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Updated: 1 hour 12 min ago

Listen to the September 5 TDN Writers Room Podcast

Thu, 2019-09-05 09:21

This week on the TDN Writers’ Room podcast, Joe Bianca, Brian DiDonato and Bill Finley welcome Jon Green from DJ Stables to the TDN studios. Green co-authors the TDN‘s popular tax column, Proven Strategies, with his father Len Green as part of the accounting firm The Green Group. Their stable will send out A Thread of Blue (Hard Spun) in this weekend’s $1-million Jockey Club Derby Invitational at Belmont. Green also provides the team with an update on their Eclipse Champion Jaywalk (Cross Traffic). The quartet discusses the Grade I racing from last weekend, the recently concluded Saratoga and Del Mar meets, who’s got the inside track in the older dirt male division, how the star-studded freshman sire class is faring, and the upcoming Keeneland September Sale. Listen to it here.

The post Listen to the September 5 TDN Writers Room Podcast appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Candy Meadows Farm to Offer First Consignment at Keeneland

Wed, 2019-09-04 16:38

Everett Dobson’s Candy Meadows Farm has launched a sales division and will offer its first consignment at next week’s Keeneland September sale. The farm’s September consignment will feature 11 yearlings by sires such as Into Mischief, Curlin, American Pharoah, More Than Ready, Uncle Mo, and Twirling Candy.

“We’re very optimistic about our Keeneland consignment,” said Candy Meadows’ Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Lyons. “We have a good group of horses, including some really nice colts in Books 1 and 2. We’re excited about the horses we’re bringing to the market. A lot of the yearlings we are offering are out of young stakes mares that were bought as yearlings, raced, and have come back as broodmares.”

Lyons served as Vice President and General Manager of Woodford Thoroughbreds for 10 years before joining Candy Meadows in January.

Dobson operates a racing stable under the banner of Cheyenne Stables and is a member of the board of stewards for The Jockey Club and a member of Breeders’ Cup Ltd. He is on the Board of Trustees for TOBA, and Chairman of the American Graded Stakes Committee, as well as Trustee to the Keeneland Association.

“We have a diverse operation with quite a large racing stable and we’re building a nice broodmare band,” Lyons said. “We’re looking forward to our first sales consignment and growing the farm and our brand.”

The post Candy Meadows Farm to Offer First Consignment at Keeneland appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Santa Anita Adds Bohannon to Vet Team

Wed, 2019-09-04 14:51

Dr. Laurie Bohannon has been named to the newly created position of Senior Veterinarian at Santa Anita, The Stronach Group announced Wednesday. Bohannon will serve at the direction of TSG Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Dionne Benson going into Santa Anita’s 23-day Autumn Meet which opens Sept. 27.

“In addition to Dr. Bohannon, we have a wealth of veterinary expertise working as part of our team here at Santa Anita,” said Benson. “Dr. Bohannon’s day-to-day role will be to work with our Association veterinarians to ensure the best possible on-track coverage during training and racing. She will often cover on-track training in the morning as well as assist our primary Track Veterinarian, Dr. [Dana] Stead, in order to provide coverage during live racing. Additionally, she will assist with morning examinations for both racing and training.”

Bohannon, who received her DVM from Colorado State University, completed her internship at Pioneer Equine Hospital in Oakdale,  and completed her residency in Surgery at UC Davis. Along with a Clinical Fellowship at Oregon State University, Bohannon has practiced in both private and regulatory veterinary medicine at California racetracks.

In further discussing the assignments of Santa Anita’s team of vets, Benson said, “Dr. Stead will be returning as our primary on-track veterinarian in the afternoons. He brings years of experience to this important task as well as the pre-race and pre-work examinations. Dr. Tim Grande [representing the CHRB] will also perform pre-race and pre-work exams on behalf of Santa Anita. Dr. Grande has been performing these examinations for many years in Southern California and is an invaluable member of our team. Additionally, we hired Dr. April Chitrakar last year to assist in the mornings and she will be returning. Finally, we have Dr. Debbie Lamparter, who leads the Breeders’ Cup veterinary team. She’ll be assisting for several days during morning training prior to opening day here to ensure we have extra coverage.”

