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Updated: 6 hours 39 min ago

Ballydoyle Seven Dominate Derby

Thu, 2019-05-30 11:34

Aidan O’Brien will saddle seven of the 13 runners in Saturday’s G1 Investec Derby at Epsom, with the likely favourite and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Sir Dragonet (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) joined by fellow trial winners Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}), Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Circus Maximus (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Sir Dragonet was handed the outside stall in 13, which will be much more favourably received than the one draw given to Saxon Warrior (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) 12 months ago, while Broome is in eight and Anthony Van Dyck in seven. Cape of Good Hope (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) is off to Chantilly for the following day’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club along with the other withdrawal, the Roger Varian-trained G2 Dante S. third Surfman (GB) (Kingman {GB}).

The supplemented May 16 Dante winner Telecaster (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) will break from stall two, which is far from ideal given that the lowest-drawn winner in the past 10 runnings was Sea the Stars (Ire) who had stall four in 2009. That misfortune was not lost on Oisin Murphy on Thursday as he said, “We’re drawn in two and everyone would like a higher draw, but that’s the card we’ve been dealt,” he said. “He’s obviously come out of the Dante really well and we’re excited. On Monday, he felt in really good order and has not lost much weight since the Dante. Hughie [Morrison]’s pleased, so it’s all systems go.”

King Power Racing’s Apr. 26 G3 Sandown Classic Trial scorer Bangkok (Ire) (Australia {GB}) will emerge from stall 12 as the other leading home-trained protagonist alongside Telecaster. Godolphin’s Line of Duty (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), fitted with cheekpieces following his disappointing seventh in the Dante, will break from the hoodoo stall one.

As expected, Ryan Moore has sided with Sir Dragonet, with Donnacha O’Brien on Broome and Seamie Heffernan on Anthony Van Dyck. Frankie Dettori has received the call-up for the Listed Dee S. scorer Circus Maximus and Jamie Spencer is on the G3 Chester Vase runner-up Norway (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). The dual G1 1000 Guineas-winning rider Wayne Lordan has the leg up on last year’s G2 Beresford S. winner Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}).

Dettori, who partnered Scorpion (Ire) to win the G1 St Leger for Ballydoyle in 2005 and also the stable’s Order of St George (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) to be third in the memorable Arc of 2016, said of Circus Maximus, “He looks like a horse who is a bit lazy. He’s never going to be flash. I spoke to Aidan O’Brien this morning and the horse will wear cheekpieces just to sharpen him up a little bit because he is very laid-back. One thing we do know is that he stays really well and if you look at his Autumn S. form, he is red hot with Magna Grecia and Phoenix of Spain. The race does looks wide-open. You can make a case about most of the runners, but I am pleased with mine who will most definitely stay the trip.”

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Wednesday’s Belmont S. Updates

Wed, 2019-05-29 16:05

Japanese invader Master Fencer (Jpn) (Just a Way {Jpn}) breezed five furlongs in 1:01.48 (2/2) over the Belmont main track Wednesday morning in preparation for the June 8 GI Belmont S. (video). Jockey Julien Leparoux, who rode the chestnut to a sixth-place finish in the GI Kentucky Derby May 4, was supposed to be aboard for the work, but his flight from Kentucky was canceled, so regular exercise rider Yosuke Kono was in the irons. The horse stumbled near the eighth pole, so Kono pulled him up just past the finish line. The colt appeared fine and cooled out in good order later at the barn.

“Up until the eighth pole, he was breezing really well and I was so satisfied,” Kono said via a translator. “All of a sudden, he stumbled, and gradually shifted to the left by the rail. I switched my whip to make him aware and focus to the end of the breeze. We then recovered but it was feeling a little weird so I tried to stop him as soon as possible. After the work he had a light jog and there were no problems. I don’t think it’s something that will cause a major issue.”

Master Fencer was last most of the way in the Derby, closing strongly late to cross the line seventh, but was promoted to sixth via DQ. Kono said the extra two furlongs in the Belmont will benefit the colt.

“He has a big heart and big lungs and is better suited to the longer distance,” said Kono. “He is not the type to make crazy speed. He has a long, strong late kick. For him, the mile and a half will be a lot better.”

Mark Casse originally said he would breeze his GI Preakness S. winner War of Will (War Front) this week in preparation for the Belmont, but he has decided to skip that work and gallop into the race.

“He’s not going to breeze. We kind of feel like he’s in a very happy place and relaxed right now and we want him to be that way going 1 1/2 miles so I don’t really see any reason to,” Casse said. “We know his Preakness was good and I didn’t breeze him into that. We are going to do it our way. So he is not going to breeze.”

War of Will has been training at Keeneland since the Preakness under assistant trainer David Carroll and will ship to New York Monday. He will be the only horse this year to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown.

The Brad Cox-trained Owendale (Into Mischief) has been removed from Belmont consideration. The GIII Stonestreet Lexington S. winner may be pointed to the June 22 GIII Ohio Derby.

“We’re going to bypass on the Belmont. He’s great, doing outstanding. Maybe the Ohio Derby [next],” said Cox. “[The distance] and a combination of coming back in three weeks is asking him a lot.”

Cox will send out a trio of runners on Belmont weekend in GII Belmont Gold Cup contender Arklow (Arch), GI Just a Game S.-bound Beau Recall (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}) and Jersey Girl S. runner Break Even (Country Day).


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Keeneland Winner’s Circle: Raise a Glass of Vino Rosso to Crupi

Wed, 2019-05-29 15:58

Life is full of coincidence. And our own lives are full of horses: a teeming cavalcade of them, all on different trajectories, rising or falling; sometimes seeming to fulfill carefully planned agendas, more often prey to random twists of luck. So when a single Thoroughbred steps out of the chaos to meet a cue as specific as the one that summoned Vino Rosso (Curlin) at Santa Anita on Memorial Day, it really asks us what we believe about the world, and our place in it.

On the one hand, you could say that for Vino Rosso to win a Grade I race in the achingly hollow days between the death and funeral of the man who found him for his owners, and then taught him how to be a racehorse, is simply a fortuitous demonstration of the impact routinely made on the business by James “J.J.” Crupi. His eye and touch were such that it was only a matter of time before a graduate of his New Castle training center outside Ocala would reiterate the scale of his loss, aged 79, last Thursday. How much time was a matter of pure chance.

On the other hand, it is not as though Crupi is being mourned merely as a horseman. The sheer dimensions of his character–in terms both of the courage he brought to his own battles, and the generosity with which he assisted others in their own–were such that many of those now grieving will be comfortable with the idea that fortunes on the racetrack, trivial and apparently arbitrary as they are, might reflect a deeper register of our existence.

As Vino Rosso wore down favorite Gift Box (Twirling Candy) in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita, after all, the racecaller happened to mention that they being followed down the stretch by a horse named Higher Power (Medaglia d’Oro)!

Vino Rosso Wins the Gold Cup | Benoit photo

Wherever you stand, the Grade I breakthrough of Vino Rosso was as apt as it was moving. Apart from anything else, he represents a partnership between two men who each owe their finest hours on the Turf to Crupi: Mike Repole, for whom he found champion juvenile Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) as a yearling; and Vinnie Viola, whose St Elias Stable was likewise put on the map by Crupi, literally so in the case of the top-class miler Liam’s Map (Unbridled’s Song). Viola also had a stake in the 2017 Kentucky Derby winner, Always Dreaming (Bodemeister), who learned the ropes under Crupi before his transfer to Todd Pletcher.

