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Hall of Famer, 2X Breeders’ Cup Mile Winner Lure Dies

Wed, 2017-11-15 16:22

Lure (Danzig–Endear, by Alydar), a Hall of Famer and two-time winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, passed away Wednesday morning due to the infirmities of old age. He was 28 years old.

Bred in Kentucky by Claiborne Farm and The Gamely Corp., Lure won his five-furlong debut over the Belmont main track, stopping the timer in track-record time of :56.30, and won three of seven overall on the dirt, sharing the spoils with Devil His Due in the 1992 GII Gotham S. But following an unplaced effort in the GIII Riva Ridge S., Claiborne’s Seth Hancock and trainer Shug McGaughey made the decision to try the colt on the turf. He rolled home to take an allowance by better than 10 lengths and a star was born. Two starts later, the bay carried Mike Smith to a front-running, three-length defeat of Paradise Creek in the 1992 Mile at Gulfstream Park (video).

Lure would go on to win six of his eight outings at four in 1993, including a defeat of Fourstardave in the Daryl’s Joy S. at Saratoga and of Paradise Creek in the GIII Kelso H. prior to a successful defense of his Mile title from a high draw at Santa Anita (video). His two losses that season came at the hands of Team Valor’s Star of Cozzene, who bested Lure in the GII Manhattan S. at Belmont and in the GII Caesars International at Atlantic City.

“In the second Breeders’ Cup Mile, when he drew outside, there were a lot of naysayers who said he couldn’t do it from there, but everything fell into place for him,” Claiborne’s Dell Hancock told Blood-Horse. “He was just brilliant when he was right and he was certainly a wonderful end to a wonderful chapter in Claiborne history. Now he’ll be remembered as being in the Hall of Fame. The Breeders’ Cup wins helped get him there, and now he has his place in history.”

A potential third clash of those titans in the GI Arlington Million went by the wayside when Lure was scratched on raceday owing to a boggy turf course. Lure would exact his revenge on Star of Cozzene in the ’94 Caesars and added the GII Bernard Baruch H., but was second in defense of his Kelso and was unplaced in search of a third straight Breeders’ Cup Mile, his lone off-the-board effort on the grass. He retired with a record of 14-8-0 from 25 starts and earnings of $2,515,289.

Retired to stud at Claiborne, Lure sired 119 foals, including G1 Prix Morny victor Orpen from his first crop and GI Beverly D. S. winner England’s Legend from his second among his seven black-type winners. Lure was pensioned from stud duties in 2004 due to fertility issues.

A 2013 inductee into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Lure will be buried at Claiborne Farm.

Fasig-Tipton Adds to December Sale

Wed, 2017-11-15 15:29

Fasig-Tipton has catalogued an additional 73 entries for its upcoming Midlantic December Mixed Sale, to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, MD, it was announced Wednesday. Hips 204-236 consist of mares, weanlings, and yearlings and are catalogued in an addendum to the main Midlantic December Mixed catalogue. Hips 237-277 are all horses of racing age and are catalogued together in a separate Horses of Racing Age supplemental catalogue.

“These new entries add greater quality and diversity to what was already an attractive catalogue,” said Midlantic Director of Sales Paget Bennett. “I am especially pleased with our inaugural Horses of Racing Age supplemental catalogue, which has attracted a solid group of race ready horses. We expect it to grow even more, as we will continue to accept horses of racing age entries through Tuesday, Nov. 21.”

Both the addendum and Horses of Racing Age supplement include entries from the dispersal of Harry Weisleder/DASL Stable. These new entries may now be viewed online. Print versions will be available on the sales grounds at sale time.

The Midlantic December Mixed Sale will begin at 11 am.


Stormy Liberal Headed to Hong Kong

Wed, 2017-11-15 14:13

Rockingham Ranch’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint upsetter Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) has emerged from his victory at Del Mar Nov. 4 in good order and connections have accepted an invitation to take part in the G1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin Racecourse Sunday, Dec. 10.

“At this point that’s the plan. He’s been accepted to the race,” Brian Trump, racing manager for Rockingham and the son-in-law of principle Gary Hartunian, told the TDN Wednesday. “He couldn’t look any better or any fresher. He hasn’t missed a beat in his training and he looks like he’s ready to roll.”

Claimed for $40,000 in October 2016, Stormy Liberal quickly became the best turf sprinter on the West Coast, with a pair of listed victories ahead of a narrow success as the 1-2 chalk in the GIII Daytona S. down the hill at Santa Anita May 27. The wheels came off when the gelding was a distant eighth in the GIII Jaipur S. at Belmont Park in June, but he atoned at 30-1 in the Turf Sprint, holding off Rockingham’s Richard’s Boy (Idiot Proof) by a head.

But Trump and the Rockingham team are aware that a race like the Hong Kong Sprint offers new challenges, including a talented group of local horses, not to mention the sometimes-daunting task of clockwise racing.

“[Trainer] Pete [Miller] has been all over that,” Trump said, referring to racing ‘backwards. “He jogs all his horses the ‘wrong’ way here, so that helps a little bit. He’s gotten permission from officials here [at San Luis Rey Downs] to work the horse [right-handed], so we’re planning on doing that.

“He has that experience racing down the hill at Santa Anita, which does have that slight right-handed turn,” he continued. “Not a full turn, but does show he can make the proper lead switch on that kind of track. The horse is really smart. His exercise rider always tells us he takes instructions really well, so it really should be a non-issue.

It was announced Wednesday that California-based Flavien Prat will represent the U.S. in the Longines International Jockeys’ Championship Dec. 6, but Trump said a decision on a rider has yet to be determined.

“We are very, very aware that Flavien will be there. That conversation has already been had,” Trump said. “But it’s really up to Pete. We love Joel [Rosario] on him, he rode him really well in the Turf Sprint, but we haven’t finalized anything yet.”

Trump is looking forward to traveling overseas with another Rockingham runner.

“Our first experience with Rockingham Ranch was for the [G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen] with X Y Jet (Kantharos) and it was an absolute blast.”

Richard’s Boy also traveled to Dubai for last year’s G1 Al Quoz Sprint, finishing fifth after missing the kick.

“The whole traveling experience is great, that’s what it’s about for us,” Trump added. “You get to bond with your trainer, you get to see other parts of the world and you get to go with a purpose and it’s not often you get to do that.

Enable Crowned Horse of the Year

Tue, 2017-11-14 18:00

Juddmonte homebred Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), the winner of five consecutive Group 1s this year, was named Cartier Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly in a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England on Tuesday night.

Trained by John Gosden and ridden throughout the season by Frankie Dettori, Enable was third behind stablemate Shutter Speed (GB) (Dansili {GB}) in a Newbury conditions race on her first start of the year and hasn’t lost since. She put herself in Classic contention with a 1 3/4-length score in the Listed Cheshire Oaks in May before trouncing Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) by five lengths in the G1 Investec Oaks. She was a similarly facile winner of the G1 Irish Oaks six weeks later before besting Ulysses (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the Cartier champion older horse, by 4 1/2 lengths in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth S. at Ascot in July. Enable won the G1 Yorkshire Oaks by five lengths in August before besting Cloth of Stars (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) and Ulysses in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The Cartier awards, established in 1991, are decided upon by a combination of points earned in pattern races (30%), end-of-season opinions of a panel of racing journalists/handicappers (35%) and votes from readers of Racing Post, The Daily Telegraph and ITV Racing viewers (35%).

Enable’s John Gosden stablemate Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) was given the highest rating in Europe in 2017 for his runaway victory in the G1 Champion S. on Oct. 21, and the Anthony Oppenheimer colourbearer was named Cartier 3-year-old colt on Tuesday. The winner of his lone start at two, Cracksman won the Investec Derby Trial in his second start on Apr. 26. He missed the G2 Dante S. after connections deemed it would be too much to try him on testing ground 2 1/2 weeks out from the Derby, and he subsequently put in an eye-catching performance to be third in the blue riband on just his third start. Cracksman was a neck second to Capri (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Irish Derby, with connections thereafter announcing the bay would be put away to prepare for a 4-year-old campaign after the G2 Great Voltigeur S. The nature of a six-length win in that contest caused a re-think, however, and Cracksman traveled to France to take in the G2 Prix Niel on Sept. 10, winning by 3 1/2 lengths.

Bypassing the Arc and avoiding Enable, Cracksman could not have been more impressive when winning the Champion S. by seven lengths and, like Enable, stays in training next year.

Flaxman Stables and Cheveley Park Stud’s Ulysses was named Cartier older horse on the merit of wins in the G1 Coral-Eclipse and G1 Juddmonte International. The 4-year-old, who retires to Cheveley Park Stud next year for a fee of £30,000, hit the board in all six starts in 2017, finishing third in the G1 Prince of Wales’s S., second in the King George and third in the Arc for trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

Ulysses’s sire Galileo was responsible for two other Cartier award winners on Tuesday: Cartier stayer Order of St George (Ire) and Cartier 2-year-old filly Happily (Ire), both trained by Aidan O’Brien for the Coolmore partners. Also hailing from Ballydoyle was Cartier 2-year-old colt US Navy Flag (War Front).

Order of St George becomes the first horse since Yeats (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) (2005 to 2009) from the same stable to win back-to-back Cartier stayer titles. The 5-year-old took the honours last year off the back of a win in the G1 Gold Cup.

Order of St George couldn’t defend that title this year, going down by a short head to Big Orange (GB) (Duke of Marmalade {Ire}) after setting the pace, but he notched wins in the G3 Irish St Leger Trial-over G1 Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire})-G1 Irish St Leger and G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup. He was also fourth in the Arc, and stays in training next year.

The beautifully bred Happily, a full-sister to Cartier champion and Classic winner Gleneagles (Ire) as well as G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner Marvellous (Ire) and two other Group 1 horses, won four of seven starts in 2017. Those included Group 1 wins in the Moyglare Stud S. and the Jean-Luc Lagardere, the latter over males on the Arc undercard. Happily broke her maiden at second asking and became a black-type winner in her third start when taking Leopardstown’s G3 Silver Flash S. in July.

