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Updated: 3 hours 37 min ago

Fields Assemble for Royal Ascot Day 1

Sun, 2018-06-17 19:09

Ante-post favourite Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who won the G1 Lockinge S. narrowly over Lightning Spear (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) at Newbury in May, is one of 15 horses declared for the G1 Queen Anne S. at Royal Ascot on Tuesday. The straight-mile Group 1 is the traditional curtain-raiser to the Royal meeting and another fascinating renewal is in store. Trainer Aidan O’Brien also has Deauville (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) for that contest.

Godolphin has claimed this prize a record eight times and Sheikh Mohammed’s operation has a major contender for this year’s renewal in Saeed bin Suroor’s Benbatl (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), who was last seen running out a brilliant winner of the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan in March, while Recoletos (Fr) (Whipper) and Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) represent France and America, respectively.

Ten colts stood their ground in the G1 St James’s Palace S. later on the card, led by the undefeated listed hero Without Parole (GB) (Frankel {GB}) for John Gosden. G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas bridesmaid Tip Two Win (GB) (Dark Angel {Ire}) and G1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas victor Romanised (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) will also take part. The next three home in the Irish Guineas, US Navy Flag (War Front), Gustav Klimt (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Threeandfourpence (War Front) are aiming to give Aidan O’Brien an eighth renewal.

Group 1 winners Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) from the yard of Charlie Hills and U.S. invader Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy) who ships in for Wesley Ward, will clash in the five-furlong G1 King’s Stand S. on Tuesday. A two-time winner at the Royal meeting, the latter ran second in the Listed Giant’s Causeway S. last out at Keeneland on Apr. 14. Another American chance is Bucchero (Kantharos) for trainer Tim Glyshaw, who finished fourth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar last November.

Godolphin’s Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) steps forward, as well as a quartet from Ballydoyle in Washington DC (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), Battle of Jericho (War Front), Declarationofpeace (War Front) and G3 Albany S. heroine Different League (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}).

Bernardini Filly Stays Unbeaten Under Twin Spires

Sun, 2018-06-17 17:15

9th-Churchill Downs, $58,981, Alw, 6-17, (NW1X), 3yo/up, f/m, 6 1/2f, 1:16.68, ft.
PRAY FOR LESLIE (f, 3, Bernardini–C J’s Leelee {MGSP, $172,463}, by Mizzen Mast) earned a solid 86 Beyer Speed Figure for a six-length debut romp over track and trip May 10, and was 3-2 to remain unbeaten against a group of mostly older foes. Immediately to the front and clear, the bay cruised through splits of :23.14 and :46.31 as her competition lined up to challenge approaching the stretch. Pray for Leslie threatened to run up the score from there, but Quick Quick Quick (Tiago) made a race of it late and cut the winning margin to about a half-length. The winner is a half to C J’s Awesome (Awesome Again), SP, $328,302. Her 2-year-old full-brother now named Justhitthe Wire was a $75,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling turned $410,000 OBS April acquisition by agent Mike Ryan after a :10 2/5 move. Dam C J’s Leelee, graded stakes-placed on both the local lawn and main track, produced a Speightstown filly last year and a colt by the same sire this term. She is a half to GISW Capo Bastone (Street Boss). Sales history: $170,000 RNA Ylg ’16 FTSAUG. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $67,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Carl Gessler, Jr.; B-Carl Gessler Jr. & Danny Wiginton (KY); T-Albert M. Stall, Jr.


Pricey Strong Mandate Colt Gives Sire First Winner at Arlington

Sun, 2018-06-17 14:46

1st-Arlington, $32,000, Msw, 6-17, 2yo, 4 1/2f (AWT), :52.24, ft.
STRONG WILL (c, 2, Strong Mandate–Magestic Stinger, by Majestic Warrior), the co-third-priciest juvenile at this year’s OBS March sale when he went for $775,000 after a powerful :9 4/5 bullet breeze, began paying back that purchase price with an expected debut score Sunday afternoon at Arlington Park. Backed down to 1-5 favoritism facing just four foes, the bay rushed past his rivals to quickly open up and dole out an opening splits of :22.87. Challenged turning for home, he kept on to fend off pesky longshot newcomer Dazzling Truths (Yes It’s True) by 2 1/4 lengths. Strong Will is the first winner for his freshman sire (by Tiznow), winner of the 2013 GI Hopeful S. as a juvenile. Picked up for $25,000 in utero at the 2016 Keeneland January sale, Strong Will was a $37,000 Keeneland November weanling and $47,000 OBS Winter Mixed sale short yearling buy-back. His Tonalist half-brother cost $70,000 at KEENOV last year and his dam dropped an Outwork colt Jan. 28. Trainer Larry Rivelli and owner Carolyn Wilson also teamed up to purchase a Munnings filly for $275,000 out of the same Wavertree Stables consignment they picked Strong Will up out of. That filly, eventually named O’Keeffe, scored first out here May 27. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $19,200. Click for the chart. ThoroStride Virtual Inspection.
O-Carolyn Wilson; B-Golden Pedigree LLC (KY); T-Larry Rivelli.


Farhh’s Nocturnal Fox Takes the Hocquart

Sun, 2018-06-17 12:12

Nocturnal Fox (Ire) (Farhh {GB}) may have been hard to detect before Sunday’s G2 Prix Hocquart Longines, but when you are carrying Godolphin’s royal blue around and hail from the stable of Andre Fabre who held the record of seven winners in this, anything is possible. With just a 10 1/2-furlong maiden win to his name at Maisons-Laffitte May 16, the homebred started at 15-1 tackling some smart types but as they failed to live up to expectations he profited under an uncomplicated ride from Mickael Barzalona. Always happy tracking the leading trio, the bay was committed passing the quarter pole and after gaining the edge soon after held on as Al Malhouf (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) ate into his lead late on along with Hush Writer (Jpn) (Rulership {Jpn}). Just a head and a short head separated that trio at the line and the winner could be bound for another race in which his trainer excels now. “Nocturnal Fox is improving all the time and has a great temperament, so we hope that there is more to come from him,” the operation’s Lisa-Jane Graffard said. “The [July 14 G1] Grand Prix de Paris [at ParisLongchamp] could be an option, but we will see how he comes out of the race before making any plans.”

Winning jockey Barzalona said, “The way the race developed forced my hand as regards kicking for home early. He’s still a big baby, but showed that he is a quality colt. I’m quite happy and optimistic as he is still a bit immature and tends to race in snatches. Step by step, the penny seems to be dropping. He has everything in his armoury to become a good horse.” Fabrice Chappet said of Al Malhouf, “The colt ran very well considering that he didn’t have a happy time and notably in the dash for the line.” Hush Writer completed an in-and-out day for Francis-Henri Graffard and he commented, “He has lost no caste in defeat. He seems to have a bright future over this trip and in this grade, and we will try and toughen him up. Gai Waterhouse bought him in Japan before entrusting him to Criquette Head-Maarek. After the latter retired, I took over as the colt’s trainer.”

Another solid performer from the first crop of Farhh after Dee Ex Bee (GB) and Wells Farhh Go (Ire), Nocturnal Fox offers further evidence that his sire will get horses who stay a lot further than him. The winner is currently the last known foal out of Nabati (Rahy), whose previous best was the Listed Newmarket S. scorer Best of Times (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The second dam is the G2 Grand Prix d’Evry and G3 Prix de Minerve winner Wajd (Northern Dancer), who was also placed three times at the highest level including when third in the G1 St Leger. She has three group winners to her credit, headed by the G1 St Leger hero and G1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S. runner-up Nedawi (GB) (Rainbow Quest) and the G3 Herbst Stutenpreis scorer and GI E.P. Taylor S. runner-up Fitful Skies (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). The third dam is the elite champion and equally outstanding producer Dahlia (Vaguely Noble {Ire}), whose 15 victories include 10 at the highest level headed by the Irish Oaks and back-to-back renewals of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S.