Pletcher is also the trainer of Vino Rosso and naturally his owners are indebted to him for helping the horse regroup, his form having tapered off at Saratoga last summer after his Classic campaign. But Viola, in the course of paying tribute to a cherished friend and counsellor on Friday, had expressly remarked that this race might prove a perfect testimonial.

Viola explained that Vino Rosso had exemplified Crupi’s patience with horses. And not just his patience, but his intuition. There had been a time when the colt had lost his way. “He wasn’t progressing,” Viola recalled. “But then Jimmy called up Rory Babich [who assists in the St Elias operation] one day and said: ‘You know, I figured Vino out. I worked him in the morning, and I didn’t like the way he worked. So I worked him in the afternoon, and did it for a few days–until he learned that when he gets on the track, he should put out his best effort.'”

And having seen how the race duly played out, Repole echoed his partner’s sense that Vino Rosso could have carved no better memorial to Crupi.

“I think Vino and Johnny [Velazquez] had a little help down the stretch yesterday, in getting past Gift Box,” Repole said. “To win a Grade I race a couple of days after Jimmy passed away, and a couple of days before his funeral Mass, I think there’s a higher power involved here.

“It meant more than you’d ever think. I know Grade Is are few and far between, but this one had a lot more meaning. It was very special. I spoke to some people on the farm, Vinnie did too: people who were closest to Jimmy, like Monique [Delk] and Johnny Sacco, it was emotional for them all.”

Vino Rosso was one of the first couple of horses Repole bought in partnership with Viola, whom he had introduced to Crupi.

“When Vinnie and I started to see some of these partnerships happening we said, ‘Hey, you know what, we both root for each other.’ When he’s winning a race I say congrats and when he’s winning a race he says congrats, so it made all the sense in the world, and for Jimmy to be very involved in the choosing,” he said. “We’ve got about five more [2-year-olds] coming this year that Jimmy picked out.

“But for this to happen, four days later after Jimmy’s passing… He died 12.33 on Thursday night, so really Friday, the day the entries were made. A horse he picked out for Vinnie and I, a horse who’s had a lot of promise and excitement but for one reason or another hasn’t put it all together. I think yesterday was the culmination of a lot, for Vino Rosso and obviously for the relationship of Vinnie and [Viola’s wife] Teresa and myself and Jimmy. And Todd, too, because he and Jimmy had a pretty special relationship.

“Vinnie and Teresa have been so great to Jimmy. Over the years there’ve been so many times when they went above and beyond to get him the best doctors, to put him in the best hospital in New York, the best hospital in Miami.

“Jimmy lived his life like a Grade I racehorse. He gave it his all every single time. Jimmy was like a Grade I horse that had 110 starts. He wouldn’t want to work, he’d want to run every week. Obviously it’s very bittersweet. He’d been suffering. But when you talk about Jimmy Crupi, you’re talking about the Frank Sinatra song: ‘I did it my way.’

Viola and Repole | Sarah K. Andrew photo

“So it was a special, special win. For three Italian guys to be winning with a horse named Vino Rosso. In New England, where I was, and Vinnie in New York, I think we both opened a nice bottle of wine and toasted Jimmy, and 79 years of a great life, over a nice Grade I vino rosso.”

But let’s not forget, in taking a step back from the poignant circumstances, the role of another remarkable achiever in the Vino Rosso story. For when this colt emerged on the Derby trail last year, what jumped out of his background was not his selection and breaking, but the fact that he had been born and raised on the same farm as Justify (Scat Daddy).

The two horses were born on consecutive days, and sealed their Derby candidature the same day on opposite coasts: the eventual Triple Crown winner in the GI Santa Anita Derby, and Vino Rosso in the GII Wood Memorial. That would have been a stellar day for Claiborne or Lane’s End, never mind for the boutique Glennwood Farm, run by John D. Gunther and his daughter Tanya.
To breed both colts, they had identified a stallion going places: Curlin and Scat Daddy were still available at $25,000 and $30,000 respectively when covering the dams of Vino Rosso and Justify.
John Gunther had been similarly ahead of the game in the $42,000 acquisition of Mythical Bride (Street Cry {Ire}) at the 2011 Keeneland November Sale. Winner only of a Sunland Park maiden, she was culled by WinStar before two subsequent sons of her mother Flaming Heart (Touch Gold) could elevate the page. Her weanling by A.P. Indy was Commissioner, subsequently beaten a head in the GI Belmont S.; while her 2-year-old by Distorted Humor, Laugh Track, was foiled by a neck in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint. (Both also won graded stakes.)

Besides Vino Rosso, Mythical Bride is since responsible for So Alive (Super Saver), a debut winner at Keeneland last fall and Grade III-placed this spring; and a Pioneerof The Nile colt in training with Aidan O’Brien. She recently delivered a brother to Vino Rosso, and also has a yearling colt by none other than Crupi’s discovery Uncle Mo.

If few can hope to match the Gunthers’ prescience, in picking mares and their mates on the marketplace, everyone can learn something from the matings that produced Justify and Vino Rosso. For both balance inbreeding to Mr Prospector with duplication of a classy stamina influence.

Justify carries Mr P. 3 x 5 x 5: as Scat Daddy’s damsire and also as sire of sisters Preach and Yarn, respectively the dams of Pulpit (sire of Justify’s second dam) and Myth (dam of Scat Daddy’s sire Johannesburg). But all this dash is weighted by that a copper-bottomed Classic force, Nijinsky: not only as the sire of Scat Daddy’s second dam, and grandsire (through Baldski) of Justify’s third dam; but also as damsire of Narrate, the dam of Preach and Yarn. (And actually Narrate’s sire, Honest Pleasure, is a brother to What A Pleasure, sire of Justify’s fourth dam: more ballast across the pedigree.)

In Vino Rosso, that pattern is magnified: between Mr P. glitz, and one of the ultimate conduits of broodmare class and hardiness in Deputy Minister. The Mr P. arrives straight down the line, 3 x 4: a sire by his son Smart Strike; and a dam by his grandson Street Cry (Ire) (Machiavellian). Deputy Minister, likewise 3 x 4, appears as damsire of Curlin; while his son Touch Gold (out of a mare by another broodmare sire legend in Buckpasser) is responsible for second dam Flaming Heart.

Vino Rosso’s bottom line has mild distinction, overall, though it’s fun to note that both the grand-dams of Flaming Heart’s mother were by Lt. Stevens, a son of the linchpin matriarch Rough Shod. Beyond that you find some pretty arcane influences: Vino Rosso’s sixth dam, for instance, is by the exported British speedball Pappa Fourway.

Vino Rosso has spent much of his life in Justify’s shadow. Even before they had left Glennwood, the herd leader seemed to know who he was. Tanya Gunther once memorably compared them to the Fonz and Richie Cunningham from the old TV series “Happy Days”: Justify, the biker swaggering around in his leather jacket; Vino Rosso clean-cut, eager-to-please. Evidently his deportment at the 2016 September Sale was correspondingly laid back, but he caught Crupi’s eye as Hip 528 and made $410,000.