US Navy Flag may have been a slow burner early in the season, but he put it all together late to record a Group 1 double in the Middle Park S. and Dewhurst S. The full-brother to three-time Group 1 winner Roly Poly made his debut on May 1 but took five starts to break his maiden, which he accomplished at The Curragh on July 1. He was second in the G2 July S. next out and fourth behind stablemate Sioux Nation (Scat Daddy) in the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S. in August before winning the G3 Round Tower S. by six lengths on Aug. 27. The Group 1 double came next, and connections opted to try the dirt in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 4 but that experiment didn’t prove fruitful, with US Navy Flag beating just two home. His stablemate Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy), second in the Dewhurst, nonetheless provided him a boost on the same weekend with a win in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Godolphin, Britain’s champion owner of 2017, took home some more hardware on Tuesday courtesy of its Cartier sprinter Harry Angel (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). Trained by Clive Cox, Harry Angel flashed promise with a second-start win in the G2 Mill Reef S. last September and he more than built on that this year with wins in the G2 Sandy Lane S., G1 July Cup and G1 Sprint Cup, the latter by four lengths. He was also second to Caravaggio (Scat Daddy) in Royal Ascot’s G1 Commonwealth Cup. The 3-year-old is set to stay in training next year.

Sir Michael Stoute, trainer of Cartier winner Ulysses, received the Cartier Award of Merit. A leading trainer the last five decades, Stoute was born and raised in Barbados, where he worked with racehorses as well as in the media as a writer and commentator. Stoute moved to Britain at age 19 with the goal of furthering his media career, but after he missed out on a racing position with the BBC, he spent three years in North Yorkshire working for trainer Pat Ronan before relocating to Newmarket. Stoute was employed by Tom Jones and Doug Smith before taking out his license in 1972. Stoute very quickly enjoyed success in some of Britain’s top handicaps and in 1978 he sent out his first Classic winner, Fair Salinia, to win the Group 1 Epsom, Irish and Yorkshire Oaks’. Three years later Stoute’s Shergar emerged onto the scene, winning the Epsom and Irish Derbies and the King George. Stoute earned his first champion trainer title that year. Stoute would go on to add a further 12 Classic victories throughout the 80s. His reach began to go global in the 1990s, his worldwide luminaries including Singspiel and Pilsudski, who both won the G1 Japan Cup and were one-two in the 1996 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf, Pilsudski the winner. Singspiel also became the first British-trained winner of the G1 Dubai World Cup in its second running in 1997.

Stoute added three new Derby winners after the turn of the century, most recently Workforce (GB) (King’s Best) in 2010, who also provided the trainer with his first Arc win in the same year. Stoute is also renowned for his success with older horses, more recent luminaries including King George winners Golan, Conduit and Harbinger. Stoute has been champion trainer 10 times, holds 26 Classic wins and 75 Royal Ascot victories, a tally equaled only by his late rival and friend Sir Henry Cecil.

“Sir Michael Stoute has been a master of his profession for over 40 years and he is a most worthy recipient of the Cartier/The Daily Telegraph Award of Merit,” said Cartier Racing Consultant Harry Herbert. “His handling of Ulysses in 2017 was outstanding and sees that colt named as Cartier Older Horse.”

Of the equine award winners, Herbert said, “Enable enjoyed five commanding victories at Group 1 level and her performances, particularly at Ascot and Chantilly, mark her out as a filly of rare distinction. She is a very appropriate winner of Cartier Horse of the Year. Similarly, her stable companion Cracksman was an outstanding winner at Ascot in the autumn, capping a superb season for her trainer John Gosden. The prospect of Enable, Cracksman and Harry Angel, the Cartier Sprinter for 2017, all returning next year is a mouth-watering prospect.”

“Of course, 2017 will be remembered as the year when Aidan O’Brien sent out a record 27 Group 1 winners and he and the Coolmore team are rewarded with Cartier Racing Awards for US Navy Flag, Happily and Order Of St George,” Herbert added.

Keeneland Marches Into Book 4

Mon, 2017-11-13 19:51

LEXINGTON, Ky.–The Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale continued into its second week with the first of two Book 4 sessions Monday and fierce competition for the top offerings resumed. A pair of mares attracted matching $200,000 final bids to top the session, with Winchester Farm’s Marie Yoshida-Debeusscher paying that amount to acquire multiple Grade I winner Intangaroo (Orientate) on behalf of Aaron Sones, and David Anderson making that bid for Godolphin’s Mrs. Hudson (Street Cry {Ire}).

During Monday’s session, 292 horses sold for $9,311,900. The average was $31,890 and the median was $22,000. With 58 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was a sparkling 16.57%.

Last year’s Book 4 section of the November sale was dominated by the Conquest Stables dispersal, which accounted for seven of the 11 horses to sell for $200,000 or over during the seventh session, making year-to-year comparisons inexact. Last year’s seventh session also featured the $1.075-million sale of Uptown Twirl (Twirling Candy), the half-sister to champion Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile).

Buyers at Monday’s session of the 12-day auction continued to comment on the intense competition for the prized lots.

“I’m not sure who I was bidding against, but he didn’t let up,” Anderson laughed after securing the session’s co-topper. “But that’s what the good ones cost.”

Davant Latham, bidding on behalf of a pinhooking partnership, purchased the day’s highest-priced weanling, going to $170,000 for a son of first-crop sire Summer Front. The weanling was one of seven to bring six figures.

“It is very difficult to buy,” Latham said after signing the ticket for hip 2356. “I find you’re having to pay yearling prices. This is only the second weanling I’ve bought at the whole sale and I’ve been in the ring probably 10 or 11 times. This was a lot to pay for this horse, but it’s kind of the market we’re in. I have been outbid by several end-users, which is interesting to find them here. In particular, there are a lot of end-users here who breed plenty of their own horses who are surprisingly reaching down into weanlings to buy horses.”

Godolphin was the leading consignor during Monday’s session, selling 22 head for $1,365,000 and an average of $62,045.

The Keeneland November sale continues Tuesday at 10 a.m. with a session that includes a section of racing-age horses. Among the offerings are graded stakes winners Wildcat Red (D’Wildcat), Airoforce (Colonel John), Ocean Knight (Curlin), One Go All Go (Fairbanks), Royal Artillery (War Front), Code Warrior (Society’s Chairman), March (Blame), Stanford (Malibu Moon), and the supplemental entry Long on Value (Value Plus), as well as graded stakes placed Tombelaine (First Defence), Grateful (Hard Spun) and Next Shares (Archarcharch).

Intangaroo to Sones

Multiple Grade I winner Intangaroo (Orientate–Tasso’s Magic Roo, by Tasso) was purchased by Winchester Farm’s Marie Yoshida-Debeusscher on behalf of Aaron Sones for $200,000 during Monday’s seventh session of the Keeneland November sale. The 13-year-old mare, consigned by Adena Springs, sold in foal to Silent Name (Jpn) and with a 2018 no-season guarantee season to Ghostzapper.

“We want to thank Frank Stronach, who breeds wonderful progeny and top race mares,” Yoshida-Debeusscher said after signing the ticket on the dark bay mare (hip 2230). “We think the Adena Springs program is a terrific program and they give us a no-guarantee Ghostzapper, which we appreciate. So we think it’s a very good deal.”

Adena Springs purchased Intangaroo, winner of the 2008 GI Humana Distaff S., GI Santa Monica S. and GI Ballerina S., for $1.8 million at the 2008 Fasig-Tipton November sale. She RNA’d for $375,000 while in foal to Discreet Cat at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. She produced a filly by Animal Kingdom in 2016 and a filly by Silver Max this year.

“We love this mare very much,” Yoshida-Debeusscher. “In fact, we waited through all the books to buy her.”

Of Sones, Yoshida-Debeusscher said, “He is based in California, but breeds in Kentucky and he has big plans for the mare. We have many mares, so we may use the Ghostzapper [season] for another mare. He has bred to Ghostzapper many times with good success, but this mare may go to Pioneerof the Nile.”

Yoshida-Debeusscher admitted Intangaroo was a pricey purchase.

“She was expensive, but we had no choice,” she said. “Sometimes you have to accept the market. This one was our favorite. So we are very pleased to get her.”

Godolphin Mares Make Sense for Anderson

“I’ve been waiting around here for two days for her–I need to get home now,” Canadian breeder David Anderson laughed after signing the ticket at $200,000 to acquire Mrs. Hudson (Street Cry {Ire}–Sara Louise, by Malibu Moon) (hip 2301) from the Godolphin consignment.

The 5-year-old Mrs. Hudson, in foal to Midshipman, is a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Sara Louise. Bred by Darley, she won three of 12 starts for trainer Eoin Harty and earned $134,492. The mare is carrying her first foal.

“She is by Street Cry–they are not making any more of those and the filly could run,” Anderson said of the mare. “She is out of a tremendous racemare. I just loved her. She is very athletic.”

On his plans for the mare, Anderson said, “She is going to Canada, so I hope she brought her long johns. We’ll just figure out a proper mating for her and hope to develop her into a nice mare some day. I wanted the mare first, we’ll worry about the stallion next.”

While he was waiting for Mrs. Hudson to go through the sales ring Monday, Anderson purchased another mare from the Godolphin consignment, going to $130,000 for the 6-year-old Heartofthematter (Medaglia d’Oro–Catboat, by Tale of the Cat) (hip 2203), a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner It’s Tricky (Mineshaft).

“There are some tremendous pedigrees there and if you can get a physical along with it, it’s great,” Anderson said of the Godolphin draft. “There are selling with a minimal reserve, so everybody has an opportunity to get into some great families.”

Through seven sessions of the November sale, Godolphin has sold 51 mares for a total of $3,912,000 and an average of $76,706. Midnight Watch (Stormy Atlantic) (hip 285) is the draft’s leading seller after bringing a final bid of $230,000 from Lakland Farm.

