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Hard Spun Colt Impresses in Saratoga Special

Sat, 2019-08-10 17:36

GREEN LIGHT GO (c, 2, Hard Spun–Light Green, by Pleasantly Perfect), backed down to 3-2 favoritism off a 3 1/4-length debut score downstate July 4 that earned him a field’s best 84 Beyer Speed Figure, proved best of a promising group in Saturday’s GII Saratoga Special S. as he drew off emphatically by some five lengths. Racing without Lasix, the Stronach homebred was away second last and moved up to sit in fifth early as a hot pace developed. Saving all the ground tucked just behind the speed through :21.71 and :44.16 splits, he swung out heading for home and wore down pacesetter Tuggle (Point of Entry) before being geared down late and stopping the clock in 1:15.68. Second choice Noose (More Than Ready) rallied from far back to take place honors from Tuggle. Green Light Go had been further flattered when the runner-up from his unveiling, Another Miracle (American Pharoah), came back to score here July 24. He prepped for this with a pair of bullets at the Spa, including a :46 1/5 (1/26) move over the main track Aug. 6.

Saturday, Saratoga
SARATOGA SPECIAL S.-GII, $200,000, Saratoga, 8-10, 2yo, 6 1/2f, 1:15.68, ft.
1–GREEN LIGHT GO, 120, c, 2, by Hard Spun
                1st Dam: Light Green (SW/GISP, $167,690), by Pleasantly
                2nd Dam: Green Light, by Sheikh Albadou (GB)
                3rd Dam: Jade Jewel, by Mr. Prospector
Springs (KY); T-James A. Jerkens; J-Junior Alvarado. $110,000.
Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $154,000. Werk Nick Rating: F. Click
for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Noose, 120, c, 2, More Than Ready–Cowgirl Mally, by Gone
West. ($190,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O/B-Joseph W. Sutton
(KY); T-Eddie Kenneally. $40,000.
3–Tuggle, 120, c, 2, Point of Entry–Satisfaction, by Awesome
Again. ($160,000 Ylg ’18 FTSAUG). O-August Dawn Farm; B-R.
Keith Long (KY); T-Jeremiah C. Englehart. $24,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 1 3/4, 4. Odds: 1.55, 2.35, 8.20.
Also Ran: Peruvian Boy, Zyramid, Long Weekend, Iberico. Scratched: King Snake.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.



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Flatter Colt Storms to Rising Star Debut

Sat, 2019-08-10 17:05

   Zayat Stables’ Gozilla (c, 2, Flatter-Atlantic Dream, by Stormy Atlantic), the 3-5 favorite, skipped clear down the lane to score a front-running debut victory and earn the ‘TDN Rising Star’ tag. The chestnut colt hopped at the break, but recovered quickly to take the lead and cut out fractions of :22.46, :45.55 and :57.38 and sailed clear in the final furlong to score by 4 1/2 lengths, completing the six furlongs in 1:09.59. Ox Bridge (Oxbow) was second and Sprawl (City Zip) was third. Gozilla was a $150,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling purchase and RNA’d for $395,000 at this year’s OBS April sale. Atlantic Dream is a full-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Icy Atlantic. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $54,000. O-Zayat Stables. B-Wildwood Farm & Indian Creek (Ky). T-Steve Asmussen.

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Tumbling Sky Another Winner for Competitive Edge

Sat, 2019-08-10 15:39

5th-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 8-10, 2yo, 6f, 1:09.86, ft.
TUMBLING SKY (c, 2, Competitive Edge–Tareks Dream, by Distorted Humor), a 2-1 shot, attended the pace as Irish Front (Summer Front) zipped through fractions of :21.84 and :44.94. Tumbling Sky took charge at the top of lane and, while Bellavia (Honor Code) gave chase late, he held on well to win by 1 1/4 lengths. Famished (Uncle Mo) closed well for third. Favored Kittansett (American Pharoah) stalked in fourth while racing along the rail, before tiring down the lane to finish sixth.  Tumbling Sky is the seventh winner, and second of the day, for his freshman sire (by Super Saver). A $13,000 EASOCT yearling, the winner brought $200,000 after working a furlong in :10 1/5 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale. Tareks Dream, who sold for $1,700 while in foal to Tapiture at the 2018 Keeneland November sale, produced a filly by Daredevil last year. The winner’s third dam Defer West (Gone West) produced graded winner Forest Music (Unbridled’s Song). Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500.
O-Corinne & William Heiligbrodt; B-George E. Bates Trustee (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.

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Funeral Arrangements Set for Carmen Barrera

Sat, 2019-08-10 09:20

Funeral arrangements have been announced for Carmen Barrera, the longtime director of horsemen’s relations for the New York Racing Association, who passed away unexpectedly Thursday, Aug. 8, in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Family and friends are invited to call Sunday, Aug. 11, at William J. Burke and Sons Funeral Home, 628 N. Broadway, Saratoga, between 5-9 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be said Tuesday, Aug. 13 at 11 a.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 12 Westminster Rd., West Hempstead, NY. Burial will follow at the family plot at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood, 111 Old Country Rd., Westbury, NY.


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More Than Ready Firster Scores at Saratoga

Fri, 2019-08-09 17:43

6th-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 8-9, 2yo, f, 5 1/2fT, 1:01.87, fm.
VOTING AGREEMENT (f, 2, More Than Ready–Vero Amore {GSP, $252,255}, by Mineshaft), sent off at 3-1 for this unveiling, settled in a stalking fourth as Leaveuwithasmile (Conveyance) and Boston Beauties (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) exchanged blows up front through an opening quarter in :21.87. Boston Beauties assumed a slight advantage on the bend, while Voting Agreement appeared poised to take over in the four path turning for home. Moving well in hand late, Voting Agreement collared Boston Beauties in the stretch and drew clear to post a 2 1/2-length victory over his game rival. 7-2 chance Indochine (War Front) was third. Vero Amore produced a half-sister to the winner by Nyquist last season followed by a filly foal by Astern (Aus) this term. She was bred back to Daredevil. Sales history: $75,000 RNA Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $130,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Klaravich Stables, Inc.; B-Swilcan Stables (KY); T-Chad C. Brown.

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Sunland Park Donates $100K to El Paso Shooting Victims

Fri, 2019-08-09 17:23

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is donating $100,000 to be distributed between the El Paso Community Foundation’s El Paso Shooting Victims’ Fund and the Paso del Norte Community Foundation’s El Paso Victims Relief Fund. The gift is intended to support the many victims of the mass shooting which recently shook the US-Mexico border region, which includes the city of El Paso as well as the surrounding counties in southern New Mexico. Sunland Park, New Mexico borders the city of El Paso, Texas.

“As a part of the greater El Paso area, we feel very connected to this close-knit community,” said Ethan Linder, director of marketing for Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. “Many of our employees and most of our visitors live in El Paso, so we’ve all really been impacted by this terrible tragedy. That’s why we didn’t think twice about making this donation that will go to help our friends and neighbors.”

Linder added that in the coming days and weeks, Sunland Park will be announcing plans for a benefit event to help raise additional funds to assist those affected by the shooting which took place in El Paso Saturday, Aug. 3.

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Trainers Show Support for Horseracing Integrity Act via Open Letter

Fri, 2019-08-09 15:07

Sixteen prominent Thoroughbred trainers have expressed their support for the Horseracing Integrity Act via an open letter “to the Thoroughbred Community” sent out Friday. The trainers who signed on are: Tom Albertrani, Christophe Clement, Ben Colebrook, Gary Contessa, Arnaud Delacour, Janet Elliott, Mark Hennig, Kiaran McLaughlin, Shug McGaughey, Ken McPeek, Tom Morley, Graham Motion, Todd Pletcher, John Sadler, George Weaver and Nick Zito. The letter reads:

“Horse racing is at a pivotal moment in its long history in the United States. The past six months presented a string of events at venerable Santa Anita Park that have shaken public confidence in our sport and led to calls from the public and government authorities for major reform.

Each of us loves the majestic animal at the heart of our sport and wants it to flourish, and within that context we offer our support as horsemen for two watershed initiatives to enhance the integrity and safety of horse racing.