Crupi’s fellow Italian-American patrons gave their new colt a name that would invite the most obvious of “brindisi” (toasts). And he gave them a memorable opportunity the day he won the Wood, a very special race for guys raised in the neighbourhood; not least given Viola’s success in the GI Carter H. on the same card with another Crupi discovery, Army Mule (Friesan Fire).

At the time, Crupi complimented Viola for giving horses all the time they need. But as Viola told us the other day, that was precisely the lesson he most valued from Crupi. One way or another, Vino Rosso–having always been mellow in character–now appears to be maturing, like fine Chianti, into an animal worthy of the names on the label. And that’s saying something: planted by Gunther, harvested by Crupi.

So ultimately, perhaps, we don’t really need to ask ourselves whether someone up there might be taking a benign interest in a mere horserace. Because Crupi had long since made all the necessary difference to Vino Rosso, by all his patient development of talent. Perhaps he even imparted something of his own indomitable spirit. As such, then, Crupi would perhaps now like nothing more than for his countless friends simply to raise a glass to his memory–and to enjoy Vino Rosso among all his other living, vital and lasting legacies.

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Trainer Burness Captures Trio of Wins at Woodbine Sunday

Wed, 2019-05-29 15:48

When Ashlee Burness was just three years old, her father hoisted the toddler up on the back of his horse in the Woodbine winner’s circle. While it made for a fantastic picture, one that still adorns the trainer’s office at the Toronto track, the track stewards didn’t let the rebellious John Burness off the hook without a fine. That was just the beginning of Burness’s career in the horse racing industry.

This past Sunday, Burness reached a new milestone in her 12 years in the training business when three of her runners posted victories at Woodbine.

“Nobody expects a three-win day, it was a first time for me for sure,” said Burness. “We were expecting them all to run well, they were all training well but it’s horse racing. You never know. If it’s a horse race they can all lose.”

The three runners were Now Play Nice (Roman Ruler), Bear Paw (Bear’s Kid) and Analyzer (Leonnatus Anteas). Purchased for $50,000 at this past winter’s KEEJAN sale, Now Play Nice appeared to be a promising broodmare prospect for Burness’s father, who owns the 300-acre Colebrook Farms in Unxbridge, Ontario. John Burness has been in the breeding and racing side of the business for over 50 years.

Previously trained by David Cotey, Now Play Nice went off as the longest shot on the board and rallied gamely through the stretch to score by a half-length. “We weren’t ready to breed her quite yet and she pleasantly surprised us winning like that after that time off [her last race was Dec. 12 at Woodbine],” said Burness.

Burness’s other two winners of the day, Bear Paw and Analyzer, are both Colebrook Farms’ homebreds, though Bear Paw is jointly owned with John Burness’s long-time partner, Danny Dion. Bear Paw was making her second start of the year off a five month lay-off and the consistent four-year-old filly has only been off the board once in her 12-race career competing over the Woodbine synthetic, including a win in last year’s Classy n’ Smart S. Burness mentioned Bear Paw will be pointing towards a stakes race for her next start.

Analyzer recorded his first triumph against winners by a length in the 10th race after breaking his maiden in a $40,000 maiden optional claiming race Oct. 20. The chestnut gelding had been preparing for a big effort with a series of steady breezes, the most noteworthy being an Apr. 27 five-eighths blow out in 1.00.80 (5/84).

Burness began training back in 2007 when her father threw her the reins, literally, after firing his head trainer, Frank Passaro. “My dad said: ‘Here’s 50 horses, figure it out-verbatim. That’s how it happened.”

Burness won the La Prevoyante S. with Reconnect (Niigon) in her first year of training, which coincidentally occurred on her wedding day. “I missed part of the wedding because I had snuck away with my dad to watch the races. Everyone was like where’s Ashlee? Where’s John?”

Johnny Bear, however, was the horse that took the Burness family and Bear Stables’ for a whirlwind of a ride over the last few years. Burness recalls the CANSEP sales topper looked the part of a star from day one, and repaid every bit of his $278,823 price tag after notching Woodbine’s GI Northern Dancer S. in consecutive years (2017-2018). Unfortunately, the now eight-year-old gelding fractured his right front leg during a routine workout in Florida this past winter.

“That was one of the worst phone calls I’ve ever received,” recalls Burness. “We rushed him off to the Ocala Equine Clinic and they did the surgery right there. The injury wasn’t life-threatening and he’s honestly the horse of a lifetime. It doesn’t matter how much money it costs to fix him. If he comes back to the races again, we’ll see, but if not, my only care is that he lives out his life as a happy old man at the farm.”

Johnny Bear reportedly came out of his surgery in good condition and is set to have an X-ray in three weeks. The earner of $702,706 is currently rehabbing at Colebrook Farms.

“The horse owes us nothing, he’s the horse of a career for me. I’m just happy the farm has the facilities to provide the care for him,” said Burness.

Meanwhile, Burness currently oversees 100 horses-in-training between Woodbine and Colebrook Farms. She credits the barn’s success Sunday to her diligent employees, her assistant Patrick Dickson and her foreman of nearly 10 years, Pablo.

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After Giving Second Chances To So Many, A Retirement Well Earned

Wed, 2019-05-29 15:10

Not too many people walk out of prison saying they’re looking forward to returning in the near future. But that’s exactly what Linda Dyer intends to do.

The higher-ups at the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Lexington will be glad to have Dyer back when she does choose to return–and so will the nation’s Thoroughbred aftercare community.

Although May 30 marks Dyer’s official retirement date after 14 years as farm manager for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF)’s Second Chances Program at Kentucky’s largest minimum-security state prison, Dyer told TDN she plans to stay very much involved with the horses and inmates, helping to raise both awareness and funds for the nationally accredited vocational training program in equine care and stable management.

“I love working with horses. I love to teach people what the old-timers–the old, hard-boot Thoroughbred men–taught me,” Dyer said. “So I’ve tried to share that with these guys so they’ll be better horsemen when they get out of here and can get a job.”

In 1999, the TRF opened the Blackburn program in a converted prison dairy barn. Today, it is one of the largest of the organization’s seven Second Chances correctional facility farms, with 58 former racehorses living out their retirement years on 100 acres of lush Kentucky bluegrass. Inmates selected for the program learn marketable job skills while reaping the emotional benefits of working closely with Thoroughbreds.

Dyer grew up in Lexington and described herself as a “horse crazy” girl. “I was born that way,” she said. “I was an A Circuit show groom. My father died when I was 15, so I have worked pretty much since. I broke yearlings, galloped, prepped, brought back lay-ups, handled stallions, foaled over a thousand mares, bred mares, and managed Thoroughbred farms my whole life.”

But even as Dyer kept racking up equine experience while raising a family, she grew concerned about post-retirement finances. She worked for awhile with the Kentucky State Police, but the evening shifts didn’t suit her crack-of-dawn horse person’s body clock. When she heard in 2005 that the Blackburn farm manager’s job was open and that it provided retirement benefits, she applied and landed what turned out to be a dream job for someone with her knowledge and demeanor.

“I really get a big, huge grin of satisfaction when these people learn to be able to take better care of horses,” Dyer said. “And even if they don’t leave the program and get a job working directly with horses, they learn responsibility.”