The post Santa Anita Adds Bohannon to Vet Team appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Unheralded Trainer Papaprodromou Unleashes a Pharoah Monster

Wed, 2019-09-04 14:26

George Papaprodromou doesn’t believe that training horses is all that difficult.

“All you need is to have the horse,” he said. “If you don’t have good horses forget about it. A good horse makes you a good trainer.”

Not all owners believe that, which is why so many of the bigger owners virtually never give someone Papaprodromou a chance. He’s lucky that there are still a few owners left like Rustin Kretz, who see the advantages of having a trainer with a smaller stable who is more hands on than the so called super trainers. That’s why he picked Papaprodromou to train American Theorem (American Pharoah), a professional 1 1/2-length winner over a tough group of maidens Saturday at Del Mar. The horse gave every indication that he belongs at the very top of anyone’s list of the best 2-year-old males in California.

Papaprodromou and Kretz don’t know what they have yet and probably won’t until the colt runs back in the GI American Pharoah S. Sept. 27 at Santa Anita. But there’s one thing Kretz is certain of: he picked the right guy to train this horse.

“George is really passionate about what he does,” Kretz said. “Though, I have a number of horses, I am still a smaller owner. I’m not one of the type of clients that a Bob Baffert takes on. George gives you a lot of insights about how the horses are doing and he cares a lot. I appreciate the partnerships with George. George is a really hard worker and it looks like the two of us have gotten lucky with this one.”

There is certainly some truth to Papaprodromou’s theory that good horses make good trainers and not vice versa, but for years he had a hard time finding anyone who would give him a horse who could run. Training since 2003, through Sunday, he’s had 132 winners from 1,494 starters. He’s also had two graded stakes wins, with Mr. Roary (Scat Daddy) in the 2017 GIII Eddie D. S. and with Imperative (Bernardini) in the GII 2014 Charles Town Classic.

He learned under his father, Andreas Papaprodromou, and then took over the family stable in 2003. In his first four years out on his own, he won just nine races. But, thanks in large part to Kretz, his stable has grown in recent years and he says he now has about 30 horses.

“It’s a great feeling,” Papaprodromou said of Saturday’s win. “Every year with Mr. Kretz we’ve been buying babies and trying to come up with a good one. I have a small barn and it’s not easy when you run against Baffert and those other guys with the $1-million horses.”

Bred by Sierra Farm, American Theorem RNA’d at $190,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale. Kretz later reached a deal to buy the horse privately from the breeder for $200,000

“We were at Keeneland, where I normally shop for fillies, but this year I decided I wanted a colt,” Kretz said. “I always use Gayle Van Leer as our advisor and always ask her to go back and take a second look at the horses who were RNAs. Usually, with the ones I ask about, she says they’re not horses you want to buy. But with this one, she really liked him and said we ought to go for it. I was a big American Pharoah fan. I thinking getting a colt by him that’s like this one was a steal.”

“There are a lot of American Pharoahs who sold for more than him, but $200,000, that’s not that cheap,” said Papaprodromou ” We liked him. My owner isn’t like some of the owners who have the big-name trainers. He can’t spend $1 million for a horse, so he was perfect for our budget.”

To no one’s surprise, Baffert had two starters in the race, first-timer Backshot (Tapiture) and Hydrogen (Violence), who finished third in his debut. Even with his breeding, American Theorem, considering the competition and the lack of exposure Papaprodromou gets, figured to be an afterthought with the bettors. Instead, he was the 2-1 favorite.

“George was going up against two Bafferts and he’s notorious for not cranking his horses up for their first starts,” Kretz said.  “When I walked into the paddock we weren’t the favorite and then a few minutes later we were. I thought then, ‘Geez, this is true. This is not just George talking this horse up. This horse is for real.'”