Sunday, Chantilly, France
PRIX HOCQUART LONGINES-G2, €130,000, Chantilly, 6-17, 3yo, c/f, 12fT, 2:29.51, g/s.
1–NOCTURNAL FOX (IRE), 128, c, 3, by Farhh (GB)
1st Dam: Nabati, by Rahy
2nd Dam: Wajd, by Northern Dancer
3rd Dam: Dahlia, by Vaguely Noble (Ire)
B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Andre Fabre; J-Mickael Barzalona.
€74,100. Lifetime Record: 4-2-0-0, €91,050. *1/2 to Best of
Times (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), SW-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click
   for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Al Malhouf (GB), 128, c, 3, Dutch Art (GB)–Lady Eclair (Ire),
by Danehill Dancer (Ire). (€70,000 Ylg ’16 ARAUG). O-Sheail bin
Khalifa Al Kuwari; B-Newsells Park Stud (GB); T-Fabrice
Chappet. €28,600.
3–Hush Writer (Jpn), 128, c, 3, Rulership (Jpn)–Star of Sapphire,
by Tapit. (¥23,000,000 Wlg ’15 JRHJUL). O-Craig Thompson;
B-Chiyoda Farm Shizunai (Jpn); T-Francis-Henri Graffard.
Margins: HD, SHD, 1 3/4. Odds: 15.30, 4.50, 18.00.
Also Ran: Pharrell (Fr), King of Camelot (Fr), Solesili (GB), Master of Reality (Ire), Aspetar (Fr). Click for the Racing Post result. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Siyouni’s Laurens Wins the Fights In Epic Diane

Sun, 2018-06-17 10:41

There are horses that are just solid group 1 material through and through and John Dance’s Laurens (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) proved the epitome of that yet again on Sunday when producing her usual level best to garner glory in an exciting renewal of Chantilly’s G1 Prix de Diane Longines. Always prominent under P J McDonald, the 15-2 shot took up the baton two furlongs from home and those “come and get me” tactics which had served her so well in her previous top-flight wins in the G1 Fillies Mile and G1 Prix Saint-Alary paid handsome dividends on one of the biggest stages of European racing. A blanket of rivals tried their hardest to match her relentless mighty stride and failed and it was only the notoriously slow-burning Musis Amica (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) who could have managed it had her run not taken so long to come. At the line, Karl Burke’s jewel of the North England base of Middleham had a neck to spare over that Godolphin filly, who nosed out Homerique (Exchange Rate) and there was no more than a half length separating the first five home.

Sunday, Chantilly, France
PRIX DE DIANE LONGINES-G1, €1,000,000, Chantilly, 6-17, 3yo, f, 10 1/2fT, 2:06.11, g/s.
1–LAURENS (FR), 126, f, 3, by Siyouni (Fr)
1st Dam: Recambe (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire)
2nd Dam: Razana (Ire), by Kahyasi (Ire)
3rd Dam: Raysiya (Ire), by Cure the Blues
(£220,000 Ylg ’16 GOUKPR). O-John Dance; B-Bloodstock Agency Ltd (FR); T-Karl Burke; J-PJ McDonald. €571,400. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng, 7-5-2-0, €1,288,573. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Musis Amica (Ire), 126, f, 3, Dawn Approach (Ire)–White Star (Ire), by Darshaan (GB). O-Godolphin SNC; B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Andre Fabre. €228,600.
3–Homerique, 126, f, 3, Exchange Rate–Chiquita Picosa, by Congaree. ($34,000 RNA Wlg ’15 KEENOV; 22,000gns RNA Ylg ’16 TATOCT; €75,000 2yo ’17 ARQMAY). O-Ecurie de Montlahuc; B-Nicolas & Francois Drion (KY); T-Francis-Henri Graffard. €114,300.
Margins: NK, NO, HD. Odds: 7.60, 8.50, 12.00.
Also Ran: Happily (Ire), With You (GB), Lady Athena (Fr), Shahnaza (Fr), Soustraction (Ire), Barkaa (Fr), Castellar (Fr), Amazing Lips (Ire), Luminate (Ire), Assonance (Fr). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

TDN Wins Award as Top Equine Related e-Newsletter

Sat, 2018-06-16 22:31

HUNT VALLEY, Md.–The Thoroughbred Daily News won the award for best Publishing Media Equine-Related eNewsletter at the American Horse Publications Equine Media Awards Saturday night in Hunt Valley, Maryland. TDN also finished second in the Publishing Media Equine-related Website category and took home Honorable Mention in the category of Editorial Design for publications with circulation over 20,000 for Chris McGrath’s TDN Weekend feature on photographer Zuzanna Lupa.

The American Horse Publications’ Equine Media Awards Saturday night at the Maryland Ballroom in Delta Hotels Hunt Valley wrapped up a three-day conference dubbed “The Hunt for Excellence.” A total of 64 awards were handed out in a wide variety of equine-related media categories.

The ceremony started with a video presentation looking back at the past year of the organization, beginning with the conference and awards dinner in Scottsdale, Arizona last June. The auction to benefit the AHP Student Award was featured, as well as the socializing and networking opportunities that AHP events provide.

Executive Director Chris Brune, who helmed the event, delivered the introduction and thanked an array of supporters. After she was done, however, a board member stood up and noted that Brune thanked everyone but herself for the six-month process, prompting a standing ovation from all in attendance for her work.

Breaking News/Investigative Article in the editorial division kicked off the awards themselves, with Blood-Horse winning for “Horsemen Report Equine Deaths in San Luis Rey Fire”, by Jeremy Balan. Balan also took home the award for single article for reporting on the same tragedy.

Reminiscent of January’s Eclipse Awards, which honored the responders to the disaster, showcasing the coverage of the San Luis Rey fire was a theme throughout the night, as the industry’s publications were recognized often for their coverage of a breakthrough national news story from beginning to end, as well as for its aftermath.

In total, 823 entries from 2017 were accepted for the awards, with 75 different AHP members finishing in the top five in one or more categories. The numbers represent an increase of 40 entries and three participants from the previous year.

The 2019 AHP conference and awards ceremony will be held at Hotel ABQ in Albuquerque, New Mexico from May 30-June 1.

Pavel Lights the Lamp in the Stephen Foster

Sat, 2018-06-16 22:14

‘TDN Rising Star’ Pavel (c, 4, Creative Cause–Mons Venus, by Maria’s Mon), a last out fourth in the GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 26, put on a show in Saturday evening’s GI Stephen Foster H. at Churchill Downs, a ‘Win and You’re In’ for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Reddam Racing colorbearer, off at 6-1, sat a good trip in fourth through fractions of :23.58 and :47.25. Loaded for bear on the far turn, he unleashed a three-wide blitz and exploded down the lane to score by 3 3/4 lengths. Honorable Duty (Distorted Humor) was second; Matrooh (Distorted Humor) was third. Backyard Heaven (Tizway), sent off as the 4-5 favorite, tired to finish sixth.

The final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:49.21.
Pavel won last year’s GIII Smarty Jones S. and was also third in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Sales history: $90,000 wnlg ’14 KEENOV; $80,000 yrl ’15 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 10-3-0-1.
O-Reddam Racing LLC; B-Brereton C. Jones & WinStar Farm LLC (Ky); T-Doug O’Neill.

