between them, you’re looking at 40 horses gone.

“And where we used to have one owner for 10 horses, now Eve will have 10 owners for one horse. They do a wonderful job in the office: the owners are constantly being sent videos, photos, emails. Of course it’s much harder with labour now, too. It was one lad to two horses then, now it’ll be four or five. But nothing ever stays the same, everything evolves–and if it doesn’t, it stagnates. Eve became her own trainer very quickly. Fulke was very good, too, in that he let her get on with it. You don’t always see that. But then Eve is a strong character. She works very, very hard, she’s just passionate about it. And she has real charisma with the horses.”

Eve posted some breakout numbers in 2017, but there was an extra symbolism about Accidental Agent’s success. He represented not just regeneration, but also continuity.

Because Gaie Johnson Houghton had cultivated his family all the way back to his fifth dam, a French mare named Sirnelta by the regally bred Round Table stallion Sir Tor (whose dam, Never Too Late, had won the 1000 Guineas and Oaks). Tracing to the foundation mare Plucky Liege, Sirnalta was imported to help kick-start the stud career of Hot Grove (GB), who was trained at Woodway for Lord Leverhulme and had run The Minstrel so close in the 1977 Derby.

Disheartened by his young stallion’s premature death, however, Leverhulme soon discarded the mare. As such, Johnson Houghton confesses, Accidental Agent is actually the work of rather an accidental breeder.

“We did sort of fall into it,” she says. “When Philip [Leverhulme] decided he didn’t want her any more, Fulke was rather angry and said: ‘If I had anywhere to keep her, I’d buy this mare.’ So I said: ‘I’ll find you somewhere.’ And the wonderful Charlie Frank, who was our vet for years, looked after her for a while until we decided she should come and take her chances in our rather ropey field. And that’s how it happened.”

In 1986, the Johnson Houghtons sent Sirnelta to Absalom. The resulting filly, Dead Certain (GB), won the G1 Cheveley Park S. for David Elsworth. “She was an absolute superstar,” Johnson Houghton recalls. “We sold her for five grand as a foal, but weren’t we lucky with who trained her!”

Deprived of Hot Grove, Sirnelta was also sent on more than one occasion to his sire Hotfoot–and one of their foals was named Shall We Run (GB).

“She looked as though she had some ability, and should have won first time out,” her breeder recalls. “But she chipped a bone in her hock and so she soon went off to have babies. Who were startlingly moderate, to start with.”

The big exception was Bannister (GB) (Inchinor {GB}), who won the G2 Gimcrack S. for Richard Hannon, but another decent performer was Roo (GB) (Rudimentary), who won first time out from Woodway after failing to find a buyer.

“But I did end up selling her, because she wasn’t very nice in the field,” Johnson Houghton says. “I’m not very quick on my feet, and she’d come at me teeth bared. And then she’d turn round and give you a double barrel. So she had to go to a proper stud where she’d be properly looked after, not treated like a pony. They’ve all got their quirks, in this family, they’re quite sharp. But not nasty. And Roo was in danger of being nasty.”

Before her departure, however, Roo had produced a filly by Bannister’s sire Inchinor. Named Roodeye (GB), she looked so nice that–unusually enough–she wasn’t even offered at the sales. Sure enough, she won a couple of times and got herself some black-type, and the page was further decorated when her half-brother Gallagher (GB) (Bahamian Bounty {GB}) finished second in the G1 Prix Morny for Brian Meehan.

And Roodeye has since proved a significant producer. Johnson Houghton cottoned onto Showcasing (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) early, and repeatedly sent Roodeye his way while still an affordable option. That produced Prize Exhibit (GB), fourth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf for Jamie Osborne before staying in the U.S. to become a multiple graded stakes winner; and then her brother, who was sold to Shadwell for 110,000gns out of Book 2 in 2017 and, as Mohaather (GB), won the G3 Greenham S. for Marcus Tregoning this spring.

Before those two had emerged, their half-sister Roodle (GB) had been offered at the Tattersalls December Sale with a couple of wins to her name. She was bought in for 14,000gns–and thank goodness. Because her first foal is Accidental Agent.

The crucial mating of Roodle and Delegator was itself somewhat accidental. “I was off to Bated Breath (GB),” Johnson Houghton recalls. “I thought they’d all want a first-season sire, and Juddmonte do start them at a very reasonable fee. But I was told he was full. So then I looked at Delegator, as another Dansili, and thought he’d be all right: they’d kept him training rather a long time, but he’d met an absolute wonder horse [when second in the 2000 Guineas] in Sea The Stars.”

As usual, Roodle’s colt was sent to Tracy and Charlie Vigors for his sales prep. What is equally usual in this family, however, is for him to have been going through an unhelpful stage in his development.

“I can see why he didn’t sell,” Johnson Houghton admits. “He was a gangly youth, very tall and on the leg. They usually look at their most ordinary at sale time, regardless of what Charlie and Tracy can do. But we always loved him, and Eve did too when he came home.”

He shaped so well, in fact, that he was dignified with a name prompted by a lady overheard in the bar at Kempton one wet evening, saying that she was going to register John Goldsmith for a horse after reading his remarkable story (which had been given the wider attention it deserved by Jamie Reid in “Blown”). Johnson Houghton interrupted to ask whether she had permission.

“Awful, wasn’t it?” she says. “I’m not usually like that, but I explained I was his daughter. I rang Weatherbys next day. Really I wanted to give him Daddy’s code name, which was Valentin, but I thought the commentators would never have pronounced it properly. He’s the sort of horse my father would have loved.

“We were thrilled with his comeback run [third in the G1 Lockinge S.]. He had some time off in the winter after they found a little chip, so he’d got very fat in the box. I’m not sure I believe in the bounce factor, but if he could just run well again, that would be magic. We did think he had a sporting chance last year. But to win was unbelievable.”

Accidental Agent has come to mean more to Johnson Houghton even than the cherished Ile De Bourbon, who she rode all the time at home and who was partly owned by Fulke and his late mother. How does she account for the way this family has sporadically yielded such quality, while seeded only by inexpensive stallions? Accidental Agent’s page, indeed, has a nearly quaint English quality, above all through Shall We Run’s sire Hotfoot: largely a forgotten influence nowadays, but a conduit for diverse lines from the breed-shaping stud established by the 17th Earl of Derby.

“It’s a miracle,” says Johnson Houghton, shrugging. “I don’t really know how I choose the stallions. I’ve got to have liked them as an individual, when I saw them racing. I’ve made some dreadful mistakes: gone to horses I shouldn’t, didn’t go to horses I should. I sold Roo’s sister, she was terribly slow but then bred [G1 Middle Park S. winner] Astaire (Ire) (Intense Focus). So they do crop up. Something good has come along every generation, from Dead Certain on.

“I really don’t want to keep a mass of horses in training. I’ve four at the moment, far too many. And five mares. Must have a clear-out. It’s purely a hobby. It was only because Fulke was going to retire, and I wasn’t going to ride out forever, so I needed some kind of diversion. Retirement’s awfully dull. Luckily we’ve some fields here that aren’t let, though they go away to foal and then come back in foal.”

Roodle, having delivered a Muhaarar foal in April, has since been covered by Showcasing. The fee has soared since Johnson Houghton first got aboard with the Whitsbury stallion, but both he and the mare have earned the upgrade.

“Roodle missed the year after Accidental Agent, but her 3-year-old Madame Tantzy (GB) is a lovely filly,” Johnson Houghton says. “We didn’t ever send her to the sales, nobody would have given me a penny for a big weak Champs Elysees (GB) baby. But she won second time out and then we lost our heads and ran in the Fred Darling on not very nice ground. So we’re quietly back at the drawing board, but she’ll be all right.

“Then I’ve a 2-year-old that didn’t sell, by Due Diligence. She was rather small and insignificant at the sales, but she’s very nice. We thought she might be Ascot–but not this year, she pulled a muscle.”

So the wheel keeps turning. Wonderfully, moreover, Shall We Run was remained alive and well when her great-great-grandson won at Ascot.

“She died in November, aged 29,” Johnson Houghton says. “So yes, having her still around made Ascot very special. I went out to the field and told them all. They didn’t seem to think it terribly interesting. But the old girl was wonderful, and just the most marvellous nanny to all the babies. She herself had 15 foals in 16 years. I didn’t realise how lucky I was, I thought that’s what mares did. I’ve had a bit of a rude awakening since. But they do give me enormous pleasure. I was offered a lot of money for Accidental Agent between two and three. Well, it sounded a lot to me. But I discussed it with Fulke and we decided that if he was any good, he ought to be here. I’m much too old to think I’ll ever have another horse like that.”

The post Agent Aims To Repeat Happiest Of Accidents appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Halters Worn By Triple Crown Winners Among Items Available in CKRH Auction

Tue, 2019-06-11 14:14

Halters worn by Triple Crown winners American Pharoah and Justify headline items being offered in an online auction to raise money for Central Kentucky Riding for Hope, the 38-year-old nonprofit headquartered at the Kentucky Horse Park that offers equine-assisted activities and therapies to people of all ages. The online auction is part of CKRH’s 16th annual gala fundraiser, NIGHT OF THE STARS, to be held Saturday, June 22 at Keeneland. Bidding on the halters and numerous other items is available at

“CKRH is extremely proud of NIGHT OF THE STARS, an annual celebration of our therapy horses, participants, volunteers, supporters and collaborators from throughout Central Kentucky,” CKRH Executive Director Pat Kline said. “The online auction enables people who aren’t able to attend NIGHT OF THE STARS to obtain distinctive items and support CKRH. We are especially thankful to the Thoroughbred industry in Central Kentucky, including farms and veterinary clinics, which provides year-round assistance to CKRH.”

The post Halters Worn By Triple Crown Winners Among Items Available in CKRH Auction appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Trainers Feeling Immigration Pinch

Tue, 2019-06-11 14:05

Last year, Delaware Park-based Tim Ritchey, trainer of Preakness and Belmont Stakes-winning Afleet Alex, was offered 15 horses to train, but he turned them away. Why?