With jockey Tiago Pereira aboard, American Theorem was seventh early, had to wait for room and then took off when he got clear. Hydrogen was second for Baffert. Click for video replay.

“I think he learned a lot,” Kretz said. “It was perfect. He was behind a wall of horses, got dirt in his face. Everything about his race was good for him. He’s a classy guy. You go by the barn and he’s not trying to rip your head off. He’s super calm and he let’s you hug on him. I understand that personality-wise American Pharoah was the exact same way.”

As expected, after the race, Papaprodromou’s phone started to blow up, with multiple people offering to buy the horse or buy a piece of him.

Kretz said they can stop calling.

“He’s not for sale.” said Kretz, who has about 25 horses in training. “George doesn’t really get a horse ready for their first start and look what he did. I think we have something pretty special. My dream isn’t to flip the horse, it’s to go to the [GI] Kentucky Derby. That’s how I got passionate about racing, going to the Derby for the first time as a fan in 2010. After that experience, all I wanted was to have a horse of my own in the race.”

There’s a long way to go, but should American Theorem make the Derby, Papaprodromou will be a rookie in the race. But don’t expect him to lack confidence or be overwhelmed by the many Hall of Famers he’ll be going up against. Remember his theory: “it’s the horse that makes the trainer.”

“I know with a yearling there’s only so much you can see,” he said. “I really wanted an American Pharoah out of that sale. And, I think, we’ve come up with a good one. I think we might just get lucky with this one.”

The post Unheralded Trainer Papaprodromou Unleashes a Pharoah Monster appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Video Scopes: Consignors and Buyers Speak Out

Wed, 2019-09-04 14:19

Keeneland has been actively encouraging consignors to submit video scopes of their horses ahead of its September Yearling Sale and the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association has endorsed a uniform protocol, which includes a 10-day window for scopes, as a way to help buyers incorporate the technology in their pre-sale inspections. The TDN reached out to both consignors and buyers to find out how they will make use of the technology at the two-week auction. The responding consignors offered a wide variety of plans, with some planning on providing scopes only for horses earlier in the sale, or having scopes at their barn, but not in the repository, while some plan on providing video scopes in the repository for the entire consignment. Buyers seemed to be taking a wait-and-see approach, voicing concerns about the timeframe of scopes and a preference to have their own vets scope horses.

Their responses follow:


Mark Taylor, Taylor Made Sales Agency

We believe that video scopes will eventually become the norm here in America. We actually tried them several times previously going all the way back to VHS tapes! It looks as though technology has improved to the point where they are both logistically possible to gather in a tight time frame and high enough quality where vets will at least use them as a tool.

Our best guess is that very few buyers who plan on spending six figures and up will buy yearlings exclusively off a video this year. We hope that the vets will take the time to watch the videos before or after they do their “live” scope exam. If they do, we hope it will give them more confidence in this tool.

For buyers who make their final decisions in the back walking ring and have historically not done pre-sale scopes, we expect to see them adapt to calling a vet for a video review in the moments before the horse sells. This won’t be a high percentage of people, but some will take advantage of this new available information.

We have not put pressure on our customers to do video scopes this year. We have left it up to them. My gut feeling is that we will have around 60% participation in Books 1 and 2. Beyond that, I believe it will taper off towards the end of the sale as breeders become more sensitive to the extra cost involved.

Taylor Made is in a unique position having sold so many horses over the years. We document the veterinary findings and follow the results. It is our opinion that there is virtually no difference in race performance between horses with a “perfect” throat and those with a marginal amount of asymmetry. All you have to do is look through our poster that has the 105 Grade I winners we have raised and or sold. There are very few “perfect” throats. The vast majority fell in the 2A to 2B range on the Cornell Scale. Our hope is that doing video scopes will further our ability to provide concrete evidence of how horses looked as yearlings and then compare to on track performance and problems.

Pat Costello, Paramount Sales

We are using video scopes on all of our Book 1 and 2 horses and selected horses from then on.