Saturday, Churchill Downs
STEPHEN FOSTER H.-GI, $500,000, Churchill Downs, 6-16, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:49.21, ft.
1–PAVEL, 117, c, 4, by Creative Cause
                1st Dam: Mons Venus, by Maria’s Mon
                2nd Dam: Bid to the Mint, by Key to the Mint
                3rd Dam: Cautious Bidder, by Bold Bidder
1ST GRADE I WIN. ‘TDN Rising Star’. ($90,000 Wlg ’14
KEENOV; $80,000 RNA Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Reddam Racing LLC;
B-Brereton C. Jones & WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Doug F.
O’Neill; J-Mario Gutierrez. $297,600. Lifetime Record:
10-3-0-1, $1,175,000. *1/2 to Caracortado (Cat Dreams),
MGSW & MGISP, $885,775; and He’ll Pay (Haynesfield), SW &
MGSP, $211,619. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Honorable Duty, 118, g, 6, Distorted Humor–Mesmeric, by
A.P. Indy. ($130,000 3yo ’15 KEENOV). O-DARRS, Inc.;
B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-Brendan P. Walsh. $96,000.
3–Matrooh, 115, g, 8, @distorted Humor–Rockcide, by Personal Flag. ($550,000 Ylg ’11 KEESEP). O-Crystal Racing Enterprises and Contreras Stable Inc.; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Cipriano Contreras. $48,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, NK, HD. Odds: 6.80, 7.70, 68.70.
Also Ran: Hawaakom, Uncle Mojo, Backyard Heaven, Patch, Lookin At Lee, Irish War Cry.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Curlin’s King Zachary Impressive in Matt Winn

Sat, 2018-06-16 20:22

King Zachary’s first foray into graded stakes company didn’t go well, but his second sure did as the progressive colt uncorked a powerful three-wide bid into the lane before cruising past his competition to score convincingly in Saturday evening’s GIII Matt Winn S.

The chestnut broke through at third asking on the stretch out at Gulfstream Mar. 18, but faded to a distant sixth in Aqueduct’s GII Wood Memorial S. behind Vino Rosso (Curlin) Apr. 7. While he failed to make the GI Kentucky Derby, he returned in the race that immediately followed it here May 5, and rallied to take that optional claimer in the slop by a half-length.

Looking to become the third sophomore to exit that race a next-out winner, the chestnut broke well and shared early pacesetting duties along the rail with stablemate Tiz Mischief before being reined in by Robby Albarado to sit third behind that one and heavy favorite Ax Man through a half in :48.09.

The leading pair seemed to be separating themselves from the rest approaching the straight, but King Zachary woke up past the quarter pole and flew by those two before running up the score.

“This horse keeps getting better with each start,” Albarado said. “I can’t thank Dale and Mr. Conway enough for letting me ride this horse. I think we are setting ourselves up for a big year with this horse. Dale gave me a lot of confidence this week. When Corey went to the lead with Tiz Mischief I just settled and sat right off the pace. It worked perfectly.”

Dale Romans, who seemed most concerned in the post-race interview with what the exacta made up of his two trainees paid ($189.40), added, “What a race. King Zachary just keeps getting better every time we see him. I was confident entering the race that he’d run a big effort. I know Ax Man was the horse to beat, but was confident with my horses. Tiz Mischief was a real surprise. He proved himself tonight that he can compete with some of the best 3-year-olds in the country.”

Saturday, Churchill Downs
MATT WINN S.-GIII, $100,000, Churchill Downs, 6-16, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:42.86, ft.
1–KING ZACHARY, 118, c, 3, by Curlin
1st Dam: On My Way, by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: It’s Our Time, by Seeking the Gold
3rd Dam: Leo’s Lucky Lady, by Seattle Slew
Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Thomas F. Conway; B-Waymore LLC (KY);
T-Dale L. Romans; J-Robby Albarado. $61,380. Lifetime Record:
6-3-0-2, $172,650. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Tiz Mischief, 118, c, 3, Into Mischief–Indivia, by Tiznow.
($55,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Frank L. Jones, Jr.; B-T/C Stable,
LLC (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $19,800.
3–Ax Man, 120, c, 3, Misremembered–Shameful, by Flying
Chevron. O-Earnhardt III, Patti and Hal J.; B-Hal J Earnhardt
(KY); T-Bob Baffert. $9,900.Margins: 4 3/4, 8, NK. Odds: 12.30, 10.50, 0.50.
Also Ran: Funny Duck, Combatant, Home Base. Scratched: Navy Armed Guard. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Candy Ride Filly Stays Perfect in Summertime Oaks

Sat, 2018-06-16 18:36

Golden Gate invader Ollie’s Candy passed her class and two-turn tests with aplomb Saturday as she fought hard to make the grade and remain unbeaten in Santa Anita’s GII Summertime Oaks. A 6 1/2-length debut romper going six panels on the Tapeta Apr. 22, she added a 7 3/4-length optional claiming tally over that same course and distance May 13. She’d been sent down to Arcadia after her last afternoon appearance, and posted three easy breezes over this strip in the interim.

Away well enough from the outside post six, the dark bay moved up to sit second off of Thirteen Squared through splits of :23.69 and :47.96. Scrubbed on a bit to keep up with the pacesetter heading around the home bend, she challenged Thirteen Squared at the top of the lane and appeared like she’d go right on by. Thirteen Squared battled back gamely, however, and Ollie’s Candy required the length of the stretch to eventually wear down her more seasoned and Grade I-placed foe.

“Looking forward, through the rest of the year, all the big races for 3-year-old fillies are going a route of ground, so we decided to try it today,” said trainer Billy Morey. “[Rider] Kent [Desormeaux] and I have been lucky together. He’s ridden the three biggest winners in my life, this one being one of them. This filly handled everything well today. She was calm at the barn when we brought her over and her ears went up when we put the bridle on her…She was great saddling and all the way through the paddock.”

Desormeaux also piloted Morey’s first graded stakes winner Coniah (Harlington) in the Jan. 20 GIII Las Cienegas S. here.

“We’re all very excited,” said co-owner/breeder Paul Eggert. “Bill has done a great job with the filly. We knew she was game but I didn’t know she was going to be a graded stakes winner, but she is now… Her works have been excellent and she’s training well so we were expecting here to do well. We were confident, we weren’t assuming anything, but we were hopeful.”

Saturday, Santa Anita
SUMMERTIME OAKS-GII, $200,345, Santa Anita, 6-16, 3yo, f,
1 1/16m, 1:44.72, ft.
1–OLLIE’S CANDY, 120, f, 3, by Candy Ride (Arg)
1st Dam: Afternoon Stroll (GSW, $213,630), by Stroll
2nd Dam: Gertie, by Danzatore
3rd Dam: Granny Ruth, by Key to the Mint

RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O/B-Paul & Karen Eggert (KY); T-William
E. Morey; J-Kent J. Desormeaux. $120,000. Lifetime Record:
3-3-0-0, $151,800. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Thirteen Squared, 120, f, 3, Liaison–House of Fortune, by
Free House. O/B-Arnold Zetcher LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert.
3–Chocolate Martini, 124, f, 3, Broken Vow–Nicksappealinglady,
by Successful Appeal. ($65,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Double
Doors Racing, LLC; B-Savino A. Capilupi (KY); T-Thomas Amoss.
$24,000.Margins: NK, 4 1/4, HD. Odds: 3.80, 1.40, 1.70.
Also Ran: Zusha, Fool’s Paradise, Exuberance. Click for the chartthe PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Pedigree Notes:

Ollie’s Candy is the 34th graded winner for her sire. Her dam broke her maiden going short on the Presque Isle Tapeta, and was a stakes-winning juvenile on River Downs dirt. She stretched out effectively and took to the turf to post a 50-1 upset in the 2009 GIII Appalachian S. at Keeneland. Afternoon Stroll’s first foal, Celestial Sighting (Eskendereya), was a debut-winning juvenile on Saratoga turf in New York-bred company, and was subsequently stakes-placed on both turf and dirt. Afternoon Stroll was carrying Ollie’s Candy when she sold for $85,000 at the 2015 Keeneland January Sale. She RNA’d for $57,000 at KEENOV ’16 carrying a Hard Spun foal who she later lost.


Olin Gentry Passes Away

Sat, 2018-06-16 16:31

Olin B. Gentry, who collapsed from a stroke at the OBS June Sale Friday, was taken off life support Saturday and later passed away at the North Florida Regional Medical Center, a stroke facility in Gainesville, Florida. He was 51 years old.

“Olin collapsed at the sale at OBS yesterday,” said Tom VanMeter, who said that Gentry’s son, O2, and dear friends came to the hospital to be with him. VanMeter said that Gentry had been at Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree barn when the collapse happened.

“He was doing what he loved to do, which was making a horse trade at the horse sale,” VanMeter said. “He was with his buddies. But it was way too soon, and it’s brutally painful.”