Dyer said she’ll miss interactions like the one she witnessed one recent morning after bringing an inmate down to the stable for his shift.

“I was in my office with the door open, but he couldn’t see me,” Dyer recalled. “He went right down the line, hugged every horse around the neck and said ‘Good morning!’ The prisoners tell me the horses calm them. They can talk to the horses, tell them anything they want to, and it’s good therapy for both the horses and the inmates. They take pride in taking care of the horses, so it’s a win-win situation for the horses and the people.”

When asked if she had any post-prison success stories she can relate, Dyer pointed out that rules prohibit her from having any contact with inmates after they’re released. But some of the former inmates do write in to the TRF to express their gratitude, and Dyer reads those notes with pride even though she can’t respond to them.

“A guy walking on the yard one day not too long ago stopped me and asked if I remembered this one inmate who left about four years ago,” Dyer said. “He said he’s been working on the racetrack ever since he got out, and he loves it. And I did remember him–he had never touched a horse before he came here and was initially pretty scared of them. But he turned into a good horseman, and it’s great because it gave him a career.”

Ask Dyer to name a particular horse that resonates with her after 14 years on the job, and she does not hesitate to praise the remarkable recovery of Z Camelot (Smart Strike).

In June 2016, Z Camelot was descried as the worst-off of 43 emaciated horses removed from an abandoned Mercer County farm leased by Chuck Borell (who was later arrested and entered a guilty plea without making an admission of guilt to nine misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty) in partnership with his daughter, the former Thoroughbred trainer Maria Borell (who is still at large with an open arrest warrant for 43 misdemeanor counts of cruelty).

Z Camelot was found locked in a stall, 400 pounds underweight, with sores and significant hair loss, subsisting on remnants of soiled shavings. By the time he was placed at Blackburn, it was iffy that the gelding would survive.

Under Dyer’s leadership, the inmates nursed Z Camelot and five other neglected horses back to health, and a year later “Z” was adopted out to a new home and is currently thriving in a second career as a sport horse (read a 2017 profile about his recovery here).

“The inmates were so upset over the condition of that horse,” Dyer said. “They said they’d like to put [Maria Borell] in the hole and feed her bread and water for a couple of months. Me, I told them I wouldn’t feed her anything, because she didn’t feed those horses–the inmates were being nicer than me. But it was a good learning experience for them, because they learned to bring horses back to health that had been severely starved.”

Dyer was asked to name the one thing people don’t fully understand about her job.

“It’s not always easy,” Dyer replied. “You have a lot to take care of between the prison part of it and a farm. But to know that you hopefully have changed somebody’s life, that’s very rewarding. I preach to these guys a lot to make them realize what they’re doing with their lives, that they don’t get to come around and do it again, because you only get one life. And hopefully the horses have helped to change their lives, and that they will go out and live their lives in a better way.”

The TRF will honor Dyer’s service by naming a new fund after her. Kim Weir, the TRF’s director of major gifts and planned giving, said proceeds from the Dyer Blackburn Fund will be specifically dedicated to the care of the horses at Blackburn, and the fund-raising goal is to meet the $83,000 annual budget for that purpose. To donate, click here.

“Linda has been out there on her own managing all those horses, and she’s clearly a gifted teacher turning out men who want to do it when they leave,” Weir said. “There’s an inspirational and aspirational part that she instills in them. Linda is legendarily her own woman–she has her own style, and it has worked so beautifully for a long run at Blackburn. Working in a prison system can be like working with your hands tied behind your back. But Linda has just thrived on the challenge of making this program work. We cannot be any more proud of her. She has clearly found that she can change lives, and she’s been doing it for 14 years.”

Dyer said she plans to get a part-time job in retirement that will allow her to spend more time enjoying her six grandchildren. She’ll also spend as much time as she can on horseback.

“I have a half Thoroughbred, half Quarter Horse that I bred. I like to trail ride a lot,” Dyer said. “And I actually have a horse here at Blackburn. If I can ever get some more fence built on my place, I might come back and get him and take him home with me.”


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Yankee Fourtune Euthanized at Old Friends

Wed, 2019-05-29 14:48

Multiple graded stakes winner Yankee Fourtune (Yankee Gentleman–Madam Ann, by Mi Cielo) was euthanized Tuesday at Old friends due to chronic arthritis. The 12-year-old has been pensioned at the Georgetown retirement facility since 2015.

The gray won five starts in a row in 2010, including the GIII Hawthorne Derby and GIII Commonwealth Turf S. for Harvey Clarke and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. He was later claimed from Clarke, but the late owner/breeder reached out to his connections, offering assistance if the gelding ever needed it. Yankee Fourtune eventually needed colic surgery, which Clarke took care of and then donated him to Old Friends. The $37,000 KEESEP buy concluded his career with a record of 31-9-7-2 and earnings of $391,975.

“Losing Harvey and Yankee Fourtune is a huge blow to everyone who knew them both,” said Michael Blowen, President and founder of Old Friends. “Harvey loved Yankee Fourtune, and inquired about him a lot. They were lucky to have each other.”


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CHRB Keeps Lines of Communication Open with Feinstein

Tue, 2019-05-28 17:45

California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) chairman Chuck Winner told the TDN that he and the board’s executive director, Rick Baedeker, are in communication with California senator Dianne Feinstein’s office as they try to organize a call with the senator “at her convenience” as part of an ongoing dialogue with the influential lawmaker.

On Monday, the senator called once again for a moratorium on horse racing at Santa Anita, as well as the need for a “thorough investigation of practices and conditions” at the track after three horses were fatally injured within the space of nine days. Before the latest three catastrophic breakdowns, there were no fatalities at the track for six weeks, during which time an estimated 50,000 horses exercised. On top of that, there were 698 starters on the main track and 651 on turf, according to The Stronach Group figures.

“It’s actually [Feinstein’s] suggestion,” Winner said, about the anticipated call. “She continued to keep us informed with respect to her thinking and her reasons.”

The CHRB doesn’t currently have the unilateral authority to immediately suspend racing. A new state bill introduced in April would give the CHRB that muscle, but it’s still passing through the state legislature.

Winner said that “anything” the senator might publicly state concerning horse racing would trigger “discussions both positive and negative” between industry stakeholders, and he added that the CHRB is in discussions “every day” with TSG about “what can be done to improve the situation.”

When asked whether there were plans to suspend racing at Santa Anita, Winner responded, “No, not to my knowledge…at this time.”

The Stronach Group didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

In her Monday statement, Feinstein asked, “How many more horses must die before concrete steps are taken to address what is clearly an acute problem?”

“I believe we need to carefully review what medications horses are given and under what circumstances, as well as take a close look at the issue of overrunning horses, which may be contributing to deaths,” she added.

Hot on the heels of Feinstein’s statement, PETA issued a press release Tuesday calling for the suspension of racing nationwide “until every racing jurisdiction matches or surpasses what California has done.”

Winner said, “I absolutely appreciate what Kathy Guillermo and the PETA people are saying with respect to the reforms that we are making in California and the industry’s making.”

But Winner added that he disagrees with the idea of suspending racing nationwide.

“My own view is that changes can be made in a positive way, and that those changes can be made nationally without shutting down racing,” said Winner.

Feinstein had previously called for the suspension of racing at Santa Anita back in April, after which Winner and Baedeker met the politician for a working lunch in San Francisco–a meeting that Winner described afterwards as “very constructive.”