We voice our support for the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019 (HIA), introduced on a bipartisan basis in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The HIA puts the entire regimen and apparatus for Thoroughbred drug testing in the very capable hands of an independent board composed of non-conflicted equine experts and representatives of the United States Anti-Doping Agency and creates a framework for uniform testing, regulations, and sanctions nationwide to best protect the integrity of our sport and vouchsafe the health and well-being of racehorses.

We understand the HIA is not without controversy among some of our colleagues, specifically regarding concerns of increased cost and regulation. But the sport finds itself amid an ongoing crisis of confidence and the need to reform and restore public trust more than justifies the necessary sacrifices. We are ready for change and will embrace it for the greater good.

Medication reform is not the only path to safe racing. We also support initiatives to standardize and improve the quality and consistency of racing surfaces and urge the allocation of more resources by racetracks and other stakeholders for the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory and related research projects, headed by Dr. Mick Peterson, formerly of University of Maine and now associated with University of Kentucky. For too long this critical piece of competition and safety has been maintained with inconsistent methods, techniques, and measurements. Technology, science, and human endeavor must marry their resources to achieve this goal, and we call for the industry to bring to bear the necessary human and capital resources to make this a reality.

Once again, we urge our colleagues to join us in supporting this vital work.

None of us takes this stance lightly, but we believe we are at a precipitous moment at which the industry must act to revive public trust in our sport and to protect our most cherished possession, our racehorses.”

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Bone Bruise for Magic Dance

Fri, 2019-08-09 11:00

Magic Dance (More Than Ready), the TDN Rising Star who stumbled at the start of the GII Adirondack S. at Saratoga Sunday, sustained a bone bruise in her left front leg in the incident and will be off for an undetermined amount of time, according to her trainer, Steve Asmussen. “It was a result of the stumble that she had in the Adirondack which broke the skin in the back of her left front ankle,” said Asmussen from Saratoga Friday morning. “It was quite a significant stumble. She actually burned the hair off the front of her left front ankle, which I’ve never seen a horse do stumbling away from the gate.”

Asmussen said the incident provided a couple of anxious moments back at the barn. “We were nothing short of very scared because she was obviously favoring it after the race, but after a couple of sets of X-rays and a couple of consultations, we feel she’ll be okay with some time off.”

Asmussen said she will be sent to Three Chimneys Farm to rest and rehabilitate. “We are very comfortable with how she is the last couple of days,” said Asmussen. “She’ll stay here at Saratoga for the next couple of days, then head to Three Chimneys and be under the care of Chris Baker until she’s 100 percent, which is what she deserves.”

Despite the incident, Magic Dance finished a game third in the race. She was named a Rising Star in her debut June 7, 24 hours before her half-sister Guarana (Ghostzapper) scored a runaway win in the Acorn. Magic Dance, bred and owned by Three Chimneys Farm, subsequently won the June 29 Debutante at Churchill.

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Ostilio Brings Crisford Back to Saratoga

Thu, 2019-08-08 18:33

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — While holding court with a small gaggle of media Thursday morning trainer Simon Crisford joked that Ostilio (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) handled the ship from England to Saratoga Race Course for the one-mile GI Fourstardave H. Saturday better than he had.

Crisford has made the trip to North America many times during his long tour as Godolphin’s racing manager, so he knows the drill, but this was Ostilio’s first journey across the Atlantic. If things go well, Crisford said he expects the chestnut colt will become a seasoned traveler on the international racing circuit. Ostilio’s trek of about 35 hours last weekend from Crisford’s yard in Newmarket took him through Belguim, on to JFK International Airport in New York City and ended with a van ride upstate to Saratoga. After clearing quarantine, he visited the main track Wednesday morning. Thursday morning he was on the nearby Oklahoma training track for his exercise that included a little burst of acceleration.

“It was just a couple of furlongs, what we would call a half-speed, a swinging canter,” Crisford said. “You probably don’t have the terminology in America. Just a swinging canter for two furlongs.”

Ostilio showed himself to be a very capable runner in Europe last year with a 4-3-0 record in seven starts, topped by wins in the Britannia S. (Handicap)–Crisford’s first Royal Ascot victory as a trainer–and the G2 Qatar Prix Daniel Wildenstein at ParisLongchamp. He finished well back in his two starts this year and enters the Fourstardave, a “Win and You’re In” race for the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, off a three-month layoff.

“The thinking about coming to this race is that we felt that a flat oval track would suit him really well,” Crisford said. “We don’t get so much of that in Europe and obviously it’s a huge race. It fitted into his program really well because he hasn’t run since May. But he’s all about the second half of the year, so it was a very good starting point for him. He’s coming here fit and well. Obviously, this is a big race and I hope he can acquit himself well. But the thinking is that the flat oval track going left-handed will suit him.”

While it is becoming a bit more common for international horses to ship to Saratoga to compete, the Fourstardave is not one of the races that attracts runners from outside North America.

“I’ve been extremely delighted to be part of it all because it’s such a famous event, such a famous racetrack,” Crisford said. “Saratoga itself is one of the dream places in the history of horse racing. Just to be here is a win ticket anyway. When I was at Goldolphin, I spent a lot of time here, we had a lot of runners here and a lot of winners. Nowadays I’m a stand-alone trainer. It’s very different, but it feels really rewarding just to be a part of it. To have horses that are good enough to be competing on an international level; it’s pretty tough to find those type of horses. It’s just a great privilege to be part of it.”

Ostilio is a homebred from the stable of Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum. His paternal grandsire is the great Galileo and he gets his name from Ostilio Ricci, the Italian mathematician who taught Galileo Galilei. The colt has shown speed and Crisford is interested in how he fares in a different style of racing.

“He races quite freely,” Crisford said. “He’s drawn five and we’ll see how quick he is out of the gate compared to American horses. We haven’t schooled him to be American-quick. He’s very much European-quick out of the gate, but that’s very different to what you have here. Andrea [Atzeni] will ride him as he finds him, once he jumps. Hopefully he will jump well and give him a forward ride if he jumps into that sort of position.”

The Royal Ascot win at 10-1 was especially sweet for Crisford in the early years of his new career. The Britannia is for 3-year-olds and 30 went to the post for the straight mile.

“It’s quite a demanding test. He made just about all the running in that race,” Crisford said. “Then when he went to France, that’s a right-handed track. It’s an easier mile than what we had to do at Ascot. He won that nicely and was very resolute and strong at the finish. But he’s always been a horse with plenty of talent. He still is fairly lightly raced for his age and he’s coming forward. Hopefully we can enjoy a productive second half of the year with him and move forward.”

After his Saratoga adventure, Ostilio will return to Europe. The Breeders’ Cup could bring him back to the States.

“We need to see how he runs here in North America before we make any sort of future plans,” Crisford said. “This race is going to tell us an awful lot about what we need to know, what we’re going to do going forward.”

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Carmen Barrera Dies at 60

Thu, 2019-08-08 16:53

The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) announced the passing of the longtime director of horsemen’s relations Carmen Barrera, who died unexpectedly Thursday in Saratoga Springs, New York. She was 60.

Barrera joined NYRA in 1978, the same year that her uncle Laz Barrera campaigned Triple Crown winner Affirmed, and began her career at NYRA in guest services as a white cap before moving to horsemen’s relations. She spent 41 years at NYRA in total. Her father, Luis, was a trainer as well, campaigning Summing to victory in the 1981 Belmont S. and her cousin, Juan Dominguez, is NYRA’s racing facilities coordinator.

“Carmen Barrera was a helping hand and guiding light for countless guests, horsemen and employees for the last four decades,” said NYRA Board of Directors Chairman Michael Del Giudice. “Carmen was a special part of the fabric of racing in New York, and she will be missed deeply.”

When asked last year to pick her most memorable Belmont S., she answered, “How can I pick just one?”

“In 1978, my uncle Laz won the Belmont S. and the Triple Crown with Affirmed,” she said. “And three years later, in 1981, my father Luis, won the Belmont S. with Summing. I was so proud of my dad that day: Summing ended Pleasant Colony’s Triple Crown bid and George Martens rode a great race. The Belmont was the Triple Crown race my father had wanted to win because it was our home track.”

In remembrance of Barrera, NYRA held a moment of silence for her following yesterday’s second race at Saratoga Race Course as employees gathered in the winner’s circle.