Abbondanza Racing Gets Fuerza

The Abbondanza Racing partnership added Fuerza (War Front–Amusing, by Distorted Humor) to its expanding roster Monday when bloodstock agent David Meah signed the ticket at $180,000 on the 4-year-old filly (hip 2178) from the Claiborne Farm consignment. Bred and raced by Ramona Bass, the bay broke her maiden at Suffolk Downs in September before adding a Meadowlands allowance Oct. 28 for trainer Michael Matz. On the board in six of eight starts, she has earned $74,820 to date.

“We’re excited to have her,” Meah said. “This is one filly that we’ve been following for a bit of time now. Physically, she’s awesome and clearly in her races, she is getting better. We are excited to take her to California to [trainer] Richard Baltas.”

Abbandonza Racing, in partnership with Medallion Racing, had success at the track this year with GII Santa Ana S. winner Goodyearforroses (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}), who was purchased for $200,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale. The 5-year-old mare RNA’d for $375,000 last week at this sale.

“They are growing and giving us a little more spending money,” Meah said of Abbandonza Racing. “I think we are going to find some really nice horses–starting with this one here. The plan is to get in, race for a year, try to get some black-type, maybe win a few little stakes, and if we get really lucky, maybe win a graded stakes. Then come back here and let them find a home being a momma with someone who wants to breed them. And Fuerza has the pedigree to back it up. She has all of the credentials.”

Meah admitted the team is being patient as it searches out fillies who meet the partnership’s program.

“We came here with the intention of buying eight to 10 and we are at four right now,” he said. “Tomorrow starts more with colts and geldings, with not too many fillies. It has been hard, but if you just be patient, there are still plenty more horses. If you don’t find them here, there are lots of other places to find them. So we’re not scrambling.”

On behalf of Abbandonza Racing, Meah has also signed for Americana (Tapit) (hip 393) for $130,000 and Midnight Crossing (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) (hip 1038) for $240,000 at the Keeneland November sale.

Latham Goes to the Front

Bloodstock agent Davant Latham was forced to $170,000 to acquire a colt from the first-crop of multiple graded stakes winner Summer Front (War Front). Bred by Gunpowder Farms and consigned by St. George Sales, the weanling (hip 2356) is out of Samurai’s Honor (First Samurai), a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Trip (Lord at War {Arg}).

“The horse had a beautiful walk and he was well-prepared,” Latham, who was bidding on behalf of a pinhooking partnership, said. “He’s a nice horse who I think will grow and finish well.”

Summer Front stands at Airdrie Stud for $10,000. The stallion has had six weanlings sell at Keeneland November for a total of $737,000 and an average of $122,833.

“He is an exciting first-year stallion by War Front–the sky is the limit,” Latham said of Summer Front.

Tapiture Colts Popular Monday

A pair of colts by first-crop sire Tapiture sat atop the weanlings list for much of Monday’s session of the Keeneland November sale after being purchased by pinhooking groups.

Consigned by Darby Dan Farm, hip 2271 attracted a final bid of $150,000 from the pinhooking partnership B.K. Bloodstock, headed by Ocala horseman Jimmy Gladwell.

“We thought he was a great physical,” Gladwell said after signing the ticket on the bay colt. “We are looking for some good colts to resell next year. He has a lot of growing to do and a lot of improvement, but he has a great walk and great balance. We like everything about him. I thought he was one of the raciest looking [Tapitures] we saw. So we had earmarked him as our pick for the day.”

Bred by Robert Clements in Kentucky, the weanling is out of Maggie R (Officer), a half-sister to graded placed Monument Hill (Royal Academy).

Earlier in Monday’s session, Brian Graves paid $130,000 for hip 2155, another colt by the Darby Dan stallion who won the GII West Virginia Derby and GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. Out of Double Harbor (Rockport Harbor), the weanling was consigned by Bluewater Sales and was bred by Deann and Greg Baer in Indiana. The weanling’s half-brother Sky Writer (Sky Mesa) was recently third in the Indiana Futurity.

“I’m not sure it was about who the horse was by, but more the horse himself,” Graves said of the weanling’s appeal. “He’s a free-moving colt, really athletic and with a little stakes update.”

Tapiture, who stands for $7,500, has had seven weanlings sell at Keeneland November for a total of $910,000 and an average of $130,000. His trio of six-figure sales Monday was completed by hip 2332, a colt who sold for $100,000 to Winchell Thoroughbreds, which bred and raced the stallion.

South American Buyers Busy at Keeneland

As the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale entered its second week Monday, bloodstock agent Carlos Moore only found the action picking up as he continued shopping for a host of South American clients.

“I’ve been buying horses since 1990 here at the sales,” Moore said. “I was looking at the past [sales] results, and I’ve bought close to 1,000 horses over the years and most of them have gone to South America.”

Through seven sessions of this year’s November sale, Moore has signed the ticket on four mares, led by Hint of Joy (Empire Maker) (hip 1804) at $77,000, and one weanling, a son of Mizzen Mast (hip 1736) acquired for $30,000.

“90% of what I buy is broodmares or broodmare prospects,” Moore said. “The weanling market and the yearling market is very limited, just because they have six months against them–they are penalized the same as Southern Hemisphere horses coming into the Northern Hemisphere. Because of that, you can’t really race them until they are 3-year-olds. It’s a big financial investment between the quarantine, the shipping, the buying of the horse and then down there, you have to break it, train it and wait.”

The one weanling in Moore’s Keeneland shopping cart was purchased on behalf of Chilean horseman Jaime Allende-Marin, who has enjoyed remarkable success importing American weanlings into Chile.

“[Allende-Marin] is willing to buy weanlings and he’s been very, very lucky,” Moore said. “He has had four or five champions from 15 to 20 weanlings that we bought over the years here. So he comes back every year just because his score rate is so good.”

Allende-Marin campaigned Chilean Group 1 winner Linda Linda (Chi) (Bluegrass Cat) to be stakes placed in the U.S. last summer. The chestnut is out of Hitched to a Star (Crafty Prospector), a mare Moore purchased for $32,000 at the 2008 Keeneland January sale.

Another of Moore’s broodmare purchases at Keeneland is This Is Crazy (Aus) (Nureyev), whom he acquired for $45,000 at the 2011 Keeneland January sale. That mare is responsible for a current Grade I runner in the United States, Dom Felipe’s Dona Bruja (Arg) (Storm Embrujado {Arg}).

“I have a gentleman here from Brazil who breeds in Argentina and the first mare I bought for him was a Nureyev mare who was conceived in the United States, born in Australia and then brought back to States and he bought her as a 10-year-old mare,” Moore said. “Her second foal in Argentina, bred to a local stallion, turned out two years ago to be the champion older mare. She is here in the United States, she’s won two Grade IIIs and she was second in the Beverly D. and she is running next Saturday.”

He laughed, “If you analyze the frequent fliers of that family, it would beat a world record.”

Asked what he looked for in potential South American imports, Moore said, “I am looking for pedigrees closely related to international bloodlines because they won’t recognize down there, and they don’t recognize in any part of the world, when you go off the graded and listed stakes in the pedigree and you go into the restricted stakes. That is something they don’t understand and they don’t recognize. So we have to look for graded stakes. They like to see California or New York graded stakes horses or something that has done well in Europe. They are looking for that close by.”

He continued, “Like everything else, you just need new bloodlines. When you close yourself into your own bloodlines, you just need outcrosses and American mares and European mares have always been good sources of outcrosses. The breeders are always looking to improve on the breeding stock. And there is nothing better than bringing in new bloodlines. And a lot of them have done well, some haven’t done well. It’s just a question of being able to buy a nice horse here and hopefully it will translate down there.”

Moore made his first purchase of the 2017 November sale during the 12-day auction’s fifth session.

“We have always been able to find the type of horses we are looking for, it’s just a question of being patient,” he said. “We don’t usually buy in the first couple of books. We start in Book 3 and from then on, we just try to pick our way through it. And sometimes we have to forgive a little bit the conformation, but we are trying to get the bloodlines.”

A Fateful Dart Throw

Mark Alexander, farm manager for Baccari Bloodstock, and his brother Jody Alexander, farm manager for Sumaya Farm, had reason to be thrilled when their Run Away and Hide filly (Hip 2342) sold for $72,000 Monday to agent Jeffrey Bloom. The long-time horsemen won a season to Run Away and Hide during Darby Dan’s annual Christmas party dart throw and opted to breed their productive 21-year-old mare Puype’s Dream (Kris S.) to the stallion.

“Darby Dan has a dart throw every year at their Christmas party where you can win seasons,” Mark Alexander explained. “My brother threw a dart and got Run Away and Hide. It was a very nice match, we thought. It worked out really well. It’s a great story we can tell our kids.”

The Alexanders acquired Puype’s Dream through one of Mark’s previous roles as a farm manager at Damara Farm in Kentucky. When the farm dispersed, the brothers purchased the mare for $20,000 at the 2006 Keeneland January Sale. Puype’s Dream’s 2007 foal, Codoy (Bernstein), sold for $105,000 as a Keeneland September yearling and went on to place in both the GIII Bourbon S. and John Battaglia Memorial S.

Alexander said he had high expectations for the Run Away and Hide filly, who became her sire’s most expensive weanling ever Monday.

“We really liked the filly,” Alexander said. “She was a very forward filly. We thought we’d strike while the iron is hot. We don’t usually sell weanlings, but we thought this would be a good time to try it.”