Walker Hancock, Claiborne Farm

We will have scope videos in the repository and for viewing on a computer in our barn on our whole consignment. We are going to encourage vets to take a look at the video first in hopes they will be content with what they see.

Carrie Brogden, Select Sales

Select Sales will be video scoping our entire consignment and having those scopes in the repository from Books 1 through 5. Our Book 6 clients can opt to have video scopes done or not on their horses.

We have been strongly encouraging the veterinarians at both the July and Saratoga sales to use the video scopes. The veterinarians, in my general observation, were very amenable and accepting of the video scopes and over half of them asked to see the scope along with scoping the horse.

We had a very difficult horse to scope in the July sale and only had the video scope and it sold for six figures based solely on the video scope provided. Also, one of our top Saratoga horses was sold to the purchaser using video scope only by their veterinarian, as the buyer requested that method of exam. I think we’re seeing a big shift, not only towards technological advances, but also towards the safety of people and welfare of the horse.

Conrad Bandoroff, Denali Stud

As a CBA member, I think it’s great that people are going to try a lot of different things. From that standpoint, I’m excited because not everyone needs to do the same thing. We’re going to have a lot of take-aways at the end of the sale and have a feel for what is going to be the best system moving forward.

At Denali, we are big believers in the video scopes. We have been for a long time. Our protocol is that we’ll video scope every horse and we’ll have those video scopes at the barn. We did that in July and in Saratoga and in the New York-bred sale. The feedback that we got was beyond our expectations in a lot of ways. We had vets that were more than willing to view the video scopes first and then, if they were happy with it, they wouldn’t scope the horse. Or they would view the video after scoping the horse as a comparison. So, I am excited to see the traction that it gets.

When it comes to putting them in the repository, that’s obviously going to be the future that is going to make things easier and more efficient for vets, but for us, there are challenges with it. We will have videos in the repository starting in Book 3. Books 1 and 2, we’ll have all videos at the barn. That will allow us to get feedback from vets and from other people on how it is going–What are your thoughts? Observations? What do you like about it and what don’t you like about it?

The other reason that we are doing a delayed start [to adding video scopes to the repository], is that once you get into books 3, 4, and 5, a lot more horses are getting sold out of the back walking ring. And I think it’s going to be an increased benefit to have those video scopes in the repository so that a potential buyer, when a horse catches his eye, rather than having him just look at your scope report, can have his vet view the video. I think that will help increase trade and hopefully be a way to help get horses sold out of the back walking ring.

We’re big believers that the video scopes need to be done on the sales grounds as an added measure of transparency. I think that’s going to be something that the buyers want and they will demand that level of transparency, which we understand.

Adrian Regan, Hunter Valley Farm

We’ve decided that our own scopes on our own horses are definitely going to go into the repository–that’s the plan at the moment. We have given our clients who are selling with us the option of whether they want to put them in or not. And the majority of them are going to put them in. We do have a couple of clients who don’t want to put them in. Just with the timing of the whole thing, it hasn’t given everybody a chance to get their heads around it all yet. And that’s fine by us.

We have always been supportive about the idea of having video scopes in the repository. Number one, for the horse. If we can save the horse getting scoped at the sales, that’s definitely a plus. That would be our main thing. What we worry about, the downside of it would be that we lose track of who the veterinarian in question is vetting the horse for. We’re hoping, and we’ll see how it plays out, that the vets are going to be up-front with their information as we are about ours.

I haven’t surveyed potential buyers, but I’ve talked to veterinarians and they agree with the idea. The majority of them that I’ve spoken to are supportive of the idea. The majority have told me that if they have any question about the video, they’ll come down to scope the horse. Which is fine.

Allaire Ryan, Lane’s End

We are video scoping our Book 1 and 2 horses only to have available for viewing at our sales barn; and with that we are leaving it up to the clients whether or not they would like their horses done. At the moment, it looks like 15 of our 16 Book 1 horses will be done and the majority of Book 2 will be done, but I don’t have answers yet from every owner.