The senator’s latest pronouncement follows three recent fatalities that bring to 26 the number of racehorses that have died since racing resumed at Santa Anita last December.

At last week’s joint hearing in Sacramento, Rick Arthur, CHRB equine medical director, explained that the first two horses to breakdown after that fallow period suffered injuries that were “different” to the first 23 fatalities.

On May 17, 3-year-old gelding Commander Coil fractured a shoulder–an injury that typically occurs due to “bone weakening associated with a pre-existing stress fracture,” according to experts at UC Davis. The injury occurred while the horse was galloping. Two days later, Spectacular Music suffered an unusual pelvis injury during racing. The 3-year-old was making his racecourse debut.

This Saturday, the 9-year-old gelding Kochees suffered an injury during racing, and was euthanized the next day after efforts to save him failed. According to Arthur, the injury that Kochees sustained was “more similar” to the earlier cases.

At last week’s joint hearing in Sacramento, Baedeker explained how investigations into the fatalities–a joint venture with the L.A. County District Attorney’s office–are ongoing, but could be completed within a month.

The issue of who has the authority to suspend racing is one that has swirled ever since the spike in equine fatalities at Santa Anita first made headlines this winter. Baedeker has previously explained to the TDN that the board has the authority to transfer race dates from one track to another track if it receives approval from both participating tracks.

If the CHRB doesn’t receive approval from both tracks, then the board has the authority to unilaterally move race dates around, but only if it receives a race dates application which is subsequently posted for at least 10 days.

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Padua Stables Sells

Tue, 2019-05-28 17:34

Padua Stables in Summerfield, Florida, formerly owned by the Sanan family, has been sold to the Cowboys Group by broker Joan Pletcher, with closing on the property last Friday.

“Satish [Sanan] has been a loyal client over the years,” said Pletcher, who co-listed the property with Valarie Dailey of Showcase Properties. “He and Anne purchased their first two Thoroughbreds in July of 1997 and shortly thereafter purchased the 768 acres and began developing a state-of-the-art training and breeding facility known as Padua Stables. Padua Stables was successful, winning several Breeders’ Cup races and other graded stakes, along with bringing young stallions into the market.”

The new owner is putting the property back on the market and it will be listed with Pletcher.

“Most buyers felt the property was larger than they where interested in and by parceling off the training facility with the 3/4-mile track, 116 stalls, and some housing it will be more attractive to buyers,” Pletcher said. “The land, lakes, Live Oak trees are so incredible that you are only limited to your imagination as to what you might want to create with some of the parcels that will be available.”

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Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program Announces 2019 Participants

Tue, 2019-05-28 14:19

A group of six students has been named as participants in this year’s Maryland Thoroughbred Career Program. The MTCP is an educational program presented by the Maryland Horse Industry Foundation, the charitable arm of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association. The second installment of the MTCP will run from June 3-8 and will allow participants access to leaders of the Maryland Thoroughbred industry during site visits that explore everything from breeding and sales, to aftercare and racetrack management.

This year’s students are: Thomas Dobbins, Molly Harris, Elizabeth Moorman, Zara Pyzowski, Emily Shiloh, and Rachel Stockslager.

“This was a very competitive pool of applicants and it was difficult to narrow the group down to six. We are excited that the number of applications for the MTCP is on the rise and appreciative of the support that the program has received from the industry,” said Jordyn Egan, director of development for the MHIF.

Visit for more information or contact Jordyn Egan at The upcoming program will be chronicled on social media @MarylandTB.

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Volponi, White Earn Hirsch Awards

Tue, 2019-05-28 14:03

Paul Volponi of BloodHorse and Jon White of XBTV have been named winners of the 10th annual Joe Hirsch Memorial Writing Contest. The award, given by the New York Racing Association, recognizes the best in media coverage of the 2018 Belmont S. won by Justify.

Volponi won for his feature piece entitled “The Long Ride,” which investigated the pacing, positioning, and circumstances jockeys must account for to succeed in the 1 1/2-mile “Test of the Champion.”

White won for his Belmont S. recap, “Triple Crown Perfection,” which vividly retold the story of Bob Baffert’s 2019 campaign with Justify and Mike Smith.

This is the first Joe Hirsch Award for both Volponi and White.

The awards are named in honor of Joe Hirsch, the longtime executive sports columnist for Daily Racing Form who died in 2009. The award presentation will be held June 4 at Citi Field, prior to the post-position draw for the 2019 Belmont.

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Truly Unbridled

Tue, 2019-05-28 13:54

Spoiler alert: This rumination is likely to raise a few eyebrows, if not hackles, because it might appear that we will be crossing over into a discipline not normally associated with our punditry, i.e., pedigree analysis. For those readers and colleagues who specialize in such studies, we have a simple caveat: Your correspondent has a quarter-century resume as a pedigree analyst and while this essay was prompted by a “pedigree discovery,” the summary is based on biomechanics.

Rotten apples, eggs and various other reactionary projectiles can therefore be withheld.

This journey began when we observed sons and grandsons of both Unbridled’s Song and Empire Maker had begun to make lots of noise on the racetrack and the breeding shed at about the same time. For example, in 2013, the year that he passed away, Unbridled’s Song, whose sire-of-sires legacy was beginning to look a bit dicey, presented us with a penultimate crop which included Arrogate, who would go on to become Champion 3-year-old in 2016. On the racetrack in 2013, Will Take Charge won the Travers on his way to becoming Champion 3-year-old colt. Also in 2013, a previously unraced 4-year-old named Cross Traffic became a Grade 1 winner with a victory in the Whitney and subsequently went on to be the leading freshman sire of 2018. In 2015, Liam’s Map blew the doors off, first in the Woodward and then in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and is now a first-crop sire with beaucoup yearling and 2-year-old sales dollars behind him.

About the time that Liam’s Map won the Woodward, it was announced that Empire Maker, who’d been exported to Japan in 2010, would return to Kentucky. No doubt this was prompted by the fact that his now late and sorely missed son Pioneerof the Nile had sired of the 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. That the same son would have a Champion 2-year-old the following year in Classic Empire and that another son of Empire Maker, Bodemeister, sired Always Dreaming, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2017, refocused attention on Empire Maker late in life just as had been the case with Unbridled’s Song.

What struck us was that here were two superior stallions who were coming on strongly in ways that did not necessarily reflect the fact that they were sons of Unbridled. Although there were exceptions, each had established himself as a progenitor of a certain type of racehorse–Unbridled’s Song usually associated with brilliance, Empire Maker more with classics. We began to wonder whether, given a generational gap or two, it might be interesting to explore–on paper in terms of pedigree crosses and mixes–the way their descendants might come together to reinforce the qualities of their common denominator, Unbridled.

Ironically, somewhat lost in this shuffle was another son of Unbridled who had an impact but quite unlike the other two: Broken Vow. He is a sire of quality fillies headed by Champagne Room, Champion 2-year-old filly of 2016, and a whole bunch of other Graded winners-and good broodmares. Though he has colts that are also quite accomplished, none has gone on thus far to become a sire of note.

