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Q and A With Del Mar’s Josh Rubinstein

Tue, 2019-05-14 13:35

Though Del Mar’s annual summer meet is still two months away, preparations for it are in full-swing–preparations that are being driven in part by unfolding industry-wide changes, precipitated by events at Santa Anita this winter and spring.

Nowhere was this more evident than in the announcement that Del Mar Thoroughbred Club (DMTC) CEO Joe Harper made recently concerning a series of safety and welfare protocols the track will be instituting this summer. This includes the adoption of International Federation of Horseracing Authorities medication standards, the addition of more veterinarians to oversee morning workouts, increased out-of-competition testing, bolstered stable security, and the formation of a stakeholder advisory committee.

These measures, said Harper, will be instituted alongside the other safety measures that Del Mar has adopted in recent years to successfully reduce fatality rates. TDN recently sat down with Josh Rubinstein, DMTC president, to discuss these proposed changes, as well as his thoughts concerning the meet in general.

The following is a lightly edited version of the conversation.

TDN: Obviously, events at Santa Anita this winter are still very much front and center within the industry here in California. How have they impacted preparations for your summer meet?

JR: The safety of our equine and human athletes continues to be our top priority. We’re very proud that the last few years have been some of the safest in Del Mar’s history. You’ve probably seen The Jockey Club’s recent injury database report. Ours is one of the safest tracks in the country, but we’re always striving to do better.

TDN: Can you tell me more about which International Federation of Horseracing Authorities medication standards you’ll be adopting?

JR: We’ll be instituting many of the IFHA’s medication standards, which are the strictest in the world, and these are the same protocols that are currently in place at Santa Anita. We’re working with the [Thoroughbred Owners of California] on the things we need to implement as house rules. The feedback we’re getting from the horsemen and the backside community is that it’s taking a bit of time, but they’re getting more comfortable with the new procedures. I think everybody involved feels like this will make California racing truly safer.

TDN: By how much will you be increasing out-of-competition testing?

JR: We’re going to be increasing it a lot. While some of the details are confidential in order to protect the integrity of the testing process, I can tell you it will be significantly expanded this summer, and we will include morning training. We will take a percentage of horses working each morning as part of the out-of- competition testing.

TDN: Joe Harper also announced that you’re developing a stakeholder advisory committee. Who will be on that committee, and what will the committee do?

JR: One of our corporate goals at Del Mar is to be inclusionary and transparent with industry stakeholders, and the advisory committee is really just an extension of that. We’re still working on representatives, but we’ll definitely have somebody from the trainers and jockeys. They’ll meet regularly with us to discuss items such as racing surfaces and our race-day operations.

Like I’ve said, we’ll be doing some new things this summer. We talked about the IFHA reforms, but we’ll also have enhanced security on the backside, increased veterinary presence in the morning to observe the works. It’s not going to be perfect, so we want to get feedback from our stakeholders. If there are things, maybe a couple weeks into the meet, that are suggested to us by the committee that makes sense, we’re all about adopting it.

TDN: Del Mar recently joined with other major North American tracks calling for a partial ban of race-day administration of Lasix. That ban would start with 2-year-olds of 2020 and extend to stakes races in 2021. The Lasix debate is hardly a new one, but can you explain a little more about this decision? For example, a number of horsemen have made the observation that horses are more prone to bleed at Del Mar than certain other tracks.

JR: We acknowledge that there are strong feelings and not complete consensus on this issue. This is our third-rail issue within the industry. But we believe the recently announced national policy, which has more consensus than prior plans, is an important step. To be perfectly candid, we hope the national plan will be a catalyst for the national adoption of California’s stricter rules regarding cortico-steroids, anti-inflammatories. Lasix gets all the headlines, but we believe those are the reforms that will truly ensure a safer environment for racing and training.

TDN: Who did you speak with prior to making the decision on Lasix?

JR: We had a really positive meeting with the vets at Santa Anita. About seven or eight of the top vets were represented, as well as the [California Thoroughbred Trainers]. We’re in constant conversation with the CHRB, including the California equine medical director, Rick Arthur. Lasix is a hot-button issue, and it gets all the headlines, but the things that are being put in place in California, we’re hopeful that on the national side, the Lasix reform is just the first step. I’ll be in some industry meetings next week in Baltimore with stakeholders to talk about that.

TDN: Field sizes have been an issue at Santa Anita recently–they’re racing only three-days at the moment, for example. You’ve promised to race five days a week this summer. How confident are you that you’ll be able to maintain the large field sizes you enjoyed last year (on average 8.7 per race)?

JR: Our racing product has been outstanding, especially the last couple of years. But, we are keenly aware of what’s happening in the state. Our racing team has been actively recruiting out-of-state horsemen, and, we’re in touch with local trainers, especially the guys that have shipped horses to Kentucky. The good news is, based on the feedback that we’ve received from the local trainers, we feel relatively confident that most of the California horses that went out of state will be returning for Del Mar this summer. As it stands now, we’re planning on running five days a week.

TDN: Which out-of-state trainers have bitten?

JR: I don’t want to jinx it. [Executive vice president for racing and industry relations] Tom Robbins and [racing secretary] David Jerkens have been working very hard to get some out-of-state stables here. Since 2017, when we had the Breeders’ Cup, there has definitely been more interest. We’ve seen that more in the fall, with the Kentucky guys sending a string out here, and certainly for the stakes in the fall. Chad Brown tends to send a string out here for the final week of stakes races. We think we’re making good inroads for the summer, too.

TDN: You’ve announced further modifications to your “ship & win” program. For example, the initial ready check for imports has been increased to $2,500, and the first-race purse bonus has been boosted to 40 percent. Why these additions?

JR: Our ship-and-win program has yielded tremendous results. In 2018, we had 158 ship-and-win starters at Del Mar. A lot of people don’t realize, those horses stay in the circuit. Those 156 ship-and-win starters at Del Mar combined for another 286 starts in California last year. The immediate impact is felt at Del Mar, but the California circuit benefits throughout the year.

It’s interesting, while our racing guys definitely use ship and win as a tool to recruit out-of-state horsemen, we actually created ship-and-win as an incentive for local stables to purchase non-California horses, and it’s really worked. Seventy percent of our ship-and-win starts have been from California trainers.

TDN: The CHRB is currently looking to revise the current whip rules, and perhaps ban the use of the whip for anything other than safety purposes. What’s Del Mar’s position on the issue?

JR: We believe this is one where we need to look at the outside industry optics, and recognize that, while this may be a perception issue, it needs to be addressed nonetheless. We feel it’s very difficult for the industry to say, ‘horses love to run,’ and then defend the use of the riding crop to encourage them to do that. We’re hopeful common ground can be reached on riding crop reform. I think it needs to be, and I can tell you that recent stakeholder conversations on the topic have been very positive.

TDN: Del Mar has for many years had an open line of communication with animal welfare organizations like PETA. Some within the industry have criticized that policy. What do you say to that criticism?

