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Updated: 10 hours 11 min ago

Span of Arch Legacy Growing

Mon, 2019-09-23 13:20

His own name describes one who protects something, typically historic buildings or artefacts, from the degradation of time. But Preservationist, who might well prove the most demanding of the senior pros if lining up against Code Of Honor in the GI Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday, could yet become a conservationist, too.

Because his pedigree gives him every chance, wherever he ends up at stud, of protecting the environment around him-specifically, the Thoroughbred gene pool-from the damage caused by mankind’s heedless quest for a fast buck.

When Arch died, aged 21 in January 2016, his most feasible heir Blame was on a rapid slide from an opening fee of $35,000 to just $12,500. On the track, meanwhile, Preservationist himself remained an unraced 3-year-old, who would not break his maiden for another two years.

Arch’s last crop are now 3-year-olds, but it has turned out that his legacy was already in good hands. Blame has so turned things round at Claiborne that he is now back in strong demand at $30,000, having only a few days ago notched his fourth Grade I success through Abscond in the Natalma S.

And Preservationist, having spread just four starts across his first three seasons, has achieved a remarkable flowering as a 6-year-old. His Grade I breakthrough in the Woodward S. last month makes him look eligible to join Blame as a conduit for this branch of the Hail To Reason line, but in the meantime the merit of tapping into Arch’s influence was magnified the very same day, on the opposite coast, by the GI Del Mar Debutante S. success of Bast. This represented spectacular vindication for the bold pairing of her mother, Arch’s daughter Laffina, with Uncle Mo, whose damsire is Arch.

Laffina was carrying this 3×2 package in utero when purchased privately–having failed to meet her Keeneland November reserve at $290,000-10 months after Arch’s death. Bast, who is her first foal, proceeded to make $500,000 as a Saratoga yearling, so maybe her purchasers Baoma Corp. are fans of the model that gave us the European champion, Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), who has similarly proximate inbreeding to Sadler’s Wells.

Certainly if you buy into the principle that you can’t have too much of a good thing, then Arch can be counted a very good thing indeed. There’s something characteristically worthy, something understated but solid, about the way he (setting an example to Blame, who followed him to the same farm) reversed a plunge in fee, in his case from $20,000 to $5,000 before he had even had a runner. Winding up with a ratio of stakes horses tipping 10 percent, he maintained a career-high fee of $40,000 through his last four years.

Arch’s track career had a corresponding solidity, albeit seeming to leave him just a notch below the very best. But his candidature at stud was massivelLy buttressed by a maternal line that finds its celebrated nexus in third dam Courtly Dee, whose 15 winning foals included three apiece at Grade I and Grade II level. The best was Alydar’s champion juvenile filly Althea, whose own fertile yield included Arch’s stakes sprint-winning dam Aurora. She was by Danzig, who was also responsible for the family’s two premier sires in Europe, Bertolini (out of a sister to Althea) and the outstanding Green Desert (out of an unraced half-sister by broodmare sire titan Sir Ivor).

That turf resonance to his maternal family is complemented in Arch’s sire-line, his father Kris S. having given us an Epsom Derby winner in Kris Kin as well as two Breeders’ Cup winners on grass, Prized and Soaring Softly; while Kris S.’s own sire Roberto famously won the Derby himself. Of course, the hulking Kris S. also sired top-class dirt horses (not least another three Breeders’ Cup winners) but he has certainly contributed to the overall versatility of the Roberto line, alongside the likes of Red Ransom, Silver Hawk and Dynaformer, who all gained a degree of traction in Europe. And it’s worth noting that two of Blame’s four elite winners to date, European Classic winner Senga and now Abscond, have come on turf; a third, Fault, is also a Grade II winner on grass.
It certainly doesn’t always happen that a mix of opposites yields a balanced blend, but in this instance the dirt speed of his dam and turf stamina / acceleration of his sire appear to have given Arch a pretty comprehensive range. His first elite scorers, for instance, were turf sprinters in South Africa and Britain, namely Overarching and Les Arcs (the latter having notoriously reverted from hurdle races); whereas the most illustrious of his dozen Grade I winners was, of course, a Breeders’ Cup Classic winner. In depriving Zenyatta (Street Cry {Ire}) of her unbeaten record on her final start, Blame ensured a memorable showcase for the Roberto sire-line on dirt-the victim of “the Arch villain”, so to speak, herself being out of a Kris S. mare.

At that same Breeders’ Cup, moreover, Uncle Mo’s Juvenile success gave Arch a flying start as a broodmare sire, his dam Playa Maya being a winner from his very first crop. (Two other stallions out of Arch mares are Uncaptured (Lion Heart) and I’ll Have Another (Flower Alley).)

Uncle Mo’s dam is out of a Dixieland Band mare-and so, too, is Preservationist. Overall the parentage of Preservationist really takes us back, his late dam Flying Dixie having been foaled when Dixieland Band was 25 years old. The Lane’s End patriarch was of course a splendid broodmare sire; while the next several dams are likewise by copper-bottomed influences: A.P. Indy, Mr Prospector, Blushing Groom and Dr. Fager.

So while his profile is hardly commercial, the family seeded by these great stallions really does qualify Preservationist as a highly eligible stallion prospect. That’s no less than you would expect, given that he bears an Emory Hamilton trademark top-and-bottom: Hamilton and / or her family bred Preservationist’s first five dams, as well as Arch and his first two dams.

Their cultivation of Preservationist’s family began with a champion filly imported from France, Monade, whose mating with Dr. Fager produced the dam of a brilliant Grade I winner in Too Chic; she in turn gave Hamilton the GI Ashland S. winner Chic Shirine, grand-dam not only of Flying Dixie but also of Ashford’s Verrazano (More Than Ready).

So just as Blame underpins his credentials as an heir to Arch with a wonderful family, tracing to Rough Shod as fifth dam, Preservationist hardly suffers by comparison. Though his record of soundness is not as old-fashioned as the rest of his profile, both Arch and Kris S. became associated with stock robust enough to thrive with distance and maturity despite themselves making nor more than seven and five starts respectively. Actually it seems that Preservationist never really had any major issues and, as much as anything, simply needed time to be able to sustain his brawn.

Certainly there is now a pleasing ruggedness to Preservationist’s style of running. Having exposed him to a wild pace in the GI Whitney S., his rider put things right in the Woodward and Preservationist responded by imposing himself on heavy traffic in the stretch. What was striking was that he didn’t just bully his way through; he came bounding forward on the bridle, showing conspicuous athletic flair for such a big guy. (He was a $485,000 yearling, after all.)

If he can hit another big number on Saturday, he will be entitled to head west and gladden the hearts of the old school-from admirers of Jimmy Jerkens (and everything his surname condenses) to those who regard Arch as a wholesome, somewhat throwback influence on the 21st Century breed.

Arch’s first crop numbered just 40 foals. But his blood came through-blood saturated, in each generation, by venerable Classic stallions. The top line, admittedly, is looking a little frayed in the U.S. Obviously the Halo branch of the Hail To Reason line has a potent foothold in Japan, but Roberto’s has limited local representation: Dynaformer is not without hope, through the likes of Point Of Entry and Temple City, but Arch has hitherto had almost all his eggs in Blame’s basket.

As such, a second Breeders’ Cup Classic winner would offer a major posthumous boost to his legacy, given that only a farm smart enough to maximise his chances will be smart enough to stand Preservationist in the first place.

The Roberto line often trades in substance sooner than elegance. Kris S. was a stevedore, while Dynaformer was notoriously far more about function than form. But their female families entitle Blame and hopefully Preservationist not just to recycle all that physicality and power, but also to refine it.

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With Demand to the End, Keeneland September Sale Concludes

Sun, 2019-09-22 18:37

The 13-day Keeneland September Yearling Sale, paced by a record-setting $8.2-million filly, concluded Sunday in Lexington with its fifth-highest gross ever. In all, 2,855 yearlings sold for $360,004,700–just off the 2018 figure of $377,130,400 and the sale’s second-highest gross since 2007. It was the third straight year the auction grossed over $300,000,000, following eight years below that milestone after the global economic crash of 2008. The sale average and median dipped slightly from 2018, with the average down 2.5% to $126,096 from last year’s record $129,331, and the median of $45,000 down 10%.