Alexander said his family has long-time involvement in the industry, including his grandfather, who was a farm manager at Greentree Farm–present day Gainesway Farm–and his father, who worked for Peggy Augustus’s Keswick Stables in Virginia.—@BMassamTDN

Q and A With Walker Hancock

Mon, 2017-11-13 17:31

Each year’s breeding stock sales are eagerly awaited by stallion farms looking to answer the question asked two years earlier when the top sires of that year retired to stud: how will they be received in the marketplace? This week’s sales have brought good news to a wide variety of farms standing stallions at a wide variety of fees (more from Ben Massam in tomorrow’s TDN). One such home run was hit by Claiborne Farm as they watched Lea’s first progeny, bred on a $12,500 fee, bring an average of more than 10 times that amount through Sunday’s results, and a top price of $230,000, with seven of 10 sold. The winner of the 2015 Donn H. in track-record time, Lea was second or third in five additional GI races, including the Dubai World Cup. Claiborne’s Walker Hancock admitted to having a soft spot for Lea, and took a break Monday at Keeneland to talk to the TDN‘s Sue Finley about his early success in the sales ring.

TDN: Congratulations on a big week with Lea. What were your expectations and how did you feel about what you’ve seen so far?

WH: We were hoping we’d have a big week with Lea. We did a lot of advertising for him. We kind of felt like he got lost in the shuffle this past year and we wanted to make sure the buyers and breeders hadn’t forgotten about him. We pushed him hard and I think we were rewarded for that because his prices have been very good; but not only because we pushed him, but because the individuals have been that good. We were confident about him, about what the offspring looked like, and it’s nice to know that other people see what we have seen.

TDN: He came along right about the time when you took over in your new role at the farm, and that for that reason, is it fair to say he may be particularly special to you?

WH: That is fair, and he’s also special to me because I worked with him at the track. Al Stall trained him and I worked that summer with Al when he was in the barn and I have a picture of me alongside Lea when he won his first race at Saratoga. He took us all around the globe; he ran in Canada, he ran in Dubai, and we went there to watch him, so he’s one of my favorites.

TDN: Claiborne and Adele Dilschneider bred, owned and raced Greenery (Galileo {Ire}), Lea’s dam. You bred her to First Samurai in his second season at stud. Can you remember how that mating was decided upon?

WH: You know what? That was back when I was in high school. You’d have to ask my dad; he must have seen the physical and thought they matched each other. I had no part in the mating!

TDN: It’s a very Claiborne kind of story; a mare for a longtime client bred to a young Claiborne stallion.

WH: We like to support our own stallions. It’s very important that you do so. If you don’t stand behind your own product, I don’t know how you can expect others to do the same. We always try and breed as much as we can on the farm. We bought High Savannah carrying Greenery and that ultimately resulted in Lea along with some other successful horses, so that was a great purchase. Hugo Lascelles bought her privately, I believe, in England, and she was carrying Greenery at the time. That must have been one of Galileo’s first years at stud.

TDN: How important are the relationships Claiborne has with long-term clients to establishing a stallion, and how did that play into the way you have developed Lea?

WH: Mrs. Dilschneider is one of the best clients you could ever ask for. She’s great; she’s very involved and is always game for whatever we want to do. She loves her horses and you couldn’t ask for a better client. She’s very supportive of whatever we want to do with Lea or Blame or Elate; it doesn’t matter who. We’ve had a lot of success with her and we hope that continues.

TDN: Compare the way War Front’s early career was developed with the way you’re developing Lea’s.

WH: They both started out at about the same price. I think War Front started out at $12,500 and so did Lea. The third year with War Front, we really had to beg for people to breed to him. We’re not going to have to beg as many people to breed to Lea, I don’t believe, since his weanlings have sold so well, but they’re in similar spots. They from good families with solid race records, and both were probably undervalued and underappreciated when they came to stud. We’re hoping for similar results. The foals are spectacular and we couldn’t be happier with how they’re looking so far.

TDN: Lea bred 100 mares his first season. Someone pointed out to me at the sale this week that your limiting his book provides such a value to breeders at auction. How helpful was that in establishing his sales success this week?

WH: It’s huge. If people want to buy a Lea, there’s only a limited number of them, so in the sense that supply is down, demand will be higher, so people are willing to pay a higher price since there are fewer to go around. Everyone knows that, too. Next year when they become yearlings, there won’t be very many of them. If you bought them and are trying to pinhook, there won’t be as many offered as yearlings. So if you want one, you’ve got to pay the price. In turn, that rewards the breeders that have been loyal to the horses that we stand.

TDN: His first two years, he stood for $12,500. You’ve dropped that to $7,500. Are you fielding a lot of calls for him this week?

WH: Yes, we’re confident he’ll have a full book now. Not only because of the drop in price, but because of the way they’ve sold, too. Mission accomplished there.

TDN: What is a full book for him?

WH: We’ll try to breed him to a 120, just because last year, he didn’t have the kind of numbers we were hoping for. He was a great racehorse. He always made us proud. Every time he ran, he always tried his heart out. He missed a couple close races in his last year, and if he had won one or two of those, it might have been a different story, but we always loved this horse and loved to watch him run. We’re standing behind him and looking to the future with him.

Caulfield: Australia’s Effect on Sire Success

Mon, 2017-11-13 16:35

Thanks to the shuttle system, breeders are sometimes forced to revise their assessment of a stallion when he returns home a conquering hero. The perfect example has to be Danehill. Although Danehill started his career at a fee of IR£25,000 in 1990, he quickly started to slip down the ranks at Coolmore, to the extent that by 1993, Coolmore had seven stallions standing at higher fees than the IR9,000-guinea Danehill. By 1994, Danehill was only tenth in the pecking order. Although his early Irish crops forced a rapid reappraisal, Danehill was still leased to Japan in 1996.

By the time he returned to Ireland in 1997, Danehill had established himself as the dominant force in Australian breeding, becoming champion sire in 1994/95 and 1995/96, and he was well on his way to his third consecutive title. He had also underlined his status as a sensational sire of 2-year-olds, with each of his first three crops containing the G1 Golden Slipper winner (Danzero, Flying Spur and Merlene).

These outstanding southern hemisphere results, coupled with a pair of 2-year-old sires’ championships from his Irish crops, helped breeders view Danehill in a new light. His Irish fee began to soar, and by 2005, he had landed the first of his three consecutive sires’ championships (ten years after the first of his nine Australian titles).

Results over the past fortnight have highlighted two other stallions–More Than Ready and High Chaparral–whose talents were arguably first fully appreciated by breeders in Australia. The Breeders’ Cup saw the veteran More Than Ready score his second double at the championships, with ‘TDN Rising Star’ Rushing Fall taking the GI Juvenile Fillies Turf and Roy H. the GI TwinSpires Sprint. His previous double came seven years earlier, when More Than Real and Pluck won both of the Juvenile Turf events, which were then Grade II’s.

High Chaparral, for his part, has recently enjoyed so much success in Australia that he now ranks second on the sires’ table behind Snitzel (who owes his substantial lead to Redzel’s victory in The Everest sprint). His principal November earners in Australia include Ace High, who added the G1 Victoria Derby to his earlier success in the G1 Champion S., and Rekindling, who turned in a terrific effort for a 3-year-old in winning the G1 Melbourne Cup. For good measure, High Chaparral also supplied second and third in the G1 Kennedy Oaks (also known as the VRC Oaks).

It is only in recent years that the now 20-year-old More Than Ready has received the type of respect in Kentucky that he has long enjoyed in Australia. Having started at $25,000 at Vinery Kentucky, his fee fluctuated for quite a while and even his 2010 Breeders’ Cup double wasn’t enough to launch him into the higher echelons. As I pointed out at the time, he was still awaiting his first GI success in the northern hemisphere (leaving aside his Puerto Rican champion Forbidden Prince).

It didn’t take him long to correct that omission. Buster’s Ready took the Mother Goose S. in 2011 and then Regally Ready won the Nearctic S. a few months later, before taking the GII Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The major breakthrough finally came in 2013, when Verrazano took the Wood Memorial and then pulverised the opposition in the Haskell Invitational.

Verrazano may be about to add another chapter to the More Than Ready story, as his first-crop yearlings achieved such good prices as $575,000, $625,000 and $650,000, off a fee of only $22,500. More Than Ready has also been joined at WinStar Farm by his son Daredevil, who became another GI dirt winner when he took the 2014 Champagne S. Daredevil’s first weanlings have been selling well in recent weeks. Sired at $12,500, they have made up to $150,000 and averaged more than $83,000, so Daredevil may be another one to keep an eye on.

More Than Ready was himself a dirt performer, but his difficulty in his homeland was that he was perceived primarily as a turf sire (four of his five Breeders’ Cup successes have come on turf, as did Room Service’s victory in the GI American Oaks). Now the likes of Buster’s Ready, Verrazano and Roy H. have helped convince breeders that his progeny also have plenty to offer on the main track. Consequently, his fee has often stood at $60,000 in recent years.

Even so, it is possible to argue that More Than Ready has operated at a higher level in Australia. Having initially stood for AUS$22,000, his fee was as high as $148,500 in 2009 and it still stood at $121,000 as recently as 2012. The size of his fee reflects his feat of siring a lengthy list of 14 southern hemisphere G1 winners, headed by the champion mare More Joyous and the Golden Slipper winners Sebring and Phelan Ready. Five of his G1 winners, including two winners of the Victoria Derby, are out of daughters of Danehill, whose pedigree blended well with that of More Than Ready’s sire Southern Halo.

It has been a similar story with High Chaparral. I have explained several times that he wasn’t immune to suspicion early in his stallion career, even though he had been a G1 winner at two, three and four, with the Racing Post Trophy, Derby, Irish Derby, Irish Champion S. and two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Turf among his successes. He also represented the potent Sadler’s Wells-Darshaan cross, but that probably meant that breeders associated his name more with stamina than speed.

In his early years at Coolmore, High Chaparral was in direct competition with Sadler’s Wells and his brilliant sons Montjeu and Galileo. He also joined the team at a time when there was still some prejudice against Sadler’s Wells as a sire of sires–a prejudice which Montjeu and Galileo rapidly erased. Unfortunately, that didn’t help High Chaparral, as breeders increasingly turned to Montjeu and Galileo rather than the unproven High Chaparral. After starting at €35,000, High Chaparral’s fee fell by €5,000 every season until it reached only €10,000 in 2009 in his sixth season.