Olin Benjamin Gentry was a fourth-generation horseman. His father, Tom Gentry, was a bloodstock industry fixture for many years, a prominent owner/breeder and horse trader and the son himself of storied horseman Olin Gentry. Tom Gentry passed away last year. Olin B. Gentry attended the University of Kentucky, where he studied business, and was a lifelong UK Wildcat Fan.

Foal and Stallion Nominators Elect 20 Breeders’ Cup Members

Fri, 2018-06-15 20:15

The Breeders’ Cup announced late Friday evening that 20 individuals have won election to serve as Breeders’ Cup Members. Voting by Breeders’ Cup 2017 foal and stallion nominators was concluded at 5:00 p.m. ET June 15.

The following individuals received the most votes of the Breeders’ Cup nominators to fill 20 Member seats having four year terms: Antony R. Beck*, Gatewood Bell, Alan Cooper, Case Clay*, Everett Dobson, William S. Farish, Jr.*, Greg Goodman*, Fred W. Hertrich III*, Bret Jones*, Jak Knelman, M.V. Magnier, Anthony R. Manganaro*, Pope McLean, Jr., Gavin Murphy, Garrett O’Rourke*, Mike Pons, Dan Pride*, Daisy Phipps Pulito, Jaime Roth; and Tom Ryan*.

Ten Members were re-elected to their posts: Antony R. Beck, Case Clay, William S. Farish, Jr. H. Greg Goodman, Fred W. Hertrich III, Bret Jones, Anthony R. Manganaro, Garrett O’Rourke, Dan Pride and Tom Ryan.

Voting, which began June 6 with 40 candidates on the ballot, was conducted online.

“We congratulate our new and returning Members who will serve the Breeders’ Cup over the next four years,” said Fred Hertrich III, Breeders’ Cup Chairman. “This year’s class is represented by a diverse group of leaders comprising racing, breeding and the commercial interests of our industry. We look forward to gaining their expertise for the challenges and opportunities which lay ahead for the Breeders’ Cup program.”

The Breeders’ Cup Members are elected every other year by Breeders’ Cup foal and stallion nominators through a proportional voting system based on the level of nominations paid to the organization. There are a total of 39 elected Breeders’ Cup Members. The Members elect the Breeders’ Cup Board of Directors.

The election of the Breeders’ Cup Directors will begin on July 2 and conclude at the July 11 Annual Meeting of Members.

OBS June Sale Concludes

Fri, 2018-06-15 19:27

OCALA, Fl – The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age, the final auction of the juvenile sales season, concluded its three-day run Friday with a colt by Scat Daddy (hip 742) attracting the day’s top price of $360,000. Another son of the late Coolmore stallion, sire of Triple Crown winner Justify, brought the sale’s highest price of $650,000 when he sold during Wednesday’s first session of the auction.

Through three sessions, OBS sold 520 horses for $17,125,500. The average was $32,934 and the median was $15,000. At last year’s two-day sale, 434 horses grossed $14,999,900 for an average of $34,562 and a median of $18,500. The buy-back rate was 21.8%.

Eleven horses sold for $200,000 or more this year, while nine hit that mark a year ago, when the top price was $320,000.

“It was a very solid sale,” OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski said at the close of business Friday. “The trend we’ve seen all year is that the top end kind of takes care of itself. It was nice to see some vibrancy in the middle and lower levels, to see some active trade there.”

The sale’s leading consignor was Wavertree Stables, with 28 head sold for $2,105,500. The leading buyer was Carlo Vaccarezza, who purchased seven horses, including the $650,000 sales topper, for $1,010,500.

Eddie Woods, who sold a million-dollar juvenile at the Fasig-Gulfstream sale and topped the Barretts April sale, said he noticed more strength at the top end of the market during this spring’s 2-year-old sales.

“I think, at the better end, there was a bit more strength,” Woods said. “There were more horses sold for better money across the board at all the sales throughout the country. I don’t think at any sale was there a horse that brought crazy money, but there was a lot of money at the better end and there was more of it. It’s a growing trend, both at the yearling sale and in every part of our industry, the top end is getting a little bit more spread out and a little stronger.”

The OBS April sale was the undisputed highlight of the season. The four-day auction produced strong results from top to bottom and featured a rejuvenated middle market.

“April was probably, across the board, one of the best sales we’ve seen in years, just because so many horses got pedaled,” Woods said. “There was so much money at every level and even the useful horses got sold.”

The lower and middle market at the June sale was bolstered by participation by Carribean entities, with the Confederacion Hipica de Puerto Rico purchasing 56 juveniles to be the sale’s fifth leading buyer, and the Royal St. Lucia Turf Club acquiring 20 head.

“It was great to have the Puerto Rican groups participating at the level that they did, as well as the St. Lucia group and the Korean groups,” Wojciechowski said. “They were very helpful to the sale. I am sure a lot of those people were here in April and didn’t get their orders filled and fortunately we were able to help them out in June.”

Woods still saw some weakness in the middle market.

“The middle market is a little tricky here,” Woods said as the June sale wound down. “On the first show day on Monday, the traffic was dismal–you couldn’t start an argument, never mind an auction. People showed up for the sale at the end of the day and it looks like the people have found the better horses. At the lower end, we had the usual South Miami and island guys. But the thing that we don’t have here anymore is an East Coast presence. There were nearly no trainers. I don’t think the money is around for that kind of horse anymore.”

The yearling sales begin next month and Woods said his approach to buying yearlings won’t change this year.

“We’ll stick with the same thing,” he said. “When we get it right, it’s always worked well. And that’s a bit of quality. We pay a little bit more for them to just get the real deal we want. The worst thing you ever say to yourself at the sale is, ‘He’ll be ok, if…’ They are never ok, if. One in 20 is ‘ok, if’ because he iffed and the other 19 didn’t. But he doesn’t pay for the other 19. So you have to be very comfortable and really like what you’re buying.”

The June sale also included a section of Horses of Racing Age, with an unraced gelding by Jimmy Creed (hip 853) bringing top price of $60,000. The 3-year-old was consigned by Gayle Woods and purchased by bloodstock agent Alistair Roden. In all, five horses sold for $96,600 and an average of $19,300.

Scat Daddy Colt to Redekop

Scat Daddy, already represented by Wednesday’s $650,000 sale topper, had another session topper Friday in Ocala when bloodstock agent Alistair Roden went to $360,000 to secure a colt by the late stallion on behalf of Peter Redekop.

“He’ll go to California, but I’m not sure just yet on a trainer,” Roden said. “I’ll have to get with those guys and see about a trainer.”

Consigned by Wavertree Stables, the bay colt (hip 742) was bred by Bryant Prentice’s Pursuit of Success, which purchased his dam Imprecation (First Defence) for $223,246 at the 2013 Tattersalls December sale. The juvenile’s second dam is Media Nox (GB) (Lycius), dam of Group 1 winner Nebraska Tornado (Storm Cat) and group winners Burning Sun (Danzig) and Mirabilis (Lear Fan). He worked a furlong last week in :10 1/5.

“He’s a Scat Daddy who breezed really well,” Roden said of the colt’s appeal. “He’s a beautiful horse with a good pedigree.”

Asked about the colt’s final price tag, Roden said with a chuckle, “I think it had something to do with the Triple Crown.” He added, “Scat Daddy is obviously a very good sire. This horse probably has more of a grass pedigree.”

Of the market in Ocala this week, Roden added, “The good ones sell for a lot of money. It’s always competitive for the good ones.”

Imprecation produced a colt by Hard Spun last year and a filly by Into Mischief this year.

Quick Double Strike for Plesa

Trainer Eddie Plesa took home a pair of juveniles in quick succession Friday in Ocala, going to $260,000 to secure a colt by Into Mischief just six hips after acquiring a colt by Uncaptured for $230,000. Both were purchased on behalf of Karl and Cathi Glassman.

“We’ve been trying to get an Into Mischief this year,” Plesa, sitting alongside his wife Laurie and retired Hall of Fame jockey Bobby Ussery, said after signing the ticket on hip 660. “He’s an outstanding stallion and this was the right time and the right price.”