“I’m very pleased with how the sale went,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said as bidding was winding down Sunday afternoon. “We’re off on our gross, but with 500 fewer horses in Book 1 and Book 2, it was expected. Our average is going to be right on par with last year, our median is right on par, so that really speaks to the strength of the catalogue that was offered, in terms of the quality we had with those fewer horses up front.”

Keeneland opened the September sale with reformatted Book 1 and 2 sections and 516 fewer horses catalogued in the auction’s opening elite sessions, as the sales company responded to requests from buyers to have more time to view the quality horses.

The fine-tuning led to an action-packed Book 1 finale last Wednesday, which saw eight horses sell for over $1 million during a day of persistent bidding that ended with a session average of $524,855 and a median of $375,000.

“We’ve received positive feedback from horsemen about the format change, and we are pleased with the consistently strong level of trade it generated throughout the sale,” Elliston said. “Buyers suggested we catalog fewer horses up front and we responded. By making that change, we extended the quality farther into the sale and created momentum for the second week.”

Twenty-two yearlings sold for seven figures at the 2019 September sale, down from 27 a year ago, and million-dollar offerings were purchased by 14 unique buying interests.

“There were a lot of different entities with a lot of money, so that was great to see,” said bloodstock agent Marette Farrell, whose purchases during the auction included a $1-million son of Candy Ride (Arg). “I think there was a much better concentration of good horses in Book 1. It really got the energy going. It helped the market [in later books]. The buyers realized they had to step up if they wanted the horse.”

The obvious belle of the September ball was a half-sister by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah to Beholder (Henny Hughes), Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) and Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy). Bred and consigned by Clarkland Farm, the yearling sparked a spirited bidding duel that held the sales pavilion spellbound before Mandy Pope of Whisper Hill Farm ultimately outlasted Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin to secure the prized filly for $8.2 million. The yearling became the highest-priced filly to ever sell at the September sale and the co-fourth-highest price ever paid at the auction. It was the highest price at the September sale since the $11.7 million given for Meydan City in 2006.

Using seven consignors, Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Bred and Raised sold 48 horses throughout the sale for $16,790,700, among them four seven-figure horses led by the $4.1-million Curlin colt consigned by Eaton Sales

“Book 1 was very strong and demand persisted into the later books,” Banke said. “Well-bred, attractive individuals were particularly sought after. International buyers were enthusiastic participants. Overall the market was strong.”

September is often considered a bellwether sale for the industry and Elliston said he saw many positives in the auction’s results.

“If you look at the domestic buyer who is acquiring horses to put into racing in the U.S., clearly rising purses in places like Kentucky and New York are indicative of a strength in the top end of the marketplace,” Elliston said. “I think the American-bred horse is also in considerable demand across the world. When you look the top 10 buyers, probably half of them were from another country. I think that speaks volumes about what Kentucky and American breeders are producing and how in demand those horses are. I know we’ve had some dark clouds on the racing side, we need to fix those and there are efforts underway to do that, but I think the September bellwether yearling sale says there are a lot of positive things going on with the American breeding industry.”

While agreeing the September results look strong, Taylor Made Sales Agency’s Duncan Taylor continued to see polarization in the marketplace.

“I think the market is strong, but is it a signal that all the stallion guys can start raising stud fees? No,” Taylor said. “It’s not like that. If you have a good horse, you get rewarded, but breeders have a tough job. It’s not an easy thing to do, to breed a horse who looks good and passes all the vets and sells good. If you breed 10 horses and you get three that are like that, you’re lucky. I think it’s a good market and the statistics show that, but I think that it’s still challenging. It’s not easy to make money breeding horses. I thought this year that, for a good horse, you got more money, and for an average horse, you got less. I think the market is still polarized, but it was a good sale.”

Godolphin Leading Buyer Again

Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum made his first appearance in nearly a decade at last year’s September sale and his Godolphin operation was far and away the auction’s leading buyer. The Dubai ruler returned to Lexington two days before the start of the 2019 September sale and Godolphin again dominated the results sheets in Book 1. Godolphin purchased four of the seven yearlings sold for $2 million or over at the auction. Overall, the operation purchased 10 horses for a total of $16,000,000. A year ago, Godolphin purchased 27 yearlings for $19,960,000.

Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum’s Shadwell Estate Company, second leading buyer at the sale, purchased three of the 22 seven-figure yearlings while acquiring 18 head for $11,070,000.

“Both Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan are strong supporters of the September Sale,” Elliston said. “Their participation is not only an economic benefit for Keeneland, but for all they’ve done for racing, it is an honor for us to have them attend the sale. When they go to the commercial market, Keeneland is their choice for yearlings. That’s a badge of honor for us.”

Domestic interests followed on from the top two, with bloodstock agent Mike Ryan purchasing 30 head for $8,390,000, and Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm, with its lone $8.2-million purchase, landing as fourth leading buyer. Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm, the partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Racing, Donald Adam’s Courtlandt Farm and Gary and Mary West’s representative Ben Glass rounded out the top eight buyers.

Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier had made the highest bid at the three previous September sales, and, while that string was broken in 2019, Magnier was active in bidding as part of several partnerships. Ultimately, Magnier’s name was on 10 tickets for a total of $7,805,000, led by a $1.5-million son of Medaglia d’ Oro purchased in partnership with Repole Stables and Vinnie Viola.

In another prominent partnership, the China Horse Club bought 13 yearlings: three on its own and 10 with WinStar Farm’s Maverick Racing for $6,275,000. The partners went to $900,000 for a colt by Quality Road and spent $510,000 for another son of Quality Road who topped the sixth session.

Buyers from across North America and 25 foreign countries representing Europe, China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, South America and Latin America were active at the 13-day sale, with a strong Middle Eastern presence led by buyers from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Taylor Made Streak Continues

Taylor Made Sales Agency was the September sale’s leading consignor for the fifth consecutive time and for the 21st time since 1988. The agency sold 290 yearlings for a gross of $40,660,900 and an average of $140,210.

“I’m happy with that, but I still see room for us to improve,” Taylor Made’s Duncan Taylor said. “You continue to learn and adjust and do things better. I think we are doing a really good job, but I think we can get even better at what we’re doing. It’s always a challenge for the next year to try and do it again, but we are blessed to have really good customers who trust us with their horses.”

Taylor Made sold four seven-figure yearlings, led by a $2.1-million colt by Pioneerof the Nile (hip 519) purchased by Mike Ryan on behalf of e Five Racing.

Sire Power

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, bolstered by the auction’s $8.2-million topper, led all sires by gross at the September sale. The Coolmore stallion had 55 yearlings sell for $437,164. He was the fifth leading sire at the sale in 2018. Following a remarkable run of racetrack success this summer, Spendthrift’s Into Mischief was second leading sire by gross with 68 sold for $23,438,000.

For the second straight year, War Front led stallions with five or more sold by average, with 14 sold for an average of $579,643. He was followed by Medaglia d’Oro, with 25 sold for an average of $566,320.

Nine stallions were responsible for the 22 million-dollar transactions, with Hill ‘n’ Dale’s Curlin represented by five. Medaglia d’Oro had four seven-figure sales and the late Pioneerof the Nile had three. American Pharoah, War Front, Tapit, and Union Rags all had two, while Empire Maker and Candy Ride (Arg) had one each.

Frosted was the leading freshman sire by gross, with 44 yearlings selling for $10,025,000. Runhappy led freshman sires by average price, with his 39 yearlings averaging $242,872.

Format Change Wins Praise

For the last several years, Keeneland has tinkered with the format of its mammoth September sale. The 2017 auction began with a super-select one-session Book 1, followed by a three-session Book 2. In 2018, Book 1 was held over four sessions, followed by a two-session Book 2 which left many buyers struggling to see horses from one side of the sales grounds to the other. This year, the auction opened with a three-session Book 1 and initial responses indicate this format may be just right.