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Constitution Continues Sizzling Start as Tagg Firster Lays Down the ‘Law’ at Saratoga

Thu, 2019-08-08 15:33

5th-Saratoga, $78,000, (S), Msw, 8-8, 2yo, 6 1/2f, 1:18.02, ft.
TIZ THE LAW (c, 2, Constitution–Tizfiz {GSW, $410,944}, by Tiznow) blew past the favorite a furlong out and cruised home a much-the-best winner on debut Thursday at Saratoga, continuing a strong start for his freshman sire. Showing a strong local worktab, highlighted by a bullet five furlongs from the gate in 1:00 2/5 (1/30) July 27, the $110,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga New York-Bred graduate was backed as the 7-2 second choice and came away well to stalk the pace from a pocketed third past a :22.30 quarter. Dream Bigger (Mission Impazible), favored at 3-2, took over midway on the turn and looked to blow the race open at the top of the lane, but drifted in sharply as Tiz the Law came calling. The bay took over at the eighth pole and went mostly unasked by jockey Junior Alvarado from there on, coasting home 4 1/4 lengths to the good of the chalk, who was in turn 14 lengths clear of third, to become already the ninth winner for his sire (by Tapit). The victor, a half to Awestruck (Tapit), MSP, $350,928, third in the Shine Again S. earlier this meet. His dam, a graded stakes winner on turf and full-sister to GSW/GISP Fury Kapcori, has a yearling Mission Impazible filly named Angel Oak and foaled a colt by the same stallion this season before returning to Constitution. This is also the female family of 1997 Horse of the Year Favorite Trick (Phone Trick). Sales History: $110,000 Ylg ’18 SARAUG. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $42,900. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Sackatoga Stable; B-Twin Creeks Farm (NY); T-Barclay Tagg.

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Dickinson: American Racing Must Go Back to Synthetics

Thu, 2019-08-08 14:57

When it comes to synthetic racing surfaces, Michael Dickinson is obviously biased. He is the inventor of Tapeta Footings, now recognized as the leading synthetic surface manufacturer in North America, if not the world. If several American racetracks were to do away with dirt racing and replace it with synthetic tracks, Dickinson would stand to make a lot of money.

Yet, that doesn’t mean that Dickinson, who now operates Tapeta Footings with his wife Joan Wakefield, does not have the statistics to back up how safe his tracks are when compared to dirt or that his points are valid about how a synthetic revolution would go a long way toward calming the fears the man on the street has about the dangers of horse racing.

“We can’t carry on as we are,” Dickinson said. “The politician will close us down. We don’t have a choice. I think it’s a choice between safer surfaces or no racing at all. How close were we to having to close down Santa Anita? It’s a different world now than what it was 30 years ago.”

His comments come in the aftermath of a Santa Anita meet where 30 horses had to be euthanized, which led to animal rights activists and significant politicians questioning whether or not there is still a place for horse racing in a society that is decidedly more conscious of animal welfare issues than it was 30 years ago. Though some groups have been more radical than others when calling for a ban on racing, many other groups have demanded only that the sport do everything it possibly can to make the sport as safe as possible for the horses.

There’s no doubt that a movement away from dirt to synthetic tracks would go a long way toward accomplishing just that. According to the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database, in 2018 there were 1.68 deaths per 1,000 starters on American racetracks. Dirt surfaces were the most dangerous at a rate of 1.86 per 1,000, while the rate on synthetic surfaces was 1.23 per 1,000. That’s a 51% difference.

(Grass racing was actually the safest form of racing during 2018 with 1.20 breakdowns per 1,000 starters).

While 1.23 deaths per thousand starters on synthetic tracks is still a number that everyone in racing should aspire to lower, Dickinson says they tell a simple truth: synthetic tracks save lives.

“I definitely think we are going to see a second wave of synthetic tracks coming in,” he said. “Dirt tracks have been around for 100 years and they are past their ‘sell-by date.’ There are lots of really good trackmen who have been trying to improve them for over 30 years and it hasn’t worked. The one thing is they can’t control the weather and they are very reliant on the right amount of moisture. They are like an IED, they blow up in your face without warning. There’s hardly a major track in America that hasn’t had a major outbreak of fatalities on dirt from time to time.”

Dickinson said he has received several phone calls from racetrack operators and others inquiring about installing synthetic surfaces, including some from major tracks. He declined to name any of the tracks or people that have called.

Though the statistics may be on Dickinson’s side, he doesn’t necessarily have an easy sell on his hands. Several major racetracks, including Santa Anita, Keeneland and Del Mar, previously converted their main tracks to synthetic surfaces. In 2005, Turfway Park became the first U.S. track to install a synthetic surface, Polytrack. Though Turfway still has a synthetic track, Del Mar, Santa Anita and Keeneland all went back to dirt.

They did so for myriad reasons. Horsemen complained that while the synthetic tracks may have cut down on catastrophic injuries, they were responsible for a spike in other injuries. Though there’s no evidence that handle numbers fell when synthetics went in, gamblers loved to gripe about them. Farms that had invested millions in sires who did their best work producing dirt horses were understandably upset that many top races had been switched away from dirt surfaces. And some of the synthetic tracks seemed to produce more problems than they solved. In 2008, the Cushion Track synthetic surface at Santa Anita was draining so poorly that the track had to cancel 11 days of racing. Races like Keeneland’s Blue Grass S. suffered because trainers did not want to prep their horses for major dirt races like the GI Kentucky Derby on a different type of racing surface.

Dickinson refuses to make any excuses for the first wave of synthetic tracks.

“No, we didn’t give up on synthetics too soon,” he said. “The first time around they weren’t good enough. Mine was just good enough at Golden Gate and what we had at Presque Isle was OK. The other tracks weren’t good enough, period. You can’t blame the trainers for complaining. At Santa Anita, they used the wrong sand. At Del Mar, we knew that it was going to fail before it even went in. They just weren’t good enough.”

Though some tracks stuck with their synthetic surfaces, it appeared that American racing had come to the conclusion that dirt was best. That premise is now being reexamined due to the firestorm racing is under from the media and others, who can’t seem to let go of the idea that racing is a dangerous sport in which some of its equine competitors die.

Dickinson believes that if anyone digs deep enough they will find that synthetic surfaces, at least Tapeta Footings, have improved dramatically from the time they were first rolled out and that the problems of 10-12 years ago have been fixed.

While many gave up on synthetics, Dickinson gave Wakefield control of Tapeta Footings and said she has done a much better job than he ever could have. The product Tapeta now markets is called Tapeta 10. The “10” is for the 10 improvements Wakefield has made over the original product. Some of Wakefield’s innovations have been put in place at Presque Isle Downs, where the fatality rate in 2018 was 0.34 horses per 1,000 starters, making it easily the safest racetrack in the country.

But what Dickinson is most proud of is the safety record at two British racetracks, Wolverhampton and Newcastle, tracks where the state-of-the-art version of Tapeta 10 is in use. According to statistics supplied by Arena Racing Company, which owns both tracks, the rate of fatalities per 1,000 starters at Wolverhampton since 2016 has been 0.07. At Newcastle, the number is 0.08. There has not been a fatality at Newcastle since October. Over that time, there have been 3,096 starters. There have been 3,299 starters at Wolverhampton since the last fatalities, in December.

He believes those numbers can de duplicated at American tracks with Tapeta 10, and that it would change the general public’s perception about the sport.

“Thirty years ago Formula One drivers were being killed at an alarming rate and the public and the politicians reacted and said you have to change things, and they did,” he said. “It is a much safer sport now. That’s what racing is going through now and it absolutely has to make the changes to make the sport as safe as possible. We have no other choice.”

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Goffs Releases Deep Orby Catalogue

Thu, 2019-08-08 12:18

Goffs on Thursday released the catalogue for its flagship Orby yearling sale, with 472 yearlings set to be offered on Oct. 1 and 2.

This year, Orby celebrated a second consecutive Oaks winner when Channel (Ire) (Nathaniel {Ire}) was victorious in the G1 Prix de Diane. Bred by Kilcarn Stud, Channel was an €18,000 private purchase at Orby in 2017 by Meridian International. The year prior, G1 Investec Oaks winner Forever Together (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) had been bought by MV Magnier for €900,000.