JR: I think you need to have communication with the outside world. You can’t bury your head and say we’re only going to look at this through the lens of horseracing. We do have a line of communication with PETA, and the same with the Humane Society. It’s a fine line–I think it’s important to get outside the industry perspective. It’s also helpful to us to explain to those folks there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and when you’re able to sit down and look somebody in the eye and explain, from our standpoint, all of the reforms and safety and welfare protocols that we have in place, you get a lot of nods of approval. You’re not going to agree on everything, but I think, again, it helps both sides to keep a line of communication open.

TDN: Last year’s average daily handle during the summer was up. What precipitated that, and how do you propose to maintain that trend given events this year?

JR: Giving customers a good product to wager on is the single biggest factor, and that is mostly about field size and competitive racing. We’ve got the best in the business in Tom Robbins and David Jerkens filling our races, and the same goes for handling the racing surfaces, in Dennis Moore and Leif Dickinson. By the same token though, we recognize the narrative surrounding Santa Anita, and that may have an affect on our business. But, we’re hopeful, and we’re going to work hard to provide a quality racing product that in turn will continue to attract bettors.

TDN: How much of this will be down to marketing?

JR: It’s interesting on the marketing side; we do quite a bit in the local community, but what people don’t realize is that we are constantly in front of our core customers talking about field size, and pool liquidity, and average payouts, and that is extremely important. From Del Mar’s perspective, we had a solid fall meet in 2018, which wrapped up early December, and so, we’ve been out-of-sight, out-of-mind for a while. It’s really important that we’ve reinforced with our core customers field size and pay-offs and pool liquidity. Really important.

TDN: Attendances have been trending downwards in recent years, but you’ve mentioned before that you’re more focused on revenue per-patron. Is that still a primary focus?

JR: We did make a conscious decision a few years ago to focus less on attendance for its own sake. For example, on those days where attendance might have been inflated through a giveaway, throwing a big attendance number when you don’t see those folks coming back, or wagering too much…at the end of the day, it’s short-term gratification.

We’re focusing on creating the best on-site experience for our customers. Our revenue per patrons continues to grow and we’re still offering promotions to attract people to visit and enjoy the venue and atmosphere. This summer, we’re really excited about some new lifestyle events focused around gourmet food festivals. And look, Del Mar is part of the fabric of the San Diego community. People are starting to get excited, and talk about us. Pre-season ticket sales have been solid, and we’re ready to go for the summer.

TDN: With the meet just around the corner, how would you characterize your expectations?

JR: We’re cautiously optimistic. You can’t ignore what’s gone on 100 miles north of here, but we’re constantly in communication with horsemen and other industry stakeholders, and understand the challenges. This is like no other time we’ve seen. But I think people are anxious from the horseman’s perspective to get down here and reshuffle the deck a little bit, and we’re excited to have them.

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Flying Start Q and A with Dan Blacker

Tue, 2019-05-14 13:20

by Liza Hendriks

This interview is one of a continuing series in the TDN in which current Godolphin Flying Start students interview former ones who have gone on to work in the racing industry. U.K. native Dan Blacker runs a stable based in Southern California. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he graduated from the Godolphin Flying Start program in 2007.

LH: How has the Godolphin Flying Start helped you in your career as a trainer?

DB: For me, getting to know American racing and moving around the country was extremely beneficial. I got to spend time in California working with Richard Mandella and I really felt at home here. I never would have had the chance to experience all of that had I not been on the Flying Start. When you start training, it’s a huge leap of faith going from assistant trainer to trainer. It’s such a massive step and no one really knows it until you do it for yourself. Looking back on it now, I think spending those two years on the Flying Start really gave me the confidence to make that leap of faith to train in America.

LH: Given the current situation in racing in California, have you had to make any adjustments in your business strategy?

DB: Yes, I am feeling the pinch along with other trainers. I’m down on numbers right now and I think certain owners back East are just a little bit wary of sending two-year-olds out this way right now. I think we really need to do our own bit of promotion for California and get behind our industry. I, for one, want to be really positive that we have a strong future here and this is just a period of change that is pretty rough, but I think when we come out on the other side it may be better in the long run. California is setting an example that safer racing is possible and we can take pride in those advances as long as the horse population thrives.

LH: How do you think the industry as a whole can try to change the public’s perception of racing, especially being in California surrounded by celebrity influencers. How do we get them involved?

DB: That’s a good question, and when I first came out here it’s something that I always noticed. We have such a huge entertainment business and there’s so much money here in southern California. Why can’t we get more people interested in the sport? I think it is just so foreign for a lot of people and it is difficult to educate people to a level where they want to spend money on the sport. The main thing is to promote horseracing and educate people in a really positive way, but education is going to be an uphill battle that is going to need a lot of positive aspects. There are a lot of organizations really pushing that now like the I Am Horse Racing movement. These sorts of things are going to help in the long run, but it is a lot of work ahead of us. In my opinion, the most important thing to do right now is to reduce the number of breakdowns. I think we seem to be doing that, unfortunately, at some point, it is going to happen again, but right now we are doing great. The industry as a whole, the racetrack, trainers, and vets are working together, and it seems like it is making a difference and that is the most important thing moving forward in terms of improving the public perception.

LH: In a slightly unrelated matter, having taken the Racing Official Accreditation Program while on the Flying Start, do you agree with the decision in the Derby and do you think America should shift to category 1 rules in the future?

DB: The stewarding course helped us understand the job that the stewards have to do. It’s a very thankless job and a really tough position to be in to make those sorts of calls. It’s super subjective as we found out in the Derby. I think American racing is different–we seem to race a little tighter. I think there are lots of things we can do within the industry as a whole to make unilateral rules around the world in a positive way. I think you need to be flexible for certain things and there are things that might not work in America that work in Europe and Australia and vice versa. I think you need to be open to changes within that. The most important thing is safety and public perception and if you have to make the rules a little stricter in order for the rules to be more effective, then I’m for that.

Liza Hendricks is from Unionville, Pa., and holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from the College of Charleston. Before starting the Flying Start program, she worked in t.v. and simulcasting at the NYRA.

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Fasig Midlantic Under-Tack Show Start Time Delayed

Mon, 2019-05-13 16:18

The three-day under-tack show for next week’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale begins Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. in Timonium. The session was originally scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., but sales company officials delayed the start of the breeze show to allow for additional track maintenance owing to the rain over the weekend and into Monday.

The show continues with sessions Wednesday and Thursday–those sessions will retain an 8 a.m. start time. The auction, with 600 juveniles catalogued, will be held next Monday and Tuesday with each session beginning at 11 a.m.

For additional information, including the full catalogue, visit, where next week’s sale will be broadcast live.

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Mack Foundation to Sponsor Sir Barton on Preakness Day

Mon, 2019-05-13 15:22

The Earle I. Mack Foundation will be the lead sponsor for the $100,000 Sir Barton S., held during the 2019 Preakness weekend at Pimlico Race Course. Scheduled for May 18, the Sir Barton Stakes will benefit the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Man O’War Project.