By that stage, he had begun to attract the attention of National Hunt breeders and his 2009 book included numerous mares with National Hunt backgrounds. One of those 2009 mares was Monte Solaro, winner of a National Hunt flat race and a handicap hurdle. She duly produced the top-class jumper Altior, who, oddly enough, is a contemporary of the top-class miler Toronado.

Fortunately, High Chaparral’s first three crops all did well during 2009, forcing breeders to think again. By this stage, his first New Zealand crop was also beginning to highlight his classic potential, with Monaco Consul winning the G1 Victoria Derby and So You Think the G1 W.S. Cox Plate.

With his fee heading upwards, High Chaparral’s Irish crops added four more G1-winning sons in the Irish Champion S. winner Free Eagle, the German colt Lucky Lion, the dual Australian G1 winner Contributor and now Rekindling. Golden Sword, a brother to Rekindling, could be considered a bit unlucky not to be included on this list, as he held second place in Sea The Stars’s Derby until passed close to home by Fame And Glory, Masterofthehorse and Rip Van Winkle.

Even so, High Chaparral’s southern hemisphere crops–sired at fees up to AUS$99,000–have arguably done even better, with Aces High following in the footsteps of such illustrious multiple G1 winners as Dundeel and Shoot Out. Other noteworthy G1-winning sons include Descarado, winner of the Caulfield Cup and Caulfield S., and Tivaci. Tivaci proved himself one of High Chaparral’s fastest sons, notably winning the All-Aged S. over a mile, and he is to shuttle to England’s National Stud to fill the gap created by Toronado’s move to France.

Sadly, High Chaparral died in December 2014 at the age of 15, so his final 2-year-olds are racing this year. They have a lot to live up to.

Penny Chenery Wins Big Sport of Turfdom Award

Mon, 2017-11-13 15:03

The 2017 Big Sport of Turfdom award, which recognizes a person or group of people who enhance coverage of Thoroughbred racing through cooperation with media and racing publicists, will be presented posthumously to Penny Chenery, the Turf Publicists of America announced Monday.

Chenery, the owner of 1973 Triple Crown hero Secretariat, philanthropist, and one of the industry’s preeminent figures for five decades, won in a vote determined by the nearly 150 active members of the TPA, a trade organization of Thoroughbred racing publicists and marketing executives. She was also the winner of the Big Sport of Turfdom award in 1973.

“Mrs. Chenery was such an ambassador for our sport and was so incredibly generous in sharing of herself and the legacy of Secretariat all these many years to the media and fans alike,” said TPA President Rhonda Norby. “It is most fitting that she has been awarded the Big Sport of Turfdom a second time to bookend her incredible contributions to racing.”

The award will be presented to Chenery’s daughter, Kate Tweedy, at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s annual awards luncheon Dec. 5.

“This honor is such an appropriate way to remember Mom’s devotion to racing and to its fans,” Tweedy said. “Like the TPA, she believed in sharing the excitement of racing. She would be thrilled to be recognized once again in this way.”

Looking Good From Up Here

Mon, 2017-11-13 13:08

The European yearling sales season has all but come to a close. There have been about 4,800 yearlings sold since late August and vendors will have endured the highs and lows of selling in a very polarised market, with the top 10% of yearlings accounting for 54% of the revenue generated at all European sales. As our decile table tells us, the only market sector that advanced significantly was the very top, improving by 15.9%. Every other area of the market either only made marginal gains or essentially stayed the same as last year. And the drop from decile one is quite stark: an average of £348k to £99k to £63k. From a top price of £4.2 million (4 million gns) to £137k to £75k.

These numbers amply demonstrate how quickly demand drops away if your yearling doesn’t measure up. Another useful way to demonstrate the tough nature of the market is to look at individual yearling profitability. If we add the conception fee to an upkeep charge of say £16,000 and then compare this to the yearling price, we can see clearly what is going on. At the European sales, there were 4,627 yearlings by sires with five or more yearlings sold that had published fees back in 2015. Remarkably, only 2,243 or 48% of these would have been considered profitable if we use our £16k yardstick for keeping a yearling until sales time. But then that is the very nature of markets: rich rewards for the few and a chastening for the many.

Lonhro (Aus) Filly Romps to Become Newest ‘Rising Star’

Sun, 2017-11-12 17:37
  War Heroine (Lonhro {Aus}) made an eye-catching unveiling on the main track at Del Mar Sunday to make her the newest ‘TDN Rising Star’. The dark bay broke with the pack before quickly moving up to take an uncontested lead within the first furlong. After quick fractions of :22.11 and :45.28, she was still

Storm the Hill Tops Steady Saturday at Keeneland

Sat, 2017-11-11 19:56

LEXINGTON, KY – During a day of steady trade, Storm the Hill (Get Stormy) brought top price of $275,000 as Book 3 of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale opened Saturday in Lexington. The 3-year-old racing prospect, purchased by Mike Akers on behalf of Alastar Thoroughbreds, was one of three horses to bring $200,000 or more in the session. In all, 248 horses sold Saturday for a total of $15,313,000. The average was $61,746–almost idential to last year’s figure of $61,839–and the median remained constant at $47,000. Saturday’s buy-back rate was 26.84%. It was 35.06% a year ago.

“It’s pretty good trade,” Akers said. “Nothing is easy. Anything with proven produce is really tough and sire power is always a big factor as well.” Asked if he had found any soft spots in the market, Akers laughed, “I haven’t found them if there are.”

Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan went to $230,000 to secure the day’s top-priced weanling, a filly by first-crop sire Lea, from the St. George Sales consignment. The filly was purchased on behalf of an end-user and Ryan admitted a large number of end-user buyers was providing increased competition in the weanling market.

“A lot of end-users are buying weanlings,” Ryan said. “They feel they can come in here and not have to compete with the general yearling market and a lot of people are doing it. It makes it harder on the pinhookers, because they have a margin they have to work with.”

Of the overall November market, Ryan added, “The quality is selling very well. But we are seeing less and less of it available. People aren’t selling good mares, they’re keeping them. Mares with pedigrees, they want to keep them. And we’ve lost so much to overseas–like Japan–they’ve siphoned off so much quality in the last 30-35 years. But what quality is presented is selling really well.”

The Keeneland November sale continues through Saturday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Storm the Hill to Race On

Storm the Hill (Get Stormy–Thornhill, by Good and Tough), a stakes winner and graded stakes placed since being catalogued for the Keeneland November sale, will be continuing her racing career in the colors of Lynn Alexander’s Alastar Thoroughbreds after selling for $275,000 Saturday in Lexington.

“They’ll go to the races and hopefully have some fun,” bloodstock agent Mike Akers said after signing the ticket on the 3-year-old filly. “We thought she would be $250,000-$300,000, so we were right in that range.”

Racing for Gary Barber, Silver Ranch Stable and Wachtel Stable, who acquired her from trainer/breeder Buff Bradley this past spring, Storm the Hill (hip 1570) won the Sept. 30 Unzip Me S. and was third in the Oct. 29 GIII Autumn Miss S.

“She is a lovely filly,” said Meg Levy, whose Bluewater Sales consigned Storm the Hill. “She came in and did what she was supposed to do–she won a stakes since the catalogue and then she was placed in a graded stakes. It’s what everybody wants. She vets, she’s beautiful.”

Of the decision to place the filly in Book 3, rather than in the horses of racing age section of the November auction, Levy explained, “You’re never sure what the situation is going to be. When she was placed in the catalogue, she hadn’t won a stakes yet and she had not been placed in a graded stakes, so all those things changed. Hopefully she’ll be able to move forward off of this for the new connections.”

Lea Filly to Ryan

A filly from the first crop of GI Donn H. winner Lea (First Samurai) sold for $230,000 to bloodstock agent Mike Ryan midway through Saturday’s fifth session of the Keeneland November sale. Consigned by St. George Sales on behalf of breeder Dell Ridge Farm, hip 1460 is out of the unraced Nippy (Pulpit), a half-sister to graded stakes winner Well Monied (Maria’s Mon), Grade I placed Economic Model (Flatter) and graded stakes placed Jimmy Simms (Lost Soldier).

“She is a special filly,” Ryan said after signing the ticket on the dark bay. “She’s just a beautiful filly with style, size, quality, presence and intelligence. I’ve seen four or five today by Lea and I was very impressed with them, but she was the standout.”

Ryan continued, “She was bought for an end-user and I told him that she would cost that much more as a yearling because she’s that special. After the next few days, Lea won’t be a secret because they are nice.”

Later in Saturday’s session, a colt by Lea (hip 1546) sold for $180,000 to Bloodstock Investments V. The stallion, who stands at Claiborne for $7,500, has had six weanlings sell at Keeneland this week for an average of $140,833.

Dell Ridge purchased Nippy, with this Lea foal in utero, for $180,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

“We had bought her previous foal and pinhooked it,” Dell Ridge’s Des Ryan explained. “And I saw the mare last November and, since we had done well with the first foal, we decided to buy her.”

Nippy’s first foal is a colt by Data Link. Purchased for $47,000 as a weanling at the 2015 Keeneland November sale, he resold for $180,000 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling sale before being purchased by Ryan for $185,000 at this year’s OBS March sale. The 5-year-old mare produced a colt by First Samurai last year.

“She is back in foal to Temple City,” Ryan said of the mare. “We haven’t decided who she’ll go to next year, but she throws a lovely foal. And this foal is obviously going to great people there. So we’re excited about that. It was good all around for everybody.”

Berglar Running on Faith

The 6-year-old mare Shannon Faith (Discreet Cat–Jessi Take Charge, by War Chant), in foal to Carpe Diem, will be joining the broodmare band at Stonereath Stud after farm owner Peter Berglar signed the ticket at $200,000 Saturday at Keeneland. The unraced bay is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes placed Northern Giant (Giant’s Causeway). Her second dam is Felicita, who produced Take Charge Lady (Dehere), dam of champion Will Take Charge and Grade I winner Take Charge Indy.