“The new format worked very well,” Keeneland Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said. “Book 1 was a sale within itself. It had great energy to it. There was more energy on the grounds the weekend prior to the start of the sale than I’ve seen in a long time. It had a great buzz going into it. Having fewer horses in Book 2 really set that sale up very well and helped Book 3.”

Taylor Made Sale Agency’s Duncan Taylor agreed the 2019 format worked, but he said he is hoping for a more consistent level of Book 1 quality horses in the future.

“I think the sale format was good this year,” Taylor said. “I think the people who sold million-dollar horses in Book 2, I think we should try to get all of those horses in Book 1. That keeps the momentum going. Some people have to put horses in Book 1 that might not be quite Book 1 horses. That sort of slows down the momentum of the sale. But I think we’re getting closer to that all the time. I think the three-day Book 1 worked well. People had time to look at the horses and I think both the sellers and the buyers were happy. So I think Keeneland has it right. Hopefully, they’ll keep it this way for several years to come.”

Temple City Colt on Top in September Finale

A colt by Temple City sold to LEG Group for $55,000 to top Sunday’s final session of the Keeneland September sale. Bred by Haymarket Farm and consigned by Vinery Sales, hip 4414 is the first foal out of Amizzen Grace (Yes It’s True), a half-sister to group placed Enforce (Kalanisi {Ire}). Amizzen Grace, carrying a full-sibling to the yearling, sold for $21,000 at this year’s Keeneland January sale.

During the 13-day auction’s final session, 207 yearlings sold for $1,308,100. The average was $6,319 and the median was $3,500. With just 36 yearlings failing to make their reserves, the buy-back rate was 14.8%. At last year’s final session, 183 horses sold for 1,334,200. The average was $7,291 and the median was $4,000. The buy-back rate was 26.5%.

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Kimmel 2yos Ready for Fall Campaign

Sun, 2019-09-22 17:28

Trainer John Kimmel sent well-regarded juveniles Crystalle (Palace Malice), accompanied by Joel Rosario, and Famished (Uncle Mo) to train on the Belmont turf Sunday. The duo, who are expected to make their next starts in graded company, negotiated four furlongs in :50.55. It was the 13 fastest of 14 at the distance.

“We gave them another maintenance half-mile,” said Kimmel. Both these horses are pretty fit. They worked in company last Sunday [4f, :48.00, 3/11, Sept. 15] and they went again in company this morning and we switched who was inside and who was outside. The dogs were far out and they went in :50 and change.”

Crystalle captured Saratoga’s P.G. Johnson S. Aug. 29 at Saratoga, while Famished graduated at the upstate oval at second asking Aug. 31. Both juveniles are targeting 1 1/16-mile turf races next weekend at Belmont–Crystalle is set for Sept. 29 GII Miss Grillo and Famished will head to the GIII Pilgrim Sept. 28.

“Famished looks terrific on the grass,” said Kimmel. “My thought is if we’re trying to get him to the Breeders’ Cup, it’s probably easier to get him to the Juvenile Turf than it is to the dirt race. He might actually be better on turf than dirt. We don’t know that for sure yet, but he sure looks good on it.”

In regard to Crystalle, he added, “We know for sure Crystalle is better on turf. Those two breezed together on dirt a number of times and Famished annihilates Crystalle. When they breeze on the grass, they’re very compatible.”

Famished, bred in Ontario by Michael C. Byrne, is among the early contenders for the $1-million Queen’s Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown at 1 1/4-miles on Tapeta at Woodbine. Kimmel indicated the Queen’s Plate is a long-term consideration for Famished.

“Absolutely,” said Kimmel. “These grass horses seem to transition well to Tapeta. It will be interesting to see how he handles that surface. I think he’d run on anything, he’s such a nice horse.”

 

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Midnight Bisou Works Ahead of Beldame

Sun, 2019-09-22 16:59

Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing’s Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute) worked a half-mile in :49.81 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Sunday morning in advance of her upcoming start in the GII Beldame S. Oct. 5 at Belmont Park.
“She just breezed perfectly this morning and so we’re headed to Belmont,” said Jeff Bloom.
The winner of a trio of Grade I’s so this year, the Steve Asmussen trainee recorded wins in the June 8 GI Ogden Phipps, July 20 GIII Molly Pitcher S. and Aug. 24 GI Personal Ensign S. at Saratoga in her last three trips to post. She also won the GI Apple Blossom at Oaklawn in April.
Also a Grade I winner for trainer Bill Spawr during her sophomore season, the dark bay has kicked things up a notch in 2019, winning all six starts, while earning in excess of $1.6 million so far this season. Her lifetime career earnings have surpassed the $3.2 million mark.
“I think, more than anything else, she has continued to both physically and mentally mature as she has gotten older. There’s really no magic to it,” Bloom said. “We’re pretty proud of her 3-year-old campaign, but certainly she’s much better this year. Oddly enough, she seems to get better with each race, including the Personal Ensign where she battled with Elate [Medaglia d’Oro]. One would think that would take something out of her, but she was jumping out her skin after the race. She’s just really continued to grow.”
Following the Beldame, Midnight Bisou will likely target the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. She finished third in last year’s edition behind subsequent champion sophomore filly Monomoy Girl [Tapizar]. She will then go through the sales ring at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale following the Breeders’ Cup.
“She’s reached a level that very few have achieved,” Bloom said. “You always strive to compete at the top level but Midnight Bisou has gone above and beyond that. Her value is hard to imagine but right now, we’re focusing on the rest of the year and trying to keep her undefeated.”

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It All Adds Up to a 30-1 Upset for Algorithms Colt in Pennsylvania Derby

Sat, 2019-09-21 18:19

While would-be favorite Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) was ruled out of Saturday’s GI Pennsylvania Derby earlier this week, another runner from the same Gulfstream $16,000 maiden claimer that that MGISW graduated in, Math Wizard (Algorithms), pulled off a 31-1 shocker in Parx’s signature event.

Claimed by his current connections for $25,000 out of an 18 1/2-length romp in Hallandale in January, the chestnut hadn’t won since then, but had racked up plenty of money. He was fourth in both the Apr. 6 GII Wood Memorial S. and May 4 Oaklawn Park Invitational, and was a close second in the June 22 GIII Ohio Derby, all at this trip. He was third behind Mr. Money (Goldencents) in the GIII Indiana Derby July 13, but failed to fire when sixth behind that same re-opposing foe in the GIII West Virginia Derby Aug. 3.

Ignored in the wagering while breaking from the rail, Math Wizard was away alertly. The same could not be said for race favorite Improbable (City Zip), who threw his head about right at the start and was off last. Math Wizard saved all the ground towards the back of the pack as a hard-held Mr. Money showed the way with GI Preakness S. hero War of Will (War Front) applying token pressure through splits of :24 2/5 and :49 3/5. Math Wizard was called on to quicken behind six panels in 1:13 2/5, and swung very wide into the lane as Mr. Money fended off Improbable up the fence and War of Will to his outside. Math Wizard had all the momentum down the center of the track, however, and the frontrunner had no response for him late.