“There was no way we could have taken those extra 15 horses because we didn’t have the grooms,” said Ritchey’s wife, Janet, who said that a continued shortage of staff means they’re unable to bring to the track two 2-year-olds currently cooling their heels at an outside training center.

“When I get more workers, I can get more horses. And when I get more horses, I can employ more American workers, like the exercise riders, hotwalkers, vets,” she said, describing as “very small” an available pool of American stable staff. The seasonal H-2B work visa program, however, could be a “perfect solution” to the problem, she said. But political and bureaucratic hurdles–the online application site crashed early this year, for example, causing chaos–the H-2B program “has become ridiculous,” she added. “It’s so frustrating.”

The Ritcheys are far from alone when it comes to decrying a broken immigration system. Nor are trainers only hurting through its impact on staff levels–just ask Chad Brown, recently fined $1.6 million in back wages, liquidated damages, and civil penalties after agreeing to “willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the labor provisions of the H-2B non-immigrant visa program.”
According to Will Velie, an Oklahoma-based immigration attorney with a number of clients in the racing industry, there are two factors weighing on the industry right now that make it hard for trainers to find and retain documented and competent backstretch workers. A low unemployment rate is one.

Another is increased immigration enforcement under the current administration, which has had “a very noticeable effect on the number of people who will actually go out and be available to work,” Velie said. “The story I get at every track I go to is, people used to go barn to barn asking if there was any work available, and there’s just nobody anymore.”

By far the most popular available visa for backstretch workers is the H-2B–a seasonal visa designed for occupations like hospitality workers, landscapers and construction workers.

The government caps the number of H-2B visas issued per year at 66,000–33,000 issued in the fall, and 33,000 in spring. As an indication of just how desirable these visas are, there were 97,800 applications for 33,000 spots on the first day of this year’s spring filing period.

Given the sheer volume of applications, the government announced back in March that it would issue another 30,000 H-2B visas to help ease the bottleneck. Velie warned, however, that the additional quota would offer the racing industry only limited relief. “How many does horse racing use? I’d say less than 1000 a year,” said Velie. Interestingly, the spending bill Congress passed in February gave DHS the authority to add as many as 69,320 additional H-2B visas.

Crucially, the additional H-2B visas were available only to applicants who have held H-2B status at least once during the past three fiscal years. This brings up another important technicality. The returning worker exemption–which excludes from the annual cap workers who have held an H-2B visa during the prior three years–was last in effect in 2016, and has not been lifted (more on this later in the article).

Perhaps most salient to the industry right now is how the number of targeted immigration raids has diminished, while the volume of U.S. Departments of Labor (DOL), Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worksite inspections is on the rise.

“They decided to go where the deep pockets are to get some money out of it instead of just picking up aliens and sending them home,” said George Crimarco, an immigration attorney in Miami. “These trainers are pretty much defenseless when it comes to that.”

Different agencies work separately on worksite investigations, explained Albany-based immigration attorney Leonard D’Arrigo. Typically, the DOL deals with wage and hour investigations, ICE looks at I-9s-an employment verification document to be filled out by both the employer and employee-while the DHS primarily conducts H-2B audits.

“Employers could be going through multiple agency audits at the same time,” said D’Arrigo. “And a lot of time, the information being requested is overlapping. These agencies don’t really share information, so they’re sometimes having to comply with all these different requests multiple times.”

The increase in workplace inspections is marked. For example, the number of I-9 inspections has increased from 1,360 in 2017 to 5,981 in 2018. The number of DHS audits has increased from 1691 in 2017 to 6848 in 2018. Similarly, “we’ve seen a huge increase in wage and hour audits,” said D’Arrigo.

During an audit, both the employer and employees can be called on to provide evidence. “They will talk to everybody,” warned D’Arrigo, who added that Brown’s case has triggered a “huge surge in calls” from worried trainers and seasonal businesses.

One of those trainers under a DOL audit is Tom Morley, currently based in Belmont Park with about 35 horses. “I’m in my third year,” said Morley, of the time that has lapsed since the audit first began. “I think what’s probably happened is that my case is relatively small, that it’s been shuffled to the side while they take care of these bigger ones.”

Morley describes himself as relatively lucky in that many of his employees are U.S. citizens who have worked for him for years. But the tight cap on the number of H-2B visas combined with the lack of U.S. workers willing to do the work makes finding backstretch staff a real headache, in certainly jurisdictions especially.

“New Orleans is a shambles,” Morley said. “The hotwalker base down there, they don’t show up, and when they do show up, you’re delighted to see them, to be honest. You don’t fire them. It’s a case of ‘here’s a shank, get on with it.'”

As for the audit, it’s a “nightmare,” Morley said. “You’ve no idea what number they’re going to come back with,” he added, describing the experience as “three years of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about it.”

Each racing jurisdiction enforces the immigration issue differently, most if not all putting the onus primarily on the employer to verify their employees’ legal status, said Velie.

Backstretch workers looking to get licensed in California, for example, are fingerprinted and asked for photo identification, typically a driver’s license or a state-issued form of ID, or else a license from another racing jurisdiction that also requires fingerprinting. The California Horse Racing Board can also request additional immigration-related documentation, such as work visas and attorneys’ letters.

When asked which jurisdictions are the strictest, Velie singled out Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania and Iowa. He explained that Indiana and Minnesota both in recent years considered using E-Verify as a licensing requirement. E-Verify is an online employment verification database much stricter than the I-9 program. It’s also notorious for a high error rate.

“That would have emptied out the backside of the track,” Velie said, about the E-Verify proposal. Instead, when backstretch workers are now licensed in Indiana and Minnesota, the trainer employing them must sign a document acknowledging their responsibility for maintaining I-9s, said Velie. This doesn’t, however, preclude trainers from using E-Verify themselves.

Which brings us back to the returning worker exemption. Competition for the 33,000 H-2B visas available in the fall is less intense than for the spring, and trainers should use that to their advantage, Velie said.

“If you get your guys in on the winter visas, there’s never any quota pressure,” he said. What’s more, he said, “when I file for my spring visas, instead of filing for workers out of country, I do in-country extensions for the guys with winter H-2Bs, and they’re not subject to the cap. A worker can be on an H-2B for up to three years,” Velie added.

There are still some important guidelines employers must comply with in that particular program, Velie said, and he recommends trainers speak with their immigration attorneys before going down that route.

As for the uptick in workplace inspections, D’Arrigo recommends that trainers conduct self-audits, especially when it comes to wage and hour, and I-9 documentation. “Those are the two things that result in costing you the most,” he said.

“Have someone come in and audit your current practices, look at what you’re doing, point out the things you’re violating and come up with systems to be in compliance,” he said, adding that “we always recommend that clients regularly review all their 1-9 paperwork to identify errors before an actual audit.”

Given the bureaucratic red-tape that employers face, along with the daily struggles of running a barn, D’Arrigo said he sympathizes with trainers. “They’re operating out of a horse stable,” he said. “They don’t have an office. They don’t have a sophisticated time-clock system.”

Back at Delaware, Bessie Gruwell, executive director of the Delaware Thoroughbred Horseman’s Association, confirmed the dire staffing situation facing trainers in the state. “We are seriously, seriously in need of much more help, and I don’t think that’s just us. That’s everywhere across the country,” she said.

As such, the industry must do better at attracting American workers, Gruwell, said. She pointed to Pennsylvania’s A Leg Up program–a mentorship designed to bring racing neophytes to the backstretch–as just such an example.

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For Bricks and Mortar, the Road to the Top Has Not Been Easy

Tue, 2019-06-11 13:10

“Inside the Winner’s Circle, Presented by Keeneland” is a series showcasing graduates of the Keeneland September sale who have gone on to achieve success on racing’s biggest stages.

When they convene at the annual Keeneland September sale, just about everyone is thinking the same thing. The buyers are all hoping to purchase a future star. They also hope the odds are with them and there are no hiccups on the way to the winner’s circle. And the sellers are all hoping that the bidding doesn’t stop until there is a very big number on the board.

Things don’t always work out that way, at least at first. But that doesn’t mean that the story doesn’t end well. There’s no better evidence of that than Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway).
A $200,000 purchase at the 2015 Keeneland September sale (watch the sale), the recent winner of the GI Manhattan at Belmont and the hottest horse in the sport, if voting were held today, he’d likely be named Horse of the Year.

But few know how close his career came to ending in 2017 when the biggest win on his record was a victory in the GII Hall of Fame Stakes. At the time, he had earned $336,800 and would not be nearly the sire prospect he is today: as a three-time Grade I winner with earnings of $4,303,650. Of all the top horses his trainer Chad Brown has trained, none has earned more.

Bricks and Mortar wins the Manhattan | Sarah K. Andrew

Brown works closely with bloodstock agent Mike Ryan when he attends the sales and it was Ryan who first alerted him to Hip 118, a Giant’s Causeway colt out of the mare Beyond the Waves. The breeder was George Strawbridge Jr. and the consigner was Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm.

“When I went to look at the horse, I thought he was very athletic, an attractive colt,” Brown said. “With the way he was made, I thought he was turf right away. He had a very athletic walk to him to him and he was in our price range. He came from a good family. He was George Strawbridge-bred, and I have a lot of respect for his program.”

Brown and Ryan weren’t wrong. Making his first start on Feb. 18, 2017 at Gulfstream for owners Seth Klarman and William Lawrence, he won a mile and a sixteenth maiden on the turf, his first of four straight. He was then third in the both the GIII Saranac and the GIII Hill Prince, but lost both races by just three-quarters of a length. Brown was so encouraged by the horse’s progress that he decided to ship him west for the GI Hollywood Derby. A few days later, he had reason to believe the horse would never run again.

“The horse was getting ready for the Hollywood Derby and he worked at Belmont and when he came out of the work that day he developed what is called a stringhalt walk,” Brown explained. “It’s very rare. It’s when a horse has an exaggerated extension with their hind leg, where they’ll pick it up like they’re walking over something. They really hike it up like they’re walking over something in their way. I was quite nervous about it. He had a remarkable record at the time and had two narrow defeats. I thought he easily could have been undefeated. I was really disappointed.”

Brown had Bricks and Mortar sent to Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood and Riddle and Bramlage told him there was a 50-50 chance he could fix the problem. If the surgery didn’t work, the horse would have been retired.