“The pedigree speaks for itself and we just hope it works out,” Berglar said of hip 1533.

Of Shannon Faith’s young covering sire, Berglar added, “I like Carpe Diem as a racehorse and he seems to produce lovely stock. We’ll hope she produces a nice foal and try to recoup the price next November.”

Shannon Faith was Berglar’s first purchase of the November sale.

“I’ve tried, but this is actually the first one I’ve bought,” he said. “The nice ones are making a premium and they deserve to.”

Shannon Faith was consigned by Hunter Valley Farm. SF Bloodstock purchased the mare as a 3-year-old for $180,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. In foal to Pioneerof the Nile, she RNA’d for $300,000 at that auction last year.

Expensive Shanghai Bobby Colt Graduates Gamely at Del Mar

Sat, 2017-11-11 18:59

Cool Bobby made a confident run on the outside in his debut and took the lead in midstretch before the Bob Baffert firster Talent Scout (New Year’s Day) battled back to the inside and took the Oct. 9 event at Santa Anita by a neck. He was purchased for $575,000 at the Keeneland September sale and was the most expensive horse by Shanghai Bobby sold last year.

Breaking as the 6-5 favorite, the dark bay traveled five wide down the backstretch, just a half-length off the lead through a quarter mile in a quick :22.02. He made steady progress while staying three wide around the entire far turn and put his nose in front two furlongs from home. He showed grit continuing to go by pacesetter Candy Cornell (Candy Ride {Arg}) and get to the wire first stopping the timer in 1:10.11 for the six furlongs.

Cool Bobby is a full brother to 2013 GIII Iowa Derby winner Looking Cool. Their dam has a yearling colt by Declaration of War.


Malibu Moon Colt Earns Diploma in Bob Hope Upset

Sat, 2017-11-11 17:51

Greyvitos winless in two previous career starts, lit up the tote board at odds of 19-1 in Saturday’s GIII Bob Hope S. at Del Mar. Adding blinkers here, the gray was sent to the front from his rail draw by Victor Espinoza and led comfortably through fractions of :22.66 and :45.20. Favored ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mourinho ranged up at the top of the stretch and set his sights on the pacesetter, but couldn’t get by, as Greyvitos kept finding more en route to a 1 1/2-lengths victory. Beautiful Shot was third.

Saturday, Del Mar
BOB HOPE S.-GIII, $100,345, DMR, 11-11, 2yo, 7f, 1:22.20, ft.
1–GREYVITOS, 118, c, 2, by Malibu Moon
1st Dam: Snow Top Mountain (GSW & GISP, $525,303), by Najran
2nd Dam: Motokiks, by Storm Cat
3rd Dam: Matoki, by Hail to Reason
Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Triple B Farms (Boghossian); B-Audley Farm
Equine (VA); T-Adam Kitchingman; J-Victor Espinoza. $60,000.
Lifetime Record: 3-1-0-1, $66,345. Werk Nick Rating: C.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Mourinho, 118, c, 2, Super Saver–Sandi’s Ready, by More
Than Ready.
‘TDN Rising Star’. ($30,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $625,000 2yo ’17
OBSMAR). O-Phoenix Thoroughbred III; B-WinStar Farm, LLC
(KY); T-Bob Baffert. $20,000.3–Beautiful Shot, 120, r, 2, Trappe Shot–Beauty for Ashes, by
City Place. ($105,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). O-Calumet Farm;
B-Southern Chase Farm, Inc. & Karen & Greg Dodd (FL); T-J.
Keith Desormeaux. $12,000.Margins: 1HF, 7 3/4, 1HF. Odds: 19.90, 1.30, 3.00.
Also Ran: Italiano, Run Away, Here Is Happy. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Forever Unbridled Set Sights on Pegasus

Sat, 2017-11-11 14:24

Charles Fipke’s GI Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Forever Unbridled (Unbridled’s Song) returned to training Saturday morning at Churchill Downs, her first time since arriving back from Del Mar. She is being aimed for a tilt versus males in the $16-million GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27.

“She looks great,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “I’m just blessed to have a horse like this in my care. As of right now the plan is to point her towards the Pegasus. I think you can take on the world with her, that’s how good she is. Mr. Fipke has really laid out a nice plan for her moving forward if she stays healthy.”

A very good third in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, the 5-year-old is perfect in three subsequent starts in 2017, including a win over the mighty Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro) in the GI Personal Ensign S. at Saratoga.

“She trains hard every single day and doesn’t have a day where she gets lazy,” Stewart said. “She ended up running a knockout race in the Personal Ensign which was special to get a win at Saratoga. She’s just so consistent at what she does.”


Pioneerof the Nile Firster Rides the Rail to Impressive Score

Sat, 2017-11-11 13:43

1st-WO, C$65,320, Msw, 11-11, 2yo, 6f (AWT) (off turf), 1:10.75, ft.

THUNDER RIDE (c, 2, Pioneerof the Nile–Pontiana, by Deputy Minister) was a yearling purchase for $625,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. He began his training at Churchill Downs in late summer before shipping up to Woodbine, where he has been stabled for Mark Casse. The 8-1 long shot broke a step slow and moved from the outside to the rail in the first furlong. Staying on the fence behind the trio of leaders setting a moderate tempo of :23 and :45.74, the bay saved all the ground around the far turn. Once pacesetter Viewfinder (Langfuhr) moved off the rail just outside the eighth pole, Thunder Ride stormed through the opening and kicked clear to score by 1 3/4 lengths, covering the six furlongs in 1:10.75 on the Tapeta track. Point of Order (Point of Entry) finished well on the outside for second.

The winner’s is a half to Addibel Lightning (Colonel John), MSP, $197,128, and his second dam, Shine Again (Wild Again), is a multiple winner of the GI Ballerina S. at Saratoga and earned $1,271,840 in her career. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $28,859. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-Cheyenne Stables LLC & Oxley, John C.; B-Gainesway Tbreds LTD, J & B Passerello, Howard Graves & Ivanovich (KY); T-Mark E. Casse.[

Tension Overflows at Keeneland

Fri, 2017-11-10 18:47

Matt Lyons of Woodford Thoroughbreds struck late in Friday’s session of the Keeneland November sale to secure the 5-year-old mare Tension (Tapit–Tough Tiz’s Sis, by Tiznow), in foal to Curlin, for $750,000. Consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency on behalf of breeders Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, the gray mare is a daughter of multiple Grade I winner Tough Tiz’s Sis and a half-sister to graded stakes winner Tiz Midnight (Midnight Lute).

Tapit Colt Rolls to Rising Stardom at Churchill

Fri, 2017-11-10 16:33

Principe Guilherme (Tapit) stamped himself as one to watch with an impressive debut victory beneath the Twin Spires Friday afternoon, good for ‘TDN Rising Star’ honors.

The 7-1 chance was hustled from his outside draw by Ricardo Santana Jr. after breaking a bit tardy to lead through an opening quarter in :23.37. He had company on the far turn following a half mile in :47.18, but began to let it out a notch. The bay found another gear from there, and despite remaining on his left lead down the entire stretch, rolled home by a visually impressive 6 1/4 lengths. Mustang Cat (Tale of the Cat) was second.

The winner is the first foal out of 2013 GI Humana Distaff S. heroine Aubby K, a $2.4-million FTKNOV purchase by Summer Wind Farm in 2015. Aubby K, a half-sister to GSP Flying Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus) and Mythical Pegasus (Fusaichi Pegasus), had a colt by Tapit in 2016 and a filly by Medaglia d’Oro in 2017. She was bred back to Empire Maker.

7th-CD, $60,560, Msw, 11-10, 2yo, 7f, 1:24.07, ft.
1st Dam: Aubby K (GISW, $435,004), by Street Sense
2nd Dam: Lilly Capote, by Capote
3rd Dam: London Lil, by London Company
Sales history: $600,000 Wlg ’15 FTKNOV. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,000. Click for the chart, free catalogue-style pedigree or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O/B-Three Chimneys Farm (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.

Updates Carry the Day as Book 2 Begins

Thu, 2017-11-09 21:09

LEXINGTON, KY–A pair of mares with recent updates brought the top two prices during the third day and first Book 2 session of Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale Thursday.

So far for the marathon auction, 430 head have changed hands for gross receipts of $115,770,000 at an average price of $269,233–down 4.96% compared to this point in the sale last year. The cumulative median sits at $157,500 (-7.35%) versus $170,000 12 months ago. The clearance rate remains better than last year, with 25.61% of offerings being bought back compared to 30.86% in 2016.

Thursday’s top-priced lot was the 11-year-old mare Fools in Love (Not For Love) (hip 514), who was scooped up by Cheveley Park Stud for $1 million. Consigned by Lane’s End, Fools in Love is the dam of this year’s G2 Champagne S. winner in England Seahenge (Scat Daddy).

The day’s second-highest price was also a mare with a talented turf 2-year-old by Scat Daddy. Curlin Hawk (Curlin), who went for $800,000 to Japan’s Shimokobe Farm, is responsible for GIII Pilgrim S. hero Seabhac. Curlin Hawk was consigned to the sale by Taylor Made Sales Agency, Agent LXXX as hip 459 and offered in foal to Malibu Moon.

“The all-important update,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Geoffrey Russell said when asked to sum up the session.

“It was good to see that, and Scat Daddy had an influence today too as the 2-year-olds had a huge impact on those [top] two mares. Plus even the [GI Spinaway S. winner] Lady Ivanka (Tiz Wonderful) update on the Tapiture foal (hip 587) for $300,000–the power of the update played a role today.”

The gross for the session was $31,774,000. The average was $138,751 (-2.63%) and median was strong at $120,000 (+17.07%). The RNA rate was 27.07%.

“There were a lot of different buyers with some new people coming into the market today, but still we have some people left over from Book 1 who are still shopping away–especially some of the Japanese are still shopping, SF [Bloodstock] has been busy selling and buying,” Russell said. “The diversity’s going to continue I hope.”