The colt is out of Farayya (Hard Spun), a daughter of graded stakes placed High Cholesterol (Until Sundown) and a half to group winner Giftorm (War Pass). Bred by Janavar Thoroughbreds, the bay colt RNA’d for $80,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale and was consigned Friday by Gene Recio.

“He has a shoulder that is second to none,” Plesa said of the colt, who worked a quarter last week in :21 2/5. “He’s just a very attractive looking individual–he’s my type of horse.”

Plesa also signed the ticket on hip 654, a colt from the first crop of Canadian champion Uncaptured.

“I think Uncaptured is as hot a 2-year-old sire as you’re going to have in the country right now,” Plesa said. “I have a couple down in South Florida right now and they both can run. I think he’s got an outstanding opportunity to be the leading juvenile sire.”

Uncaptured, who stands at Ocala Stud, has already been represented by a pair of winners at Gulfstream Park, including the impressive 10 1/2-length debut winner Capture Your Dream.

The juvenile, who worked a furlong in :10 flat last week, is out of Fabiana’s Flash (City Zip), a daughter of graded stakes winner Flashy N Smart (Smarten).

“This horse fits all the bills for us,” Plesa said of the bay. “He is a Florida Stallion Stakes horse, he’s a Florida-bred.”

The colt was consigned by Costanzo Sales. Tony Costanzo purchased the youngster for $60,000 at last year’s OBS October sale.

“He’s was just a really nice looking yearling and he turned into a really nice 2-year-old,” Costanzo said. “I was grateful to get him for the $60,000.”

Also on behalf of the Glassmans, Plesa purchased a colt by Speightstown (hip 494) for $100,000 during Thursday’s second session of the sale.

“I found the market, as a whole, was very soft,” Plesa said. “I think it’s been more of a buyer’s sale than a seller’s sale, though these two horses, if they had been in an earlier sale–especially the Into Mischief–I think they could have brought a lot more money. It’s been an opportunity for us to get something.”

Golden Gate Update: TOC Conducts Meeting Friday

Fri, 2018-06-15 19:15

The latest salvo in a rapidly escalating simulcasting dispute in Northern California has been fired by the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), which hosted a meeting of owners at Golden Gate Fields Friday morning to advocate an approach of business as usual for the rest of the year.

This would mean the track stays open for training this summer and that it runs its originally scheduled race dates between Aug. 22 through Oct. 2, but that all necessary parties work together to restructure the Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc. (NOTWINC) simulcast organization into a more “profitable business” in the long-term, said TOC CEO Greg Avioli, about his organization’s position.

“We want everyone to have reached agreement prior to the first day of Golden Gate, so that Golden Gate can run its meet as originally scheduled,” said Avioli. “I’m confident it will happen because it’s the best economic solution for all parties.”

This Wednesday, Stronach Group chief operating officer Tim Ritvo told the Blood-Horse that his organization, which owns Golden Gate Fields, would come good on a plan written into its race meet application to opt out of NOTWINC, and to no longer send a signal to the system’s network of OTB wagering facilities, unless changes were made.

NOTWINC currently comprises 10 brick-and-mortar satellite wagering facilities. Ritvo called the organization “a broken model” in that, since its enactment, advances in wagering technologies (think TVG and Twinspires) have made the agreement effectively obsolete, to the point that now, Golden Gate is forced to subsidize the organization to keep the satellites afloat.

If no agreement is reached and Golden Gate chooses to no longer send a wagering signal to the satellites, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has threatened to deny Golden Gate a license to operate its race dates later this summer. The application is scheduled for discussion and action at the next CHRB meeting June 21 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.

According to Avioli, there are two main parts to the puzzle-whether or not the CHRB is legally allowed to authorize Golden Gate to operate this summer unbound from NOTWINC, as well as what would happen if the CHRB does just that.

If it does, “where is the Stronach Group going to find and guarantee the roughly $6.5 million that is generated to the purse account currently?” said Avioli, who added that discussions surrounding a labor agreement involving the satellites is only complicating matters. Labor costs currently account for about two-thirds of the network’s total expenses.

Still, the TOC argues that Golden Gate probably won’t be able to make up the revenue lost if it pulls out of NOTWINC. According to the TOC’s calculations, these 10 satellite wagering facilities handled a total of $108.4 million in 2017, which constituted 41% of total wagering in Northern California. What’s more, purse revenues from these satellites totaled $6.6 million, or 46% of the total purse revenue generated.

“It’s a very complex set of calculations. But if you could move 100% of the wagering of the satellites to ADW, then you’d probably come out roughly the same on revenues and would reduce expenses,” he said. “But if you lose any significant percentage of it, you are going to have less purse money.”

Ritvo, however, said that his own cost analyses show that it would take 70% of the revenue currently garnered through NOTWINC to shift to ADW wagering for Golden Gate to break even, if it successfully opts out of NOTWINC. “If we don’t make up 70% of it, we will go negative a little bit,” Ritvo told TDN.

“But we have to remember, and this is very important, the only declining revenue is in the OTB [satellite wagering facilities],” he said, adding that ADW revenues are expanding. “So, if we get out in front of that, and we have these nice ADW cafes, we should have a nice future.”

Which is why Ritvo is keen to trigger change immediately rather than wait another year. “We never know how these things are going to shake out, but we think we have a good plan to launch,” said Ritvo. “I’m glad they’ve said they want to work with us, but at the same time, everyone’s afraid to take it on, and really, a lot of these guys are bureaucrats. Instead of being businessmen and taking on tough issues, it’s easier to keep kicking the can down the road.”

This whole issue, however, is obscured beneath a cloudy legal pall. According to CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker, Golden Gate has the legal wherewithal to pull out of the simulcast organization, just as long as it negotiates an agreement unilaterally with the 10 brick-and-mortar satellite facilities.

“It’s a technical thing where the Stronach Group have pulled out of NOTWINC, which is fine, they can do that, but then they have to operate it on their own or form another organization, but they still have to do contracts with each of the sites,” said Baedeker. “They’re obliged by state law, if they operate a live race meet, to send the signal to the satellites and receive wagering from the satellites.”

The Stronach Group sees it differently. “Our legal team doesn’t see it that way and our outside counsel doesn’t see it that way either,” said Ritvo, who believes Golden Gate is not statutorily obligated to send a signal to the system’s OTB satellites. “We have a legal disagreement on that, and that’s probably what we’ll be contesting in court if they don’t grant us our license.”

In a further development, Los Alamitos filed a legal proceeding in the Superior Court in Orange County to get “a definitive interpretation of what the law is with respect to…the obligation of a track to transmit the audio-visual signal of its racing program for wagering purposes throughout its satellite network,” said Jack Liebau, vice president of the Los Alamitos Racing Association.

According to Liebau, of the wagering in Northern California conducted at brick and mortar facilities, 78% is done at the satellites and 22% is bet at live tracks. “What we’re pointing out through that statistic is the importance of satellite wagering in Northern California as a whole,” he said. “They are significant.”

Both the state of California and the fairs themselves have invested heavily in these satellite facilities, said Liebau. “It just isn’t reasonable to think that at any point in time that that investment can be made worthless at the whim of some track deciding that they don’t want a satellite network any more.”

Ultimately, the Stronach Group, he said, is mandated “by law” to distribute its racing signal for wagering purposes to the 10 satellites, and cannot “unilaterally dismantle” the simulcast organization. “Those two things would be our bottom line,” he said. “But, you know, two lawyers can have three different opinions.”

The Stronach Group held a meeting at Golden Gate Thursday for the horsemen in order to reiterate its position, urging them to attend the next CHRB meeting in support of changes to NOTWINC. “We told the horsemen that we wish to change the model, that it is broken and has been broken and documented since 2010. That is the message we delivered to the horsemen; they took it reasonably well,” said Golden Gate’s General Manager David Duggan.