One of the highlights of this year’s catalogue will be lot 262, the latest Galileo filly out of Forever Together’s dam Green Room (Theatrical {Ire}). Green Room, who has also produced the G1 Fillies’ Mile winner Together Forever (Ire), a €680,000 graduate of this sale, last year provided this sale’s €3.2-million top lot, the Galileo filly subsequently named Do You Love Me (Ire) and bought by Phoenix Thoroughbreds from Ballylinch Stud.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds also laid out €2-million for another daughter of Galileo, a full-sister to three-time Group 1 winner Alice Springs (Ire), at Orby last year and another full-sister to those two goes through the ring this October as lot 127. Other Galileos up for grabs include lot 155, a colt out of G2 Ribblesdale S. winner Banimpire (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), and lot 213, a full-sister to this year’s G1 Irish Derby winner Sovereign (Ire).

The progeny of young sons of Galileo will no doubt cause some stir, and Frankel (GB) fields a half-sister to dual Group 3 winner Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) (lot 55). Australia himself is responsible for, among others, lot 255, a half-brother to recent Superlative S. winner Mystery Power (Ire). Mystery Power is by No Nay Never, whose progeny here include a half-brother to last year’s G1 Moyglare Stud S. winner Skitter Scatter (Scat Daddy) (lot 205).

Kingman (GB) is undoubtedly one of the hottest sires on the continent, and his Orby haul includes a half-sister to the six-time Group 1 winner Moonlight Cloud (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) (lot 81) as well as lot 258, who is out of a half-sister to the Derby and Arc winner Golden Horn (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}).

Showcasing has also been on a tear this summer, and he has lot 181, a half-sister to Australian Group 1 winner Harlem (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}).

There are two catalogued by Dubawi (Ire), including a half-brother to Cheveley Park Stud’s G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. winner Persuasive (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) (lot 188), while Dark Angel himself has a full-sister to champion sprinter Harry Angel (Ire) (lot 156) on offer.

Leading French sire Siyouni (Fr) has five on offer, including lot 228 from the excellent Aga Khan family of G1 Irish Oaks winner Ebadiyla (Ire) among others. His compatriot Le Havre (Ire) has six catalogued, including the first foal out of Irish 1000 Guineas winner Jet Setting (Ire) (Fast Company {Ire}) (lot 301). Lot 345 is from the first crop of G1 Irish 2000 Guineas winner Awtaad (Ire), and is a half-brother to this year’s winner of that Classic, Phoenix of Spain (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}).

Goffs Group Chief Executive Henry Beeby said, “We have catalogued a world-class selection of yearlings thanks to our vendors who have entrusted us with many of their best colts and fillies. Last year’s Orby was a record sale for Goffs headlined by the two highest-priced yearling fillies in the world, and that the breeders of both of those fillies have sent the own-sisters back to the Orby this year is a wonderful compliment to the sale. They are joined by a multitude of Group 1 pedigrees to make up a catalogue that we believe has taken a further step forward in terms of quality and depth. We look forward to promoting the catalogue to the world over the coming months and to welcoming buyers old and new to Goffs in October.”

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Spa Event Launches Saudi Cup Countdown

Wed, 2019-08-07 21:23

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The countdown to next year’s inaugural Saudi Cup officially began Wednesday evening with a gala organized by the race’s officials in the walking ring at the Fasig-Tipton sales grounds in Saratoga. The race, scheduled to be run next Feb. 29 at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, will be run over 1800 meters of the dirt track and will be worth $20 million–making it the world’s richest race. The field will have a maximum of 14 runners, with $10 million going to the winner.

Hosted by television racing personalities Britney Eurton and Nick Luck, Wednesday’s event featured discussions with His Royal Highness Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al Faisal, Chairman of the Jockey Club Of Saudi Arabia, HRH Prince Abdullah bin Khalid Al Saud, and the race’s Global Ambassador Harry Herbert, as well as retired Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.

“The introduction of the Saudi Cup as an international race is without doubt the most significant event in the history of horse racing in Saudi Arabia, and demonstrates our resolve to develop this great sport in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and also our ambition to become a leading player on horse racing’s world stage,” said Prince Bandar.

The Saudi Cup is situated, by design, between two titans of the racing calendar, with the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 25 at Gulfstream Park and the G1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan Mar. 28, and the top three finishers in the Pegasus will be receive automatic invitations to the race.

“We chose the timing very carefully,” Prince Bandar said. “We think it fits in nicely between those two races. It is close enough to the Dubai World Cup so that people who do come to that part of the world can stay. It’s a wonderful area to train. And I think we were very lucky that we had that opening between those two races.”

Initial reaction to the new race has been positive, according to Bandar.

“We’ve had positive feedback from the States, from Europe and from Japan,” he said. “We are very excited to have them excited about such a race. I think we will have to prove ourselves in the upcoming years. We understand that, but we think we have the right team and the right people. We definitely have one of the best facilities in the world. We have everything going for us.”

Officials expect to make announcements about additional races that will be added to the Feb. 29 card in the months ahead.

“It’s not a one-race event,” Prince Bandar said. “There are several races, all with excellent prize money, both on dirt and turf.”

Wednesday’s event in Saratoga attracted a wide variety of industry insiders, including trainers Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher, Steve Asmussen, Tom Morley, Nick Zito, Ken McPeek, and Bill Mott, as well as Lane’s End’s Bill Farrish and David Ingordo, Coolmore’s Clem Murphy, Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke, WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden, and China Horse Club International’s Teo Ah Khing. West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley, who made the biggest bid of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale Tuesday, was in attendance, as was Arthur Hancock’s whose Stone Farm consigned the $1.5-million sale-topping colt.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Tom Ludt was in attendance and asserted the operation’s commitment to be a part of the inaugural Saudi Cup.

“We are very supportive of the race,” Ludt said. “We love this. This is what the industry needs. This is what the game needs.”

Phoenix horses training overseas and considered likely contenders to line up in the Saudi Cup include Dubai World Cup runner-up Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}), but the operation could also send American-based runners over for the race. Ludt admitted one of Phoenix’s American trainers was already keen on taking a spot in the historic race’s starting gate.

“Steve Asmussen said to me today, ‘Who are we running?’ and I said ‘Well, we’ll find another one,'” Ludt said.

Herbert took the microphone Wednesday evening to extol the advantages of international race meetings.

“We know that over the last 20 to 30 years, international racing has played a key part in the development of the whole sport,” Herbert said. “International racing, of course it brings international horses together–international competition is a hugely important thing. But it also brings cultures together. And whenever you happen to have an international race, in Japan or in the Breeders’ Cup, or the Arc de Triomphe or Royal Ascot, and now Saudi Arabia, it brings people together. It is just a wonderful opportunity to show off your country, your culture, your racing heritage. I think that is just everything about our sport and nothing is more exciting, and I think from a competition perspective, it’s flying your flag. Representing your country, but also seeing what another country is like. I think seeing what Saudi Arabia is like is fascinating, it’s a journey and that’s what we are going on.”


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English Channel Firster Wins With Authority at Del Mar

Wed, 2019-08-07 17:19

Sent away the 3-1 joint-second favorite for the Wednesday lidlifter at Del Mar, Hronis Racing’s ENCODER (c, 2, English Channel–Nono Rose, by Hard Spun) sat a midfield trip while saving ground for the opening three furlongs, caught the eye when traveling ominously well at the quarter pole, switched off heels and into the four path at the furlong grounds and was punched out hands and heels by Flavien Prat to record an authoritative two-length victory. Fellow firster K P Indy (Competitive Edge) tracked the eventual winner into the stretch and rallied nicely to finish a promising second. The well-bet Tomorrow Knows (Carpe Diem) appeared to take an awkward step about an eighth of a mile into the race and was pulled up by Victor Espinoza. A $60,000 Fasig-Tipton October graduate, Encoder hails from the female family of GI Kentucky Derby hero and Canadian champion Mine That Bird (Birdstone), his three-time Grade I-winning half-brother Dullahan (Even the Score) and turf GISW Bolo (Temple City). The winner has a yearling half-brother by Smart Strike’s son Dominus. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0. O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-Peter Lamantia & Greg Ramsby; T-John Sadler.