“Dr. Bramlage said he must have aggravated a ligament in his hock area that caused this,” Brown said. “He had some success with this before but told us it was a complicated surgery. I told him to go ahead. I didn’t see any other option. It did alleviate the problem.”

From Oct. 17, 2017 until Dec. 22, 2018, Bricks and Mortar did not race. There were a few minor setbacks along the way, but when Ian Brennan, who had been caring for the horse while he was recuperating, called Brown and said he thought Bricks and Mortar was back and ready to go, Brown had every reason to believe that the horse was going to pick right up where he left off.
He didn’t know he’d be even better.

In order, he won an allowance, the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf, the GII Muniz Memorial and the Manhattan. Brown said the next goal is the GI Arlington Million.

Meanwhile, Strawbridge has been watching from the sidelines. Someone who keeps some of his young horses to race and sells others, he explained that he put Bricks and Mortar in the sale because he was sure he would sell for big money.

“I decided to sell him because he was a very good-looking horse and I thought I would get an awful lot of money for him,” Strawbridge said. “Instead, I got $200,000 for him and he’s gone on to win over $4 million, so it wasn’t a very good business transaction. He was a nice looking horse, a solid looking horse and we always liked him. I thought he’d go for $400,000. I did have a reserve, but it was $150,000.”

But Strawbridge has not been sitting around feeling sorry for himself. He understands the business as well as anyone.

“For me, this is a good story,” he said. “It’s very difficult to breed a multiple Grade I winner, so I am proud of that and I am happy for the horse’s owners. I also still have the mare and own some of Bricks and Mortar’s relatives.”

Beyond the Waves was just bred to Uncle Mo and, considering the success of Bricks and Mortar, that mating could produce a horse that sells well, or wins Strawbridge some major races. Bricks and Mortar also helped put Strawbridge’s name in the record books for the Manhattan as he has now bred the winner two straight years. He won the race in 2018 with homebred Spring Quality (Quality Road).

Meanwhile, Bricks and Mortar was Brown’s sixth Manhattan winner, and undoubtedly one of the most special.

“I am so proud of this horse, everything he’s overcome,” Brown said. “I’m proud of his versatility and his consistency. He’s very defendable. I’m so happy for the horse that he is getting the recognition he deserves. His brilliance and his consistency has finally put him on the front page, even though he’s a turf horse. It’s gratifying to see him get the respect he deserves.

The post For Bricks and Mortar, the Road to the Top Has Not Been Easy appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

OBS June Sale Starts Wednesday

Tue, 2019-06-11 09:56

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company will bring the curtain down on the 2019 juvenile sales season with its three-day June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age, which begins Wednesday in Central Florida.

“I expect we’ll see a lot of things that we’ve seen already this year,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said of expectations for the June market. “I don’t think we’re going to establish any new trends, but I think a lot of what we’ve seen so far this year will continue forward.”

OBS opened the juvenile sales season with a strong renewal of its March sale and the June sale comes in the wake of a record-setting edition of the company’s April sale, which produced its highest-ever gross, average and median and featured three seven-figure transactions.

“We’ve been very happy with the 2-year-old season,” Wojciechowski said. “We’ve been fortunate that consignors have brought us a lot of good horses. And buyers come here and they have confidence they can buy a runner. All you have to do is look at our success on Belmont day when we won three Grade Is.”

The strength of the April market may have a trickle down effect on June, Wojciechowski agreed.

“I think so,” he said. “We are seeing people on the grounds that we didn’t see in April or people that got shut out in April.”

The five-session under-tack preview of the June sale was delayed slightly by rain and lightning during both weekend sessions.

“We had to do some dancing around some rain showers over the weekend, but looking at the weather forecast beginning Saturday morning, there was a question mark about whether we’d be able to get our two days in. We just got fortunate and we only had to encounter a little bit of rain and our consignors and horses forged through in great fashion. I think, all in all, it was a very successful breeze show.”

During the preview, three horses shared the :20 3/5 quarter-mile bullet time and 11 shared the fastest furlong time of :9 4/5. A pair of juveniles shared the bullet three-furlong time of :32 3/5.

Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables, which was the leading consignor at last year’s June sale, sent out a pair of bullet workers. The consignor said he had no problem sending a horse through the ring at the late-season auction.

“You can’t hide a good horse,” he said. “If his work and his gallop-out, and everything measures up to everything they want nowadays, there will be a multitude of people to buy him. We’ve never been afraid to go to any sale.”

Using his quarter-mile bullet worker by Daredevil as an example, Dunne said, “With him, no he wasn’t slated to go here, but when he had his setback, instead of pushing the envelope, we didn’t have any hesitancy to backing up and coming here.”

At the 2018 June sale, a colt by Scat Daddy attracted top price of $650,000. The dark bay was one of 11 to sell for $200,000 or more during the auction. In all, 530 juveniles sold for a total of $17,231,000. The average was $32,511 and the median was $15,000.

The June sales continues through Friday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.


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Dismiss Derby Lawsuit, Defendants Implore Federal Judge

Mon, 2019-06-10 18:07

The defendants in the lawsuit over the controversial May 4 disqualification of the GI Kentucky Derby winner have asked a federal judge to dismiss the suit on grounds that the litigation “fails to state a claim…upon which relief can be granted.”

The three stewards assigned to Churchill Downs, plus the 14 board members and the executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (KHRC), filed a 167-page “motion to dismiss” June 8 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (Lexington Division), citing the alleged failure by the plaintiffs, Gary and Mary West, to follow Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

The lawsuit, which was initiated by the owners of Maximum Security (New Year’s Day), seeks the reversal of the unprecedented Derby DQ, plus reinstatement of the original order of finish “confirming that Maximum Security is the official winner of the Derby who remains undefeated.”

The Wests are alleging that “the final order is not supported by substantial evidence on the whole record” and that the DQ “violates plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment rights to procedural due process.”

But the KHRC, et al, fired back in court with this latest filing, claiming that “the same rules apply to every horse race, whether a Friday night claiming race or the Kentucky Derby. Under those rules, Maximum Security did not win the Derby, and the Wests did not win the Derby purse. And under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Wests fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

The motion to dismiss continues: “The Kentucky Derby is the most prestigious horse race in the world. And horse racing may be the ‘sport of kings,’ but it is still that–a sport. As with every sport, it has rules to foster consistent, fair, and safe play, and neutral arbiters, whether called referees, umpires, judges–or in this case, stewards–who enforce those rules.

“The Wests disagree with the stewards’ call to disqualify Maximum Security,” the motion continues. “And they disagree with the Commission’s decision to make that call conclusive. Instead, the Wests want this Court to make the call and determine the winner of the Derby–a demand that threatens to transform the ‘most exciting two minutes in sports’ into tedious, protracted litigation.

“But their mere disagreement is insufficient to support a claim that their Constitutional–or any other–legal rights have been violated,” the motion states. “In fact, they allege no valid cause of action at all. The Court should therefore dismiss the Wests’ Complaint as a matter of law.”

The three stewards who officiated the Derby–chief state steward Barbara Borden, state steward Brooks “Butch” Becraft, and Churchill Downs steward Tyler Picklesimer–launched a post-Derby adjudication process that lasted 22 minutes and played out on national TV as they debated whether Maximum Security’s shifting out while leading on the far turn caused crowding that affected rivals in close pursuit and almost triggered a clipping-of-heels accident.

In the aftermath of two jockeys’ objections–but no posted stewards’ inquiry–Maximum Security was judged to have fouled Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy) and thus placed behind that rival in 17th place. Country House (Lookin At Lucky), who crossed the wire second, was elevated to first place and recognized as the official Derby winner.

The Wests’ May 14 suit claims that they were denied their allegedly rightful part of the $1,860,000 share of the Derby purse “as well as a professional accomplishment that any horseman would cherish for life, plus the very substantial value that a Kentucky Derby winner has as a stallion.”

The defendants’ June 8 motion to dismiss states that, “The Wests have not sufficiently stated a cause of action entitling them to the unprecedented relief they seek because they have identified no due process deprivation and the KHRC appropriately rendered its conclusive disqualification determinations.”

The motion cites legal precedents for dismissal of this type of suit, including one that states that plaintiffs “can have no legitimate claim of entitlement to a discretionary decision.”

Another states that only after the plaintiffs demonstrate a protected property interest can a court “consider the form and nature of the process that is due.”

In summing up the motion to dismiss, the defendants’ filing states “Quite simply, the Wests fail to identify a legitimate claim of entitlement to any property interest based upon Kentucky statute, regulation, or case law. Thus, their due process claim fails as a matter of law, and should be dismissed.”

Beyond the above-named stewards, other defendants in the suit are KHRC executive director Marc Guilfoil, chairman Franklin King, vice chair Mark Simendinger, and board members Gatewood Bell, Jr., Larry Bisig, Stuart Brown II, DVM, Kerry Cauthen, Kiki Courtelis, Pat. Day, Douglas Hendrickson, Lesley Ann May Howard, Kenneth Jackson, Bret Jones, Foster Northrop, DVM, and J. David Richardson.

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NY Medical Director: Higher Scratch Rate Evidence Safety Protocols Work

Mon, 2019-06-10 16:55

In a relatively small sample size of 22 races run with “enhanced” purse-to-claiming price ratios greater than 2 to 1 this year, the New York Racing Association (NYRA) has experienced an above-norm scratch rate of 11%.

But Scott Palmer, VMD, the equine medical director for the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC), told commissioners at Monday’s monthly meeting that the higher scratch rate for those types of races is evidence that newly enhanced veterinary scrutiny policies designed to screen out at-risk horses have “successfully mitigated” the dangers associated with running horses for purses that are more than double the value of claiming prices.

Thus, based on Palmer’s assessment that the situation is safe, there were no changes made to the system that commissioners unanimously voted in Jan. 28 to add flexibility to claiming races. At that time, the NYSGC agreed to relax a 2-to-1 purse/price rule for claiming races on a case-by-case basis so NYRA could card races that are competitive with other tracks in the mid-Atlantic region whose claiming structures are not governed by commission-mandated purse ratios.