The Man O’ War Project is a joint venture of the Earle I. Mack Foundation and Columbia University Irving Medical Center that is exploring the benefits of equine-assisted therapy in the treatment of veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The organization was launched by former U.S. Ambassador to Finland Earle I. Mack, philanthropist, military veteran, and an avid horse enthusiast.

“Thoroughbred aftercare is one of my life’s passions, and the collaboration with a group like TAA is a natural fit for the Man O’ War Project, which depends on retired Thoroughbreds,” explained Mack. “Together, our groups will show that life after racing is one full of promise and positivity, and can assist one of our most important communities, our veterans.”

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that accredits, inspects, and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations that retrain, rehome, and retire Thoroughbreds using industry-wide funding.

“The TAA is grateful for the support from Ambassador Mack and is pleased to be presenting the race alongside the Man O’ War Project, which is doing much-needed research to help both our horses and veterans,” TAA operations consultant Stacie Clark Rogers said.

Now in its 26th year, the Sir Barton Stakes to Benefit the TAA and the Man O’ War Project is named after U.S. Thoroughbred racing’s first Triple Crown winner, who completed the feat 100 years ago.

Led by researchers at Columbia University, the Man O’ War Project is the first university-led clinical research study to determine the effectiveness of equine-assisted therapy and establish guidelines for the treatment of military veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress.

The Man O’ War Project takes veterans diagnosed with PTSD through an eight-week treatment program that uses equine-assisted therapy to help them relearn the skills they need to live healthier and more productive lives. Working side by side with licensed mental health therapists and equine specialists, the veterans are guided through a series of non-riding interactions with the horses, which help them gain a better understanding and awareness of their own emotions and behavior.

Through this process, veterans increase emotional awareness and the ability to recognize and regulate emotion, and learn to more effectively interact with the horse and, by extension, the people in their lives.

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Darby Dan Farm’s Tracie Willis Passes Away

Mon, 2019-05-13 12:38

Tracie Willis, the controller for Darby Dan Farms, passed away last Tuesday, the farm reported in a press release. For several years, the release said, she had battled painful and chronic pancreatitis, complications from which ultimately claimed her life. Notification of her immediate family and next of kin, who were scattered around the country, was finalized over the weekend.

“Tracie was a dedicated Darby Dan Farm team member for seven years,” the statement read. “She sincerely loved horses, the farm, and the Thoroughbred industry. She was committed to the farm’s business operation and was a consummate talent in her many roles. She managed Darby Dan’s social media, oversaw human resources and insurance, was a popular Darby Dan tour guide, and represented the farm in multiple professional associations. She was a proficient and respected master of accounting.”

“Tracie was a very private person,” said John Phillips, owner of Darby Dan Farm. “I doubt many people understood how ill she was. She wouldn’t ever complain nor share her issues. Regardless, Tracie would work with diligence and precision. She was a perfectionist in nearly all aspects of her life. I am not sure I ever met anyone quite like Tracie; she was unique. Her talent was significant and her love of horses, her dogs and friends were great. She passed away way too soon. We are stunned and deeply saddened.”

Funeral arrangements are just now being finalized, with services presently scheduled for Sunday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at Liberty Road Faith Fellowship on Liberty Road in Lexington, Kentucky. In lieu of flowers, the farm asks that people share her commitment to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance or the Fayette County Humane Society.

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Saez Handed 15-Day Suspension for Derby Ride

Mon, 2019-05-13 12:15

The Churchill Downs Board of Stewards has suspended jockey Luis Saez 15 days for his ride about Maximum Security (New Year’s Day) in the GI Kentucky Derby. In one of the more controversial Derbies in history, Maximum Security appeared to come out several paths nearing the top of the stretch, impeding War of Will (War Front). That began a chain reaction in which War of Will banged into Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy). Maximum Security was placed 17th.

Saez’s suspension will be in effect on the following dates: May 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30 and June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14. The days not included in the ruling are days Churchill is dark.

In their ruling, the stewards said the suspension was “for failure to control his mount and make the proper effort to maintain a straight course thereby causing interference with several rivals that resulted in the disqualification of his mount.”

The TDN will continue to update this story.

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Diversify Back on Worktab

Sun, 2019-05-12 16:23

Multiple Grade I winner Diversify (Bellamy Road) returned to the worktab for the first time since last September with a three-furlong move in :37.00 (4/41) Saturday over the Belmont training track. Owned by Ralph and Lauren Evans, Diversify won the 2017 GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. and 2018 GI Whitney S. for late trainer Rick Violette. Saturday was the 6-year-old gelding’s first work for new trainer Jonathan Thomas.

“I was really surprised,” said Thomas. “He’s a quiet horse galloping in the morning and I thought he’d maybe need a little slow three-eighths [work] and he ended up breezing in :37, very well on the muscle. He came back to the barn and cooled out quickly. I thought maybe we were off schedule just because it took us a while to get him going. But from what I saw today, I think we’re, if not on schedule, maybe even head of schedule.”

Violette’s longtime assistant Melissa Cohen recently joined Thomas’s barn to head his New York division.

“Rick did a tremendous job with this horse and we’re the beneficiaries of Rick and Melissa’s hard work,” Thomas said. “We’re just honored to have him and hopefully we can continue his good work.”

Also working for the Thomas barn Saturday was last year’s GI Travers S. winner Catholic Boy (More Than Ready), who went five furlongs in 1:02.19 (1/5) over the inner turf course and in company with stakes winner Osare (Medaglia d’Oro). Catholic Boy is possible for Saturday’s GII Dixie S. at Pimlico.

“The Dixie is possibly a soft target,” Thomas said. “We’re going to talk to the owners and our other partners about some other options. We could, off of that, from what I saw today possibly be ready for the Dixie. We’ll know in a couple of days. We’d love to target races like the GII Suburban and even the GI Whitney or GI Woodward would be massive targets. The fact that he’s been productive as a 2-year-old and 3-year-old in Saratoga, to do something nice up there this summer would be great.”

Osare, a half-sister to champion Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song), may make her first start since winning the Dueling Grounds Oaks last September in the May 18 Searching S. at Pimlico.

“I was really pleased with her,” said Thomas. “They’re both targeting the same weekend and both coming off of big breaks. They coincided from a training schedule perspective. While I thought he was maybe getting the better of her on the dirt the past two weeks, I thought she more than held her own on the turf today. She breezed really well.”

Thomas continued, “There’s the Searching at Pimlico going a mile and a half and there’s an allowance race here at Belmont on Sunday. We’ll look at both spots and see which makes the most sense and then target, we’ll see what happens.”

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Connections Mull Options for Global Campaign

Sun, 2019-05-12 16:15

Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm’s Global Campaign (Curlin) exited his win in Saturday’s GIII Peter Pan S. in fine shape and possibilities for his next start include the June 8 GI Belmont S., the June 22 GIII Ohio Derby at Thistledown and the July 6 GIII Dwyer S. at Belmont.