The weanling market has continued to show strength, with six foals bringing $300,000 or more Thursday and a top price of $550,000 paid by Baccari Bloodstock for a Pioneerof the Nile colt (hip 420). Five weanlings cost $300,000-plus during the entirety of Book 2 last term.

“The foals, I thought, sold exceptionally well today–even ones with no updates. Quality foals sold very well. The weanling-to-yearling pinhookers are giving premium prices.”

Book 2’s second and final session begins Friday at 10:00 a.m.

Cheveley Park Show ‘Love’ for Seahenge Dam

Newmarket, England-based powerhouse Cheveley Park Stud took home the first seven-figure mare of Book 2 on Thursday, fending off several stiff challenges to secure Fools in Love (Not For Love) for $1 million. The 11-year-old, who is not in foal, was consigned by Lane’s End as hip 514 on behalf of New Jersey-based owner/breeder George Hall.

A half-sister to MGSW International Star (Fusaichi Pegasus), Fools In Love was herself a stakes-winning earner of $240,000. She’s proven a very solid producer thus far.

Her first foal Urban Bourbon (City Zip) was Grade III-placed, and her second foal Frank’s Folly (Mineshaft) was also stakes-placed. Her 2-year-old of this year, a Scat Daddy colt, was a $750,000 KEESEP purchase by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier last season. Now named Seahenge, the Aidan O’Brien pupil annexed the G2 Champagne S. at Doncaster in September before finishing third in the G1 Dewhurst S. behind his accomplished stablemates in MG1SW U S Navy Flag (War Front) and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy). Fools in Love’s yearling colt by Exchange Rate went to John Fort for $150,000 at September and she has a weanling colt by Honor Code.

“It was very expensive, but the mare is proven and she’s an outcross,” said Cheveley Park managing director Chris Richardson. “We came here to buy some special pedigrees and mares and she’s a proven producer obviously with a good connection to the U.K. She’ll be going home now, but to whom I’m not quite sure.”

Richardson wasn’t bothered by the fact that Fools in Love wasn’t in foal.

“Obviously, it’s nice to buy a mare that’s in foal, but if you’re going to buy these foundation mares, she’s got plenty of years ahead of her doing well,” he said. “Now we can breed her early next year to whoever we decide to send her to… I think that was a very full price, but [owners Patricia and David Thompson] are keen to support the market with a few new families and she potentially suited the program.”

Not For Love is the broodmare sire of the likes of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome (Lucky Pulpit).

Cheveley Park also purchased the $525,000 My Hope (Afleet Alex) (hip 290) on Wednesday and $2-million Mesa Fresca (Sky Mesa) at the Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Top European 4-year-old Ulysses (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) is set to stand at Cheveley Park next year. —@BDiDonatoTDN

Curlin Hawk Flying to Japan

The Japanese buying bench remained active as Book 2 started at Keeneland Thursday with Yukio Shimokobe of Shimokobe Farm purchasing Curlin Hawk (Curlin–Maggy Hawk, by Hawkster) (hip 459) for $800,000. The 7-year-old mare, whose first foal is recent GIII Pilgrim S. winner Seabhac (Scat Daddy), sold in foal to Malibu Moon. She was consigned by Taylor Made Sales.

“When I first saw her, I didn’t know the first foal had won a Grade III,” Shimokobe admitted. “I thought she had a good shape and a strong walk. And she has a lovely face. It was only after I saw her that Taylor Made told me that the first colt had won a Grade III, so that was a bonus.”

The Japanese have been a major presence at this week’s bloodstock sales and Shimokobe, who is the third generation of his family to shop the Keeneland sales, explained, “We need new blood to add international pedigrees to the Sunday Silence line. There are many, many stallions by Sunday Silence, so we need another line.”

Out of Maggy Hawk, Curlin Hawk is a half-sister to champion Afleet Alex (Northern Afleet) and multiple graded stakes placed Unforgettable Max (Northern Afleet).

She was purchased by Borges Torrealba Holdings for $210,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale. Donegal Racing purchased Seabhac for $170,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. The mare produced a filly by Super Saver in 2016 and a colt by Strong Mandate this year. @JessMartiniTDN

Elite Goes Eight-for-Eight

Elite, the fledgling sales consignment headed by Brad Weisbord and Liz Crow, enjoyed a standout debut at both the Fasig-Tipton November sale and Book 1 of the Keeneland November sale. The consignment offered eight horses, led by the incomparable Tepin (Bernstein), who sold for $8 million at Fasig-Tipton Monday evening, and all eight found new homes. The four Keeneland Book 1 offerings sold for $3,225,000 and an average of $806,250.

“The week went phenomenally,” Weisbord said. “We couldn’t have expected it to go better. We had four horses at Fasig and four Book 1 horses at Keeneland and we had one reserve that got sold the next day privately. So eight of eight were cleared.

He continued, “Having a 100% clearance rate is one of the most important things in selling. When people bring horses to market, they are meant to be sold, and if the buyers believe your reserves are natural and fair, they are going to continue to come back. And that’s what we saw in both Book 1’s.”

Elite made its debut at the Fasig-Tipton July Horses of Racing Age Sale, where it sold six of the top 10 lots and a total of 11 head for an average of $254,455.

The team, which also includes Jackson Buchanon, is focused on providing potential buyers complete dossiers on each horse in its consignment and it is intended to be a natural progression of the trading both Crow and Weisbord have been doing for years on the private market.

“When we put information together on the private market for our clients that buy and sell, we put Thoro-Graphs, Ragozins, comparables, stakes schedules, how much the horse can earn,” Crow explained. “All of that information is in one area. And we wondered why this information wasn’t available to people who buy on the public market. When I was buying on the public market, I was having to put all this information together myself. Since we trade so often on the private market, we just figured it was a natural extension to do it the right way on the consignment level. I think it’s worked out really.”

Providing that kind of in-depth information can encourage buyers to come out and look at horses they might not otherwise have considered, according to Crow.

“If you don’t put the horse in front of people, they can’t buy it,” she said. “We have a horse in Book 2 who ran a zero Thoro-Graph and I can say the GI Ballerina S. was won with a 1 1/2 this summer. So, this horse never ran in a graded stakes, but she ran a good enough number to win a Grade I race. So it’s just putting that information in front of people and hopefully that makes them come back to the barn and take a look at something they might have missed otherwise.”

For Crow, the results speak for themselves.

“I think it’s obvious that we’re shaking things up,” she said. “We went eight for eight and they all sold well. I think it’s because we are able to value these horses properly because we are shopping on the private market and public market everyday. So it’s easy for us to come in here and know what these horses are worth and set reasonable reserves. We know what we can expect them to bring since we study the market so closely.”

Elite’s initial forays in the public sales arena have been supported by some of the biggest players in the industry.

“I think the whole week is a tribute to the clients who supported us,” Weisbord said. “Obviously, any time you start something new, there could be some people who say, ‘Let them be successful before we give them a chance.’ So I have to give major credit to the teams of SF Bloodstock, Sol Kumin, China Horse Club, Michael Dubb, Bobby Flay, Donegal Racing and others for stepping up and supporting us initially. The biggest names in the game trusted us to get their product sold and, with a clearance rate of 100%, the team set terrific reserves and the buyers have trusted what we’ve brought to the market.”

Baccari Back at it in Book 2

Pinhooker Chris Baccari continued to play at the top end of the weanling market on Thursday, purchasing four foals for a combined $1.3 million.

Tops among those purchases was hip 420, a $550,000 Pioneerof the Nile colt consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock. The Apr. 23 foal is out of stakes winner Bobbie Use (Not For Love), making him a half to GI Princess Rooney H. heroine Starship Truffles (Ghostzapper). SF Bloodstock purchased Bobbie Use for $110,000 in foal to Indian Ocean at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton November Sale and bred hip 420. Bobbie Use’s unraced 2-year-old colt by Paynter cost $150,000 here two years ago and $520,000 at KEESEP ’16.

“The first time I saw him I knew I was going to have to own him,” Baccari said of the Pioneerof the Nile colt. “I knew that going into it–he’s just a very special horse. He’s a later foal, but he’s got such a big, strong walk. Every time you saw him he just never, ever missed a beat ever.”

So far for the auction, Baccari has purchased eight weanlings for a combined $3.02 million, led by a Tapit–My Conquestadory filly he scooped up for $775,000 during Tuesday’s opening session. He also purchased a pair of $300,000 colts (hip 379, by Speightstown; and hip 658, by Pioneerof the Nile), and a $150,000 Daredevil filly (hip 554).

“When you have sire power–like Pioneerof the Nile–and a little female pedigree to go with it, they’re going to be very, very expensive,” he said of the weanling market. —@BDiDonatoTDN

West Splurges for Carpe Diem Colt

Bloodstock agent Jacob West was forced to $320,000 to acquire a colt from the first crop of GI Toyota Blue Grass S. winner Carpe Diem (Giant’s Causeway) early in Thursday’s third session of the Keeneland November sale.

“I bought him for a racing partnership, but the guys I bought him for might pinhook,” West explained. “We gave a lot of money for him, being from Carpe Diem’s first crop, but he was a standout. Obviously, when you walk in there and give you that much money for a first-year sire, they have to have the physical and he has the pedigree to back it up.”

The weanling (hip 454) is out of Courtly Choice (Doneraile Court) and is a half-brother to multiple Grade I winner Wild Dude (Wildcat Heir). He was bred in New York by SF Bloodstock, which purchased Courtly Choice, in foal to Tiznow, for $500,000 at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton November sale, and he was consigned to the sale by Bedouin Bloodstock.

“We loved him. We wanted him. We had to get him,” West said. “It was a high price, but the market is dictating that and that is what we had to pay. We hope he grows up and develops into a nice horse.”

Carpe Diem stands at WinStar for $25,000. He has had six weanlings sell through three days of the November sale for a total of $955,000 and an average of $159,167.