A key part of the rule change was that in order to tweak purses upward beyond that 2-to-1 ratio, NYRA had to agree to perform an additional level of veterinary due diligence to double-check situations that trigger greater risk, like if a horse is being entered off an extended layoff, drops precipitously in class, shows a questionable workout pattern, or has been reported to have had multiple intra-articular medications administered in its recent history.

“As the purse levels exceed the claiming price of the horse, risk is incentivized and the horse becomes a commodity,” Palmer said. “That’s the challenge, and that’s where we had to find this fine line, this balance if you will, between increase of the economic opportunities without the horse having to pay the price for that. That’s what we’re trying to do here.”

Palmer gave some historical perspective on the situation: During the 2011-12 spring meet at Aqueduct Racetrack, 21 horses suffered catastrophic injuries. Subsequent to that spike in deaths, a governor’s task force on equine safety made the recommendation that (among multiple other factors) the state needed to dis-incentivize owners and trainers from entering lame or uncompetitive horses in lower-level races that feature gaming-inflated purses, which in some cases at NYRA had a purse/price ratio as high as 4-to-1.

The NYSGC responded by setting the 2-to-1 purse/price ratio, and that mandate had been in effect for nearly seven years when NYRA requested some exceptions to it last December.

Competing racing jurisdictions around New York “were not experiencing an increased rate of fatality in this group of races in the region around us,” Palmer said when explaining his rationale for crafting the new protocols that went into effect in 2019. “It resonated with us that New York was at a disadvantage in this regard, both for the horsemen and for the racing association.

“However, as you all know, we were very reluctant to remove a protective measure that seemed to be working, and to take a risk that horses would be put at risk again. So that’s why the new protective factors were required,” Palmer said.

And Palmer also noted an historical caveat: “There’s some very good research that shows there’s an increased amount of risk for catastrophic injury for horses in claiming races with a purse-to-price ratio greater than 1.8 to 1. This is a very sound piece of scientific information.”

With all of that in mind, NYRA was granted permission to modify some claiming purse/price ratios at this spring’s race meets. So far this year, Aqueduct and Belmont Park have each carded 11 “enhanced” claiming races, with purse/price ratios ranging from 2.25 to 1 to 3 to 1.

Those races, Palmer said, drew 142 entrants. Of them, 16 scratched prior to racing (14 veterinary scratches, one stewards’ scratch, and one trainer’s scratch). Of the horses that raced, one failed to finish and was vanned off with a non-fatal injury. There were no equine deaths in those 22 “enhanced” claiming races.

“One of the things that’s important about this is that it represents a bit of a higher [scratch rate] number than ordinary in most races,” Palmer said (he did not cite a comparative scratch rate for other races). “It’s about an 11% scratch rate here. And that’s a little high. So what that tells us is that NYRA was doing a really good job, and really had a hard eye on these horses. And they just took horses out if they had concerns.”

But commissioner Todd Snyder asked Palmer if, by allowing the higher ratios, “we’re basically creating the incentive that we didn’t want to create, and then we’re creating a regulatory scheme to intervene to protect against it.”

Palmer responded that “I think you could argue that. I don’t know that I could compare that to regular races [that don’t have enhanced claiming prices] and make a distinct comparison to say this is different. But I think the point is well made that in [11 % of entrants] it was determined that they really shouldn’t run. [The] regulatory scratches were interventions, which is exactly why we had this program in place.”

Palmer also pointed to New York’s improving equine safety record over the past seven years since the Aqueduct catastrophes sparked change in 2012.

“This is [the] widespread effect of this racing quality-control program that we have in place,” Palmer said. “This is not a statistical fluke. We’ve reduced these injuries in the neighborhood of 42 to 50%, and it’s been in that range for the last seven years. That’s not an accident… This is hard work. This is something that we do every day. And it means that it works. It’s no public relations campaign. These are the numbers. It works.

“So where do we go from here?” Palmer asked rhetorically. “I expect that NYRA will continue to make requests for their condition book to modify these races. Finger Lakes has so far not done that.

“The commission staff will continue to closely monitor all these races and make adjustments to protocols as necessary to minimize risk of injury,” Palmer summed up. “I think that’s the way we’re going to [handle the situation moving forward]. I think you should feel comfortable about the decision you made in January. And I think you should also be very comfortable about the fact that you insisted that there be some extra measures put in place here.”

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364 Horses Cataloged for Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale

Mon, 2019-06-10 12:24

A total of 364 yearlings have been cataloged for the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July Sale to be held Tuesday, July 9, at the Newtown Paddocks in Lexington. The total number cataloged is a 4.2% increase on the 349 youngsters that were included in the 2018 renewal.

“July continues to produce superior results for both buyers and sellers, and as result, our numbers and quality have increased again this year,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “Fifteen of the current 20 leading sires in North America are represented by yearlings in this catalogue, as well as an exciting group of entries by this season’s first-crop yearling sires.”

The top-ranked North American yearling sale by percentage of 2-year-old winners from horses sold, the July Sale also continues to be among the leading sale in percentage of Grade I winners, graded stakes winners and stakes winners from horses sold. The July Sale was well-represented during last week’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

“The focus of The July Sale has always been precocious, athletic yearlings,” added Browning. “These strong physicals have translated to strong results on the race track. Significant Form (Creative Cause, $75K ’16 FTKJUL) won the GIII Intercontinental S., Maryanorginger (Strong Mandate, $190K ’18 FTKJUL) captured the Astoria S. in her career debut, and Joevia (Shanghai Bobby, $50K ’17 FTKJUL) finished a strong third in the GI Belmont S.”

Fasig-Tipton is also accepting nominations for the July Selected Horses of All Ages Sale Monday, July 8. Nominations will be accepted through late June.

“The July Selected Horses of Racing Age Sale has quickly developed into North America’s premier horses of racing age sale,” continued Browning. “Graduate success and the sale’s advantageous timing ahead of the lucrative summer race meets have quickly turned this sale into of our most popular auctions. For sellers, this is an especially good venue to offer horses coming off a strong recent performance.”

The July Sale catalogue may now be viewed online and will also be available via the Equineline catalogue iPad app. Print catalogues will be available beginning June 12.

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Stronach Group, TOC, CTT Release Joint Statement

Mon, 2019-06-10 06:45

The Stronach Group, the Thoroughbred Owners of California and California Thoroughbred Trainers have released a joint statement in the wake of the request from the California Horse Racing Board that Santa Anita suspend the final seven days of the meet.

The request came following the breakdown of Formal Dude (First Dude), who was euthanized following the running of Saturday’s first race. The track suffered a subsequent fatality, the 29th of the meeting, was the three-year-old filly Truffalino (English Channel) died of a heart attack in the third race Sunday.

“We are collectively working on behalf of everyone in the sport–grooms, hot walkers, jockeys, exercise riders, starters, trainers, owners, track managers and every horse wearing a bridle and a saddle–to reform and improve racing every day. After extensive consultation among all partners, Santa Anita Park will stay open through the end of its meet to see these reforms through.

Since wide-sweeping reforms have been instituted at Santa Anita, catastrophic injuries have dropped considerably compared to earlier this meet, decreasing by 50 percent in racing and by more than 84 percent in training. To be clear, there are no acceptable losses, and every day we work toward ending all serious injuries. But the reality is that our improvements and changes have been effective.

A detailed and serious epidemiological investigation of all track accidents is underway and will continue with the greatest urgency. Track management, owners, trainers and veterinarians, are re-doubling their vigilance and close supervision of both training and racing protocols and will consider all enhancements to the sweeping new protocols already introduced. We have great respect for Governor Newsom and the CHRB, and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to discuss these issues.”

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement of its own Sunday. “Either the rules aren’t strong enough or the rules aren’t being followed, but whatever the reason for the deaths of two more horses, Santa Anita needs to listen to the California Horse Racing Board and shut down,” said Kathy Guillermo, PETA’s senior vice president, in a statement.

“It should not re-open until full-leg scan equipment is in place, since most pelvis injuries also show lesions in the legs, the dirt track has been replaced with a safer synthetic surface; and the district attorney’s investigation into trainers and veterinarians is complete,” she said.

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Santa Anita Denies CHRB Request to Close

Sun, 2019-06-09 18:16

The California Horse Racing Board has requested that Santa Anita suspend the final seven days of its current meet, but officials of the track have said they will not do so.

The CHRB’s request came following Saturday’s catastrophic breakdown of Formal Dude (First Dude), who was euthanized following the running of the day’s 10th race. Another horse, Calumet Farm’s 3-year-old filly Truffalino (English Channel), died of an apparent heart attack in Sunday’s third race at the Arcadia oval, according to Daily Racing Form. That death raised the total number of fatalities at Santa Anita to 29 since the meet opened Dec. 26.

The story was first reported by both the Los Angeles Times and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Tim Ritvo, the COO of The Stronach Group did not answer a text from the TDN regarding comment on Santa Anita’s decision to remain open. The meet is scheduled to end June 23.

It is not within the CHRB’s power to order a racetrack to immediately close unless the track agrees to its wishes. However, the racing board can take such action after a bureaucratic process that begins with 10-day notification period. It was not immediately clear if the CHRB can, or would, shut down Santa Anita for the remaining three days of the meet following the 10-day notification period.

The CHRB sent a statement to the Courier-Journal, which read: “Under current law, The California Horse Racing Board does not have the authority to suspend a race meet or remove race dates from a current race meet without the approval of the race track operator or without holding a public meeting with ten days public notice.

“The Chairman, Vice Chairman and the Executive Director recommended to Santa Anita management that they suspend racing for the seven remaining race days but that they allow horses to continue to train during that period. This would provide the industry more time to fully implement announced safety initiatives and perhaps additional ones.

“It is our understanding that Santa Anita management, after consultation with certain other industry stakeholders, believes that for a variety of reasons, the future of California racing is best served by continuing to race.”

The CHRB did not ask Santa Anita to close down for training, something that would create a crisis for Southern California horsemen because training cannot begin at Del Mar until July 11. Until that time, the San Diego County Fair has full use of the property,

According to the Times, Formal Dude died of a pelvis injury. Most equine fatalities happen when horses fracture one of their front legs. But the Times report says that of the five deaths at Santa Anita since May 17, four of them have been either shoulder or pelvis injuries.