“He’s a very talented horse and it was good to see him get that behind him,” Stanley Hough said of the ‘TDN Rising Star.’ “Everything is on the table. I wouldn’t say which spot necessarily he should go. It could be the Belmont or the Dwyer or the Ohio Derby. There’s a lot of options right now. He’ll go back to Churchill, he’ll leave [Monday] and get there Tuesday, and we’ll take it a day at a time. Obviously, the Belmont would be a great thrill, I just can’t say we’re pointing towards that way.”

Tracy Farmer’s Sir Winston (Awesome Again), a late-closing runner-up in the Peter Pan, will now target the Belmont S.

“He’s a unique horse,” trainer Mark Casse said. “He doesn’t have a whole lot of speed and he’s kind of at the mercy of everyone else in the race, but he’ll run all day.”

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Market King Joins Preakness Fray

Sun, 2019-05-12 16:08

Robert Baker and William Mack’s Market King (Into Mischief) has been added to the list of contenders for Saturday’s GI Preakness S. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, the bay colt was third behind Omaha Beach (War Front) and Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the Mar. 16 GII Rebel S. and was most recently 11th in the Apr. 6 GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland.

The decision to target the Preakness came after Market King worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Saturday in 1:00.40 (3/31).

“He’s training excellent,” Lukas said.

The addition of Market King pushes the expected Preakness field to 12 horses, the largest field since 14 competed in 2011. He joins previously confirmed Preakness contenders: Alwaysmining (Stay Thirsty), Anothertwistafate (Scat Daddy), Bodexpress (Bodemeister), Bourbon War (Tapit), Improbable (City Zip), Laughing Fox (Union Rags), Owendale (Into Mischief), Signalman (General Quarters), War of Will (War Front), Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}) and Warrior’s Charge (Munnings).

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Australia’s Broome Adds To Ballydoyle Epsom Assault

Sun, 2019-05-12 11:49

“There are a lot of horses there”, commented Aidan O’Brien in his typically understated way at Leopardstown on Sunday as he pondered the stable’s tsunami of Epsom Derby hopefuls including the easy G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial S. scorer Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}). Ballydoyle have now won every recognised Derby trial in Britain and Ireland in 2019 and this talented and progressive colt is responsible for two having rated a very impressive winner of the Apr. 6 G3 Ballysax S. over this course and distance. Uncovering which of the yard’s plethora of contenders for the blue riband will come out on top was an already taxing pursuit, but after another convincing prep performance from Broome it is fitting more into the unsolvable conundrum criteria.

Now that connections know how to ride him to best effect, the bay was again held up towards the rear by Donnacha O’Brien as a familiar Rosegreen offensive played out way up ahead courtesy of the 33-1 handicap winner Blenheim Palace (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and the Ballysax runner-up Sovereign (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). With that duo stretching the remainder of the field beyond comfort, the 2-5 favourite who required his customary nudging along three out began to come on strong once again as he straightened for home. Making light of the stiff finish at this Dublin venue, he was comfortably on top from a furlong down and there was much to appreciate about the manner in which he lowered his head and drove to the line for a 2 1/2-length success. Blenheim Palace, a full-brother to Churchill (Ire), kept on well for a marked career-best, but it was all Broome at the end and rightly so.

Epsom’s mile and a half will surely bring out even more improvement if his last two outings are any guide and like Saturday’s Listed Lingfield Derby Trial winner Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) he has group 1 form at two as ballast. Current betting for Epsom suggests only Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) is capable of wedging the door open for the British-trained contingent and if he fails to come back strong in Thursday’s G2 Dante S.–in which he meets this stable’s winter number one for the Derby, Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire})–it could already be slammed shut. The best prices on offer at the end of Sunday’s action tell their own story, with Sir Dragonet at 7-2, Too Darn Hot at 9-2, Broome at 7-1 and Anthony Van Dyck and Japan at 8-1. That’s four of the top five trained at Ballydoyle, with the Lloyd-Webbers’ champion juvenile still a doubtful participant. One of the very few things O’Brien has yet to achieve is a one-two-three in the Derby, but few would bet against it occurring this year.

Despite the adrenaline rush of Chester, Lingfield and now Leopardstown the humble master of Co. Tipperary’s racing powerhouse is keeping the excitement levels to a minimum. “We’re delighted with Broome–he has a lazy way of racing, but is able to make up ground very well and Donnacha was very happy he was going to get there,” he said. “He went to the line very well and the plan in the spring was always these three races for him, the two trials and then Epsom. He is out of a fast mare and has a lot more speed than you’d think. It’s more laziness than anything that makes you think he needs much further, but we hope he’ll get a mile and a half.”

Whether Broome can become the first Derby winner to come off a success in this since High Chaparral (Ire) in 2002 is more a question of if there is a more talented colt in his stable. His obvious staying power is a surprise, given that his dam Sweepstake (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) captured the five-furlong Listed National S. as a juvenile, but it is worth noting that she did go on to finish runner-up in the GIII Appalachian S. over a mile when with David Carroll. This is the stout Hesmonds Stud family of the G3 Fred Darling S. winner Bulaxie (GB) (Bustino {GB}), her G2 Premio Lydia Tesio-winning daughter Claxon (GB) (Caerleon) and the latter’s G1 Nassau S. runner-up Cassydora (GB) (Darshaan {GB}), all three of which were sent to Epsom by John Dunlop only to disappoint in the Oaks.

Cassydora, who went on to win the GIII  Hillsborough S. for Todd Pletcher, produced this stable’s dual G3 Curragh Cup-winning classy stayer Ernest Hemingway (Ire) from a mating with Australia’s sire Galileo (Ire). The Coolmore monarch’s influence in this pedigree is also felt via his greatest son Frankel (GB) whose son Rostropovich (Ire) turned out to be a mile-and-a-half performer through and through for this yard last year. Second in the G1 Irish Derby, he was even fifth in the G1 Melbourne Cup over two miles in November having won this track’s 12-furlong G3 Kilternan S. Along with Ernest Hemingway, Coolmore have also drawn from the deep well of this family with the G1 Phoenix S. hero and successful sire Zoffany (Ire) (Dansili {GB}) and Rostropovich’s G3 Anglesey S.-winning half-brother Wilshire Boulevard (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}). Sweepstake has since produced a 2-year-old filly by Invincible Spirit (Ire) and a yearling filly by Rostropovich’s sire Frankel.