A long-gestating idea to race all-year round at the Bay Area track was another proposal floated at the meeting. This development would deal a devastating blow to the fairs, which would, by most projections, struggle to operate race meets simultaneously with Golden Gate.

“This is between two companies, and we as horsemen shouldn’t have to stand up for one or the other. I would love to see year-round racing at Golden Gate, because I believe in racing where you are training, so I’m for The Stronach Group and support them,” said trainer Blaine Wright. “But the fairs do offer a stakes schedule that Golden Gate can’t compete with.”

According to California Association of Fairs (CARF) executive director Larry Swartzlander, who attended this morning’s meeting, CARF and the TOC are in agreement in that the NOTWINC structure should remain in place for now, “and we should simply restructure it to become a more efficient organization,” he added.

Swartzlander said there wasn’t any time frame in place to restructure NOTWINC. “We have to get past the Stronach Group-they’ve opted out. They’re out of NOTWINC right now.” But he floated possible restructuring ideas, which could include combining the satellite networks that currently exist in Northern and Southern California. “Why do we have two organizations, SCOTWINC and NOTWINC? They both do the same thing,” he said. “Let’s look at having one organization for the state.”

But Ritvo appears keen to institute change as quickly as possible, and if the matter heads to court, “we hope the judge will review it quickly, and see which side is right and which side is wrong,” he said.

Olin Gentry Hospitalized

Fri, 2018-06-15 19:03

Storied horseman Olin Gentry collapsed in the barn area while attending the OBS June Sale Friday in Ocala.

Gentry was taken by ambulance to North Florida Medical Center where he was undergoing tests Friday afternoon, according to consignor Ciaran Dunne.

Gentry purchased a pair of juveniles by Uncle Mo during the three-day auction.

Zoustar To Shuttle To Tweenhills

Fri, 2018-06-15 11:20

Zoustar (Aus) (Northern Meteor {Aus}-Zouzou {Aus}, by Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) will shuttle to Tweenhills Stud in Gloucestershire for the 2019 breeding season. The speedy Zoustar, winner of the G1 Coolmore Stud S. and G1 Golden Rose S. in 2013 and Australia’s champion 3-year-old, currently heads that country’s first-season sires table by earnings, his tally of over A$3-million almost double that of closest pursuer Spirit of Boom (Aus). His progeny are headed by the Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner and G1 Golden Slipper-placed Sunlight (Aus), the G2 Sires’ Produce S. winner Lean Mean Machine (Aus), and the Sires’ Produce runner-up and Group 1-placed Zousain (Aus). Zoustar’s yearlings have this year averaged A$185,257, and his yearlings have sold for up to A$1-million. He stands at Widden Stud in New South Wales.

Qatar Racing bought into Zoustar during his racing career and have heavily supported the horse in the sales ring. Tweenhills Stud owner and Qatar Racing manager David Redvers said, “The opportunity to stand the sensational champion Zoustar at Tweenhills is the most exciting thing I have been involved with in my career. The buzz surrounding this horse and what he has achieved in Australia is deafening and to be able to stand him alongside Qatar Racing’s other sensational young stallions is an honour and a challenge that my team and I relish.”

“From the first moment Sheikh Fahad and I saw Zoustar at Flemington we were convinced that we were witnessing something special and had to be involved. He has that rare mixture of precocity, natural speed, turn of foot, pedigree and physical presence you see in only a very few genuinely top-flight stallions. We were spellbound and have been ‘all-in’ ever since.”

“I’m not sure European breeders have ever been offered access to such an exciting Australian stallion at this point in his career and news has been received with tremendous support and enthusiasm from Europe’s leading farms.”

The Factor Filly Tops OBS Thursday

Thu, 2018-06-14 17:11

OCALA, Fl – A filly by The Factor brought top price of $180,000 during a workmanlike second session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Thursday. For the session, 152 juveniles grossed $4,598,500 for an average of $30,253 and a median of $14,500. Through two of three sessions, 328 horses have sold for $11,206,500. The cumulative average of $34,166 is almost on par with last year’s two-session sale average of $34,562. The two-day median of $16,500 is down 10.8% from last year’s sale figure of $18,500.

Bill Heiligbrodt’s East Hickman Bloodstock took home hip 426, a daughter of The Factor for the day’s top price. The juvenile was one of 13 to bring six figures during the session. The gray was consigned by Ciaran Dunne’s Wavertree Stables, which also consigned the day’s second-highest priced offering, a colt by Macho Uno (hip 486), who sold for $155,000 to Good Friends Stable. Wavertree was the session’s leading consignor with seven sold for $551,000.

“I think everybody has been pleasantly surprised how strong the market has been, how solid it’s been,” Dunne said. “I think the fact that there are people there for the bottom-end horses and those horses are selling, rather than coming up here and RNA’ing or being scratched, it gives it a bit of a buzz. It gives it the feel of a live auction. It gets everybody a little bit more upbeat. We’ve sold all but one to this point. We took our lumps where we needed to take them, but we’ve also had some bright spots. So I’ve been really happy with the market.”

The OBS June sale concludes with a final session, which includes a section of horses of racing age, Friday beginning at 10 a.m.

Heiligbrodt Strikes for The Factor Filly

Bill Heiligbrodt went to $180,000 to acquire a filly by The Factor during Thursday’s second session of the OBS June sale. The gray (hip 426) is out of America’s Friend (Unusual Heat), a full-sister to Grade I placed Bel Air Sizzle. She worked a quarter-mile last week in :20 4/5.

“The best thing I liked about her is that she’s fast,” Heiligbrodt said with a laugh when asked about the filly’s appeal. “She’s a very good physical. All of these horses are a gamble, as you know, but she looks like she might be able to do something. She probably can run short, long, maybe on the grass.”

Bred by Madeline Auerbach and Catherine Parke, hip 426 sold for $85,000 as a Keeneland November weanling and was purchased by Ciaran Dunne’s Redwings for $92,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale. She was consigned by Dunne’s Wavertree Stables.

Heiligbrodt, who signed for the filly in the name of his East Hickman Bloodstock, admitted it’s been challenging buying at OBS this week.

“We’ve shopped a lot, but we’ve not been able to buy anything until today,” he said. “It’s competitive for the good horses.”

As the juvenile sales season concludes with the June sale, Heiligbrodt said he attended each auction on the calendar.

“It’s all been competitive for the top horses,” he confirmed. “Especially this year, it’s been very competitive.”

Macho Uno Colt to Lynch

Brian Lynch, who trained Private Zone (Macho Uno) for Good Friends Stable, will now train a Macho Uno colt out of a half-sister to that multiple Grade I winner for those same owners after bloodstock agent Nick Esler signed the ticket at $155,000 on hip 486.

“He had a good outlook, a very good temperament, and he’s correct,” Esler said. “He did everything right and ticked all the boxes. Obviously Brian trained Private Zone, so that is what drew his attention to him. And he’s an overall, good-looking colt.”

The gray colt, who worked a furlong in :10 1/5 last week, is out of the unraced Black Lace (Afleet Alex). The $175,000 Keeneland September yearling, was bred by Adena Springs and was consigned by Wavertree Stables.

Esler, who has been training in New York since 2012, has joined forces with California-based bloodstock agent David Meah and was signing his first ticket for the partnership.

“I took a step back from training in November,” the Englishman said. “I’m working with David, trying to get his business up and running on the East Coast. He’s got the West Coast covered, so I’m to get some clients buying for Christophe Clement at the sales. Brian was good enough to let us buy this horse for him.”

Of the market this week in Ocala, Esler said, “There haven’t been a lot of good ones, but we have found a few. We bought an Old Fashioned colt (hip 226) [Wednesday] for cheap that we thought we got value for [at $35,000]. And I thought this horse was well bought at $155,000 today. He has a little bit of quality and we’re happy to have gotten him.”

Of his transition from trainer to bloodstock agent, Esler said, “It’s a different way of life, away from home a lot, but I’m enjoying it.”