Also hanging in the balance for Santa Anita is this year’s Breeders’ Cup, scheduled for Nov. 1 and 2. The Breeders’ Cup is in a dicey situation as it could come under intense criticism should it hold the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita and there are fatalities.

Breeders’ Cup President Craig Fravel told the Courier Journal that the organization is exploring contingency plans and said that the only other track that has been mentioned as an alternate site is Churchill Downs. A Breeders’ Cup Board meeting is scheduled for June 27.

“I think it’s fair to say our board will have a full report from management on everything we know about the situation in California as well as injury rates at other racetracks and we’ll have to evaluate that situation and what our options are,” Fravel told the Courier Journal. “That’s really ultimately a board decision, so I have to defer to that process.”

On Friday, the Times reported that trainer Michael Pender was suspended 30 days by the CHRB for violating a rule regarding animal welfare.

The ruling regarding Pender’s suspension read: “Pender knowingly worked the horse New Karma after a veterinarian examination disclosed an injury. This horse was then shipped to Golden Gate Fields where it was entered into a race on April 6, 2019, but subsequently scratched due to its condition.”

Pender is among a handful of trainers who have either been suspended or ruled off the grounds at Santa Anita due to alleged violations regarding the welfare of horses under their care. Among them was trainer William Morey, who was banned from racing at Santa Anita for a medication violation that led to an investigation by the California Horse Racing Board.

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OBS Breeze Show Concludes

Sun, 2019-06-09 18:08

The under-tack preview of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training concluded with a fifth session in Central Florida Sunday. During a rain-delayed session, another two juveniles tied the week’s fastest furlong time of :9 4/5, while the day’s quickest quarter-mile time was :20 4/5. A day after Come Dancing (Malibu Moon) finished second in the GI Ogden Phipps S., her half-sister by Ghostzapper turned in the week’s co-fastest three-furlong work of :32 3/5.

A filly by More Than Ready (hip 1037), supplemented to the June catalogue, worked the co-bullet furlong time of :9 4/5 for the McKathan Bros. consignment. The dark bay filly is out of Italian group winner Omaticaya (Ire) (Bernstein).

“I expected her to go fast. She has been fast pretty much all year long,” Kevin McKathan said. “She’s been to several sales, so she goes out and does her job every time.”

The filly worked at the OBS March sale, as well as last month’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale, where she went a furlong in :10 1/5, but she was withdrawn from both auctions.

“At the end of the day, we just haven’t found the right person for her,” McKathan said. “We’ve been a little bullish on her all year. This is the last sale, so we’ll find somewhere for her to live, I hope.”

The youngster was purchased by McKathan Bros. for $125,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“She is a beautiful filly and we’d been chasing a More Than Ready for the last couple of years,” McKathan said. “We loved her and we were able to get her bought. When you look at her, she looks a lot like a More Than Ready. She’s a very fast-looking filly with beautiful lines. She is elegant. I think if someone is looking for a More Than Ready filly, she’ll check all the boxes for them.”

For the second day in a row, the breeze show was delayed by weather.

“It rained [Saturday] in the early morning and through mid-morning,” McKathan said. “Today it started off nice and by the second break, we went on a delay, so we’ve been fighting the weather since about 8:30 or 9 a.m. and there has been lightning and raining.”

McKathan is expecting the demand for horses to stretch into the last juvenile sale of the season.

“It seems like everyone is here and anxious to find something,” he said.

Harris Training Center sent out a colt from the first crop of Grade I winner Lea (First Samurai) (hip 893) to work the furlong in :9 4/5. Named Unconquered Lea, the chestnut is out of Tanquerray (Good Journey). He was bred in California by Fortuna Ranch Racing and Demetrios Shelie Xanthos.

Over the five sessions of the breeze show, 11 horses shared the :9 4/5 furlong bullet time.

A gelding from the first crop of graded winner Bahamian Squall (Gone West) (hip 881) turned in the fastest quarter-mile breeze at OBS Sunday, covering the distance in :20 4/5. Consigned by Nice and Easy Thoroughbreds, the dark bay is out of Super Trooper (Posse). He was bred in Florida by Pamela Edel.

Three horses shared the week’s bullet quarter-mile time of :20 3/5.

A filly by Ghostzapper (hip 914) tied the week’s fastest three-furlong time when covering the distance in :32 3/5 Sunday. The bay filly is consigned by Gayle Woods, as agent for Eric Delvalle. The juvenile is out of graded stakes winner Tizahit (Tiznow) and is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Come Dancing (Malibu Moon), who since the catalogue was printed won the GII Ruffian S. and was second behind Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) in Saturday’s GI Ogden Phipps S.

“She is a very classy-acting filly and a great mover,” said Woods. “I was very happy with her work–she galloped out like a beast. She galloped out in :44 3/5 and :59 1/5. She has got everything. She vets good, she is a beautiful mover with a huge walk on her and she is very pretty. And with the update, and Ghostzapper is hot, too, I think she’ll be very popular.”

Delvalle purchased the filly for $67,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“Eric Antonio Delvalle is a new client,” Woods said. “Crestwood had horses for him and I’ve worked with Crestwood, so they advised him to send the filly to me. Originally, we were going to put her in the April sale, but she is a May baby and I ended up taking her out before the catalogue went to print. I said, ‘I think the filly will benefit with another couple of months and we should wait and go to the June sale to give her all the time to mature.’ And I think it paid off pretty well.”

The June Sale will be held Wednesday through Friday, with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company will host a celebration of the life of J.J. Crupi at the sales complex Monday, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The longtime Ocala horseman passed away in May.


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Belmont Wrap: Casse, Mott Pairs Look to Travers

Sun, 2019-06-09 15:31

The 2019 Triple Crown belonged to two trainers, one Hall of Famer and one likely soon-to-be Hall of Famer. Now, with the GI Belmont S. in the rearview and attention turning to the second-half push to the Breeders’ Cup, Mark Casse and Bill Mott will assess their respective pairs of championship contenders and map out a probable path to the GI Travers S. Aug. 24 at Saratoga.

Tracy Farmer’s Sir Winston (Awesome Again) and the Gary Barber-owned War of Will (War Front) were both tired Sunday morning, but otherwise fine after their trip of 1 1/2 miles around the Belmont oval. Their routine was limited to walking the shedrow and afterward, the Belmont winner settled down for a well-deserved nap in his stall.

“Both horses are good this morning,” Casse told the NYRA notes team. “From here they’re going to take separate paths and go their separate ways, but our goal is going to be the Travers for both.”

While Sir Winston will remain at Belmont under assistant trainer Jamie Begg’s care, War of Will had a reservation on a van departing at 12:30 p.m. and headed back to Kentucky, where he will return to Casse’s division overseen by assistant David Carroll. War of Will, who finished ninth in the Belmont, was the only horse to run in all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown, but Casse didn’t use that as an excuse for the colt’s poor performance in the Test of the Champion.

“I don’t think it was the Triple Crown campaign that caught up to War of Will,” he said. “I don’t really have an explanation for his race yesterday, but I’m not going to use the [three races in] five weeks as an excuse. The only thing I can tell you now is that he will be back.”

Casse also reflected on the chaos of this year’s Triple Crown and picking up his first two American Classic victories.

“It’s been an extremely good five weeks and a crazy five weeks, with lots of different emotions, that’s for sure,” he said. “We’re extremely proud of it. I’m proud of our entire team, as this has been a team effort through and through.”

Meanwhile, Mott, who saddled GI Kentucky Derby winner Country House (Lookin At Lucky) and Derby third finisher and Belmont runner-up Tacitus (Tapit), said both horses will be sent to Saratoga in the next few weeks. He added that Tacitus, who was hindered by a wide trip in the Belmont, may run back in the GII Jim Dandy S. July 27 at the Spa.

“Tacitus certainly hasn’t disgraced himself at any point,” Mott said. “Even in the Derby, where he was fourth and then was moved up to third, he ran well. And he ran well yesterday. I think most anybody who saw the race yesterday probably knew that with a different trip the outcome would have been different. For sure there are a lot of dances left in the second half of the year. I hope there are good things still to come for him.”

As for Country House, who was forced to miss the final two jewels of the Triple Crown with an illness, Mott said he has returned to the track.

“Country House is doing well. He isn’t back breezing yet, but he is back galloping and is going to the track every day,” he said. “Keeping [him and Tacitus] separate is probably going to be impossible. I think that at some point, both are going to be running in the same types of races. If it’s a prep race or something like it, naturally you’d like to separate them, but if it’s a Grade I race, if they need to run against each other, it’s like, you know what? You’ve got to be fair to both ownerships and give them their best chance.”

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Memorial for Crupi Monday at OBS

Sun, 2019-06-09 14:59

A Celebration of Life for noted horseman James “J.J.” Crupi is scheduled for Monday, June 10 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company auditorium, 1701 S.W. 60th Avenue, Ocala FL, 34474 at 4:30 p.m. Crupi, who passed away Thursday, May 23 at the age of 79, enjoyed a long, distinguished career in the Thoroughbred industry. After spending years successfully training horses in the Northeast, he went to Ocala in 1995 and established Crupi’s New Castle Training Center, where he was responsible for developing many top class horses, both for the races and sales ring.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Ocala Farm Ministry, 489 NW 110th Avenue, Ocala FL 34482, or to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), 821 Corporate Drive Lexington, KY 40503. For more information, please call OBS at (352) 237-2154.

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Awesome Again’s Sir Winston Pulls Off Belmont Upset

Sat, 2019-06-08 19:01

ELMONT, NY – Three weeks after capturing his first American Classic victory, trainer Mark Casse made the trip to New York with a fantastic shot at adding Saturday’s 151st renewal of the GI Belmont S. He got the job done–maybe just not with the horse that everyone was expecting, though.

Tracy Farmer homebred Sir Winston (Awesome Again), a rallying second in the local prep GIII Peter Pan S. with a field-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure, pulled off a 10-1 upset with a one-length, come-from-behind victory under a brilliant ride by Joel Rosario before an announced crowd of 56,217 on a picturesque, sun-splashed afternoon on Long Island.