Sunday, Leopardstown, Ireland
DERRINSTOWN STUD DERBY TRIAL S.-G3, €100,000, Leopardstown, 5-12, 3yo, 10fT, 2:09.18, g/y.
1–BROOME (IRE), 129, c, 3, by Australia (GB)
1st Dam: Sweepstake (Ire) (SW & GSP-Eng, SW & GSP-US, $114,162), by Acclamation (GB)
2nd Dam: Dust Flicker (GB), by Suave Dancer
3rd Dam: Galaxie Dust, by Blushing Groom (Fr)
(€120,000 RNA Ylg ’17 GOFOR; 150,000gns Ylg ’17 TATDEY). O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Epona Bloodstock Ltd (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Donnacha O’Brien. €59,000. Lifetime Record: G1SP-Fr, 7-3-2-0, $259,337. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Blenheim Palace (Ire), 129, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Meow (Ire), by Storm Cat. O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Liberty Bloodstock (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €20,000.
3–Sovereign (Ire), 129, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Devoted To You (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire). O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Barronstown Stud (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €10,000.
Margins: 2HF, HF, 1 3/4. Odds: 0.40, 33.00, 7.00.
Also Ran: Rakan (GB), Buckhurst (Ire), Guaranteed (Ire), Pythion (Fr). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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First Classic Victory For Kingman as Persian King Prevails

Sun, 2019-05-12 10:27

Testing conditions at ParisLongchamp on Sunday created by a deluge of rain meant that equine pyrotechnics were unlikely despite the formidable presence of Persian King (Ire) (Kingman {GB}). Hot favourite for the G1 The Emirates Poule d’Essai des Poulains, Godolphin and Ballymore Thoroughbred Ltd’s TDN Rising Star duly won, but it was more a case of a thankless task being carried out in professional manner as he delivered a first Classic success for his exhilarating sire. Patiently ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot in a share of fourth on the rail, the imposing bay was sent up the inner as the cutaway came in the straight. Sinking into the ground to a degree as he earned the advantage with 250 metres remaining, the 1-2 market-leader nevertheless kept on strongly and willingly to the line to score by a length from the similarly game Wertheimer representative Shaman (Ire) (Shamardal), with the British raider and 28-1 outsider San Donato (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) a head away in third. “The ground didn’t help, as he is such a great mover with a beautiful action but he showed courage,” commented Andre Fabre, who was collecting a seventh edition. “On top of his ability and consistency, he’s also a game horse built more for Cheltenham! He has proved his quality yet again and has done nothing wrong. He’s in all those big races, but the [June 2 G1 Prix du] Jockey Club [at Chantilly] is very tempting. It looks like he’ll stay another quarter of a mile.”

Persian King’s fully-expected Classic triumph was just one more addendum to the remarkable tale of the Danzig sire line. Invincible Spirit (Ire), by Danzig’s prolific Green Desert, had enjoyed a first of his own as Magna Grecia (Ire) provided him with an initial English Classic eight days earlier and now his much-lauded son Kingman is off the mark in this sphere with a member of his first crop. Fabre had spoken of the sire potential of Juddmonte’s brilliant miler when pondering Persian King’s program during the winter and it is fitting that the veteran commander general of the French training ranks is the one to benefit first from the transferring power of Banstead Manor’s latest elite resident.

Carrying the Ballymore silks at two, the physically arresting bay from a distinguished Wildenstein family ran into Anodor (Fr) (Anodin {Ire}) on debut over 7 1/2 furlongs at Deauville in August and met with his sole reversal as the subsequent G3 Prix des Chenes winner quickened away in the straight. Next time he was at this trip, at which he would remain thereafter, he showed what the benefit of racecourse experience can do by slamming Juddmonte’s Boardman (GB) (Kingman {GB}) by six lengths at Chantilly at the start of September. By the time he had turned back TDN Rising Star Lone Peak (Fr) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) with ease by five lengths back at Chantilly a fortnight later, he was already emphatically of pattern-race calibre but he was made to prove it by Magna Grecia in a demanding G3 Autumn S. at Newmarket in mid-October.

Fears that the rain-afflicted surface would take the shine off Persian King here were well-founded from a visual standpoint, but a quick analysis of the times of the course-and-distance G3 Prix de Fontainebleau staged on fast ground Apr. 14 and this reveal a different story. While he achieved a race-record time of 1:36.41 in that trial, this effort was carried out in a highly respectable 1:38.98 given the heavy surface. It is going to take hard labour to deny him the Poulains-Jockey Club double achieved by Brametot (Ire) (Rajsaman {Fr}) two years ago, fellow Fabre trainee Lope de Vega in 2010 and Shamardal in 2005.

One who looks unlikely to take up that particular challenge at Chantilly is the runner-up Shaman, who ran with great credit dropping back a furlong having won the G3 Prix la Force. “He has run a great race and was drawn wide while the winner was on the inside,” trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias said. “It’s not made a huge difference, but maybe a little so he’s given a great account of himself. Maybe we’ll try to avoid the winner next time and he’s in the [June 18 G1] St James’s Palace Stakes as well as the Jockey Club and that could be his next race, but we’ll decide in time.”

Roger Varian was also looking at the Royal meeting for San Donato, who was having his first start over further than six furlongs. “I’m delighted with his run, it was a great effort for a horse who hasn’t run so far this year against two very good horses with a previous run behind them,” he commented. “He’s a very nice-moving horse who is sure to appreciate faster ground than that and he has various possibilities.  He showed he stays a mile, but maybe that’s his limit. He’s in the [June 19 G3] Jersey [S. at Royal Ascot], the St James’s Palace and the [G1] Prix Jean Prat [at Deauville July 7] which is over seven furlongs this year, so we’ll see.”

Persian King is the second foal bred from the Mikel Delzangles-trained Pretty Please (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}), whose sole win came on testing ground over the Prix du Jockey Club course and distance in 2012. She is closely related to the G1 Prix Ganay hero Planteur (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), who was second to Lope de Vega in the 2010 renewal of the “French Derby”, with their dam Plante Rare (Ire) (Giant’s Causeway) being a half to three pattern-race winners headed by the four-times group 2 scorer Policy Maker (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) who was twice runner-up in the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud. The third dam Palmeraie (Lear Fan) is kin to the GII Long Island H. heroine Peinture Bleue (Alydar), who in turn is the dam of the 1997 G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Prix du Jockey Club hero and leading sire Peintre Celebre (Nureyev). Pretty Please’ 2-year-old filly by Australia (GB) is named Petite Folie (GB).

Sunday, ParisLongchamp, France
THE EMIRATES POULE D’ESSAI DES POULAINS-G1, €600,000, ParisLongchamp, 5-12, 3yo, c, 8fT, 1:38.98, hy.
1–PERSIAN KING (IRE), 128, c, 3, by Kingman (GB)
1st Dam: Pretty Please (Ire), by Dylan Thomas (Ire)
2nd Dam: Plante Rare (Ire), by Giant’s Causeway
3rd Dam: Palmeraie, by Lear Fan
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-Godolphin & Ballymore Thoroughbred Ltd; B-Dayton Investments (Breeding) Ltd (IRE); T-Andre Fabre; J-Pierre-Charles Boudot. €342,840. Lifetime Record: GSW-Eng, 6-5-1-0, €462,092. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Shaman (Ire), 128, c, 3, Shamardal–Only Green (Ire), by Green Desert. O/B-Wertheimer & Frere (IRE); T-Carlos Laffon-Parias. €137,160.
3–San Donato (Ire), 128, c, 3, Lope de Vega (Ire)–Boston Rocker (Ire), by Acclamation (GB). (500,000gns Ylg ’17 TAOCT). O-Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum; B-J Hanly, A Stroud & Skymarc Farm (IRE); T-Roger Varian. €68,580.
Margins: 1, HD, 1 3/4. Odds: 0.50, 6.40, 28.00.
Also Ran: Graignes (Fr), Duke of Hazzard (Fr), Van Beethoven, Anodor (Fr), Senza Limiti (Ire), Munitions, Simply Striking (Fr). Scratched: No Needs Never (Ire), Never No More (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Channel Maker Gets Another Belmont Grade I in Man o’ War

Sat, 2019-05-11 18:43

Channel Maker (English Channel) added his second Grade I victory over the Belmont lawn Saturday, delivering a neck decision over Arklow (Arch) in the GI Man o’ War S.