PHBA Makes Major Donation to New Bolton

Thu, 2018-06-14 15:08

The Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association (PHBA) has donated $300,000 to Penn Vet New Bolton Center’s Equine Pharmacology Laboratory to fund revolutionary research to detect gene doping in equine athletes. Gene doping involves the transfer or modification of genes or genetically modified cells of healthy human athletes, as well as equine athletes, for non-therapeutic purpose to enhance athletic performance.

The $300,000 donation from the PHBA will provide funding for Penn Vet’s multi-tiered, multi-year project. Elements of the project include continued research into potential protein and RNA-based biomarkers that have been identified as showing promise for detecting gene doping. The project will also include continued expansion of a BioBank that will be utilized to evaluate baseline levels of these blood-based bio-markers in active and injured race horses, as well as physiological changes in their musculoskeletal structure using New Bolton Center’s robotics controlled imaging system.

“Our members, all of whom are Pennsylvania thoroughbred horse breeders, have consistently stated that maintaining integrity in the sport of racing is one of their top priorities,” said Brian Sanfratello, Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association. “We are pleased to partner with New Bolton Center, an internationally renowned equine hospital and research institution, to fund this ground-breaking research and help combat gene doping.”

“We are proud of our record at New Bolton Center for remaining on the cutting edge of detecting and preventing the use of performance enhancing and illicit pharmaceuticals in equine athletes,” said Dr. Mary Robinson, Director of the Equine Pharmacology Laboratory at New Bolton Center. “With this grant, we can continue to be a leader in protecting the integrity of horse racing. While gene therapy represents an important breakthrough for patients with disease-causing genes and rare genetic diseases, we need to be sure that we are taking steps to stay ahead of those who would seek to use these advances for illicit means.”

The $300,000 donation represents a significant investment for the PHBA and was championed by PHBA Board President Roger Legg and Board Member/Chair of the PHBA’s Medication Committee Deanna Manfredi. Manfredi’s committee conducted extensive research on the issue and established it as a priority for the organization. Because the money is being allocated from the association’s share of the State Racing Fund, which is typically used for enhanced breeder awards and incentives, the PHBA had to seek approval of Pennsylvania’s State Horse Racing Commission. The Commission approved the PHBA’s request to provide the funding by unanimous vote at its monthly meeting on May 31.

“My fellow commissioners and I applaud the PHBA and the New Bolton Center for funding and undertaking this revolutionary research project to combat efforts to subvert fairness and integrity in the sport of horse racing,” said Russell Jones, a Commissioner of the State Horse Racing Commission in Pennsylvania. “The State Horse Racing Commission is committed to maintaining a fair and level, playing field, both for our fans and the vast majority of owners and trainers who play by the rules.”

In addition to the Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association, Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center is also seeking additional funding for this research program. Individuals or organizations who would like to support the program through a financial donation are encouraged to contact Margaret Leardi, Director of Development for New Bolton Center, at

Let the Games Begin!

Thu, 2018-06-14 14:38

OCEANPORT, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy placed a pair of $20 wagers to officially launch the opening of Monmouth Park’s Sports Book by William Hill Thursday morning.

The first floor of the track’s grandstand-freshly painted in blue-had a Haskell day feel as fans and a large contingent of mainstream media lined up as windows opened for business shortly after 10:30 a.m.

“There’s an old adage that you bet with your head, not with your heart,” Governor Murphy said during a brief press conference at the sports book. “So, for the past seven years, our heads and hearts were in alignment as we fought to overturn unlawful and unfair federal law. We knew in our heads we were right and we knew in our hearts that we would win. And we have.”

And those two wagers?

“I’m betting $20 on Germany to win the World Cup and $20 on the New Jersey Devils to win Lord Stanley’s Cup,” he said to a large round of applause.

The Oceanport racetrack, which was at the forefront of a push to legalize sports betting outside of Nevada, became the first location in New Jersey to accept sports wagers after the Supreme Court struck down a federal law barring wagering on team sports May 14. The stage was finally set Monday when Governor Murphy ended a prolonged delay and signed a bill authorizing licensed racetracks and casinos to begin conducting sports betting.

Dozens of TV screens flashed odds for just about every sporting event you could think of, including’s Thursday’s first round of the FIFA World Cup, which began at 11 a.m., the US Open, and the day’s Major League Baseball lineup. Future wagers for popular events such as the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, World Series, etc., were also available.

Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development, operator of Monmouth Park, leading trainers Kelly Breen and Jason Servis, and popular track announcer Frank Mirahmadi were among the enthusiastic crowd on hand showing support for the home team.

“It’s a historic day for Monmouth Park and for the state of New Jersey,” Drazin said. “We’ve been fighting this fight for more than six years in the courts and now that this day has arrived, and judging by the response from the fans who turned out for this, it’s exciting. Clearly, it’s something the people of New Jersey have been waiting for.”

Former state senator Raymond Lesniak, Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, and Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill U.S., were also in attendance.

Nearly 1,000 patrons made their way to the 15 designated sports betting tellers in the grandstand and additional six in the William Hill Race and Sports Bar.

Hazlet, New Jersey, resident Wayne Szpara, a union electrician of Local 456, was among the first to get a bet down Thursday morning.

“It’s another stream of income for New Jersey and it also means more jobs for people in the area, so it’s very good,” Szpara said. “I took the football Giants to win the NFC East, France to win the World Cup and the Mariners to win the World Series. I come to Monmouth Park often–it’s one of my favorite places.”

NBC cameras followed professional sports handicapper Joe Wisniewski of Joe Wiz Sports Picks as he made his move to the windows as the lines began to slow down a bit just after 11:30 a.m.

“I’m here today to make a big statement on one of the early baseball games,” Wisniewski, a resident of Bayonne, New Jersey, said of his max $9,000 wager on the San Francisco Giants (Giants won 6-3 in 16 innings!). “I’m really excited–I’ve been coming to Monmouth for years and I think the governor did a great job bringing sports betting here. I think it’s going to help the track and the economy in New Jersey. To me, it’s just as important as a man landing on the moon.”

Scat Daddy Colt Tops Strong OBS Opener

Wed, 2018-06-13 19:03

OCALA, Fl – With a colt from the final crop of Scat Daddy leading the way, the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age got off to a strong start Wednesday in Central Florida.

In all, 171 horses sold Wednesday for a gross of $6,460,500. The average of $37,781 was up 15% from last year’s opening session, while the median rose 17.6% to $20,000. Twelve horses sold for $100,000 or more during the session, compared to 17 during last year’s opener to a two-day June sale.

“It was a good start to the sale,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “I thought it was a good day and a lot of horses changed hands. The average was up and the median was up. It is a little tough to compare the sales because we had a longer session last year–we catalogued 374 for the first day last year versus 300–so it’s a little hard to go day to day. But all in all, we were in good shape. And, while it’s hard to make that apples-to-apple comparisons between the sales, you’d rather see it this way than the other way.”

The buy-back rate was 21.6%. It was 22.9% at the close of business a year ago, but improved to 16.7% with the inclusion of post-sale transactions.

In the first session of the 2017 June sale, 221 horses sold for $7,260,000. The average was $32,851 and the median was $17,000.

Carlo Vaccarezza went to $650,000 to secure the session topper, a colt by Scat Daddy (hip 211) who was consigned by Top Line Sales on behalf of breeder Don Ming. The session topper was one of three to better last year’s top price of $320,000.

“I think it says that a good horse can sell here and sell well,” Wojciechowski said. “We try to let people know that the idea is, if a horse needs time, you give them time and when they round into form here in June, there is still plenty of money here to buy those types of horses.”

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

Scat Daddy Colt to Vaccarezza

Just four days removed from Justify (Scat Daddy)’s historic Triple Crown sweep in the GI Belmont S., a colt by the late sire (hip 211) lit up the board at OBS when selling for $650,000 to Carlo Vaccarezza.

“I came down just to buy this horse,” Vaccarezza said. “I saw him and I loved him and Jimbo Gladwell told me he was doing really well. Scat Daddy is the flavor of the week and this is the last crop for Scat Daddy, so I figured we would just take a chance.”

Vaccarezza acknowledged Justify’s exploits might have helped push the colt’s price northward.