Joe Seitz, Brookdale Sales

Most of our horses are going to be done and then we’ll just put them in the repository. Not every single horse will get done because we’re selling 70 some. It’s a work in progress and a lot of them are owned by different people. I think this important, most of all for the horse. I am looking forward to trying it and seeing how it goes. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to learn, but we’re going to give it a try.

Reiley McDonald, Eaton Sales

We have been using video scopes for two years now. We will video scope every horse in our consignment and submit the recordings to the repository. This is a work in progress. The more participation we get the closer we will be to instituting a viable and practical system for all to follow.


Mike Ryan

I think it’s a good move, but it’s like anything else. When the repository started out 20 years ago or whenever it was, it was something new and that people had to get used to. Change is good. And I think this is a change for the better. They are using it in Europe. And I think it’s great that we’re bringing it here, albeit with a couple of caveats.

The quality of the scopes is going to be critical–that they are good quality–the timing of the scopes, meaning when they were done, is also very critical. I think they have to be done as close to the sale as possible because things can change quickly. If you scope a horse a week out, they can have a chondritis or an entrapment at the sales. Things can happen quickly that are unforeseen, that nobody can predict. But it has happened and I’ve seen it happen. So they need to be done–I don’t know the logistics of how they are going to do it–in the preferred world it would be good to do it on the sales grounds, but that is an awful lot of horses.

I don’t know how many consignors are going to participate, but I hope a lot of them do because I think it’s a positive move. I think a lot of people will still want to scope horses. They are spending a lot of money and people would like to scope them themselves.

To be honest, I’d like to be able to scope them, but it becomes problematic, too, when horses are scoped 10, 12, 15 times, which is absurd. There is no need for that. Sometimes in the past, consignors will say, ‘Look, we’re not allowing any more scopes, but here are the names of five vets who scoped the horse. You can speak to them.’ Which we often did at times.

I do think it will be extremely helpful in certain ways. If you scope a horse in the evening, after he’s shown 50 or 60 times that day, a lot of them are fatigued and you’re not really getting an honest read of a horse’s throat. And if you do it earlier in the day, you’re likely to get a better read. But there are a lot of horses on the grounds and the vets do the work when it’s requested of them. So that’s one area where I think it’s going to help a lot.

It will also be very helpful later in the sale. It will also be helpful if you see a horse in the back ring and there is a video scope in the repository that you could have a vet read in a matter of 10 minutes. If you saw a horse in the back ring, you obviously can’t scope him, you’d go off a report. But if there is a video in the repository, you could use that.

It’s new territory, but I think it’s a great call and we will use it, but I’m sure there are going to be cases when clients who are spending a lot of money, their comfort level is going to be better with having a scope done on their behalf. We’ll all learn as we go along. I think it’s very instructive and helpful and we will fine tune it as we go along, just like anything else.

Some people are slow to change and resist change, but if you’re providing better information to the buyer–that’s critical. We have to look after the buyers and protect them and give them the confidence that they can go ahead and bid with confidence. So if a particular buyer doesn’t get to scope a horse at the barn, but his vet looks at the video in the repository, well then that will encourage the guy to go and bid on the horse. Whereas, if he didn’t have a video, he might say, ‘I don’t have a scope. I think I’m going to pass on him, I’m going to sit on my hands.’ So there is a lot of good that is going to come out of this, just like X-ray reports in the back ring. I lot of people use them, especially later in the sale, and it gives you more confidence to go up there and buy them out of the back ring. Here is another way for buyers to have confidence, if the sellers have provided a video scope for our benefit. I think people will use it.

Mark Casse

We’re not going to use it. There are just too many variables that can be manipulated in a video scope, for me.

Asked if he would look at the scopes as an initial step, Casse said,    I maybe would do it that way. But I can tell you that, if we have interest, we are going to scope them ourselves.