Asked his impression of the foals by Carpe Diem he has seen, West said, “They are just like him–big, strong, forward-looking horses with big shoulders and big hips and good walks. They look athletic. I’ve seen a lot of them and the ones I’ve seen have good substance, good quality and all of the right pieces that you’re looking for. That weanling definitely had it all, so we took a big swing on him.” @JessMartiniTDN

First-Crop Standout for Tapiture

A colt from the first crop of multiple graded stakes winner Tapiture (Tapit), helped along by a big update, got the Darby Dan stallion’s sales resume off to a strong start when selling for $300,000 to Hunter Valley Farm. Hip 587, consigned by Legacy Bloodstock, is out of Lady Leftennant (Officer) and is a half to this year’s GI Spinaway S. winner Lady Ivanka (Tiz Wonderful).

“We bought a share in him starting off, so we are huge fans,” Hunter Valley’s Adrian Regan said of Tapiture. “Obviously there was a big update in the family and we loved the colt. He was an absolute star.”

The weanling was bred in Iowa by Scott Pierce, who purchased the mare in foal to Euroears for $1,100 in 2013. Her Euroears filly sold for $2,500 as a weanling. After RNA’ing at both Keeneland November and September, Lady Ivanka sold for $80,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds Sale. The 13-year-old mare was bred back to Tapiture, who stands for $7,500, this year.

“We have a couple on the farm and they seem to be nice horses, but obviously we never thought we would have to pay that much for a first-season Tapiture,” Regan said. “But we’re very happy to have him. The plan will be to probably bring him back [to resell]. Hopefully we’ll get another update.”

Also selling yesterday, a filly by Tapiture (hip 578) sold for $130,000 to Canaan Creek Stables and a second filly (hip 710) brought a final bid of $70,000 from Todd Fischer. @JessMartiniTDN

Battle of Midway Retired to WinStar

Thu, 2017-11-09 15:18

‘TDN Rising Star’ Battle of Midway (Smart Strike–Rigoletta, by Concerto), upset winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Del Mar and also third in this year’s GI Kentucky Derby, has been retired from racing and will take up stud duty in 2018 at WinStar Farm. His fee will be $20,000 S&N.

The $410,000 FTSAUG yearling graduate was acquired privately by Don Alberto Stable and WinStar Farm off Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farms after finishing a close second in the GI Santa Anita Derby in the spring. He was trained throughout his career by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer.

“We are extremely proud of Battle of Midway and the tremendous performance he put forth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, passing such a fast horse as Sharp Azteca and doing so in such a fast time,” said Elliott Walden, WinStar President & CEO.

“His speed figures for that performance are off the charts across the board: negative two on Ragozin, negative four on Thoro-Graph, and 108 Beyer. It was an incredible race that affirmed the ability we always knew he had. Battle of Midway came out of the race in great shape, and it was a very bittersweet decision to make with our partners Don Alberto to retire this horse to stud. Ultimately, we both partnered on him in the first place because we thought he could be the last great son of Smart Strike to carry on that line at stud, so we are sticking to that plan. WinStar and Don Alberto are very committed to supporting Battle of Midway with world-class mares, because we both believe he possesses the pedigree, looks, conformation, and elite miler speed to become a very important sire.”

Added Don Alberto Stable’s Carlos Heller: “Battle of Midway improved all year to culminate in one of the most exciting Breeders’ Cup races on the entire weekend. We have assembled a very nice broodmare band and will support Battle of Midway with quality mares to give him the best chance of becoming the next great son of Smart Strike.”

The bay, out of 2010 GI Oak Leaf S. heroine Rigoletta, also captured this term’s GIII Affirmed S. and was runner-up in the GIII Oklahoma Derby and third in the GII San Vicente S. Battle of Midway posted a record of 10-5-2-2 and earnings of $1,249,949. He was bred in Kentucky Thor-Bred Stables LLC.

Q&A: Norman Casse

Thu, 2017-11-09 14:49

Recently, 34-year-old Norman Casse, assistant to his father, Mark, announced that come next spring, after a decade working for his dad, he will head out on his own. The graduate of Bellarmine University, a private Catholic school in Louisville, Kentucky, is leaving the stable on a high note, after a year capped off by World Approval (Northern Afleet)’s win in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, and after watching Tepin (Bernstein), whose career they guided, sell for $8 million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Casse stopped by the Keeneland November sale this week to talk to the TDN’s Sue Finley about his future, and about making his decision.

TDN: Does having the year you’ve had, capped by the World Approval’s Breeders’ Cup and the $8 million sale of Tepin, make it harder to walk away from your current position, or easier?

NC: It’s not an easy decision, by any means. It doesn’t make it any harder, because we had a great year last year as well. I think they’re pretty comparable years. It’s just a decision that’s been weighing on me for a long time, and there’s never a right moment. It’s just time to go.

TDN: Tell me about your childhood, and what your introduction to working in racing was?

NC: I’ve been around horses my whole life, but I really resented horse racing because it took time away from grandpa and from dad and (the people) on my dad’s side of the family, like (my uncle) Justin. So I didn’t really like horse racing…and then I fell in love with it, just by growing up in Louisville, coming to the sales, hanging out with dad. I just caught the bug real bad and that’s what got it started. It wasn’t like I got pushed into it, because dad has a lot of kids, and I’m the only one who’s involved, and that’s because I want to be here.

TDN: That’s an interesting point, because obviously, at a young age, and now that you’ve been working in the business, it occurs to you how hard a life this is, and maybe even as you say, how selfish a life it is to the rest of your family.

NC: It’s a very hard life, but it’s so rewarding. I get to do some of the best things because of horse racing. I’ve been to different countries, I’ve been to different states, different venues, and it’s all because of horses. It’s done so much for my family and for me. I don’t resent that any more. I realize what it is and I’m going to try to learn from my family’s mistakes and try to be more around for my family, but at the same time, it is a job that takes a lot of your time.

TDN: Emotionally, too, it’s a difficult life. You guys are riding a high wave right now, but with that comes some real lows as well.

NC: I think I have the perfect attitude for this life because I don’t really get too high and I don’t really get too low. I try to operate right in the middle. I understand things don’t always go your way and I also know that just because you won a Breeders’ Cup doesn’t mean you know everything. If you can keep that attitude, the waves they don’t affect you nearly as much, I don’t think.

TDN: How often lately do you wake up in the middle of the night and think, `what the heck am I thinking?’

NC: It’s funny. I’m not scared. I’m very confident in what I know and what I believe in and I’m not that scared about doing this. The best way to describe it is: I’ve reached my potential in this job capacity and at this professional level. It’s not that I’m bored, but it’s time to branch off and start doing something new. That’s going to be handling the clients myself, learning how to run a business myself. The horsemanship I’m very confident about. The rest of the stuff should work itself out.

TDN: Tuesday, Joseph O’Brien beat his dad in the Melbourne Cup. By all accounts, Aidan couldn’t have been happier if he’d won the race himself. I feel like that’s the kind of person your dad is also.

NC: I think he’s saying that right now; I don’t necessarily know if he believes it yet. But I think if that time comes, and hopefully if I’m lucky enough to have that type of success where I’m competing against dad, really at a national, high level, and I beat him, I think he’ll realize there’s nothing better for his legacy than my becoming a great trainer as well. He can train all the champions he can, but it’s going to be so much more rewarding if I can follow in his footsteps and do the same thing.

TDN: Is this a decision you guys reached together, or did you have to surprise him with it one day?

NC: He knows the type of personality I have. He knows why I did this. When I first called and told him I wanted to work with horses, I told him, `I don’t want to be a career assistant. I want to be a horse trainer.’ But it’s a difficult conversation to have. As you alluded to, we’re having a lot of success. I think he’s okay.

TDN: Do you ever worry that you’re hurting your dad by leaving?

NC: I do believe that it’s a very selfish decision on my part, and I openly admit that. But at the same time, a lot of guys have had to leave Todd Pletcher, Kiaran McLaughlin, those type of guys had to leave the company that basically made them. I just think it’s the right thing for me. It’s the right thing for the people who look up to me and the people who love me and support me and want me to do this. It’s the right thing for a lot of people.

TDN: You are entering into an age of training where information and technology add new tools to the way you do your job. How different will that job be going forward than the one your dad entered into when he started out?

NC: It’s a completely different ballgame. Dad operates at a level that he probably never dreamed of when he started out in the ’80s, where you can be on a flight to another racetrack and be watching your racehorses running on your phone. We’re very fortunate that we can now operate at different tracks–different countries, really, if we needed to–and operate and perform at a high level. So it’s a lot easier, I think, to manage a stable now.

TDN: And how have things stayed the same, in terms of classic horsemanship?

NC: You still have to be a horseman. I mean, that’s the bottom line. The tools of the trade haven’t changed at all. It’s just the way that you watch, and the way that you communicate. If you don’t know how to train horses and you don’t know how to train winners, you’re not going to be successful. And there are certain qualities that I see that I think help me be a successful horseman.

TDN: When he started out, he could look down one shedrow at Belmont and see all of his horses. If you’re successful, you’ll get to the point where your horses are spread all over the country and potentially all over the world. How much harder is that to manage?

NC: Technology helps it, but I think the most important thing, and this is what I truly believe in, I’m going to hire people who want to become trainers, who are one day going to branch off from me and hopefully beat me, just as we were talking about earlier. That’s really what you need. You need people who are under you, like my dad has with me, who are not just in it for a paycheck, and they want to win just as badly as I do. If you hire the right people, it doesn’t matter how big of a stable you have. You can manage it and be very successful at it.

TDN: We’re in the day of the big-trainer stable, with more horses concentrated in the hands of fewer people. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

NC: It’s happening because that’s what the market is dictating. I think guys like Chad Brown or dad, or Todd, they have these horses because they’re successful. It will even itself out. A guy like me maybe will come in or somebody else will come in and be successful and start taking horses away from those guys, and things will start balancing. It’s not a great thing, but it’s the way it’s working now, and there’s no way to control it.