“It was probably $100,000 up from where it was supposed to go just because of Justify,” he said. “But I got lucky once with Little Mike and we’ll try to repeat that again.”

Vaccarezza’s homebred Little Mike (Spanish Steps) won the 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf and GI Arlington Million and earned over $3.5 million during his racing career.

Asked if their was a ‘little’ in this colt’s future name, Vaccarezza said, “I don’t know. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll call him Little Daddy–no we can’t call him Little Daddy because I have a Little Daddy, but we’ll call him some ‘Little.'”

Hip 211 is out of Satulah (Gone West), a daughter of graded stakes winner War Thief (Lord at War {Arg}) and a half-sister to graded stakes winner Boss Lafitte (Dynaformer). He was consigned by Top Line Sales on behalf of breeder Don Ming, who bought him back at $385,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

“We always liked him and we always had high expectations for him,” said the breeder’s son, Jacob Ming, who is also a member of the Top Line sales team. “We wanted $400,000 for him in September, but we thought we would be ok to take him home and take him to a 2-year-old sale and let him perform. We knew he was a good horse.”

The March foal has only gotten better since last fall, according to Ming.

“He is still looks like the same horse, but he’s matured a lot more,” Ming said. “It took him to June to grow up to his physical. He was a big horse and he needed more time to mature. Coming to this late sale really helped him.”

The juvenile worked a furlong in a co-fastest :9 4/5 last week.

“I was there when we breezed him,” Ming said. “I brought him up on the pony and it was exciting. It was something special. But I knew he was that fast the whole time. That’s why we brought him here. He’s an awesome horse and it’s good to see him go to a good home so we can see what he can do.”

Of the colt’s final price tag, Ming added, “We were thinking up to $450,000–$500,000, if we were lucky. But $650,000 was a plus, so we couldn’t be more happy with that.”

Cairo Prince Filly to Chus

Susan and Charles Chu, who campaigned sprint champion and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Drefong (Gio Ponti), acquired a filly from the first crop of graded stakes winner Cairo Prince for $375,000 during Wednesday’s first session of the OBS June sale. The juvenile worked the fastest quarter-mile (:20 2/5) during last week’s under-tack preview and was consigned by Andro and Tracey Price’s Price Thoroughbreds.

“That was right in the ballpark,” Andro Price said of the filly’s final price. “We had a lot of positive interest in the filly and she presented herself well. We are very happy today. I have to thank my team who helped me here with this filly and my partners who were patient with me and with her and gave her the time to get her here. And of course, my wife who rode her so well in the breeze show.”

Out of Motel Lass (Bates Motel), the May 29 foal (hip 61) is a half-sister to stakes winners Stormin’ Lyon (Storm Boot) and Quick Flip (Speightstown).

“You can’t find much wrong with her,” Price said. “She’s a lovely filly who is still growing. We targeted this sale with her because she is a late foal and we thought we’d give her the time. I think she is going to finish off to be a beautiful, fantastic 3-year-old and I think we’ll be hearing good things from her.”

Price Thoroughbreds purchased the filly for $130,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale. After last Thursday’s breeze, Price admitted that was above his usual target price for a yearling. But after Wednesday’s sale, the consignor agreed that it would likely be more of the same at this fall’s yearling sales.

“I don’t think we have any other choice, but to do that [spend more],” he said. “The market really wants these upper-end horses and that’s what we are going to have to do.”

Uncle Mo Colt Heads West

A colt by Uncle Mo, who turned in the fastest three-furlong work of :32 2/5 during last week’s under-tack show, brought a final bid of $370,000 from bloodstock agent Marette Farrell during Wednesday’s first session of the OBS June Sale and will head west to the California barn of trainer Peter Eurton. Farrell was bidding on behalf of Exline-Border Racing LLC of Ryan Exline and Justin Border. The partnership was co-owner of champion Champagne Room (Broken Vow) and multiple graded stakes winner Giant Expectations (Frost Giant).

“We thought his mechanics were phenomenal,” Farrell said of the juvenile. “He’s a big, two-turn horse. We knew he wasn’t perfect in front, but we thought that Peter Eurton is such a good horseman and a trainer who really zones in on his horses every day, so we thought it was a good fit.”

Farrell said the colt’s workout time was not as important as how the work was accomplished. She credited Tescha Von Bluecher with flagging the colt’s impressive gallop-out.

“It wasn’t so much about the time, but it was that he is such a big horse and the time opened our eyes to the fact that he did it so easily,” she said. “More importantly for us was the gallop out–he floated around the turn. And he had no oxygen debt after he finished, so obviously he’s got a huge heart capacity. Tescha Von Bluecher always sits back there all the time and she really liked his gallop out.”

The bay colt (hip 41) is out of Mississippi Queen (Artie Schiller), a half-sister to Grade I winner Asi Siempre (El Prado {Ire}). He was purchased in utero for $360,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale by Blandford Stud and was bred by Paget Bloodstock. He was consigned to the OBS sale by Gayle Woods.

The colt was offset in a knee and Woods admitted that conformation flaw affected his final price Wednesday.

“The reserve was $299,000 and they carried on a little bit past there,” Woods said. “I think he is worth more than that, but he was discounted because of the knee. But he’s a special, special horse. He has so much class and he never puts a foot wrong. He’s a giant, I’ve called him my gentle giant all year.”

Sam Elliott Busy for St Lucia Turf Club

Sam Elliott, formerly director of racing at Parx and now chief executive officer at the Saint Lucia Turf Club, kept up a frenetic pace of buying Wednesday in Ocala as he attempts to increase the Thoroughbred population on the Carribean island ahead of its track opening in February. Flanked by the China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace and Mick Flanagan, Elliott signed the ticket on 16 juveniles for a total of $136,500 and an average of $8,531.

“We’ve gotten a nice mix of colts and fillies,” Elliott said. “I have Michael Wallace and Mick Flanagan with me–it’s more their job to pick out who they like. We are looking for durablity and obviously we have to keep the cost factor down. We’re going to turn them out now and then we are going to ship them to St. Lucia by plane. So it’s not just the cost of getting them, but getting them there as well.”

Elliott said the horses will ship to St. Lucia in the fall and the new track is expected to open in early 2019.

“The plan is to have these horses down there at the end of September,” he said. “So we are going to turn them out for the rest of June and July. They are going to be out for a while. Then we will put them back in training. Opening day of the new track is Feb. 10. Hopefully they will all be ready to go then.”

While the Royal St. Lucia Turf Club currently owns all of the June acquisitions, the group hopes to attract local owners.

“The idea is to sell them down there,” Elliott said. “Even though there is no racing down there, there is an equine culture. There are quite a few horses down there and I’ve spoken to people already who have interest in purchasing horses. One of our jobs will be to identify them and maybe we’ll put partnerships together down there. And then figure it out from there. It’s a work in progress. Racing is new there, but there is an awful lot of racing around us–Martinique, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago. So hopefully out of that group, we’ll put something together. The plan is not to hold on to them, but to sell them.”

Golden Gate Future in Doubt Over Simulcast Issue

Wed, 2018-06-13 18:59

The Stronach Group (TSG)’s Golden Gate Fields property could potentially close down due to a dispute over simulcast operation funding in Northern California, according to a report published in the Blood-Horse. According to the report, TSG COO Tim Ritvo said that the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has threatened to revoke Golden Gate’s operational license if they do not remain involved with a regional simulcast network that requires funding from the track. In response, Ritvo said the track could cease operations if the CHRB did not change its stance.

“Please be advised there will be an urgent meeting at 10 a.m. tomorrow by the paddock for all horsemen at Golden Gate Fields with regard to the future of Golden Gate Fields,” a tweet from the Golden Gate Press account read Wednesday afternoon.

That meeting, according to the Blood-Horse report, will involve a discussion between horsemen and track management over the simulcast issue. Ritvo told Blood-Horse that the current simulcasting arrangement through NOTWINC (Northern California Off-Track Wagering Inc.) essentially requires Golden Gate to fund off-track betting facilities in the region.