Channel Maker, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, wired the GI Joe Hirsch Turf Classic with a gaudy 108 Beyer Speed Figure the last time he stepped foot on the local lawn back in September, and was off the board in a pair of attempts at Gulfstream since, a fifth-place finish in the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Jan. 26 and a fourth-place finish to Zulu Alpha (Street Cry {Ire}) in the GII Mac Diarmida S. Mar. 2.

The 6-1 shot sat third early as Hunting Horn (Ire) (Camelot {GB})-one of two Aidan O’Brien invaders-zipped out to take a clear lead through sharp fractions of :22.98 and :47.47. Hunting Horn, fourth in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic last time Mar. 30, seemed like he might just forget to stop as he headed for home still with a significant advantage, but he grew leg weary by midstretch and the cavalry charge started to bear down on him.

Channel Maker was the first to collar him, and he kept on to the wire, holding off a flourish from Arklow, who rallied smartly from last of nine. The filly Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), the other O’Brien runner who was runner-up in the Pegasus World Cup Turf, wasn’t far back in third, while Hunting Horn rounded out the super.

“He’s a good horse and runs hard all the time,” winning rider Joel Rosario said. “I’m glad we got the money today. I thought the horse [Hunting Horn] around the last turn might keep going, but I thought he was going too fast for the distance and the last half-furlong would be tough to get. I felt confident, and he’s [Channel Maker] the kind of horse that has a good, strong stride. The more you ride him, the more he gives to you.”

On possibly making his next start in the GI Manhattan on Belmont S. Day, June 8, co-owner Randy Hill said, “I’ll leave that to Billy Mott, but I’m sure after the way he ran today that he’s got the Manhattan right on his radar.”

Pedigree Notes:

A full-brother to Sovereign Award-winning turfer and two-time GI Northern Dancer S. hero Johnny Bear, Channel Maker hails from the extended female family of Lazy F Ranch’s outstanding turf distaffer Auntie Mame (Theatrical {Ire}), who won Belmont’s GI Flower Bowl Invitational. Channel Maker’s third dam also includes Grade I winner Star de Lady Ann (Star de Naskra). In Return’s last listed produce is a 3-year-old Court Vision maiden filly named Court Return who races for her breeder and trainer Josie Carroll. In Return was purchased by Tall Oaks Farm for $32,000 at the 2009 KEENOV Sale.

Saturday, Belmont
MAN O’ WAR S.-GI, $700,000, Belmont, 5-11, 4yo/up, 1 3/8mT, 2:12.43, fm.
1–CHANNEL MAKER, 124, g, 5, by English Channel
1st Dam: In Return (SW), by Horse Chestnut (SAf)
2nd Dam: Bartered Bride, by Shadeed
3rd Dam: Lady Vixen, by Sir Ivor
($57,000 RNA Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber,
R. A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing; B-Tall Oaks
Farm (ON); T-William I. Mott; J-Joel Rosario. $375,000.
Lifetime Record: 24-5-4-3, $1,917,108. *Full to Johnny Bear,
Ch. Turf Male & MGISW-Can, $702,706. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++
*Triple Plus*.
2–Arklow, 119, h, 5, Arch–Unbridled Empire, by Empire Maker.
($160,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger
& Peter Coneway; B-John & Frank Penn (KY); T-Brad H. Cox.
3–Magic Wand (Ire), 116, f, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Prudenzia (Ire), by
Dansili (GB). (€1,400,000 Ylg ’16 ARAUG). O-Tabor, Michael B.,
Magnier, Mrs. John, and Smith, Derrick; B-Ecurie Des
Monceaux & Skymarc Farm Inc (IRE); T-Aidan P. O’Brien.
Margins: NK, HF, NK. Odds: 6.80, 6.20, 3.05.
Also Ran: Hunting Horn (Ire), Epical, Focus Group, Zulu Alpha, Village King (Arg), Kulin Rock. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Exchange Rate Filly Impresses in U.S. Debut, Tops Brown 1-2 in Beaugay

Sat, 2019-05-11 17:06

Saturday, Belmont
BEAUGAY S.-GIII, $200,000, Belmont, 5-11, 4yo/up, f/m,
1 1/16mT, 1:44.76, fm.
1–HOMERIQUE, 119, f, 4, by Exchange Rate
1st Dam: Chiquita Picosa, by Congaree
2nd Dam: Conchita, by Cozzene
3rd Dam: Desert Gold, by Seeking the Gold
($34,000 RNA Wlg ’15 KEENOV; 22,000gns RNA Ylg ’16 TAOCT; €75,000 2yo ’17 ARQMAY). O-Peter M. Brant; B-Nicky & Francois Drion (KY); T-Chad C. Brown; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $110,000. Lifetime Record: GSW & MG1SP-Fr, 7-3-1-2, $392,950. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Competitionofideas, 121, f, 4, Speightstown–Devil by Design, by Medaglia d’Oro. ($325,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc.; B-John D. Gunther, Tony Chedraoui & Eurowest Bloodstock Services (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $40,000.
3–Chipolata (Fr), 115, f, 4, Muhtathir (GB)–Chicago May (Fr), by Numerous. (€18,000 RNA Ylg ’16 AROYRG). O-West Point Thoroughbreds, Honore, Hubert and Masiello, Robert; B-Hubert Honore (FR); T-Christophe Clement. $24,000.
Margins: HF, 2HF, HF. Odds: 0.85, 2.15, 7.70.
Also Ran: Andina Del Sur, Matty’s Magnum, Binti Al Nar (Ger).
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
Given the way Saturday’s GIII Beaugay S. unfolded, it would be no surprise that Homerique (Exchange Rate) would feel right home. In a race that was run at a hack canter for the opening three-quarters of a mile, the talented grey filly came with a strong rally in the final furlong and a half to lead home a Chad Brown-trained one-two in one of the day’s co-featured events at Belmont Park.