We decided to hold those thoughts while enveloped in other projects but then had a head-slapping moment when we realized our original musings had left out that, simultaneously with the sire line exploits described above, Tapit had come to dominate the Leading Sires list. Hailed as the major progenitor of the A.P. Indy sire line, Tapit brought to many of his best offspring a quality of substance different from his sire, Pulpit. For the cause, one need not look further than the second generation of his pedigree where his broodmare sire was listed–and that would be, Unbridled.

Hoo-boy, this looked like it was becoming major.

Here you had the sires of so many quality horses expanding their tribes to the point that there was going to be an inevitable need to analyze whether it would be wise to mix these pedigrees to get a concentration of “Unbridled blood.”

Although we have advocated duplications in mating suggestions over the years, we have also come to rely on the biomechanical implications of such potential matings by utilizing an algorithmic program that has been quite successful for many breeders for more than 35 years. This program requires that both sire and dam have biomechanical measurements in our database and is based on the genetic principle that physical traits are the ones most likely to be passed on by sire and dam to the foal.

The probabilities of such matings are expressed in five grades between A and C, with a score of B or better judged as a potentially viable match. We judge stallion prospects by computing their biomechanical profiles with a book of mares that are judged to be efficient racehorses; if the stallion scores a B grade with a good portion of that book, we usually like his chances as a stallion. Similarly, we judge broodmare prospects by flipping the process: the mare’s biomechanical profile is matched with a group of stallions, usually separated by state or sire line, and the percentage of B-grade stallion matches indicates the mare’s probability of success as a producer of efficient racehorses. These projections can be made for colts or fillies as yearlings because their ratings are based on a growth curve that has long been in use by geneticists in many countries.

We decided to utilize this program by grouping stallions together by sire and broodmare sire and broodmares by sire only. We chose only those stallions that are currently alive: On the sire side, the eight most commercial sons of Unbridled’s Song; Empire Maker and seven of his sons and grandsons; and Broken Vow. Stallions whose broodmare sires are Unbridled (Mr Speaker, Orb, Shackleford, Tapit); Unbridled’s Song (Carpe Diem, Maclean’s Music, Medal Count, Tourist); Empire Maker (Outwork); and Broken Vow (Runhappy).

We computed these stallions with books of mares and fillies by individual sires from different Unbridled branches, assuming we had a representative number of such individuals. For example, we computed the Broken Vow mares with every other stallion in the group; the Unbridled’s Song-line mares with Broken Vow, Empire Maker-line stallions and those stallions out of mares other than Unbridled’s Song. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Important: All such females were included, not just ones judged biomechanically balanced, which is more real-life than restricting books to really good mares.

We gave no consideration whatsoever to pedigree combinations or nicks. We were only interested in whether there were sufficient B-grade probabilities of racing efficiency. For example, what are the B-grade percentages if you bred Arrogate to a mare by Pioneerof the Nile, or Cross Traffic to a mare by Broken Vow, or Tapit to a mare by Bodemeister, or Carpe Diem to a mare by Cairo Prince, or Maclean’s Music to a mare by Empire Maker. Would those probabilities have any credence, i.e., would they come close to matching that stallion’s profile as a sire when matched with our book of biomechanically balanced mares?

The answers, for the most part, were yes.

We even did spot checks of pedigree crosses with very good biomechanical scores and found that regardless of what the nicks were (and they were widely varied), in most cases we would not look down our nose at the mixes thereof.

This exercise was multipurposed and can be judged by individual pedigree experts or breeders or buyers in whatever way they wish. Bottom line, however, is that there is a stallion whose influence in the 21st Century may have more impact in the next two generations than might have been expected when Carl Nafzger wrapped his arms around Frances Genter and whooped with unbridled joy.

(Bob Fierro is a partner with Jay Kilgore and Frank Mitchell in DataTrack International, biomechanical consultants and developers of BreezeFigs.  He can be reached at


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Bolo Wires GI Shoemaker Mile

Mon, 2019-05-27 20:42

Golden Pegasus Racing’s Bolo (Temple City), missing in action for nearly two years, returned to the winner’s circle with a 30-1 upset victory in the GI Shoemaker Mile S. at Santa Anita Monday. The win earned the 7-year-old gelding an automatic berth to the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile. Hustled out to the early lead, Bolo was in control through fractions of :23.51 and :46.95. With the field closing in, the 7-year-old was asked for more entering the stretch and he skipped away again to win with authority.

Bolo earned his way into the field for the 2015 GI Kentucky Derby with third-place efforts in the GII San Felipe S. and GI Santa Anita Derby, but switched to the turf after a 12th-place finish behind American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) in Louisville. He won the first graded race of his career in the 2016 GII Arcadia S. and returned to win that race again in 2017, but went missing following a sixth-place effort in that year’s GI Shoemaker Mile. He resurfaced in a nine-furlong optional claimer over the Santa Anita lawn Apr. 28 and set the pace before tiring to fifth.

<strong>Pedigree Notes:</strong>

Wayne Hughes purchased Bolo’s dam Aspen Mountain for $210,000 as a Fasig-Tipton July yearling in 2003. She is a half-sister to the dam of GI Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird (Birdstone) and multiple Grade I winner Dullahan (Even the Score).

Bolo’s yearling full-sister sold for $25,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale and his now 2-year-old full-sister RNA’d for $130,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale.

Monday, Santa Anita
SHOEMAKER MILE S.-GI, $501,404, Santa Anita, 5-27, 3yo/up, 1mT, 1:34.07, gd.
1–BOLO, 121, g, 7, by Temple City
                1st Dam: Aspen Mountain, by Chief Seattle
                2nd Dam: Aspenelle, by Vice Regent
                3rd Dam: Little to Do, by Dynastic
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Golden Pegasus Racing, Inc.;
B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY); T-Carla Gaines; J-Florent Geroux.
$300,000. Lifetime Record: 19-6-1-4, $976,870. *1/2 to Let Me
Go First (Paddy O’Prado), GSP, $249,847. Werk Nick Rating: A.
   Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–River Boyne (Ire), 123, c, 4, Dandy Man (Ire)–Clytha (GB), by
Mark of Esteem (Ire). (€20,000 Wlg ’15 GOFNOV; €65,000 Ylg
’16 GOFSPT; 70,000gns 2yo ’17 TATAHI). O-Red Baron’s Barn
LLC & Rancho Temescal LLC; B-Limestone & Tara Studs (IRE);
T-Jeff Mullins. $100,000.
3–Bowies Hero, 121, h, 5, Artie Schiller–Remembered, by Sky
Mesa. ($16,000 RNA Wlg ’14 KEENOV; $17,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP;
$32,000 2yo ’16 EASMAY). O-Agave Racing Stable, ERJ Racing,
LLC, Madaket Stables LLC and Rockin Robin Racing Stable;
B-Pope McLean, Pope McLean Jr. & Marc McLean (KY); T-Philip
D’Amato. $60,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, NO, 1 1/4. Odds: 32.90, 6.50, 18.00.
Also Ran: Sharp Samurai, Catapult, Ohio (Brz), Delta Prince, Le Ken (Arg), Desert Stone (Ire). Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Funeral for J.J. Crupi Saturday

Mon, 2019-05-27 20:27

A funeral Mass will be held Saturday for longtime horseman J.J. Crupi, who passed away last Thursday. Visitation will be held Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Ocala. The funeral Mass will be held at the church Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Interment at Good Shepherd Memorial Gardens in Ocala will immediately follow Mass.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Ocala Farm Ministry, 489 NW 110th Avenue, Ocala FL 34482, or to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), 821 Corporate Drive Lexington, KY 40503.