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Empire Racing Club To Present Educational Series

Wed, 2019-08-07 11:06

The Empire Racing Club will present an educational series Aug. 11 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Fasig-Tipton pavilion in Saratoga Springs, New York. Empire Racing Club’s coordinator Christina Bossinakis will serve as the moderator and there will be four presentations from guest speakers. They are: “Thoroughbred Auctions: Behind the Scenes at a Major Horse Sale,” from the Fasig-Tipton team; “Increase Your Odds of Making Money in the Thoroughbred Industry” from the Green Group’s and DJ Stables’ Len Green, who writes a monthly TDN column; “Buying for the First Time at Auction,” by NYTHA and Empire Racing Club board member Rob Masiello; and “A Closer Look at Yearling Conformation and Pedigree: What the Experts are Looking For,” by the Taylor Made Sales Agency. Each presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Interested parties may register at

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Curlin Reigns Supreme at Saratoga

Wed, 2019-08-07 01:19

SARATOGA SPRINGS N.Y.–While Tapit ran the ring during Monday’s session with the two top-priced yearlings, it was Curlin day at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale Tuesday with a trio of colts by the Hill ‘n’ Dale stallion reaching seven figures. Hips 174 and 153 topped the session and the sale at $1.5 million and Hip 159 tied Monday’s Tapit topper, Hip 80, at a cool $1 million.

“It’s really pretty simple: quality sells,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning. “We had a remarkable group of horses on offer tonight and the buyers responded very favorably. You thank the consignors and the owners and breeders who provided us with the opportunity to sell a great collection of horses tonight and over the last two nights.”

A total of 135 yearlings changed hands over the two-day auction for a gross of $55,547,000 with the average hitting a record $411,459 and a record median of $350,000. Forty-seven horses failed to find new homes for an RNA rate of 25.82%. Last year, 170 yearlings sold for $62,794,000 with an average of $369,376 and a median of $300,000.

Tuesday’s session saw 74 horses summon $32,772,000 with the average reaching $442,865 and the median at $360,000. Twenty-three horses were led from the ring unsold.

“I would not have dared this morning to say we would average $442,000,” said Browning. “We are thrilled overall with the results of 2019 and we will try for 2020 to recruit an even better group of horses. We think this is the greatest place in the world to sell a nice yearling. Next year we will really be busting our tails because it is the 100th anniversary of Saratoga.”

He continued, “I think we live in a very realistic market, where buyers are willing to pay what they consider to be a fair price and probably a little bit more. There is tremendous competition at the upper end of the market place. People are craving to have horses to run at Saratoga next summer or run in the Classics two years from now and they are willing to pay for them, but they have limits.”

Bloodstock agent David Ingordo, who selected one of the co-toppers, Hip 174, was one of many buyers to agree with Browning on the state of the Saratoga marketplace.

“If you have the right horse, people are paying for it,” Ingordo said. “They have high expectations here for the buyers. They have to jump through all the hoops like they always do. Fasig did a great job with their first sale here without Bill Graves helping to get good horses here like they always do.”

Conrad Bandoroff of Denali Stud, who sold two of the seven-figure Curlin colts (Hips 153 and 159), expressed similar sentiments from the seller’s point of view.

“Saratoga can be tough because people have a lot of time to view horses and they almost overthink sometimes,” Bandoroff said. “But, if you bring the right horses that can withstand the scrutiny, you will be duly rewarded.”

Curlin the Color of the Day

There was a healthy debate around grounds in the days leading up to the Saratoga auction as to just which of the yearlings by Curlin would top the boutique sale and at the end of two sessions, the brilliant stallion did not disappoint. Curlin, who stands at John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, was represented by three of the sale’s four seven-figure transactions, including the two $1.5-million co-toppers. In all, 10 yearlings by Curlin sold at Saratoga this week for a total of $8,350,000 and an average of $835,000.

The results continued a big year in the sales ring for the 15-year-old stallion, who topped the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale with a $3.65-million juvenile. His winners on the racetrack this season include Grade I winner Vino Rosso and graded winners Gladiator King, Lady Apple, Campaign, Electric Forest, Global Campaign, Tenfold, Point of Honor, and Mylady Curlin.

“It’s very rewarding to watch Curlin emerge as a great sire and be justly rewarded in the sales ring,” Sikura said. “The quality of his book has increased exponentially each year. I am sure the best is yet to come on the racetrack and in the sales ring. Our association with Stonestreet and the shared success of Curlin has been one of the highlights of my career.” —@JessMartiniTDN

Partnership Hits High Note for Curlin Colt

Shane McGrath, chief executive officer of the Fung family’s Australian-based Aquis Farm, came to Saratoga with a directive to find the best yearling he could. McGrath teamed with veteran bloodstock agent Demi O’Byrne and midway through Tuesday’s second session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, he partnered up with Let’s Go Stable and Crawford Farm and struck to secure a colt by Curlin for a co-sale-topping $1.5 million. McGrath, along with O’Byrne, trainer Todd Pletcher, and James Scatuorchio did his bidding while standing along the back row of seats in the pavilion.

“We’ve had Demi on board for a while and we came up here and looked at 25 colts and he said this was the one,” McGrath said. “I came up and looked at him and I agreed with him. And fortunately, Todd Pletcher loved him as well. At the end of the day, when you have the colt of the sale, you’re going to have to step up and you’re going to have to bat up. We’re a big operation down in Australia and we want to get global.”

Based in Hong Kong, Tony Fung is in the global financial services and investment industry. Aquis assets in Australia include a $400-million luxury hotel on The Esplanade in Surfers Paradise and the Casino Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Fung’s son Justin manages the family’s Australian interests.

Of the Aquis’s presence in the Australian Thoroughbred industry, McGrath said, “We have farms in Queensland, farms in New South Wales and we just opened a new farm in Victoria. It’s a big operation in Australia. And what they’d like to do is experience world racing. We ran a horse in Dubai last year. We had a horse run really well at Goodwood last week. Justin, Tony’s son, really wants to get involved in the American side of things and hopefully this horse is the catalyst.”

O’Byrne added, “I just really liked him and I love Curlin as a stallion. He’ll be trained by Todd.”

The yearling (hip 153) is out of Chilean champion Wapi (Chi) (Scat Daddy). The chestnut was consigned by Denali Stud on behalf of breeders Don Alberto Corporation and Three Chimneys Farm, who teamed to purchased the mare with the Curlin colt in utero for $1.05 million at the 2017 Keeneland November sale.

“Our expectations were high,” admitted Three Chimneys’ Chris Baker. “We really liked the colt. That was well beyond the reserve, but when two people who really want the horse hook up and have the resources to go, there is no telling where it will go. So to a certain extent, it’s not surprising but it certainly exceeded our expectations and was well beyond the reserve.”

Don Alberto’s Fabricio Buffolo added of the yearling, “We always liked him from day one. Since he was born, he was a fantastic colt. We were kind of not surprised about the price, because we always thought he was a fantastic colt who could bring a lot of money. That’s why we thought bringing him to Saratoga would be a great place for him.”

The Chilean super mare, who was named champion 3-year-old filly in her native country in 2015, appealed to the South American-based principals of both partners, according to Baker.

“There was certainly an affinity for Don Alberto for her being Chilean and an Oaks and Derby winner and she was a tremendous race mare over there,” Baker said. “Scat Daddy, you don’t have to say much. It’s well known what he is. And the Scat Daddy bringing the speed to the cross of Curlin, the mating was very attractive as well. It was an easy thing to get excited about with two South American owners who had a great appreciation for that Chilean form.”

Wapi produced a colt by Three Chimneys’ champion Gun Runner in 2019, but passed away after a recent bout with colic.

“She colicked 2 1/2 weeks ago, so she is no longer with us, but she does have a Gun Runner colt who is an exceptional colt as well,” Baker said. “So, a lot of remorse in having lost her and now we’ll need to find a mare to go out and replace her. But she was on her way to being an important broodmare and maybe, through the two offspring she does have, she’ll prove to be one.” —@JessMartiniTDN

Yet Another Curlin Colt Brings Seven Figures

Curlin was the talk of the town in Saratoga Springs the past few days and he did not disappoint with three seven-figure colts. Bloodstock agent David Ingordo snapped up the last of that trio of coveted colts (Hip 174) for a co-topping $1.5 million on behalf of a partnership led by West Point Thoroughbreds’ Terry Finley, who signed the ticket as West Point, Siena, Woodford, Valdes Singleton, Sandbrook and Freeman. The other co-topper was also a son of Curlin, Hip 153.