Eddie Woods

Being a little old fashioned, I don’t intend to use the video scopes at the sales, looking at them myself would be a total waste of time as I would be a poor judge of what I’m looking at. On top of that, throats can change very quickly over a short period of time. As a consignor we have had the misfortune to witness that on more occasions than you would care to think about, i.e. kissing lesions that have turned into a severe chondrites and entrapped epiglottis to name just two. So, for the time being, a video scope that is a few days old would have little appeal to me. There are also some other issues that would need to be dealt with, that’s another conversation.

Todd Pletcher

The short answer is, I will leave that to my vet’s discretion.

Nick de Meric

There is certainly a learning curve on both sides of the fence regarding the use of video scopes. I think they may end up being a more useful tool for buyers who base their bidding activities on vet reports made available by consignors, rather than employing the services of an independent vet to read X-rays and scope separately. As critical as accurate scope reporting is to many buyers, myself included, it is difficult to foresee video scopes replacing conventional exams. However, I could envisage a potential reduction in repeated scoping in certain cases, particularly on yearlings catalogued in later books in the upcoming Keeneland sale.

Steve Venosa

I won’t look at them. I will have my vet scope and read the X-rays on any horses that I’m interested in buying.

Ken McPeek

We scope and do comprehensive vet work on every horse we buy. And I’m more comfortable with my own racetrack veterinarian scoping a horse, as opposed to a video. And I think if a consignor knows we are serious, we’ll probably request to scope the horse ourselves, especially if it’s going to be a large number.

We would start off with a video scope–we would definitely utilize it. I think sellers and buyers are going to have to come to a happy medium on how this is approached. I’m sure sellers want buyers to be happy with the product and I’m sure buyers want to know that they’re able to check it out.

Clovis Crane

I’d buy from a video scoping. I would also post-purchase scope and make sure it’s still the same.

Ciaran Dunne

I would rather use my own vet to scope, or if the consignor feels their horse has been scoped too many times, get an opinion from one of the vets who has scoped them.

Carlo Vaccarezza

I think it’s going to be very useful. Any more information that is provided to sellers, I think is going to be useful. For myself, I do my homework. With the repository and all the gadgets and all the information that is provided by the consignors, it’s nice to have it. But I also get my own vet who does all my work. Sometimes I like to compare results. Sometimes they are very close and sometimes they are completely out of left field. Sometimes if you have 10 vets who read an X-ray, you can get 10 different opinions. Veterinary is a science, but sometimes it is a guessing game.

If the horse is a very pricey horse, I use any information they have and then I use two of my own vets. So they give me two different opinions and then I sit down with all that information. If I am going to be buy a horse maybe for less than $100,000, sometimes I will go by what is in the repository or maybe what the vets for the consignors say. But if the horse is $600,000 or $900,000, then I use two, sometimes maybe three, vets.

The post Video Scopes: Consignors and Buyers Speak Out appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Pitons Cup Announced for Saint Lucia

Wed, 2019-09-04 07:39

Drawing on the inspiration of the Pegasus World Cup and the Everest, the Saint Lucia Turf Club will hold The Pitons Cup, a race in which owners will purchase one of 12 spots, on Dec. 13, 2019, the organization announced today.

Organizers said they are hoping to draw participation from North America and across the Caribbean with the event, which is set to be held on Saint Lucia’s National Day as part of the 2019 CECF (Caribbean Equine Cultural Festival) Saint Lucia, a “luxury lifestyle and racing event” which will “couple social responsibility and business networking with the richest day of racing,” the press release reads. The event is named after the two volcanic peaks for which the island is known.

The Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club’s newly built facilities will be the first stage of the Pearl of the Caribbean integrated development to be publicly unveiled. Developed by China Horse Club founder and chairman Teo Ah Khing, an architect by trade, the Turf Club will host what is now the richest race in the Caribbean with a purse of $150,000 U.S.

In a twist, owners who buy a spot in the race will also be given a racehorse who can compete on the undercard, in the seven-furlong Helen of the West race.