Saturday, Parx
PENNSYLVANIA DERBY-GI, $1,015,000, Parx Racing, 9-21, 3yo,
1 1/8m, 1:50.94, ft.
1–MATH WIZARD, 118, c, 3, by Algorithms
1st Dam: Minister’s Baby (GSW, $440,270), by Deputy Minister
2nd Dam: Halo My Baby, by Halo
3rd Dam: Lachesis, by Iron Ruler
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST GRADE I
WIN. O-John Fanelli, Collarmele Vitelli Stables LLC, Bassett
Stables, Ioannis Zoumas, Wynwood Thoroughbreds and Saffie
A. Joseph Jr.; B-Lucky Seven Stable (KY); T-Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.;
J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 13-3-2-3, $860,623.
*1/2 to Ginny’s Grey (Political Force), SW, $277,803. Click for
the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Mr. Money, 122, c, 3, Goldencents–Plenty O’Toole, by
Tiznow. ($130,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Allied Racing Stable LLC;
B-Spruce Lane Farm (KY); T-W. Bret Calhoun. $200,000.
3–War of Will, 124, c, 3, War Front–Visions of Clarity (Ire), by
Sadler’s Wells. ($175,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; €250,000 2yo
’18 ARQMAY). O-Gary Barber; B-Flaxman Holdings Limited
(KY); T-Mark E. Casse. $100,000.
Margins: NK, 1, NO. Odds: 31.10, 1.70, 3.30.
Also Ran: Improbable, Spun to Run, Shanghai Superfly. Scratched: Maximum Security. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

“It was great; I got a perfect trip,” said winning rider Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was a late replacement for Edgard Zayas. “He broke, put me in a good position. I saw the favorite didn’t break and I didn’t panic. I just said, ‘he’s going to come from somewhere. He’s just not forwardly placed in front of me.’ He got through inside of me and from there I just tried to follow him. Then on the backside my horse jumped on the bridle. When I put my hands down he jumped on the bridle and I said, ‘whoa, wait a little longer.’ I wanted to wait a little longer and not get inside of Improbable, so I just wait, wait, wait and at the half mile I made my way outside of him. He was coming little by little, but when he turned for home and he switched leads then he took off. He ran hard. When I turned for home and I opened the reins and he started taking off I said, ‘I’m going to get there.'”

Winning co-owner John Fanelli said, “This is my home track. They asked us [to run], but we wanted to. The reason we didn’t know was he was laying down in his stall and he wasn’t feeling himself and we were going to push him, but we said, ‘the worst case scenario would be we don’t come and it cost us a couple thousand dollars.’ And, if he feels good in the next couple of days, we will bring him up, and that is exactly what happened. He just got better and better.”

Saturday’s victory was the first graded win of any kind for 32-year-old Barbados native Saffie Joseph, Jr., who has emerged as one of the leading trainers based in South Florida year round.

“I’ve got to retire now! I feel blessed,” Joseph said. “I’m at a loss for words. John, he made a gutsy call. A lot of the credit goes to him. You’ve got to take chances in life. If you’re going to get anywhere you’ve got to take chances.”

Pedigree Notes:

The eighth black-type winner for fourth-crop sire Algorithms, Math Wizard is the first GI winner for the graded-winning young sire who is a full- or half-sibling to four other graded winners. Other graded performers by Algorithms include this year’s GIII Gulfstream Park Sprint S. winner Recruiting Ready and 2017’s GIII Sugar Swirl S. victress Rich Mommy. Math Wizard’s damsire Deputy Minister is more established, having sired the dams of 248 stakes winners, including champions like Curlin, Abel Tasman, Rags to Riches, and Halfbridled. Math Wizard is the last reported foal out of his dam, 2002 GIII Gardenia H. winner Minister’s Baby, who also produced Puerto Rican black-type winner Ginny’s Grey (Political Force) and the dam of 2017 GIII British Columbia Derby winner Chief Know It All (Flashy Bull).

 

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Istan Filly Upsets Cotillion With Impressive Performance

Sat, 2019-09-21 17:34

Street Band (Istan) rallied past four Grade I winners Saturday to reach the highest level herself in Parx’s GI Cotillion S. while earning an automatic spot in the starting gate for the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff in the process. Dismissed at 7-1 off a third-place run in the GI Alabama S. Aug. 17, the chestnut dropped back to last early but got her set-up as last year’s champion juvenile filly Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) and MGISW Bellafina (Quality Road) knocked heads through splits of :22 3/5 and :46 1/5. Street Band tugged her way up quickly and willingly to reach contention heading for home, and she was moving into third while very wide as previously unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ Guarana (Ghostzapper) struck the front at the quarter pole. Street Band always looked to have that even-money favorite’s measure, and she pulled away from her at will to run up the score to 2 1/4 lengths. Horologist (Gemologist) spiced up the trifecta at 21-1.

Saturday, Parx
COTILLION S.-GI, $1,090,000, Parx Racing, 9-21, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:44.20, ft.
1–STREET BAND, 122, f, 3, by Istan
1st Dam: Street Minstrel, by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Minstrel’s Lassie, by The Minstrel
3rd Dam: Syriasly, by Damascus
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Ray Francis, Cindy & Larry Jones,
Medallion Racing and MyRaceHorse Stable; B-Larry & Cindy
Jones & Francis Ray (KY); T-J. Larry Jones; J-Sophie Doyle.
$600,000. Lifetime Record: 12-5-0-3, $1,106,425. Werk Nick Rating: C.
Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Guarana, 124, f, 3, by Ghostzapper
1st Dam: Magical World, by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Pleasant Home, by Seeking the Gold
3rd Dam: Our Country Place, by Pleasant Colony
‘TDN Rising Star’ O/B-Three Chimneys Farm (KY); T-Chad
Brown. $200,000.
3–Horologist, 122, f, 3, by Gemologist
1st Dam: Cinderella Time, by Stephen Got Even
2nd Dam: Dethroned, by Defrere
3rd Dam: Capture the Crown, by Crafty Prospector
O-There’s A Chance Stable; B-Holly Crest Farm (NJ); T-John F.
Mazza. $100,000.
Margins: 2 1/4, 3 3/4, 3 1/4. Odds: 7.70, 1.10, 21.60.
Also Ran: Bellafina, Sweet Sami D, Serengeti Empress, Jaywalk, Afleet Destiny, Jeltrin, She Makes Me Smile, Collegeville Girl. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

“Honestly my trip, I had to go to Plan B and C,” said winning rider Sophie Doyle, who was celebrating her first Grade I victory. “She was a little worked up in the post parade, I think you also saw that in the paddock. When she broke away from the gate I said, ‘you know what, there’s so much speed in here, I’m not going to rush her off her feet.’ I let her carry me into the race. As we started heading down the backside a couple of us started drifting away. She was traveling comfortably, within herself. I let her creep into the race in her own time. Then when we started to come down the back the inside started opening up. I had so many people tell me, ‘don’t go near the inside.’ So I just let her naturally take me around the outside. When we were coming around the home turn I was like, ‘come on girl, let’s get into it.’ She really exploded for me. She gave me everything she’s got…

When she came upside of Guarana she matched her, she put her head down and she was game on all the way to the wire. She never gave up. She’s so tough. What an amazing filly. She’s come out here today and really proved how good she is. She deserves to be at these Grade I races.”

Street Band romped at second asking sprinting at Ellis last September, but went winless in her next three outings before taking a two-turn Fair Grounds optional claimer by a nose in January. She was fourth behind eventual GI Kentucky Oaks heroine and fellow Cotillion competitor Serengeti Empress (Alternation) in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. back in New Orleans in February, and belied 10-1 odds when a clear-cut winner of the GII Fair Grounds Oaks Mar. 23. The chestnut crossed the wire seventh–moved up to sixth by the stewards–with a less-than-perfect trip in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, but resurfaced and returned to her best to cruise in the GIII Indiana Oaks July 13.

“The biggest thing about this family is that it matures late,” said trainer Larry Jones, who took the 2015 Cotillion with I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings). “I had the whole family and we have not been in a super hurry with her. The only time we really pushed her was at Fair Grounds and see if we could get her ready for the [Kentucky] Oaks. And then we could call it the way we would want it and pick our spots… we will see and give her off a little bit to [the Breeders’ Cup at] Santa Anita.”

Jones continued, “I trained her mother and she had six foals. Before this one and they ask why do I keep this mare? And I said it was one of the fastest horses I have ever trained. I had her at the same time I had [GISW] Hard Spun. She was as fast as Hard Spun and would outwork him sometimes, but it took a long time to prove it.”