“We got a really good colt for the West Coast last night, so this one will probably stay on the East Coast,” said Ingordo, referring to Monday’s session-topping Tapit colt (Hip 80). “That is what we were expecting, between $1 million and $2 million. Those kind of horses are always going to be expensive. We got fortunate that they did not go crazy on the price.”

Ingordo compared the chestnut to another successful offspring of Curlin he purchased, champion filly Stellar Wind.

“He is the image of Stellar Wind in the head and the body, except in colt form,” said Ingordo, who heads Lane’s End’s bloodstock division. “We have obviously seen a lot of Curlins because we had him at Lane’s End and got him started. A lot of his success came off our breedings and this is what the good foals look like.”

He continued, “He is what you want in a racehorse. He is real classic. He looks like the oil paintings they have upstairs.”

The colt was consigned by Arthur Hancock’s Stone Farm on behalf of breeder Bobby Flay. Finley credited Hancock with selling him on the yearling.

“As you grow up in the business, you really appreciate the wisdom Arthur Hancock offers and he really liked this colt, so that really sold me,” Finley said. “Siena Farm and other people jumped in. It all just came together.”

Hip 174 is a second-generation Flay homebred and the first foal out of GSW & GISP America (A.P. Indy). The celebrity chef privately purchased his second dam, SP Lacadena (Fasliyev), and sold her for $1.3 million in foal to Bernardini at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale. Flay raced America after she RNA’d for $725,000 at Keeneland September and she won the GIII Turnback the Alarm H., closing out her career with earnings of $580,532. The mares hail from the family of GSW and blue hen Better Than Honour, who produced a pair of GI Belmont S. winners in Jazil (Seeking the Gold) and champion filly Rags to Riches (A.P. Indy).

“I don’t think you ever expect something that good, but I was hoping the horse would sell well,” Flay said. “He has had a lot of interest over the past week.”

Curlin has been quite good to Flay over the past year. He sold his Grade I winner Dame Dorothy (Bernardini)’s first foal, a filly by the Hill ‘n’ Dale stallion, for $1.05 million at the Keeneland September Sale. The now 2-year-old named Spice Is Nice was purchased by Jacob West on behalf of Robert and Lawana Low.

“I breed to proven stallions,” Flay said. “With the kind of families that I own, I am only going to use the top families in the stud book. Curlin has proven himself to be a fantastic stallion in the past few years and people want to own his progeny, so that is the kind of stallion I am going to always use.”–@CDeBernardisTDN

LaPenta, Bridlewood Team For Curlin Colt

Four years ago, Bob LaPenta and John and Leslie Malone’s Bridlewood Farm teamed up to buy future GI Belmont S. winner Tapwrit (Tapit) for $1.2 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. The partners were back in action Tuesday, going to $1 million to secure one of the sessions’ three seven-figure Curlin (hip 159) colts.

“Bridlewood Farm and Mr. LaPenta teamed up before,” LaPenta’s racing manager John Panagot said. “We had Tapwrit, who we bought from this same sale, and we have a few current 2-year-olds together.”

The chestnut colt is out of Yes Liz (Yes It’s True) and was consigned to the Saratoga sale by Denali Stud on behalf of breeder Stonestreet Thoroughbreds Holdings. Stonestreet purchased the mare as a 2-year-old for $200,000 at the 2013 OBS April sale and she was second in the farm’s gold and burgundy colors in that year’s Sorority S.

Yes Liz’s first foal, a colt by Into Mischief, sold for $500,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. She produced a colt by Maclean’s Music this year.

“Any time you get a chance to buy a Stonestreet-raised yearling, it’s an extra incentive to buy,” Panagot said. “We thought he was the most well-balanced horse in the sale. We are looking for colts, but if a filly comes up, she comes up. But we were here looking for colts and we thought this was the best athlete here and by possibly the best dirt stallion in the country.”

Panagot said a trainer had not yet been picked out for the yearling.

Denali Stud consigned two of the three seven-figure yearlings to sell at Saratoga Tuesday. In all, Denali sold eight horses during the Saratoga sale for a total of $5,825,000 and an average of $728,125.

“We’ve been coming to Saratoga for a long time,” Conrad Bandoroff said. “We love selling here. We came into this sale thinking and hoping that we had a good group. We got some really nice feedback and compliments throughout the pre-sale inspections. I have to admit, I think this is the best group we ever brought up here. We were never not busy, which was nice. We get to work for really good people. At the end of the day, you have to have a high-quality product up here and we are very careful what we bring up here.”

Bandoroff credited the late Bill Graves, who, as a senior vice president at Fasig-Tipton, was instrumental in the evolution of the Saratoga sale, with some of Denali’s success this week.

“We missed the million-dollar mark just barely last year, so this year was for Bill Graves,” Bandoroff said. “He meant a lot to our operation and we were lucky to have him smiling down. The stars aligned and that’s what you need sometimes.” —@JessMartiniTDN

A Curlin for Fireman

On an evening with a seemingly endless parade of dazzling Curlins, it was somehow fitting that the initial salvo for the stallion’s offspring was fired by trainer Ken McPeek, who purchased a colt by the Hill ‘n’ Dale stallion for $950,000 early in Tuesday’s second session of the Saratoga sale. McPeek signed the ticket on the future champion at $57,000 at the 2005 Keeneland September sale.

“I bought him for Paul Fireman, the founder of Reebok,” McPeek said after signing the ticket on hip 134 out back. “He partnered in on [Grade I winner] Restless Rider (Distorted Humor) and a lot of other horses and he wants top, top quality. Paul likes playing at the high level. Of course, I bought Curlin for a little bit less, but he was a similar type horse.”

Hip 134 is out of Grade I winner Taris (Flatter) and was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency on behalf of his breeder, Heider Family Stables.

Of the final price on the yearling, McPeek admitted, “I expected to go higher. I thought it was going to be a lot stronger than even that. I feel kind of lucky that we got him for even that number.” —@JessMartiniTDN

A Pharoah for Coolmore

Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier added another yearling by the farm’s Triple Crown-winning stallion American Pharoah to its roster late in Tuesday’s session of the Saratoga sale when the team went to $950,000 to acquire hip 191. Out of Grade I-placed Bon Jovi Girl (Malibu Moon), the yearling was consigned by St George Sales on behalf of breeder Bryant Prentice’s Pursuit of Success.

“He’s a lovely horse, very well prepared,” said Coolmore’s Adrian Wallace. “He came up here and jumped through all the hoops. We loved him from the moment we saw him. We are very happy to buy a horse from Archie [St George]-he always does a great job.”

American Pharoah’s fast start in the sales ring has been matched by the early success of his progeny on the racetrack. The first-crop stallion has seven winners to date, including group stakes winner Maven and group-placed Monarch of Egypt.

“Obviously, it’s very gratifying to see how the American Pharoahs are doing,” Wallace said. “And it’s great to see how well they are running on dirt and turf. The best is hopefully yet to come. But if you had told us by the end of July, beginning of August, that he already would have had seven winners and a few stakes horses here and in Europe, I think it’s fair to say it’s very gratifying for the breeders who bred to him and for us who stand him. Obviously we supported him heavily ourselves, but we’re looking to hopefully pick up a few more both here and in September.”

Bon Jovi Girl, who is a half-sister to champion Gio Ponti (Tale of the Cat), has already produced graded winner You’re to Blame (Distorted Humor). She was purchased by Prentice for $950,000 at the 2010 Keeneland January sale.

“We had a lot of interest, he was a very nice horse and he was very well received,” said St George. “Congratulations to Mr. Prentice and his whole team. I’d like to thank Coolmore and everyone else who was interested in him. We’ve had him on the farm since November and he’s a really special horse.”