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Vino Rosso Flows in Gold Cup

Mon, 2019-05-27 20:03

The Thoroughbred industry lost one of its most beloved horsemen earlier this week when Jimmy Crupi passed away in Maryland at the age of 79. Monday afternoon, a continent away, Vino Rosso (Curlin), a horse selected by Crupi at Keeneland September on behalf of his devoted clients Mike Repole and the St. Elias Stable of Vinnie Viola, overcame a tough trip and an equally tough opponent in the form of TDN Rising Star‘ Gift Box (Twirling Candy) to post a poignant and fitting victory in the GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita. Midwest raider Lone Sailor (Majestic Warrior) rallied from last in the field of seven to complete the trifecta.

Drawn widest of the septet, Vino Rosso and John Velazquez hit the ground running, but was consigned to a four-wide run around the clubhouse turn, as Blitzkrieg (War Front), Gift Box and Core Beliefs (Quality Road) all showed early speed inside of him. The latter was first to beat a retreat and began to drift back at the midway stage, and that allowed Velazquez to drop down into the three path as the field neared the entrance to the second turn. Joel Rosario gave Big ‘Cap winner Gift Box his cue with three-eighths of a mile to race, but he was unable to put any space between him and Vino Rosso and the two were more or less on even terms at the quarter pole. The Pletcher trainee stuck his neck in front with a little more than a furlong to travel and was always holding Gift Box in the run to the line. The winner covered 26 feet (about three lengths) more than the runner-up, according to Trakus data. The sixth non-Breeders’ Cup weekend starter in California for Pletcher since 2015, he is the conditioner’s first local Grade I winner since Angela Renee (Bernardini) won the Chandelier S. in 2014.

Winner of last year’s GII Wood Memorial to earn his Kentucky Derby berth, Vino Rosso was a mostly even ninth in the Run for the Roses and fourth in Justify (Scat Daddy)’s Triple Crown-clinching GI Belmont S. A closing third in the GII Jim Dandy S., Vino Rosso couldn’t overcome a wide passage when fifth in the GI Travers S. and time was called on the season. He resumed with a tenacious tally in Aqueduct’s Stymie S. over a one-turn mile and was stretching out markedly in trip off a fourth to World of Trouble (Kantharos) in an oddly run renewal of the GI Carter H. Apr. 6.

Pedigree Notes:

Vino Rosso is the ninth individual Grade I winner for Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Curlin and the seventh top-level winner produced by a daughter of the late Street Cry (Ire). Bred, like the aforementioned Triple Crown hero by John Gunther, Vino Rosso is a half-brother to So Alive (Super Saver), third in this year’s GIII Sam F. Davis S. and to the Irish-based juvenile Ramesses the Great (Pioneerof the Nile), a $350,000 Keeneland November weanling turned $575,000 Keeneland September yearling. Vino Rosso’s dam Mythical Bride is a half-sister to MGSW and 2014 GI Belmont S. runner-up Commissioner (A.P. Indy) as well as GSW Laugh Track (Distorted Humor), second in the 2013 GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita. Dam of a yearling colt by Uncle Mo, Mythical Bride foaled a full-brother to Vino Rosso this year.

Monday, Santa Anita Park
GOLD CUP AT SANTA ANITA S.-GI, $500,702, Santa Anita, 5-27, 3yo/up, 1 1/4m, 2:03.00, ft.
1–VINO ROSSO, 121, c, 4, by Curlin
1st Dam: Mythical Bride, by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Flaming Heart, by Touch Gold
3rd Dam: Hot Lear, by Lear Fan
1ST GRADE I WIN. ($410,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Repole Stable
& St. Elias Stable; B-John D. Gunther (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher;
J-John R. Velazquez. $300,000. Lifetime Record: 12-5-0-2,
$1,253,125. Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Gift Box, 125, h, 6, Twirling Candy–Special Me, by Unbridled’s
Song. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($135,000 Wlg ’13 FTKNOV). O-Hronis
Racing LLC; B-Machmer Hall, Carrie & Craig Brogden (KY);
T-John W. Sadler. $100,000.
3–Lone Sailor, 121, c, 4, Majestic Warrior–Ambitious, by Mr.
Greeley. ($120,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-G M B Racing;
B-Alexander – Groves – Matz, LLC. (KY); T-Thomas M. Amoss.
Margins: 3/4, 5 1/4, 1. Odds: 4.10, 0.70, 5.70.
Also Ran: Mongolian Groom, Higher Power, Core Beliefs, Blitzkrieg. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Vasilika Continues Winning Ways in Gamely

Mon, 2019-05-27 19:30

Former claimer Vasilika (m, 5, Skipshot–La Belle Marquet, by Marquetry) made it four graded wins in a row over the Santa Anita turf with a late-charging victory in the GI Gamely S. in Arcadia Monday. The even-money favorite settled just off the pace as an eager Ahimsa (Animal Kingdom) pulled her way through fractions of :24.37 and :48.52. The longshot pacesetter looked upset-minded as she skipped clear at midstretch, but Vasilika was uncorking her late rally and strode confidently to the lead to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths. Rymska (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) just nipped the pacesetter for second. The time for the nine furlongs was 1:48.07.

Vasilika has proven to be an absolute win machine since being claimed for $40,000 out of her first start of 2018, capturing 11 of 13 starts, including the GI Rodeo Drive S. last September. Her win streak was snapped with a fourth-place effort in the Dec. 2 GI Matriarch S., but she returned to her winning ways in 2019. She opened the year with a win in the Jan. 21 GIII Megahertz S. and added victories in the Feb. 23 GII Buena Vista S. and Apr. 6 GII Royal Heroine S. Lifetime Record: 32-17-4-3, $1,358,595. O-All Schlaich Stables and Gatto Racing. B-Mikhail Yanakov (Ky). T-Jerry Hollendorfer.

Monday, Santa Anita Park
GAMELY S.-GI, $501,053, Santa Anita, 5-27, 3yo/up, f/m,
1 1/8mT, 1:48.07, gd.
1–VASILIKA, 123, m, 5, by Skipshot
1st Dam: La Belle Marquet, by Marquetry
2nd Dam: Good for Her, by Topsider
3rd Dam: Please Try Hard, by Nashua
O-All Schlaich Stables LLC, Hollendorfer, LLC, Gatto Racing, LLC
& G. Todaro; B-Mikhail Yanakov (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer;
J-Flavien Prat. $300,000. Lifetime Record: 32-17-4-3,
$1,358,595. Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Rymska (Fr), 123, m, 5, by Le Havre (Ire)
1st Dam: Foreign Raider (Ire), by Lend a Hand (GB)
2nd Dam: Chania (Ire), by In the Wings (GB)
3rd Dam: Chalon (Ire), by Habitat
(€35,000 Wlg ’14 ARQDEC). O-Elayne Stable 5, LLC, Long Lake Stable LLC, Madaket Stables LLC, Team Hanley & Tom
Coleman; B-Eric Feurtet (FR); T-Chad C. Brown. $100,000.
3–Ahimsa, 121, f, 4, by Animal Kingdom
1st Dam: Hot Affair, by Cuvee
2nd Dam: Artic Party, by Eskimo
3rd Dam: Partyship, by Premiership
O-Three Great Sons, LLC & Darryl Hughes; B-Three Great Sons,
LLC (KY); T-Peter Eurton. $60,000.Margins: 1, HF, 3/4. Odds: 1.10, 1.90, 21.80.
Also Ran: Elysea’s World (Ire), Meal Ticket, Streak of Luck, Ollie’s Candy, Causeforcommotion. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Royal Charlotte Remains Undefeated in Monmouth’s Hystericalady S.