Highly regarded Juddmonte homebred Tacitus (Tapit), favored at 9-5 off a very strong third via disqualification in the GI Kentucky Derby, completed the exacta after enduring a very wide trip. The pacesetting Joevia (Shanghai Bobby), a front-running winner in the slop of Monmouth’s Long Branch S. May 12, held on well for third at 21-1 over a surface playing very kindly to speed throughout the weekend.

War of Will (War Front), well-supported as the 7-2 second choice following a dominating victory in the GI Preakness S. for Casse, tired in the stretch to finish ninth. He was the only sophomore to contest all three legs of this year’s Triple Crown.

“He’s an amazing little horse,” Casse said of the over achieving Sir Winston. “If at this time last year, if you had asked me to rate our top-20 2-year-olds, he would have been about 16th or 17th. But I’m very proud of him because he’s kind of what our operation represents, and that is I feel like we develop horses. I have this philosophy. I start every horse out thinking that they are going to win the Kentucky Derby, or the Oaks. That’s what I do. And I will try different surfaces; I will try different methods. With a horse like Sir Winston, you know, it paid off there.”

Sir Winston broke well from post seven in the “Test of the Champion” and was expertly guided to the golden rail by Rosario–also aboard 2014 Belmont hero Tonalist who spoiled California Chrome’s Triple Crown bid–to race in a ground-saving eighth as Joevia was kept honest by Tax (Arch) through fractions of :23.92 and :48.79 over the very lively surface.

Always traveling nicely on the inside, Sir Winston crept closer entering the far turn as Tacitus began to launch a five-wide sweep. Locked and loaded as Joevia and Tax were going at it at the top of the stretch, Rosario tipped Sir Winston out three deep into the lane and he closed with a rush to outkick Tacitus home to pull off the upset.

“He’s a very nice horse and you have to let him do this thing,” Rosario said. “It seemed like he didn’t mind [being] inside. I just took my time with him. For the distance, he broke very good. Today, he was a little closer, so I let him be where he was comfortable.”

Sir Winston entered the Belmont with only two career victories to his credit, both over the Woodbine synthetic, dead-heating for a maiden win last September and adding the Display S. in December. Last term’s GIII Grey S. third-place finisher quietly ran well in defeat finishing with late interest to finish fourth in the GIII Withers S. at Aqueduct Feb. 2 and fifth in the GII Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 9. A well-beaten seventh, albeit with trouble, in Keeneland’s GII Toyota Blue Grass S. Apr. 6, the chestnut bounced back with a very encouraging runner-up finish, 1 1/4 lengths behind ‘TDN Rising Star’ Global Campaign (Curlin) wih Rosario riding for the first time in the Peter Pan.

Casse said that both of his Belmont runners may target the GI Runhappy Travers S. Aug. 24 at Saratoga Race Course.

“I tell you what, they all better watch out going to a mile-and-a-quarter because Sir Winston will come running, too,” Casse said. “You didn’t see the real War of Will today. I know that. So, we’ve got to get back and figure out what’s up and why he didn’t run better. [We’ll] probably send him back to Kentucky [and] give him a little break.”

Longtime owner Tracy Farmer, who’s black-and-white silks have been carried by standouts such as Albert the Great and Commentator, was under the weather and didn’t attend the races Saturday.

“He’s actually better, but just wasn’t able to fly,” Casse said. “It’s a shame, because I know he loves running in New York, and I know this race will mean everything to him. Crazily enough, this is one of the first horses I ever trained for him. He’s very good friends with [John] Oxley. [Farmer] and his wife, Carol, and Mr. Oxley kept saying, ‘You should give Mark a horse. You should give Mark a horse.'”

Farmer and Casse also teamed up Thursday with Astoria S. runner-up Perfect Alibi (Sky Mesa).

Tacitus, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby and GII Wood Memorial S., lost little in defeat.

“He came running and finished up the race good, but it looked like he just got going too late,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who also saddled this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Country House (Lookin At Lucky). “We did have a bit of a wide trip, which you never like. He came running and looked like he was traveling better than anybody. We planned to try and be in contention at the quarter-pole and he was. He just couldn’t get there.”

Pedigree Notes:

Sir Winston becomes the 14th Grade I winner for Awesome Again, who is also the sire of GI Preakness S. winner and Belmont S. runner-up Oxbow as well as GI Haskell winner and narrow Belmont S. runner-up Paynter. Sir Winston, a second-generation Farmer homebred, is out of GSW & GISP La Gran Bailadora (Afleet Alex). The 12-year-old is also responsible for the 2-year-old filly La Isadora (Ghostzapper), who RNA’d for just $30,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale. She was bred to both Practical Joke and Classic Empire for the 2019 season. Farmer purchased Sir Winston’s second dam SW & GSP Affirmed Dancer (Affirmed) as a weanling for $150,000 at Keeneland November in 1999. Sir Winston’s third dam is two-time Canadian champion Woolloomooloo (Regal Intention).

Saturday, Belmont Park
BELMONT S. PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS-GI, $1,500,000, Belmont, 6-8, 3yo, 1 1/2m, 2:28.30, ft.
1–SIR WINSTON, 126, c, 3, by Awesome Again
1st Dam: La Gran Bailadora (GSW & GISP, $338,416), by Afleet Alex
2nd Dam: Affirmed Dancer, by Affirmed
3rd Dam: Woolloomooloo, by Regal Intention
*1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. ($50,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O/B-Tracy Farmer (KY); T-Mark E Casse; J-Joel Rosario. $800,000. Lifetime Record: 10-3-1-1, $961,773. Werk Nick Rating: B. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Tacitus, 126, c, 3, Tapit–Close Hatches, by First Defence. O/B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-William I Mott. $280,000.
3–Joevia, 126, c, 3, Shanghai Bobby–Peace Process, by War Front. ($34,000 RNA Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $50,000 Ylg ’17 FTKJUL; $32,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR). O-Michael & Jeff Fazio; B-Ikhana Farm (KY); T-Gregory D Sacco. $150,000.
Margins: 1, 3/4, 1. Odds: 10.20, 1.95, 21.60.
Also Ran: Tax, Master Fencer (Jpn), Spinoff, Everfast, Intrepid Heart, War of Will, Bourbon War.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

The post Awesome Again’s Sir Winston Pulls Off Belmont Upset appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Bricks and Mortar Runs to the Money in Manhattan

Sat, 2019-06-08 17:52

ELMONT, NY – Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) came charging down the stretch to lead home a Chad Brown-trained trifecta and continue his domination of the older male turf division in the GI Manhattan S. at Belmont Park Saturday.

This year’s inaugural GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S. Jan. 26 and GI Old Forester Turf Classic S. May 4 hero, favored at 3-5, raced in the clear in sixth through sharp fractions of :23.68 and :48.73 over the extremely firm going. The blaze-faced dark bay was let loose on the turn for home, was guided five wide into the stretch and gobbled up ground down the center of the course to collect his third win at the highest level by 1 1/2 convincing lengths.

Grade I-winning stablemates Robert Bruce (Chi) (Fast Company {Ire}) and Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) were second and third, respectively.

“This ranks right up there,” Brown said after registering his fifth Manhattan victory since 2012. “I hold this race in such high regard. To run 1-2-3 in it really points out how fortunate I am to have so many talented horses in my barn. To see the others be not far from Bricks and Mortar gives us hope they are going to have really good years as well.”

The Manhattan marked the fifth straight decision for Bricks and Mortar since returning from a 14-month hiatus. In addition to those aforementioned two Grade I victories this season, the streak also includes a narrow decision in the GII Muniz Memorial H. at Fair Grounds Mar. 23.

“He ran great, he was carrying a lot of weight,” Brown said. “Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] gave him a beautiful trip. Once again, he exploded in the stretch. This horse it just amazes me how consistently he is finishing on the turf. He’s getting good trips, he’s kicking at all different distances. [He’s a] very rare horse.”

The Manhattan put an exclamation point on a spectacular Belmont Stakes Festival for Brown, who also captured Thursday’s GIII Wonder Again S. with Cambier Parc and the GIII Intercontinental S. with Significant Form; Friday’s GIII Bed o’ Roses S. with Separationofpowers and the GII New York S. with Homerique; and Saturday’s GI Longines Just a Game S. with Rushing Fall and GI Acorn S. with Guarana.

“My staff does all the work,” Brown said. “I’m giving the interview, but it’s remarkable the work they put in. This is what it is all about, getting to the big weekends. And I appreciate NYRA putting on such a great weekend.”

Pedigree Notes:

Bricks and Mortar, one of 33 top-level winners for his legendary late sire, is out of French stakes winner Beyond the Waves, who is graded/group stakes-placed in both France and America. She also produced MSW Beyond Smart (Smart Strike), GSW Emerald Beech (Maria’s Mon), GSP Sir Ector (Dynaformer) and SP Water View (Petionville). Beyond the Waves is a half-sister to the dam of GISW Bordonaro (Memo {Chi}) and MSW & GISP Miss Empire (Empire Maker). The latter brought $1.05 million at KEENOV in 2016. The 22-year-old mare has an unraced 3-year-old filly named Davida (Animal Kingdom) and failed to get in foal to Quality Road for both 2017 and 2018, but produced a Runhappy colt Apr. 24 of this year.