St George added of Prentice, “He has eight mares on the farm and they are really nice mares. They breed to some good horses and we’re just happy to be part of it.” —@JessMartiniTDN

Medaglia d’Oro Proves To Be The Gift That Keeps on Giving for Edwards

One of Bob Edwards’ earliest racing successes was MGISW New Money Honey, a Medaglia d’Oro filly out of a Distorted Humor mare. He returned to that well when choosing a mate for his own Distorted Humor mare Veracity and the resulting filly summoned $1 million from Lael Stables at this auction last year. The Darley stalwart and Veracity provided another home run for Edwards in Saratoga Tuesday when her latest Medaglia d’Oro filly (Hip 150) summoned $900,000 from Claiborne Farm. The operation’s Bernie Sams signed the ticket on behalf of a new client.

“We bought her for a client to race, who is starting in the business,” Sams said. “She fits the mold and we own the family. She is a nice filly. We sold her dam as a yearling.”

Edwards, who races as e Five Racing, but breeds as Fifth Avenue Bloodstock, was all smiles after shaking hands with Sams and Claiborne’s Walker Hancock.

“This is the second baby I have out of the mare, both by Medaglia d’Oro, and I have a third on the farm now,” he said. “I got $1 million last year and now $900,000, so I will probably keep the one next year.”

Edwards continued, “We loved her. She has a really nice page and it is a live page thanks to Claiborne. She looked really good. She is a little different body type than her sister last year and her sister on the farm. We are excited to sell her. It is a lot of money.”

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan purchased Veracity on Edwards’ behalf for $460,000 at the 2016 Keeneland January Sale. Her 2017 Medaglia d’Oro filly, now named Correctness, was her first foal. Hailing from a deep Claiborne family, Veracity is out of MGSW & MGISP Yell (A.P. Indy), making her a full-sister to SW Cheery, who is the dam of MGISW Elate (Medaglia d’Oro). Veracity is also a full-sister to MSP Shrill and a half to GISP Chide (Blame) and the dam of GII Jim Dandy S. victor Tax (Arch).

“Medaglia d’Oro is a great cross with a Distorted Humor mare,” said Edwards, who consigns his horses with Indian Creek. “It worked well with New Money Honey. I met Walker [Hancock] a while back when I was looking at horses and he put me on the mare [Veracity] and they bought the horse today, so it was great.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Best Buys Most Expensive Frosted to Date

Larry Best of OXO Equine made his presence known early in Tuesday’s session when going to $850,000 for a filly from the first crop of MGISW Frosted (Hip 130), making her the most expensive progeny to date for her young sire by Tapit.

“She is just a beautiful filly,” Best said after signing the ticket out back beside bloodstock advisor John Dowd. “I like the cross with Victory Gallop. She looks the part. I don’t think you can lose on her long term. She is a good buy at $850,000.”

As for the price, Best said, “I expected to go in this range. She was never in her stall. I am surprised she is still standing. I am surprised I am still standing!”

The gray was bred by Bayne and Christina Welker in partnership with consignor Denali Stud. The Welkers purchased Hip 130’s MSW dam Swingit (Victory Gallop) for $50,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale, carrying a foal by Bodemeister. The resulting colt brought $310,000 from Robert LaPenta’s Whitehorse Stables at this auction last year and the Welkers bred to Frosted for $50,000. Swingit is also the dam of MGISP millionaire Neolithic (Harlan’s Holiday). —@CDeBernardisTDN

Casse Returns to the Well

Bloodstock agent Justin Casse picked out last term’s GI La Troienne S. heroine Salty (Quality Road), so it was no surprise to find him signing the $850,000 ticket for her half-sister by Into Mischief (Hip 140) in the initial stages of the second session. He signed the ticket on behalf of Team Casse and when asked to the name the client, said, “You might be able to figure it out.”

“As soon as I saw this filly, I was kind of blown away,” Casse said. “She stands over a lot of ground for an Into Mischief. The family has been good to us. I thought she was a superb athlete. Even if she wasn’t a half-sibling to Salty, she stands on her own physically.”

Salty was campaigned by longtime Casse client Gary Barber in partnership with her co-breeder Chester Prince and Chris Baccari, who bred and consigned this filly. In addition to her top- level success at Churchill Downs, the bay captured the 2017 GII Gulfstream Park Oaks and summoned $3 million from Don Alberto at last term’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale.

When asked if this yearling reminded him of her sister, Casse said, “A little bit. Salty had that stretch. Into Mischief usually doesn’t get you that, so it must have come from the momma.”

Chester and Anne Prince bred Hip 140 in partnership with Seclusive Farm. Baccari purchased the bay filly’s dam, SP Theycallmeladyluck (Dixie Union), for $60,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September Sale. She is a daughter of GSW Vegas Prospector (Crafty Prospector). —@CDeBernardisTDN

Young Keeps Busy at Saratoga

Bloodstock agent Steve Young flew under the radar during Monday’s opening session, but he came out swinging Tuesday, snapping up a trio of pricey yearlings. Just a few hips into the evening, the former trainer signed the ticket on a $450,000 colt by first-crop sire Runhappy (Hip 116). A $650,000 daughter of American Pharoah (Hip 151) was next on Young’s list and he saved the best for last, concluding his shopping with a $850,000 colt by Medaglia d’Oro (Hip 157), who had been one of the week’s buzz horses.

“He is a terrific horse,” Young said of the Medaglia d’Oro colt. “We vetted him and bid on him as a weanling and did not buy him. The nine months have done him good and he is a super nice horse. If we want to find a fault with him, I don’t know what it would be.”

As for the price, Young said, “He stands on his own merit. He is a stallion if he hits, so that is what he is supposed to cost.”

Gainesway’s Brian Graves purchased Hip 157 for $470,000 at the Keeneland November Sale on behalf of his Clear Ridge pinhooking partnership. Bred by Team Valor International, the bay is out of the unraced Mineshaft mare Wide Range, who is a daughter of GSW Ivanavinalot (West Acre) and a half-sister to two-time champion Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro). Wide Range also produced GSW Mico Margarita (Run Away and Hide).–@CDeBernardisTDN

Baoma Breeding Off to Quick Start

Susan and Charlie Chu’s Baoma Corporation has enjoyed standout success on the racetrack, most notably with sprint champion Drefong (Gio Ponti), but two years ago the couple decided to give breeding a try and the program was quick out of the gate with a son of American Pharoah selling for $800,000 Tuesday in Saratoga. The yearling, purchased by White Birch Farm and M.V. Magnier, is the first foal out of graded winner Super Majesty (Super Saver), who was purchased by the Chus for $475,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton February sale.

“We were very proud,” Susan Chu said of the results. “A few years ago, I decided to expand into breeding. I tried to buy very good broodmares and I started to get into that so much more. It is such a joy when you see the babies be born and see them with the momma in the field. We always fly to Kentucky to see our babies. And that’s a totally different experience than racing. It’s totally different. It is not just the passion for the sport, when you see the breeding part, I think I really like that.”

Chu continued, “This is the first baby that we had. We bought Super Majesty just because we wanted to breed to American Pharoah.”

Chu currently has 25 broodmares and plans to sell all of the resulting foals. Chu and her husband also purchased a yearling at the two-day Saratoga sale, going to $750,000 for a daughter of Into Mischief (hip 89).

“Pretty much yes, because of my husband,” Chu said of that purchase. “Charlie loves the racing. He has such passion for it-it’s his dream. We hope to add her to the broodmare band. She has a very good pedigree, very good physical.”–@JessMartiniTDN

Frosted Colt Rewards Facklers

Thomas and Lori Fackler traditionally sell their Best a Luck Farm homebreds as 2-year-olds, but decided to strike while the iron was hot with a yearling from the first crop of Grade I winner Frosted and the Ocala couple were rewarded handsomely Monday evening in Saratoga. Just the sixth horse through the ring at the opening session of the Fasig-Tipton sale, the yearling (hip 7) sold for $500,000 to Spendthrift Farm.

“That was awesome for a homebred,” Lori Fackler said of the transaction. “He is an extremely athletic, very, very intelligent colt and he was that way from within a few days. He’s really a special colt and we have really high hopes for him. We understand he’s going to a great place, so hopefully it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Of the decision to send the colt through the ring as a yearling, rather than as part of one of Best a Luck’s consignments to the OBS juvenile sales next spring, Fackler explained, “It was just because it was Frosted and Saratoga–we actually watched Frosted a couple of years ago and really loved him–and we thought this might be the special place for him. It was hard to let him go, but to be able to sell one like that as a yearling, it’s hard to duplicate it as a 2-year-old. A lot of stuff has to go right, even though he was one of our favorites.”