Homerique fell out of the stalls and settled ahead of only Andina del Sur (Giant’s Causeway) through the opening exchanges as Chipolata (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}) led them along in splits that more resembled a Standardbred race than a Thoroughbred. Though there was no marked increase in the tempo for the next couple of furlongs–the half was up in :52.86–Irad Ortiz, Jr. was content to mark time at the rear, in the slipstream of GI American Oaks-winning stablemate Competionofideas (Speightstown) before edging a bit closer on the turn. Waited with until heads were turned for home, Homerique was angled out for clear running three-sixteenths out and proved a cozy winner in the finish. Competitionofideas was beaten by a better horse on the day and completed the exacta ahead of the pacesetter in third.

Previously trained by Francis-Henri Graffard for Ecurie De Montlahuc, Homerique parlayed an eight-length victory over soft Chantilly turf last April into a runner-up effort in the G3 Prix Penelope the following month and a neck third in the G1 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) in June. A first group tally in the G3 Prix de Psyche had owner Steve Burggraf thinking about the 12-furlongs of the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but the filly–only seventh in the G1 Prix du Moulin at ParisLongchamp in September–insrtead took on her peers in the G1 Prix de l’Opera on Arc weekend and finished a good third. The strength of that effort was validated when Wild Illusion (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) returned to finish second and fourth, respectively, in the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

According to winning owner Peter Brant, Homerique will be pointed for the 10-furlong $600,000 GII New York S. on Belmont eve June 7.

Pedigree Notes:

One of 93 black-type winners and 42 group/graded winners for the late Exchange Rate, Arqana May Breeze-Up grad Homerique, is out of a half-sister to Exchange Rate’s G3 UAE Oaks third Music Chart. Stakes-winning and Grade III-placed third dam Desert Gold is the dam of Group 1-winning juvenile filly White Moonstone (Dynaformer) and SW & GSP Albasharah (Arch). Homerique’s 2-year-old Temple City half-sister was an €130,000 purchase out of last year’s Arqana August yearling sale and her yearling relation is a colt by Fast Company (Ire).


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Curlin Colt Stalks and Pounces to Peter Pan Score

Sat, 2019-05-11 15:23

‘TDN Rising Star’ Global Campaign, an impressive winner of his first two career starts at Gulfstream this winter, was freshened after tiring late to finish fifth in the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 2.

Sent off as the 2-1 second-choice in this comebacker, Global Campaign sat a stalking second beneath Luis Saez, took over at the five-sixteenths marker and kept finding in the stretch to hold off late-charging Sir Winston to record his first stakes victory in a sharp final time.

Intrepid Heart, favored at even-money off back-to-back wins to kick of his career, stumbled at the start from his rail draw and never really found his stride, settling for a well-beaten third.

“It went quicker than we thought it would,” winning trainer Stanley Hough said. “We didn’t want to end up in a duel, but it looked like he did it pretty comfortably. He missed some training after the Fountain of Youth, so [the distance] was a concern, but we did want to go one turn.”

On a potential GI Belmont S. start, Hough added, “We just wanted to get him back. We believe in the horse, but you just never know until he does it. He was good in his first couple of races and I thought he had an excuse in the Fountain of Youth, so we’ll see where he takes us.”

Winning rider Luis Saez said, “I had a lot of horse. He’s nice. Since I rode him the first time, he’s always had that talent. I knew he would respond when we came to the stretch. Definitely, I think he can stretch out. We were in a perfect spot. The track is pretty fast. He was very comfortable in that position and when we came to the stretch, he was all right.”

Pedigree Notes:

Global Campaign becomes the 59th stakes winner for his two-time Horse of the Year-earning sire, Curlin, and the 200th stakes winner out of daughters of Horse of the Year A.P. Indy. The stunning statistic here though comes from Global Campaign’s dam, Globe Trot, whose three foals are all blacktype winners. They include Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro), a multiple GISW winner and millionaire who is standing his first season at Spendthrift Farm, and Sonic Mule (Distorted Humor), a multiple blacktype winner who is also multiple graded-placed and is still in training with his most recent work Saturday at Saratoga. Global Campaign, who sold for $250,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September sale, has multiple graded winner Trip (Lord At War {Arg}) for a granddam and is also closely related to MGISW Zensational (Unbridled’s Song) and recent GSWs Recruiting Ready (Algorithms) and Departing (War Front). Globe Trot, a $100,000 KEESEP yearling and three-time winner, died in 2016.

Saturday, Belmont Park
PETER PAN S.-GIII, $291,000, Belmont, 5-11, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:46.71, ft.
1–GLOBAL CAMPAIGN, 116, c, 3, by Curlin
1st Dam: Globe Trot, by A.P. Indy
2nd Dam: Trip, by Lord At War (Arg)
3rd Dam: Tour, by Forty Niner
WIN. ($250,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Sagamore Farm, LLC &
WinStar Farm, LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Stanley M.
Hough; J-Luis Saez. $165,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0,
$228,480. *1/2 Sonic Mule (Distorted Humor), MSW & MGSP,
$264,190; Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro), MGISW, $1,016,000.
Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Sir Winston, 120, c, 3, Awesome Again–La Gran Bailadora, by
Afleet Alex. ($50,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Tracy Farmer;
B-Tracy Farmer (KY); T-Mark E. Casse. $60,000.
3–Intrepid Heart, 116, c, 3, Tapit–Flaming Heart, by TouchGold. TDN Rising Star ($750,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR). O-Lawana
L. & Robert E. Low; B-WinStar Farm, LLC & Winchell
Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $36,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 4 3/4, 2HF. Odds: 2.00, 14.00, 1.15.
Also Ran: Final Jeopardy, Federal Case. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Oaks Winner Targeting Acorn

Sat, 2019-05-11 14:43

Joel Politi’s GI Longines Kentucky Oaks heroine Serengeti Empress (Alternation) could target the GI Acorn S. on the undercard of the June 8 GI Belmont S., according to trainer Tom Amoss.

“She’ll just do some light training at Churchill Downs the rest of the month and we’ll look at [the Acorn] as a possible next target,” Amoss said. “It’s been beyond words to describe the emotions of winning the Kentucky Oaks. It’s been a complete team effort to even get to this point.”

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Smashing Aussie Debut for Former Ward Runner

Sat, 2019-05-11 09:10

Making her Australian debut in Saturday’s Group 3 Arrowfield Dark Jewel Classic S. at Scone in New South Wales, former Wesley Ward trainee Con Te Partiro (Scat Daddy) looked to be in a jackpot at the 200-meter mark, but dug deep and showed tremendous resolve for a brave neck victory (video). Sent off at odds of 17-1, the daughter of Temple Street (Street Cry {Ire}) is now trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and was ridden by jockey Sam Clipperton.

Originally a $130,000 Keeneland September yearling acquisition by Gatewood Bell’s Cromwell Bloodstock and racing under Bell’s Hat Creek Racing partnership, Con Te Partiro won Saratoga’s Bolton Landing S. on her turf debut in the summer of 2016 and in her second sophomore appearance, belied odds of 20-1 with a similarly strong late surge to scoop the Listed Sandringham H. at Royal Ascot. Third in a Keeneland allowance and in the synthetic-track GIII Arlington Matron S. last season, Con Te Partiro was purchased by SF Bloodstock and Newgate Farm for $575,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Sale, where she was consigned by Bryan and Gray Lyster’s Ashview Farm.