Pedigree Notes:

Street Band marks the first Grade I winner for her sire Istan, whose eight other stakes winners include graded winners Albano, Mr. Bowling, Istanford and Turkish. The Gone West stallion currently stands in Saudi Arabia. Street Band has a juvenile full-sister named Street Missy, who worked Sept. 16 at Churchill. Her dam had foals the last two years by Summer Front, including a colt who sold Monday at Keeneland September for $100,000. Street Band’s granddam won the 1987 GI Selima S. and was bred to Street Cry (Ire) to produce Street Band’s dam. Street Cry was a grandson of Mr. Prospector, as is Istan, making Street Band inbred 3×4 to the late leading stallion. Street Cry has sired a plethora of good horses, but is also making his impact felt as a broodmare sire with 57 stakes winners to date out of his daughters.

 

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Liam’s Map Colt Tops Keeneland Day 12

Sat, 2019-09-21 17:05

A colt by Liam’s Map attracted the highest bid of Saturday’s penultimate session of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale when purchased by David McKathan and Jody Mihalic’s Grassroots Training & Sales for $67,000. Consigned by Gainesway, hip 3835 is out of Pelipa (Indian Charlie) and from the family of Grade I winner Albert the Great. He was bred by Maccabee Farm. Grassroots was the session’s leading buyer, purchasing four yearlings for $149,000. The Ocala-based operation has purchased 20 yearlings so far during the September sale for a total of $951,000.

During Saturday’s session, 215 horses sold for $2,298,500. The session average was $10,691 and the median was $6,500. With one session of the 13-day auction remaining, 2,648 yearlings have grossed $358,696,600. The average of $135,459 is down just slightly from the corresponding 2018 figure, while the median is down 13.3% to $52,000.

The Keeneland September sale’s final session begins Sunday at 10 a.m.

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A Gallant Bob Fit for a King

Sat, 2019-09-21 17:00

‘TDN Rising Star’ King Jack remained perfect around one turn as he wore down fellow California invader Landeskog to make the grade in Bensalem Saturday. A 3 1/4-length debut winner at Santa Anita June 1 over a next-out eight-length romper, the chestnut doubled up in a first-level Del Mar optional claimer July 17 while under the care of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s assistant Dan Ward. He paired up 99 Beyer Speed Figures in the one-mile Shared Belief S. back in San Diego Aug. 25, but was no match that day for fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip), who’d go on to contest the GI Pennsylvania Derby two races later on this card.

Away well enough, the favorite stalked out in the clear in third as Landeskog forced the issue. Landeskog took over and was going well heading for home, but King Jack continued on down the center of the track to overtake his foe in midstretch and open up late.

“I thought [rider] Joel [Rosario] had him placed perfectly,” Hollendorfer said. They had some trouble in the gate early and we got lucky and got out of that. He had him placed perfectly and had enough horse to run him down. A very fast time. We thought the seven furlongs would fit this horse very well and it seemed like it did. I like to be up close and we thought we would be up close. Looked like we had a lot of horse down the backside, and that proved to be true.”

Pedigree Notes:

King Jack becomes the 10th black-type winner (fourth graded) for third-crop sire Jimmy Creed, who hails from the Distorted Humor branch of the Mr. Prospector line. He’s the oldest foal for his unraced dam, who has 2-year-old colt Tapit’s Temple (Temple City), yearling filly Shining Cause (Brody’s Cause) and a colt born this year also by Brody’s Cause. King Jack’s dam is a half-sister to Tar Heel Mom (Flatter), winner of eight stakes, three of them graded including Saratoga’s GII Honorable Miss S., and placed in another 11, including the GI Ballerina S. She’s also a half to the infamous Scrappy T (Fit to Fight), a Grade III winner whose biggest claim to fame was interfering with Afleet Alex (Northern Afleet) when finishing second behind that runner in the 2005 GI Preakness S.

Saturday, Parx
GALLANT BOB S.-GII, $310,000, Parx Racing, 9-21, 3yo, 6f, 1:08.89, ft.
1–KING JACK, 118, c, 3, by Jimmy Creed
1st Dam: Light Shine, by Tapit
2nd Dam: Perpetual Light, by Sunny’s Halo
3rd Dam: Flash McAllister, by Ward McAllister
TDN Rising Star‘ 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES
WIN. ($100,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Michael C. Stinson;
B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer; J-Joel
Rosario. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, $277,400.
Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Landeskog, 118, g, 3, Munnings–Minewander, by Mineshaft.
($75,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-ERJ Racing LLS, David Kenney et al;
B-CFP Thoroughbreds LLC (KY); T-Doug F. O’Neill. $60,000.
3–Trophy Chaser, 118, c, 3, Twirling Candy–European Union, by
Successful Appeal. ($35,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $55,000 RNA Ylg
’17 KEESEP; $42,000 2yo ’18 OBSMAR). O-JCA Racing Stable
LLC; B-Overbrook Farm & Kildare Stud (KY); T-Juan Carlos Avila.
$30,000.
Margins: 1HF, 12, 1 1/4. Odds: 1.40, 2.20, 3.70.
Also Ran: Strong Will, Bulletin, War Bridle, War Tocsin. Scratched: Get Hammered, Bethlehem Road. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Omaha Beach to Skip Ack Ack for SA Sprint Championship

Sat, 2019-09-21 14:04

Fox Hill Farm’s Omaha Beach (War Front) will bypass Saturday’s GIII Ack Ack S. at Churchill Downs in favor of staying in Southern California for the GI Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct. 5, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

“His workout yesterday got very messed up and I needed that to be good in order to run him next week in Kentucky,” said Mandella Saturday morning. “I decided to stay here and just run him in the [Sprint Championship] Oct. 5.”

Working in tandem with maiden Charlito (Fed Biz), Omaha Beach worked seven furlongs (XBTV Video) in 1:27.20 Friday morning at Santa Anita–his seventh work since returning to the track following a procedure to correct an entrapped epiglottis. Winner of the GI Arkansas Derby and GII Rebel S. earlier this spring, Omaha Beach has not raced since scratching from the May 4 GI Kentucky Derby as the morning line favorite.

 

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California Chrome Colt Tops Day 11 at KEESEP

Fri, 2019-09-20 19:07

A colt by dual Horse of the Year California Chrome led the 11th day of selling with an $85,000 final bid from Novogratz Racing Stable Inc. at the Keeneland September sale in Lexington Friday. Offered as Hip 3670, the May foal is out of stakes-placed Dirty Rush (Wild Rush), a half-sister to multiple-stakes winners Britt’s Jules (Jules) and Probation Ready (More Than Ready), in addition to Social Probation (Jules), runner-up in the GI King’s Bishop S. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, Agent LXXXIII, the bay is a member of the first crops of yearlings by GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. hero California Chrome. Bred by a partnership of Taylor Brothers Properties LLC, Pollock Farms and Louis Brooks Ranch, the colt is a half-brother to Rush Now (Tiznow), a multiple-stakes winner and graded-placed earner of $611,292. Heading the fairer set Friday was a pair of $80,000 fillies by Freshman sires–Hip 3601, a daughter of Summer Front secured by Ken McPeek from the Airdrie Stud consignment; and Hip 3620, a filly by Palace Malice. The latter, who was consigned by Cara Bloodstock, was purchased by Patrick Hoppel. Also among the toppers Friday, a colt by Include, Hip 3577, realized $80,000 from Taproot Bloodstock. Consigned by Threave Main Stud, the chestnut is from the family of Canadian champion Marchfield.

Novogratz, the day’s leading buyer with four purchases including the topper, also acquired a trio of fillies Friday, including Hip 3520 (by Artie Schiller) for $40,000; and Hip 3420, a daughter of Competitive Edge purchased for $30,000. Taylor Made Sales led all consignors Friday, selling a total of 23 yearlings for an aggregate of $464,200.

During the final session in Book 5, Keeneland sold 256 yearlings for a total of $4,396,800, for an average of $17,175 and a median of $11,000. With two sessions remaining in the September Sale, 2,433 yearlings have sold for $356,398,100, for an average of $146,485 and a median of $65,000.