The dark bay colt is out of Flirting with Fate (Saint Ballado), a mare the Facklers purchased for $28,000 at the 2007 Keeneland November sale. The mare is the dam of GI Toyota Blue Grass S. winner Dance with Fate (Two Step Salsa).

“I just liked her look, the way she walked, and that she was by Saint Ballado,” Fackler recalled of the mare’s appeal.

Flirting with Fate had another big score at the Saratoga sale three years ago when her colt by Uncle Mo sold for $650,000.

Best a Luck, which partners on some 12 mares, owns just three or four mares on its own. The Facklers picked up another of the farm’s stalwart mares at that same 2007 November sale, going to $35,000 to acquire Slew’s Quality (Elusive Quality). That mare went on to produce champion female sprinter Shamrock Rose (First Dude).

“Both mares were bought at the same time, which is kind of really, really lucky,” Fackler said with a smile. —@JessMartiniTDN

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Another Curlin Colt Brings Co-Leading $1.5 million at F-T

Tue, 2019-08-06 21:07

The Curlin show continued Tuesday evening at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale when another son of the leading sire brought a co-topping $1.5 million from the partnership group of West Point, Woodford, Siena, Valdes Singleton, Sandbrook and Freeman.

Consigned by Stone Farm, agent, Hip 174, the first foal out of GSW & MGISP America (A.P. Indy), was bred in Kentucky by B. Flay Thoroughbreds. This is the extended female family of bluehen mare Better Than Honour.

A Curlin colt out of Chilean champion & MG1SW Wapi (Chi) (Scat Daddy) (Hip 153) brought $1.5 million from Aquis Farm Aus and Let’s Go Stable earlier in the session.

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Fireworks for Curlin Colts at F-T Saratoga

Tue, 2019-08-06 20:37

A Curlin colt out of Chilean champion & MG1SW Wapi (Chi) (Scat Daddy) brought $1.5 million from Aquis Farm Aus and Let’s Go Stable to lead the way Tuesday evening at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale. He was bred in Kentucky by Don Alberto Corporation and Three Chimneys Farm. Wapi brought $1.05 million from Don Alberto Corp. & Three Chimneys carrying this colt in utero at the 2017 KEENOV Sale. Hip 153 was consigned by Denali Stud, Agent V. Wapi had a Gun Runner colt earlier this year.

It’s been a banner session at the Saratoga Sale for leading sire Curlin so far.

Hip 159, a Curlin-Yes Liz colt (Yes It’s True) colt was purchased by Whitehorse & Bridlewood Farm for $1 million. He was consigned by Denali Stud, agent for Stonestreet Bred & Raised. Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings bred the colt.

Another son of Curlin out of the classy GISW & ‘TDN Rising Star’ Taris (Flatter) (Hip 134), consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency, brought $950,000 from Ken McPeek, agent for Fern Circle earlier this evening. Hip 134 was bred by Heider Family Stables.

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Down and Possibly Out, Bricks and Mortar Has Climbed to the Top

Tue, 2019-08-06 18:27

At this time last year Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) was starting over, re-learning the lessons that had enabled him to become a standout 3-year-old turf runner in 2017. Though he was nine months removed from career-saving surgery performed by Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., there was no guarantee that he would be able to regain the brilliance.

While sport is littered with tales of athletes who never could make a full comeback from injury, Bricks and Mortar is an unqualified success story. In this second chapter he has won all five of his starts–three of them in Grade I races this year–is top-ranked in the NTRA poll and is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in the Saturday’s GI Arlington Million at Arlington Park.

“It’s gratifying to see a horse come back and do well, that you help them get to their potential,” Bramlage said. “We always joke about the fact that veterinarians that work on racehorses don’t retire. They try to retire and then you end up seeing them back part-time or seeing them as consultants. I think the reason is because it’s reinforcing to test your work continuously. And it keeps it interesting.”

Bricks and Mortar has been anything but boring. Following a troubled third by three-quarters of a length in the GIII Hill Prince S. in October 2017, he was diagnosed with stringhalt, a neuro-muscular condition, in his right hind leg. Preakness winner War of Will (War Front) has a mild case of stringhalt, but Bricks and Mortar was far more severely affected, to the point where he could not gallop and needed surgery. During the lengthy recovery and re-training period he had to overcome another problem. Trainer Chad Brown acknowledged that during the 14 months between starts he feared that Bricks and Mortar, owned by Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, might not make it back to competition. Brown said that even if he was able to return, Bramlage told him there was a 50-50 chance Bricks and Mortar would be capable at the same level.

“Dr. Bramlage worked his magic. Again,” Brown said. “He’s operated on so many high-profile horses for us and got them back. This is probably one of his best pieces of work. This horse took a long time and he then had some other issues, some bone remodeling. We tried him back and he needed some more time. When he finally made it back he was better than ever.”

The gap between the Hill Prince and an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 22, 2018 was 440 days. He won that first race by a half-length, has since won the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, the GII Muniz Memorial Handicap, the GI Old Forester Turf Classic and the GI Manhattan and is once again a bright star in Brown’s talent-deep stable.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” Brown said. “I’m not surprised at his potential; I’m surprised he reached it, given his long break and the surgery and such. I always thought he had the potential to be this good. He was a remarkable 3-year-old, winning the [GII] Hall of Fame. He really never should have lost a race, this horse. In his two losses, he really was in a lot of trouble.”

Brown said he believes that an important reason why Bricks and Mortar had a better chance to recover was that the injury and resulting lameness did not appear to involve any pain.

While uncommon in Thoroughbreds, Bramlage said that stringhalt is an old lameness more commonly seen in draft horses. It involves tendon-muscle junctions, usually one muscle, the lateral digital extensor.

“We believe that it happens when a horse somehow overextends the hind leg,” Bramlage said. “The reason we believe that is draft horses will get it when they are pulling a load and their feet break out from under them and they go down on their belly with their legs extended straight out backwards. A horse rarely does that, but the draft horse people have noticed that when that happens the horses sometimes develop stringhalt the next day or within a few days.”

Bramlage described stringhalt as a disruption in the normal coordination of motion in the hind leg.

“Horses are about two-thirds or more spinal reflex,” he said. “What that means is that when they start galloping it happens automatically. They don’t have to think about it with their brain. It happens just in the local reflex arcs. That actually is one of the things you try to train when you’re training a horse, is you develop that reflex arc so that it works efficiently. Now if a horse strains the muscle tendon junction and damages the connection of the nerve to the muscle and tendon, that reflex arc gets mixed up and instead of flexing at the correct time it flexes abnormally, it will over-flex compared to what it should be.”

The surgery involves removing the muscle-tendon junction that is providing the wrong neurological information to the body and the one muscle. Due to the severity of the situation, surgery–performed on Nov. 10, 2017–was the only option for Bricks and Mortar.

“The question mark always is,” Bramlage said, “is there more than one muscle involved? This one, the lateral extensor, is one of two extensors that the horse has in their hind legs. Two muscles that lift the toe, and it’s actually the least-important one, fortunately. You can take that thing out and it doesn’t affect the horse’s ability at all. The real question mark is if it involves some other muscle-tendon junction as well, you can’t take out the rest of them, like the flexors of the stifle and the big muscles of the hip. You can’t take those muscle-tendon junctions out, but you can the lateral extensor. We were fortunate with Bricks and Mortar that it involved only that one muscle for him.”

Bramlage said it was rare for a race horse to have the level of stringhalt that threatened Bricks and Mortar’s career. He estimated that Rood and Riddle sees two to four cases a year. The surgery can be termed a success by analyzing the horse’s action a few days after the procedure, but it takes six months or more for the horse to regain full coordination. Bramlage said he could not recall another patient who has had as much success as Bricks and Mortar. With his explosive stalk-and-pounce tactics, he is 9-0-2 in 11 starts and has earned $4.3 million in purses.

“He’s a really great, good-looking horse,” Bramlage said. “I think what’s impressive is his style of running because not very many horses run like that anymore. They tend to go at or on the lead. He just sits off the back of the pack and passes them all.”

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