Saturday, Belmont Park
MANHATTAN S.-GI, $1,000,000, Belmont, 6-8, 4yo/up, 1 1/4mT, 1:58.11, fm.
1–BRICKS AND MORTAR, 124, h, 5, by Giant’s Causeway
                1st Dam: Beyond the Waves (SW & MGSP-Fr & GSP-US,
                                $187,752), by Ocean Crest
                2nd Dam: Excedent, by Exceller
                3rd Dam: Broadway Lullaby, by Stage Door Johnny
($200,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc. & William
Lawrence; B-George Strawbridge (KY); T-Chad C. Brown; J-Irad
Ortiz, Jr. $535,000. Lifetime Record: 11-9-0-2, $4,303,650.
*1/2 to Emerald Beech (Maria’s Mon), GSW, $269,338; Sir
Ector (Dynaformer), GSP-Ire, $346,730; Beyond Smart (Smart
Strike), MSW-US, $354,044. Werk Nick Rating: D. Click for
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Robert Bruce (Chi), 124, h, 5, Fast Company (Ire)–Lady Pelusa
(Arg), by Orpen. O/B-Haras Convento Viejo (CHI); T-Chad C.
Brown. $185,000.
3–Raging Bull (Fr), 124, c, 4, Dark Angel (Ire)–Rosa Bonheur, by
Mr. Greeley. (€90,000 Ylg ’16 GOFORB). O-Peter M. Brant;
B-Dayton Investments Limited (FR); T-Chad C. Brown.
Margins: 1HF, 3/4, HF. Odds: 0.65, 8.00, 8.90.
Also Ran: Channel Maker, Channel Cat, Bandua, Olympico (Fr), Qurbaan, Catcho En Die (Arg). Scratched: Epical.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


The post Bricks and Mortar Runs to the Money in Manhattan appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Pair Share Quarter-Mile Bullet at OBS Saturday

Sat, 2019-06-08 17:11

Stormy conditions delayed the start of Saturday’s fourth session of the under-tack preview of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, but once the skies cleared in Central Florida, the show resumed with four horses sharing the furlong bullet time of :9 4/5 and a pair of juveniles working the co-bullet quarter-mile in :20 3/5.

A son of Dialed In (hip 701) worked the quarter-mile time of :20 3/5, equaling the fastest time of the week at the distance. Consigned by Parrish Farms, the dark bay is out of Pure Refinement (In Excess {Ire}), a half-sister to Grade I winner Pure as Gold (Stolen Gold).

“It was a good work, he’s a nice horse,” G.W. Parrish said of hip 701. “He had prepped well and I felt sure he’d go fast.”

Parrish purchased the colt for $40,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“I liked his conformation and I liked the he was by Dialed In,” Parrish said of the youngster’s appeal. “He was a well-built, sturdy horse.”

Parrish has already had luck selling offspring of Dialed In.

“This is my third one,” he said. “I had two fillies and they both sold well. I had a filly named Phone Chick and one named Oozle and they ran pretty well.”

Parrish Farms sold Oozle for $190,000 at the 2017 OBS April sale and Phone Chick–a $12,000 RNA at the 2014 Midlantic December sale–for $125,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale.

Of the weather which delayed the start of Saturday’s session for about an hour, Parrish said, “It was raining and there was thunder and lightning early–it was a mess. We thought they were going to cancel it and luckily they didn’t because it turned out to be a nice day.”

A colt from the first crop of multiple graded stakes winner Race Day (Tapit) (hip 706) also worked the quarter mile in :20 3/5 Saturday. The juvenile is out of Queen Brianna (Unbridled’s Song), a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Rockport Harbor. Purchased by Green River Farms for $25,000 at last year’s OBS Winter Sale, he is consigned to the June sale by Hawks Nest LLC.

Four horses worked the :9 4/5 furlong bullet Saturday, bringing the total to hit that mark for the week to nine.

De Meric Sales sent out hip 653, a filly by Ghostzapper, to work the furlong in :9 4/5. The bay is out of graded stakes winner Palanka City (Carson City) and was purchased by de Meric Stables for $190,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

A filly by Malibu Moon (hip 780) turned in a :9 4/5 work for Michael Caraman’s Race Ready Sales. Named Scoot the Moon, the dark bay is out of stakes-placed Scooter Bird (War Pass), a half-sister to graded placed Daring Reality (Include). Caraman purchased the filly for $65,000 on behalf of M.H. Walker at last year’s Keeneland September sale. She RNA’d for $145,000 after working a furlong in :10 1/5 at the OBS March sale.

Hip 795, a colt by Sky Mesa, also worked the furlong in :9 4/5. Consigned by Golden Rock Thoroughbreds and named El Guaya, the bay is out of stakes placed Serious Vow (Broken Vow) and is a full-brother to stakes placed Rowdy Dylan. He was bred by H & E Ranch and RNA’d for $10,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton July sale.

A colt from the first crop of graded winner Chitu (Henny Hughes) (hip 859) also turned in a :9 4/5 furlong work Saturday. Consigned by Vargas Sales and named Centaur’s Image, the bay is out of St Ballado’s Lady (Pleasantly Perfect) and was bred in Florida by Saul Rosas.

A son of More Than Ready (hip 657) turned in the week’s fastest three-furlong work, covering the distance in :32 3/5 Saturday. Out of Passionate Diva (Street Cry {Ire}), a daughter of multiple graded winner Roshani (Fantastic Light), the dark bay colt is consigned by C & J Stable. He was purchased by Carlos Rivers for $10,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling Sale.

The fifth and final session of the under-tack preview starts Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. The sale will be held Wednesday through Friday with bidding beginning each day at 10 a.m.


The post Pair Share Quarter-Mile Bullet at OBS Saturday appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Mitole Proves Up to Met Mile Challenge

Sat, 2019-06-08 17:03

The brilliantly talented Mitole (Eskendereya) still had some questions to answer while seeking his seventh-straight victory but first at a mile in the GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. at Belmont Saturday. After pressing a fast pace, he fended off two world-class rivals to score and provide trainer Steve Asmussen and rider Ricardo Santana, Jr. with back-to-back renewals of the prestigious event. Race favorite McKinzie (Street Sense) ran on late to cut the margin of victory to 3/4 of a length after enduring significant traffic trouble that might’ve cost him the race, and two-time G1 Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) gave a good account of himself to be third. “This is really a special horse,” Santana said. “I can’t explain how happy I am with this horse. He can come [from the] back, he can go in front, you can put him between horses and he always keeps trying his best. Today, we delayed as long as we can. He’s a really amazing horse.”

Saturday, Belmont Park
RUNHAPPY METROPOLITAN H.-GI, $1,200,000, Belmont, 6-8, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:32.75, ft.
1–MITOLE, 122, c, 4, by Eskendereya
1st Dam: Indian Miss, by Indian Charlie
2nd Dam: Glacken’s Gal, by Smoke Glacken
3rd Dam: Lady Diplomat, by Silver Deputy
($20,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $140,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). O-L William & Corinne Heiligbrodt; B-Edward A Cox (KY); T-Steven M Asmussen; J-Ricardo Santana Jr. $650,000. Lifetime Record: 11-8-2-1, $1,642,910. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–McKinzie, 124, c, 4, Street Sense–Runway Model, by Petionville. ($170,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Karl Watson, Michael E Pegram & Paul Weitman; B-Summer Wind Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $220,000.
3–Thunder Snow (Ire), 124, h, 5, Helmet (Aus)–Eastern Joy (GB), by Dubai Destination. O-Godolphin LLC; B-Darley (IRE); T-Saeed bin Suroor. $120,000.
Margins: 3/4, NK, 3 1/4. Odds: 3.50, 1.65, 5.70.
Also Ran: Promises Fulfilled, Firenze Fire, Pavel, Coal Front, Tale of Silence, Prince Lucky.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

With G2 Godolphin Mile hero Coal Front (Stay Thirsty) somewhat surprisingly ridden to the lead from his rail draw, Mitole employed his ample early zip to latch on to that foe’s flank through an opening quarter of :22.17. He poked a nose in front in the vicinity of a :44.38 half, but still had Coal Front fighting on inside of him and the usually in front Promises Fulfilled (Shackleford) being scrubbed on three deep. Thunder Snow, meanwhile, looked loaded as he waited for a seam from the pocket, and McKinzie was revving up for his run further out. Mitole shook off his pace foes leaving the quarter pole, but by midstretch Thunder Snow had gotten out from underneath Promises Fulfilled and McKinzie had finally found a clear path inside after getting completely bottled up behind the eventual third finisher. Mitole and Santana had left the fence open, but it didn’t matter as neither pursuer had quite enough kick or enough time to run him down.

“We had a little traffic trouble and if he could have gone right [outside] instead of left, that would have been the way to go,” said Jimmy Barnes, assistant to McKinzie’s trainer Bob Baffert. “It’s up to Mike [Smith] to make the right decisions. The horse showed up and he ran well. Credit to Steve Asmussen. His horse ran lights out, and ours did too.”

Hall of Famer Smith added, “It was a very unlucky trip. Very unlucky.”

Mitole broke through by an emphatic 10 lengths at third asking last February at Oaklawn, but settled for second as a heavy favorite after finding some trouble in the sloppy-track Gazebo S. three weeks later. Since then he’s done nothing but take trips to the winner’s circle. After bouncing back with a seven-length optional claiming event in Hot Springs in March, he was equally dominant in that venue’s Bachelor S. in April and in the Chick Lang S. on a wet GI Preakness S. undercard in May. Given time after that due to a splint bone injury, he picked up right where he left off at Oaklawn Mar. 2, and made the grade in the GIII Count Fleet Sprint H. in Arkansas Mar. 2 before pressing and pulling away to a 3 1/2-length tally in the seven-panel GI Churchill Downs S. on GI Kentucky Derby day. That was his only prior effort at anything but a six-furlong trip.

“This win with this horse is so special,” said Asmussen, who saddled Bee Jersey (Jersey Town) to victory here 12 months ago. “I’m thrilled for the Heiligbrodts, who have so much to do with the success that we have. Winning back-to-back editions of the Met Mile, I can’t even put into words what this means. Today is what we had targeted. We know what this race meant; what a tremendous field it had. For him to come out on top against this field today under the pressure that he had, he proved what we believed in him the whole time. We’re just so fortunate to be associated with this horse.”

He added, “I believe this race is the showcase we want it to be. You know how I felt about the horse last year and then with that little splint issue he got off track. For the Heiligbrodts to wait it out, and to now be in this position, standing here with him where we are today, is very gratifying.”

The Heiligbrodts, who took a hiatus from racing and dispersed their stock in 2011, have returned with a vengeance. They also co-campaign the likes of last month’s GI Humana Distaff S. heroine Mia Mischief (Into Mischief).

With his victory Saturday, Mitole earned an automatic spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but future plans were still in the air after Saturday’s score.

“We weren’t looking past today,” Asmussen said. “Today was our target and for this horse to put it all together that way that he has so far this year is what we will enjoy. We will enjoy this victory and go back to Churchill for a couple of weeks and then regroup, and then go on from there.”