Saturday’s penultimate session begins at 10:00 a.m.

 

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‘Jack’ Favored in Upgraded ‘Bob’

Fri, 2019-09-20 12:30

Michael Stinson’s ‘TDN Rising Star’ King Jack (Jimmy Creed) may be short on experience, but he’s proven to be long on talent, and the chestnut figures to be a significant favorite in Saturday’s GII Gallant Bob S. at Parx, upgraded from a Grade III for this year’s renewal.

Debuting June 1 at Santa Anita, the $100,000 Keeneland September grad scored a sharp 3 1/4-length success and legitimized that effort with an allowance victory July 17 at Del Mar for which he earned a co-field best 99 Beyer. He repeated that figure when second to likely GI Pennsylvania Derby chalk Improbable (City Zip) going two turns for the first time in the Shared Belief S. Aug. 25 at the seaside oval. The Jerry Hollendorfer pupil shows three sharp interim drills, including a five-furlong spin in :58 3/5 (2/19) Sept. 10 at Los Alamitos.

Breeders’ cup champion Bulletin (City Zip) tries the main track for the first time in his sixth career start. A dominant winner of the Hollywood Beach S. on debut last September at Gulfstream, the $250,000 KEESEP buy repeated in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and picked up right where he left off when annexing the Palisades Turf Sprint S. in his 3-year-old bow Apr. 4 at Keeneland. Then came a shocking fourth at 1-10 in the William Walker S. Apr. 27 at Churchill though, followed up by a third in his first route attempt in the Better Talk Now S. Aug. 25 at Saratoga. Bulletin is bred to handle this surface switch, being a half-brother to dirt GISW Tiz Miz Sue (Tiznow) out of main-track GSW Sue’s Good News (Woodman).

Landeskog (Munnings) graduated powerfully at first asking Mar. 31 at Oaklawn and was a good second in that track’s Bachelor S. after dictating a sizzling pace Apr. 27. Fading to be ninth in the GI Woody Stephens S. two back June 8 at Belmont, the gelding matched King Jack’s 99 Beyer with a powerful allowance tally Aug. 4 at Del Mar. Trophy Chaser (Twirling Candy) looms a threat second off the bench. Breaking his maiden by an eye-popping 15 3/4 lengths last summer at Gulfstream, he was off the board in the GI Champagne S. before running second in both the Street Sense S. and Mucho Macho Man S. Sidlined for nearly eight months after the latter try, the dark bay resurfaced with a sharp allowance conquest Aug. 30 at Gulfstream.

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Guarana Looks to Strengthen Divisional Grip in Deep Cotillion

Fri, 2019-09-20 12:15

Three Chimneys Farm’s undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star’ Guarana (Ghostzapper) will try to put a stranglehold on the 3-year-old filly championship hunt as the favorite in a layered 11-horse renewal of the GI Cotillion S. Saturday at Parx.

Debuting as a 4-5 favorite Apr. 19 at Keeneland, the homebred ran to the money and then some, cruising home a 14 3/4-length victress, easily good enough for ‘Rising Star’ honors. She backed that up with a devastating six-length triumph in the GI Acorn S. June 8 at Belmont. Stretched out to two turns for the first time in the GI Coaching Club American Oaks July 21 at Saratoga, the bay was much less brilliant, but still triumphant, holding off subsequent GI Alabama S. runner-up Point of Honor (Curlin) by a length after setting a slow pace.

Joel Politi’s Serengeti Empress (Alternation) could launch herself right back into the title race with a victory. Last year’s 19 1/2-length GII Pocahontas S. scorer annexed the GII Rachel Alexandra S. to open her sophomore account and, after a disastrous run in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, went all the way in a 13-1 upset of the GI Kentucky Oaks. The dark bay was no match for Guarana when second in the Acorn, but she would’ve had to be a super-horse to prevail that day after setting blistering fractions of :21.89, :43.99 and 1:08.03. She again set a fast pace in the GI Longines Test S. Aug. 3 at Saratoga before coming up a half-length short while earning a career-best 98 Beyer for the runner-up finish.

A pair of 2018 star juveniles look to regain their top form in DJ Stable’s Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) and Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina (Quality Road). Jaywalk, named last year’s 2-year-old filly champion for victories in the GI Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and GI Frizette S., has scored just once in five tries as a 3-year-old when left alone on the lead in the GIII Delaware Oaks two back. That scenario is unlikely to transpire in this speed-laden group, and the gray comes in off a loss at 1-5 when second behind re-opposing Horologist (Gemologist) in the GIII Monmouth Oaks Aug. 17. Bellafina, a three-time Grade I winner, finished a no-excuse fifth in the Kentucky Oaks and was well beaten when third in the Test last out. Adding blinkers for this test, the $800,000 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream buy comes in off a five-furlong bullet in :59 3/5 (1/54) Sept. 15 at Santa Anita.

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Over 600 Racing Stakeholders Sign Letter to Protect Lasix as a Raceday Choice

Fri, 2019-09-20 12:14

Saying that “a unified industry group believes banning Lasix will adversely impact the health and welfare of racehorses, as well as the strength of our industry,” the National HBPA distributed a letter Friday with more than 600 signatures in support of protecting Lasix as a choice for horsemen and veterinarians to administer on race day, “for the well-being of equine and human athletes,” the letter read.

The complete letter reads as follows:

“A recent open letter proclaimed that `horse racing is at a pivotal moment in its long history in the United States.’ On this we agree. We also agree all of us love and cherish the equine athletes upon which our industry is built. To that end we believe in practicing the highest standards of horsemanship, and we continually work to improve the care, health and safety of our thoroughbred racehorses.

In that regard, we support horsemen and our veterinarians having the continued option to run a horse with a race-day administration of the therapeutic and protective medication furosemide
(Lasix). We, too, are ready for change and will eagerly embrace change if the alterations are done for the greater good of equine health and welfare. We are committed to reforms emphasizing
transparency and developments that will address misunderstandings from those in the non-racing public as well as ensuring our horses are treated with the highest degree of care. The eradication of our choice to administer race-day Lasix will not do any of those things.

It is our belief that banning Lasix will adversely impact the health and welfare of our racehorses as well as the strength of our industry. Research also proves an increased number of horses will
bleed significantly out of their nostrils, or into in their lungs, and an increased number will die. We understand and agree things can and should be done to improve the safety and welfare of our
equine athletes. It is just as important to understand what is NOT causing catastrophic injuries, as it is understanding the underlying causes. Many continue to claim Lasix will interfere with postrace drug testing due to dilution, but this argument has long been disproven. Lasix is a short-acting diuretic and the dilution effect is gone in two hours. However, the tightly regulated
administration of Lasix is required four hours before a race. Thus, Lasix has no ability to interfere with blood or urine testing after a race.

No one takes our stance on this position casually, but we believe we must not be led down a path created by perception and not facts. For this reason we must stand for what is in the best interest
and safety for our equine and human athletes.”

Included in the initial release of names were owners and trainers such as Rusty Arnold, Steve Asmussen, Buff Bradley, Bret Calhoun, Anita and James Cauley, Dr. Nancy Cole, Brad Cox, Boyd Caster, Wayne Catalano, Jake Delhomme, Michael Ann Ewing, Greg Foley, Vickie Foley, Tim Glyshaw, Larry Jones, Dallas Keen, Marshall Gramm, Dr. Chuck Kidder. Mike and Penny Lauer. Mike Maker. Ron Moquett, Randy Morse, Maggi Moss, Loren Hebel-Osborne, Joe Orseno, Joel Politi, Allen Poindexter, Louis J. Roussel III, Clay Sanders, Chester Thomas, Mike Tomlinson, Tom Van Berg, Kelly Von Hemel, Gary and Mary West, Ian Wilkes, Jack Wolf, and Erv Woolsey. The entire list may be viewed on HBPA.org or by clicking here.