Mon, 2019-05-27 17:30

Sent off the hot 3-5 choice while looking to add some black-type to her resume in Monday’s Hystericalady S. at Monmouth Park, Royal Charlotte (Cairo Prince–Sass and Class, by Harlan’s Holiday) mounted an impressive sweeping move turning for home and rolled home a geared-down three length winner over 5-2 second choice Miss Imperial (Maclean’s Music). Final time for the six-furlong test was 1:09.92.

The grey kicked off her career with a four-length score at Gulfstream Mar. 16 before adding a narrow victory last time in a muddy optional claimer at Keeneland Apr. 19. Prior to this, she posted a swift four-furlong move in :48.00, the third fastest of 55 on the day at Monmouth May 19. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $119,400. O-First Row Partners; B-Rhineshire Farm LLC; T-Chad Brown.

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Debut winner for Shakin It Up at Santa Anita

Mon, 2019-05-27 17:01

2nd-Santa Anita, $63,700, Msw, 5-27, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:10.65, ft.
BOWL OF SOUL (f, 3, Shakin It Up–Rupert’s Promise, by Capote) allowed her stablemate Raneem (Fed Biz) to lead the way early, but was in full command late en route to a deceptively easy 1 1/2-length score. Sent off the 3-5 choice following a pair of speedy works–four furlongs in :48 2/5 May 22 and a bullet four-panel move in :48 flat May 15–the dark bay settled in a comfortable second as Raneem raced out to set a crisp opening quarter in :22.65. Closing on her rival approaching the stretch, Bowl of Soul was on even terms turning for home, inched clear in the lane and crossed the wire a controlled winner over Raneem. Kamically (Union Rags) was third. The winner was a $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall yearling that flourished into a $400,000 OBS April juvenile after a :20 4/5 quarter-mile breeze. Sales History: $120,000 Ylg ’17 FTKOCT; $400,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $39,000. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Spendthrift Farm LLC; B-Catalyst Bloodstock & Erin Knehr (KY); T-Bob Baffert.

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Frank Barroby Named Avelino Gomez Memorial Award Winner

Mon, 2019-05-27 15:04

Jockey-turned-trainer Frank Barroby has been named the recipient of the 2019 Avelino Gomez Memorial Award for his contributions to Canadian jockeydom and the sport. Barroby competed against Gomez during two seasons at Woodbine.
“I thought a lot of Avelino,” Barroby said. “He was kind of a showy guy and just as good a rider as I’ve ever seen. When he was on a horse, and he wanted them to pick it up, you could see them extend themselves.”
Barroby, a 75-year-old Saskatchewan native, earned his first win as a jockey at Assiniboia Downs in 1961. He rode the prairie circuit–Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge, Saskatoon and Regina–and won riding titles in four provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. When he rode at Woodbine for two years in the mid-1960s, he was nicknamed “King of the Bullrings.” In 1968, he moved back to Vancouver to ride for top owner Peter Redekop and he was leading rider in his first year at Hastings Park.
He retired from riding in 1976 and became a top trainer, earning titles in 1986, 1990 and 1993. In 2010, Barroby was the first B.C.-based trainer to be inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Currently with 976 wins as a trainer, he maintains a stable of 13.
The Avelino Gomez award is presented every year at Woodbine on Woodbine Oaks day (June 8 this year). A life-sized statue of Gomez overlooks the walking ring at Woodbine.

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Churchill Downs Boosts Purses

Mon, 2019-05-27 14:21

Churchill Downs will raise purses 10.7%, effective Thursday, for the second half of its 38-day spring meet. The increase is credited to “robust business from state-of-the-art historical racing machines at Derby City Gaming,” according to a release from the track. The spring meet will run through June 29 and the remaining 183 races will see a $1.1-million increase in overnight races above the meet’s record-setting first condition book.
The $65-million Derby City Gaming facility opened last September on nearby Poplar Level Road and features more than 900 historical racing machines, two restaurants, a center bar and multiple entertainment options.
“Our investment into Derby City Gaming continues to pay immediate dividends to all owners, trainers and jockeys that participate at Churchill Downs,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery. “The result is an exciting and ultra-competitive Spring Meet racing product for bettors nationwide.”
Maiden special weight races at Churchill Downs will now be worth $95,000, which is up $10,000 from the $85,000 maiden races offered after the GI Kentucky Derby in Book 1. By comparison, maiden special weight races offered during the 2018 Spring Meet were $53,000.
Allowance races will range from $97,000 to $104,000. They were $87,000 to $94,000 post-Derby in the first condition book and $55,000 to $61,000 during the 2018 Spring Meet.
Purses for seven stakes races were also boosted. Saturday’s Aristides S., the June 8 Old Forester Mint Julep S., June 29 Debutante S. and June 20 Bashford Manor S. are now worth $125,000–up from $100,000. A trio of overnight stakes–Saturday’s Mighty Beau S., the June 22 Roxelana S. and June 29 Kelly’s Landing S.–will have their purses raised to $120,000, which includes $45,000 of KTDF money.
Total overnight purses for the 38-day, 372-race Spring Meet are now projected to be $33.5 million. The daily average purse distribution, not including stakes money, will be approximately $574,000 per day. That number grows to $882,000 daily when stakes money is included.
Last year, total purses paid during the 372-race Spring Meet was $22.2 million, or $585,000 daily.

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Geri Dies at 27

Mon, 2019-05-27 14:08

Grade I winner Geri (Theatrical {Ire}–Garimpeiro, by Mr. Prospector) was euthanized Saturday at Park Equine Hospital in Versailles due to complications from colic. A retiree at Old Friends in Georgetown, Kentucky since 2013, the stallion was 27. He was among nine stallions repatriated from overseas stud duty by Old Friends, a non-profit retirement facility. He arrived back in the U.S. from Italy.
Campaigned by owner/breeder Allen Paulson and trainer Bill Mott, Geri won the 1996 GI Oaklawn H., 1997 GII Citation H. and 1996 GIII Creme Fraiche H. He was second in the 1997 GI Breeders’ Cup Mile. On the board in 16 of 19 starts, Geri won nine times and earned $1,707,980.
At stud, Geri was represented by the multiple stakes-winning mare Bedanken, Japanese millionaire Lucky Break, and champion steeplechaser Party Airs. He was also the sire of A. P. Slew, another Old Friends retiree.
“Geri’s handsome countenance offered an insufficient disguise for his deep-seated toughness,” said Old Friends founder and President Michael Blowen. “He knew who he was. He was even smart enough to tell us when his time had come. We will miss him terribly. Our thanks to Madeleine Paulson for supporting him and other great Paulson Thoroughbreds throughout the years.”

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