A half-sister to SW & MGSP and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Donworth (Tiznow) and from the family of GISW Seattle Meteor, Con Te Partiro is the first of four runners to succeed in Australia for her late stallion, who now has winners in 23 separate racing jurisdictions and graded/group winners in nine different countries on five different continents. She is the 71st group/graded winner overall for Scat Daddy. The Dark Angel also provided a trifecta of sorts for the late Street Cry, who was represented by his 28th GSW as a broodmare sire and also accounted for the race’s second- and third-place finishers Savatiano (Aus) and Organza (Aus), both campaigned by Godolphin.

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Trainer Don Warren Dies

Fri, 2019-05-10 16:52

Courtesy Santa Anita Park

Trainer Don Warren, a hard-working fixture in California for almost half a century, died at his Laguna Woods home in Orange County early Thursday morning. He was 67 and had been in ill health since a failed back surgery.

“He had been taking pain medication for a degenerative back disease, which caused his kidneys to shut down,” said his sister, Rhonda Schiewe, wife of former trainer Paul Schiewe. “He had other health issues, too.

“He was one of the finest horsemen I ever knew, and I’m not saying that because he was my brother. He started in racing when he was 18 or 19.”

The oldest of 10 children, Warren’s best horse was Acclamation, who won the 2011 GI Pacific Classic en route to capturing an Eclipse Award that year as outstanding older male. A son of the late Unusual Heat, Acclamation had career earnings of nearly $2 million and stands at Harris Farm in Coalinga.

Training most of his career for California’s iconic Old English Rancho in Ontario, California, later in Sanger, Warren won 646 races from 5,316 starters that earned $21,226,170.

“He wasn’t just a good trainer,” said former trainer Kim Lloyd. “He was a good family man; a good husband and a good father.”

Warren is survived by his wife, Patty, twin daughters Jennifer and Diana, and daughter Amanda. Don’s brother Ron is a former jockey who was based in the Bay Area and currently resides in Lake Tahoe.

Funeral services are pending.


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Separationofpowers Returns in Vagrancy

Fri, 2019-05-10 16:45

Patrons at Belmont will get a very early look at a multiple Grade I winner Saturday, as Klaravich Stables’ Separationofpowers (Candy Ride {Arg}) headlines the GIII Vagrancy S. in her 4-year-old debut, carded as the day’s first race.

A slam-dunk ‘TDN Rising Star’ when unveiled with an 11 3/4-length romp two summers ago at Saratoga, the $190,000 Keeneland November pickup annexed the GI Frizette S. two starts later at this oval. Fourth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, the bay had an abbreviated 3-year-old campaign, but one that included a game conquest of the GI Longines Test S. back at the Spa. She was last seen retreating to finish fourth in the GI Cotillion S. Sept. 22 at Parx.

The distant two-three finishers behind streaking Come Dancing (Malibu Moon) in the GIII Distaff H. look to pose the biggest threats to the returning chalk. Tobey Morton’s Pacific Gale (Flat Out) earned a career-high 98 Beyer when second at 26-1 in the aforementioned Distaff, and Stonestreet Stables’ Dawn the Destroyer (Speightstown), beaten 14 lengths while third, looks to get back to the form that saw her capture the Interborough S. Jan. 25 at Aqueduct.

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Alwaysmining ‘Aggressive’ in Final Preakness Prep; Win Win Win Confirmed for Middle Jewel

Fri, 2019-05-10 15:58

The streaking Alwaysmining (Stay Thirsty) put in his final breeze for next Saturday’s GI Preakness S. Friday morning, covering five panels in a bullet :48 1/5 (1/13) over the all-weather surface at Fair Hill.

“I was very happy with his work today,” said conditioner Kelly Rubley. “He started off nice and easy and finished up strong. He galloped out very well, so we’re very pleased.”

Campaigned by Runnymede Racing LLC, Alwaysmining has won each of his last six starts by daylight, most recently annexing Laurel’s Federico Tesio S. by an emphatic 11 1/4 lengths and earning an entries-paid spot in the Preakness starting gate.

“I wanted to see him start out nice and easy and finish up strong,” Rubley said of Friday’s move. “My rider [Felix Astudillo] thought he was very aggressive going to the pole, which is a great sign. Now we’ll see how he comes out [Saturday] and get through this week.”

She added, “His confidence level seems to be getting better and better, so he’s getting more aggressive to breeze. He loves what he does. It makes a big difference. He makes it look easy. It’s a lot of fun to watch.”

In other Preakness news, Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}) has been confirmed for the race. The Pasco S. winner and GII Toyota Blue Grass S. runner-up was most recently ninth in the GI Kentucky Derby.

“He seems pretty darn good,” said trainer Mike Trombetta, noting that regular rider Julian Pimentel will retain the mount.


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Intrepid Heart Tries to Stay Unbeaten in Peter Pan

Fri, 2019-05-10 15:47

Expectations have been high for Robert and Lawana Low’s Intrepid Heart (Tapit) ever since he hammered for $750,000 at OBS April, and they’ve grown to the point where the imposing gray will be a clear favorite to punch his ticket to the GI Belmont S. in Saturday’s GIII Peter Pan S. at Big Sandy.

Opening his career going a mile Feb. 18 at Oaklawn, the Todd Pletcher trainee couldn’t have been much more impressive, shaking off a stiff pace challenge and running away in the stretch to a 7 3/4-length score, easily good enough for ‘TDN Rising Star’ honors. He was much busier in the closing stages Apr. 5 at Keeneland, but overcame a wide trip and surged late to stay unblemished by a half-length. Intrepid Heart is a half-brother to 2014 Peter Pan and GI Belmont S. runner-up Commissioner (A.P. Indy).

Sagamore Farm and WinStar Farm’s Global Campaign (Curlin), another ‘Rising Star’, looms the clear main danger. Universally tipped as a good thing when 11-10 on debut Jan. 5 at Gulfstream, the $250,000 Keeneland September purchase didn’t disappoint, cruising by 5 3/4 lengths in hand. He repeated with another easy victory there Feb. 9, and ran creditably when fifth after chasing a sizzling pace in the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. last out Mar. 2. The Stanley Hough trainee tuned up for this with swift a five-furlong breeze in :59 2/5 (3/43) Apr. 27 at Churchill.

Gary and Mary West and Jason Servis look to get one back after getting disqualified out of GI Kentucky Derby glory last Saturday with $110,000 Keeneland November grad Final Jeopardy (Street Sense). A dominant first-out winner Dec. 9 at Gulfstream, he was third when favored in the Limehouse S. there Jan. 5. Registering a sharp allowance score Mar. 3, he earned a trip to the GII Wood Memorial S. Apr. 6 at Aqueduct, but endured a rough trip before finishing with some late interest to be sixth.

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