Signatures will continue to be collected here via email and through HBPA.org

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War of Will Gets Second Chance in Pennsylvania Derby

Fri, 2019-09-20 12:00

It was just four months ago that Gary Barber’s War of Will (War Front), fresh off a satisfying GI Preakness S. success, appeared to be sitting firmly atop the 3-year-old male division. Two poor efforts since have mostly left the three-time graded stakes winner out of that conversation, but with the defection of Maximum Security (New Year’s Day), he still has a golden opportunity to recapture his championship momentum in a six-horse renewal of Saturday’s GI Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.

Starting his sophomore season with convincing scores in the GIII Lecomte S. and GII Risen Star S., the bay lost his action early before finishing ninth at odds-on in the GII Louisiana Derby and was placed seventh after being interfered with by Maximum Security in the GI Kentucky Derby. Riding the rail to victory in Baltimore, he was a non-factor ninth in the GI Belmont S. and tired to finish fifth after setting the pace in the GII Jim Dandy S. when last seen July 27 at Saratoga. Passing on a try at the GI Runhappy Travers S. after that, War of Will has been working up a storm in the past month and closed out preparations for this with a half-mile bullet in :47 2/5 (1/48) Sept. 14 at Belmont.

“He is fantastic,” Mark Casse told the Parx notes team. “He looks good. He has put on some weight. He has matured. He is sharp. He is ready. Now, it’s just a matter of having some good racing luck. He has done a lot of good things and there is no question he is an extremely talented horse. His last two races have tarnished his reputation a little bit. We’re anxious to regain that.”

In the absence of Maximum Security, favoritism will likely fall to Improbable (City Zip). A perfect three-for-three to start his career, including a top-level success in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity, the ‘TDN Rising Star’ was second in both the GII Rebel S. and GI Arkansas Derby to start his 3-year-old campaign and fourth in the Run for the Roses. Shelved after running an even sixth in the Preakness, he returned with a score in the Shared Belief S. Aug. 25 at Del Mar, earning a career-top and field-best 104 Beyer for the effort. Improbable will look to give trainer Bob Baffert his third consecutive Pennsylvania Derby triumph after West Coast (Flatter) and McKinzie (Street Sense)’s victories in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Allied Racing Stable’s Mr. Money (Goldencents) steps into Grade I company for the first time since running fourth at 41-1 in last year’s GI Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Off the board in his first two sophomore starts, the bay has caught fire to reel off four consecutive Grade III successes in the Pat Day Mile S., Matt Winn S., Indiana Derby and West Virginia Derby, each time winning by open lengths.

“Obviously it’s deeper water here,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “We’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. I think developmentally, physically but obviously mentally, he’s learned how to be a complete racehorse. Learning how to settle and relax, that’s the big thing. Of course I’ve said it a hundred times: His confidence level is unbelievable right now. He’s a beast.”

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Quality Road Rising Star Romps in Phone Chatter S.

Thu, 2019-09-19 18:16

Quality Response was hammered down to 1-5 favoritism off a ‘TDN Rising Star’-worthy debut romp at Del Mar Sept. 1 and ran to the money with a dominant score in this four-horse affair. Racing three-wide early, the $200,000 KEESEP buy caboosed the compact field through an opening half-mile in :45.91. Way out in the center of the track turning for home, the bay proved far too good for this group despite her wide journey, coasting clear under a hand ride from Joe Talamo to win for fun. Convoluted was the runner-up.

“First time out I didn’t know if she was completely ready,” said Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. “I was hoping she would run like she did today. [Jockey] Joe [Talamo] rode her with a lot of confidence. It’s going to keep getting tougher and tougher as she goes along, but she’s shown the quality is there and she’s very well bred. It’s just nice to come down to Los Alamitos. I love it down here. It’s good to be back and win a stakes.”

The winner hails from the family of European champion Rainbow View (Dynaformer) and MGSW & MGISP sire E Dubai (Mr. Prospector). Quality Response is the most recent foal out of Argue, who was bred to Alternation earlier this term. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

PHONE CHATTER S., $75,000, Los Alamitos, 9-19, (C), 2yo, f,
6 1/2f, 1:16.71, ft.
1–QUALITY RESPONSE, 122, f, 2, by Quality Road
1st Dam: Argue, by Storm Cat
2nd Dam: Verbal, by Kingmambo
3rd Dam: Words of War, by Lord At War (Arg)
($200,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Karl
Watson, Michael E. Pegram & Paul Weitman; B-Stone Farm
(KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Joseph Talamo. $43,500. Lifetime
Record: 2-2-0-0, $80,100. ‘TDN Rising Star’
2–Convoluted, 120, f, 2, Distorted Humor–Sweet Lips, by Kris S..
($55,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $43,000 2yo ’19 OBSAPR). O-Slam
Dunk Racing & Michael Nentwig; B-Tony Holmes & Distorted
Humor Syndicate (KY); T-Peter Miller. $15,750.
3–Aqua Seaform Shame, 118, f, 2, Kantharos–Chandeleur, by
Repent. ($25,000 Ylg ’18 OBSWIN; $75,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP).
O-Calvin Nguyen; B-Green Key Farm (FL); T-Richard Baltas.
$10,500.
Margins: 5HF, 1, HF. Odds: 0.20, 8.70, 17.50.
Also Ran: Mean Sophia. Scratched: Paid Informant.

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CHRB Grants Five Weeks to Los Al Thoroughbreds in 2020

Thu, 2019-09-19 18:13

The California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) completed its 2020 allocation of Thoroughbred race dates in southern California Thursday by granting a five-week split season to Los Alamitos Race Course.

In terms of blocks of allocated weeks (with the scheduling of the individual race dates to be determined next year, as per CHRB custom), Los Alamitos will race Thoroughbred meets between June 24 and July 5, then Dec. 2-22.

This represents a one-week addition to the four-week Los Alamitos aggregate dates block that was initially proposed and discussed at the August CHRB meeting by tacking on the Dec. 16-22 segment.

In theory, the December 2020 dates at Los Alamitos are considered to be dates that traditionally have “belonged” to the Los Angeles County Fair (LACF), even though the county will not conduct any actual fair in December and the former venue for its autumn fair, Fairplex Park, stopped hosting horse races in 2014. Los Alamitos has hosted the LACF block of race dates since 2015.

At last month’s CHRB meeting, commissioners voted in most of a new SoCal race dates schedule that, for the first time in decades, did not include a block of September dates at a designated county fair allotment (either Fairplex or Los Alamitos) after the traditional Labor Day conclusion of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club meet.

So in 2020, the SoCal circuit will go straight to Santa Anita Park once Del Mar ends, a change that was protested by Los Alamitos officials when it came up for vote last month and was discussed at length again Thursday.

The 2020 northern California race dates were also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting, but the board voted to push back its decision on them until its October meeting after stakeholders on the multi-track NorCal circuit reported they were close to being able to present an agreed-upon calendar to the CHRB.

In other CHRB business, the board voted to advance to the public commentary period a proposed rule amendment that would tighten the process for becoming a licensed trainer by requiring a year of on-track experience as an assistant trainer in addition to the existing requirement that an applicant must pass an examination (known industry-wide as a trainer’s test).

“Currently, you pass the test to become a trainer [and] you’re immediately licensed,” CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker explained. “This puts a filter, if you will, between passing the test and being licensed as a permanent trainer. Essentially, this calls for a one-year apprenticeship, where a person that passes the testing then has to work for a licensed trainer, be vouched for at the end of that year before the stewards, and then can become permanently licensed.”

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City Zip Filly Scores on Debut at Belmont

Thu, 2019-09-19 17:17

5th-Belmont, $75,000, Msw, 9-19, 2yo, f, 6fT, 1:09.19, fm.

ALMS (f, 2, City Zip–Charity Belle {GSW-Fr}, by Empire Maker) boasted several bullet drills at Fair Hill coming into this debut and was bet down to 3-1 from a 5-1 morning-line quote. Racing off the fence in mid-pack through a :22.28 first quarter, the Godolphin homebred launched a three-wide bid between horses on the far turn. Striking the front at the top of the stretch, Alms opened up in late stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Moral Reasoning (More Than Ready). The winner is a half to Hallie Belle (Medaglia d’Oro), MSW & GSP, $210,464. Her dam Charity Belle’s most recent foal is a yearling filly by Street Boss and she visited Justify this past breeding season. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $41,250. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O/B-Godolphin (KY); T-Mike Stidham.