Pedigree Notes:

Mitole is one of two Grade I winners for his sire along with Mor Spirit, who dropped jaws when he took this race by 6 1/4 lengths in 2017. The late Edward Cox, Jr., bred and raced Mitole’s dam Indian Miss, who never found the winner’s circle. The bay colt is her second foal and she has since produced the unraced 3-year-old Tipperary Jack (Violence), a juvenile filly by Creative Cause and a yearling filly by Oxbow. WinStar purchased the half-sister to GSW Live Lively (Medaglia d’Oro) for $240,000 carrying a foal by Into Mischief at the 2018 Keeneland November Sale as part of the Cox dispersal. Indian Miss foaled a filly May 26. For more, see Mitole: A Memento to Ed Cox.

The post Mitole Proves Up to Met Mile Challenge appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Overanalyze’s Hog Creek Hustle Springs the Upset in Woody Stephens

Sat, 2019-06-08 16:21

On the board in a trio of stakes this season, including a well-beaten second in the GIII Pat Day Mile on GI Kentucky Derby day last out May 4, Something Special Racing’s Hog Creek Hustle (Overanalyze) picked a good time to break through as he led home a parade of longshots in Saturday’s GI Woody Stephens S. The 18-1 shot broke sharply, but dropped back to his customary off-the-pace spot with only Nitrous (Tapit) further behind. Steadied ever-so-slightly off of heels heading down the backside and along the fence, he came off the inside and began picking off horses along the bend behind a snappy :44.53 half over a very speedy surface. Hog Creek Hustle shifted in sharply while switching leads in upper stretch, prompting Mind Control (Stay Thirsty) to get squeezed out from between he and Much Better (Pioneerof the Nile), but he leveled off from there to seize the lead late and hold off the fast-finishing Nitrous (Tapit) by a neck. Borracho (Uncle Mo) also rallied at 15-1 for third while pacesetting Strike Silver (Violence) held on for fourth to round out a $34,454.50 superfecta for a buck.

An inquiry was conducted into the move Hog Creek Hustle made at the top of the lane, but no change was made–it appeared that Mind Control was out of horse when the incident occurred.

“He didn’t have any speed. I let him fall back and run his own race. When it was time to go I just went around everybody to where he could get some clean running room,” winning pilot Corey Lanerie said. “When I turned for home and tried to switch leads, I had no intention of coming over on [Mind Control], but he does that when you try to grab the right rein, he tries to run away from it. I was lucky that they left him up, because he was the best horse, but he needs to learn how to stay straight.

“I was worried about [the inquiry], especially watching the replay. I know he bothered [Mind Control] a little bit, but the fact he was done helped our cause. If that horse kept running and had gotten a better position, I think they would have disqualified us.”

One of a trio of impressive debut-winning 2-year-olds trainer Vickie Foley unveiled at Ellis Park last summer, Hog Creek Hustle failed to lift a hoof when stretched out for Churchill’s GIII Iroquois in September. He bounced back off a brief freshening to annex a key Churchill optional claimer going this distance Nov. 10, but settled for third after a slow start and wide journey in the Sugar Bowl S. at Fair Grounds Dec. 22. He rallied for second at 13-1 behind War of Will (War Front) in the GIII Lecomte S. Jan. 19, and was fourth behind that one and GI Kentucky Derby winner Country House (Lookin At Lucky) in the GII Risen Star S. there Feb. 16. Eighth in the GII Louisiana Derby Mar. 23, he proved one-turn racing was his game when shortened up a furlong for the Pat Day Mile.

“I was nervous during the inquiry,” Foley admitted. “We’re from Kentucky and came to the Big Apple, so I was a little nervous. It went our way and I think [the stewards] did the right thing. This is my first Grade I win, and what a thrill. He was tough in the paddock, which he always is, and then with the inquiry, it was stressful. But I knew there would be blistering speed in this race, and I knew that’s what we needed. We were going for and hoping for the speed coming back to us. That’s why we thought we’d be perfect in this race and why we came. Corey gave him a good ride, too.”

Saturday, Belmont Park
WOODY STEPHENS S.-GI, $400,000, Belmont, 6-8, 3yo, 7f, 1:21.12, ft.
1–HOG CREEK HUSTLE, 119, c, 3, by Overanalyze
1st Dam: Candy Fortune, by Candy Ride (Arg)
2nd Dam: Ready for Fortune, by More Than Ready
3rd Dam: Fortunate Card, by Fortunate Prospect
WIN. ($150,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Something Special Racing,
LLC; B-Hargus & Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Vickie L. Foley; J-Corey J. Lanerie. $220,000. Lifetime Record:
9-3-2-1, $440,100. *1/2 to Majestic Dunhill
(Majesticperfection), MSW & GSP, $271,784. Werk Nick
Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Nitrous, 121, c, 3, Tapit–Speedinthruthecity, by City Zip.
O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC & Stonestreet Stables LLC;
B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.
3–Borracho, 117, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Pantanal, by Congrats.
($100,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $65,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP).
O-Preston Madden; B-Haymarket Farm LLC (KY); T-George R.
Arnold, II. $48,000.
Margins: NK, 3/4, HF. Odds: 18.90, 17.20, 15.50.
Also Ran: Strike Silver, Wendell Fong, Honest Mischief, Much Better, Mind Control, Landeskog, Lexitonian, Complexity.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Pedigree Notes:

Hog Creek Hustle is the first graded winner for his sire (by Dixie Union), and second Grade I winner/third graded winner for broodmare sire Candy Ride (Arg). Unraced dam Candy Fortune also produced Majestic Dunhill, who annexed the City of Laurel S. last November with a similar over-the-top rally. Candy Fortune, a daughter of New York SW/MGSP Ready for Fortune, has an unraced 2-year-old gelding named Alcool (Gemologist), a yearling colt by Fed Biz, and foaled a Constitution Filly Apr. 26.


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Ghostzapper’s Guarana Romps in the Acorn

Sat, 2019-06-08 15:40

ELMONT, NY – ‘TDN Rising Star’ Guarana (Ghostzapper) proved her ultra-impressive debut victory was no fluke with a dominant score in Belmont’s GI Acorn S. A dazzling 14 3/4-length winner in her Keeneland unveiling Apr. 19, she was favored at 9-5 over GI Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress (Alternation) in this big step up in class. Sitting in a three-wide fourth early as the Oaks victress blazed through an opening quarter in :21.89, the bay was tucked in a bit, sitting just off the rail in third as Serengeti Empress continued her sizzling pace, putting up a half in :43.99. Biding her time on the backstretch run, Guarana tipped out to tackle the leader turning for home. The top two betting choices dueled for a few strides, but Guarana easily dispatched her more seasoned rival in the final furlong, powering clear to a six-length victory in a new track record of 1:33.53. Serengeti Empress held second over Jeltrin (Tapizar).

“She reminds me a lot of her father [Ghostzapper], so it’s extra special to me having worked so closely with Ghostzappper and learning under Bobby [Frankel],” said winning trainer Chad Brown. “To have his daughter, who is equally as brilliant hopefully under our care is an incredible feeling. I’m a very lucky guy.”

He continued, “I felt really good because I thought there would be a strong pace. I just wanted her to break cleanly and be near the front. I didn’t feel like she needed to be on the front. Honestly, I was surprised she was on the front in her race at Keeneland. I expected her to win, but she never had blazing speed in the morning. I thought she would rate in that race. She’s always trained kind. I wasn’t concerned about her rating at all.”

Winning rider Jose Ortiz, who took off Serengeti Empress to ride the winner, said, “She broke great. I thought the moment she broke she could make the lead, but then I saw that the 1 [Serengeti Empress] and 3 [Cookie Dough] went on and I was able to drop in behind them. It was the first time she dropped behind. Her first race she went wire to wire, but she’s very classy. All I can say is wow!”

Saturday, Belmont Park
ACORN S.-GI, $700,000, Belmont, 6-8, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:33.58, ft.
1–GUARANA, 115, f, 3, by Ghostzapper
1st Dam: Magical World, by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Pleasant Home, by Seeking the Gold
3rd Dam: Our Country Place, by Pleasant Colony
*1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Three Chimneys Farm; B-Three Chimneys Farm (KY); T-Chad C. Brown; J-Jose L. Ortiz. $375,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $422,400. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.
2–Serengeti Empress, 123, f, 3, by Alternation
1st Dam: Havisham, by Bernardini
2nd Dam: Love Dancing (Arg), by Salt Lake
3rd Dam: Le Midi (Arg), by Fitzcarraldo (Arg)
($25,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $70,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Joel Politi; B-Tri Eques Bloodstock, LLC (KY); T-Thomas M. Amoss. $130,000.
3–Jeltrin, 121, f, 3, by Tapizar
1st Dam: Song to the Moon, by Successful Appeal
2nd Dam: Foxy Friend, by Crafty Friend
3rd Dam: Gerri n Jo Go, by Top Command
($7,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $27,000 RNA 2yo ’18 OBSAPR). O-Alexis Delgado; B-C Kidder, N Cole, J K & Linda Griggs (KY); T-Alexis Delgado. $70,000.
Margins: 6, 2 1/4, HD. Odds: 1.90, 3.20, 46.00.
Also Ran: Ce Ce, Queen of Beas, Proud Emma, Bell’s the One, Cookie Dough, Fancy Dress Party.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Pedigree Notes:

Guarana is the second foal and second winner out of Phipps homebred Magical World, who is a daughter of GI Breeders’ Cup distaff winner Pleasant Home. Her year-younger half-sister Magic Dance (More Than Ready) just earned ‘TDN Rising Star’ status Friday for a good-looking debut win for Three Chimneys Farm and trainer Steve Asmussen at Churchill Downs. Magical World’s most recent produce is a yearling colt by Pioneerof the Nile born May 5 of last year. This is also the family of champion Sky Beauty (Blushing Groom {Fr}); MGISWs Point of Entry (Dynaformer), Pine Island (Arch) and Tale of Ekati (Tale of the Cat); and MGSW Country Hideaway (Seeking the Gold). Guarana is the 36th graded winner and 69th black-type winner for her sire Ghostzapper.

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