 

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For John Mazza, 82 is Just a Number

Thu, 2019-09-19 16:16

He gets up every morning every day at 4 a.m. and tends to the horses at both his Monmouth Park barn and at Holly Crest Farm, a New Jersey breeder that he has been associated with for nearly 60 years. When he was seven, his family bought a cow farm in Wayside, New Jersey and converted it to a horse farm. Everyone in the family had to pitch in, so 7-year-old John Mazza was put to work. Seventy-five years later, he’s still at it.

Starting off as an assistant to trainer Joe Kulina in the 1950s, John Mazza, 82, started training on his own in the 70s and is as much a part of Monmouth Park as the ocean breeze. He’s been there since the track opened in 1956.

“Guys like John, they are lifers,” said Bob Kulina, Joe Kulina’s son and the former president of Monmouth Park.

There are others like Mazza. Good, dedicated horsemen, guys who stick around forever, but ones who never get much acclaim or have deep-pocketed owners sending them the types of horses with the potential to win at racing’s highest level. Mazza did enjoy a taste of success when he won the 1992 GI Hopeful with Great Navigator, but 27 years later and at an age when most people wouldn’t have nearly the energy to do what he does, he was still waiting for the next star to come along.

It looks like the wait may be over.

New Jersey-bred Horologist (Gemologist) won’t be the favorite in the GI Cotillion S. Saturday at Parx, but she is a serious contender. Once a filly that looked to be just an above-average Jersey-bred, she defeated Eclipse Award winner Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) last time out in the GIII Monmouth Oaks and has won four straight races.

“I liked this horse from the start because I could see she had a lot of heart,” Mazza said. “She’s game, she’ll fight another horse. When I ran her the first time, I thought she’d run well because she had showed me a little bit of talent here and there. But she was growing. She was a young horse.”

Horologist exceeded the expectations of Mazza and owner Cameron Beatty when she broke her maiden by 20 3/4 lengths. But the Beyer number was just a 63 and with the New Jersey-bred program so depleted, the quality of the horses she beat was suspect. Whatever enthusiasm she generated that day waned when she lost her next five starts.

But she turned a corner winning an allowance race at Gulfstream in March and hasn’t looked back since. Kulina said not all trainers could have done what Mazza has done.

“Guys like John, when they get a horse that has some sort of ability they have to get the most out of them,” Kulina said. “There aren’t enough opportunities for really good horsemen who aren’t maybe your salesmen or promoters that are so prominent in the game today. There are a lot of guys who take good physical care of the horses and maximize the horse’s ability, sometimes more than the guys who get the $1 million yearlings given to them. People like John, when they get a chance with a good horse they can’t afford to make a mistake. They can’t hurt them. They have to protect them.”

“I took my time with her,” Mazza said. “She never had any problems, but I wanted her to grow more and she did. Sometimes, there has been a long time between her races, but she runs better fresh. The Beyer numbers go way up when she runs fresh. I took my time and the owner let me do that. That’s the way you’re supposed to do it. That’s what I learned from Joe Kulina.”

Mazza is a product of a different time in racing, when it was less corporate and competitive, a friendlier environment. He has no enemies, knows everyone on the backstretch at Monmouth and no one has a bad word to say about him. Most everyone at Monmouth Park will be rooting for him Saturday.

“John is from the old school, where everybody on the backside is part of his family,” Kulina said.

Kulina says that with or without Horologist, Mazza is the type who will keep training until he is no longer physically able to do so.

“With most horsemen, racing gets in your blood and you’re in it for life,” Kulina said. “Very few trainers, as long as they are physically able to continue, walk away. As long as he can get up in the morning and still go out, he’s going to do that until he can’t do it anymore.”

But most trainers, when they get to Mazza’s age, have only a handful of horses and their old owners gave up on them a long time ago, convinced they needed someone younger to do the job. Between the horses he has stabled at the track and the broodmares, weanlings and yearlings at Holly Crest, Mazza is in charge of 41 horses. How does he do it?

“With good help,” he said. “I have three really good guys at the farm. You have to have good help, the proper help. I could never do all this without them. I’ve had some physical problems. I’ve been having problems walking lately, but I’m getting better.”

Against horses like Guarana (Ghostzapper), Serengeti Empress (Alternation), Bellafina (Quality Road) and Jaywalk, Mazza knows this will be a very hard race for Horologist to win. But he also didn’t think she could beat Jaywalk in the Monmouth Oaks.

And if he does win the Cotillion, a $1 million, Grade I race?

“Somebody will have to pick me up off the floor,” he said.

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Opinions on the Cap: Sones and Yoshida

Thu, 2019-09-19 15:52

Editor’s note: This entry concludes our daily opinion submissions on The Jockey Club’s proposal to cap the number of mares in a stallion’s book to 140.

Aaron Sones, Breeder
Naoya Yoshida, DVM, Veterinarian and Breeder
Winchester Farm, Lexington, KY

Important facts to remember while discussing this subject:
1. America is about free market and free competition. Any limit to a Thoroughbred stallion production should be natural only. Natural selection, natural breeding, fertility, libido and stallion management are the basis of the Thoroughbred industry. In the wild, the most physically capable males are the ones that breed.

2. Let the breeders decide which stallions they want to send their mares to. Small and medium sized breeders should have the chance and opportunity to breed to the stallion of their choice. It is extremely difficult to book a mare to a “capped” stallion who has a maximum capacity of 140 mares. Stallion farms make priority to their stallion shareholders and boarding clients. Capping the number of mares is an anti-competitive practice that will keep some stallion farms in business and force breeders to use sires they frankly have no faith in.

3. The U.S. Thoroughbred foal crop is estimated to be around 20,000 per year. There is very little difference statistically between a stallion who sires 200 live foals per year (1% of the foal population) and a stallion who sires 130 live foals per year (0.65% of the foal population). A 0.35-point difference holds little effect on the genetic pool.

4. High crops actually increase the chances of new sires and sire lines coming to the fore. The selection occurs on the racetrack and the present system works well. If a young sire cannot make it with his first two crops, then he is ruthlessly removed from the stallion farms’ breeding program to make room for new sires to get their chance.

5. The present genetic pool in fact relies on the 30,000 thoroughbred broodmares who are bred each year in the U.S. Every breeder knows that having a select broodmare band is the key to success. As 4th generation breeders, we believe that the best broodmares transmit between 60% to 70% of their genetic quality to their progeny. Thanks to many recent imports of top fillies and broodmares from Europe, South America and Australia/New Zealand, the genetic pool continues to progress in the area of diversity.

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Fall Meet to be Run in its Entirety at Belmont Park

Thu, 2019-09-19 15:28

Following consultation with horsemen and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, and the approval of the New York State Gaming Commission, the 37-day Belmont fall meet will be held in its entirety at Belmont Park.

On July 10, the New York Racing Association announced plans to conduct a portion of the 2019 fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack from Oct. 11 through Oct. 27 to ensure the continuity of racing operations in New York and best serve the interests of horsemen in light of the planned construction of a new arena at Belmont Park for the National Hockey League’s New York Islanders.

However, with the current construction site preparation proving less impactful to racing operations than expected, NYRA, with the support of NYTHA and its members, will host the full fall meet at Belmont Park.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer the entirety of the Belmont fall schedule at the facility where these races were meant to be run,” said NYRA CEO and President Dave O’Rourke. “This decision follows careful analysis of the nature of construction site activity and a series of productive meetings with horsemen.”

Beginning Sept. 25, live racing on weekdays at Belmont Park will adjust from the current 3 p.m. post time to a 1 p.m. first post. Saturdays and Sundays will continue to feature a first post of 1 p.m.

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