“Saint Lucians have been looking forward to having this international racetrack and an event of this nature,” said Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister, Allen Michael Chastanet. “We are readying to welcome race fans and enthusiasts from around the world who will be getting the Saint Lucian experience for the first time. The Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club adds to the attractions and activities that already exist on our beautiful and iconic island which is among the fastest growing destinations in the world.

“The Pitons Cup launches Saint Lucia’s entrance into the world of thoroughbred racing and as a government we are encouraged and excited by the opportunities it creates for our people. There is a passion behind this project to finally see it come to life is a milestone for our country. We are especially happy that the race is happening on our National Day, which holds significance for all our citizens. Great moments in racing will be made in Saint Lucia.”

Eden Harrington, Director of the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club, added, “The Pitons Cup sets the tone for the Royal Saint Lucia Turf Club and its aspirations to be both a significant contributor across the Caribbean and an innovator within the racing landscape. But core to our club’s belief system are the values of community, unity and active contribution. We are part of the community here in Saint Lucia and the success of this fledgling industry here rests on our ability to ensure these values are honored in every way.”

The post Pitons Cup Announced for Saint Lucia appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Breeders’ Cup General Admission Tickets Now Available

Tue, 2019-09-03 16:41

General Admission tickets for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, to be held Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita Park, are on sale now at The Breeders’ Cup, featuring 14 Championships races worth $30 million in purses and awards held over two days, is returning to Santa Anita for a record 10th time this fall. In addition to the outstanding racing programs, the two days at Santa Anita will be enhanced by a festive atmosphere with food and beverage choices from some of the area’s most popular food trucks and live musical entertainment in the track’s infield.

General Admission tickets purchased in advance for Friday, Nov. 1, are $15 and purchases can be made up until 11:29 p.m. PST Thursday, Oct. 31. General Admission tickets purchased in advance for Saturday, Nov. 2 are $25 and purchases can be made until 11:29 p.m. PST Friday, Nov. 1. General Admission tickets purchased on track at the Breeders’ Cup are $20 for Friday and $40 for Saturday. For further details and other ticket options, visit

The post Breeders’ Cup General Admission Tickets Now Available appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

O’Neill, Prat & Hronis Take Del Mar Titles

Tue, 2019-09-03 15:42

Trainer Doug O’Neill, jockey Flavien Prat and Kosta and Pete Hronis’s Hronis Racing took home their respective titles during Del Mar’s 36-day summer meet, which concluded Monday.

O’Neill saddled 24 winners during the stand–including five on one day July 31–to best Peter Miller for his fifth summer training title. His trainees earned $1,409,685. John Sadler boasted an impressive nine stakes wins. His 15 total wins put him fourth in the standings, but his $1,966,654 in purse earnings was the most among conditioners.

Prat took home his third Del Mar summer title–either solo or shared–in the past four seasons. He won at a strong 27% clip for the meet, visiting the winner’s circle 42 times–10 more than Drayden Van Dyke. Prat’s mounts racked up $2,989,976 in earnings.

It was the fifth Del Mar owner title for Hronis Racing, which won nine races–including seven stakes victories–all with John Sadler. Hronis runners earned a record $1,441,077 during the meet, and included GI Pacific Classic S. upsetter Higher Power (Medaglia d’Oro) and Catalina Cruiser (Union Rags), who was named Horse of the Meet thanks to wins in the GII San Diego H. and GII Pat O’Brien S. Hronis Racing was last year’s Eclipse Award-winning owner.

After a much-publicized rash of fatalities at the Santa Anita meet, there were no racing deaths during the Del Mar stand.

“Without a doubt, this is the most gratifying meet I have ever been part of,” said DMTC CEO Joe Harper. “Given the current climate, especially after the first-half of the year in Southern California, we had three goals this summer:  continuation of our exemplary safety record; provide stability and a dependability to racing in California, and to offer a consistent, five-day-a-week schedule that would reward fans and horsemen alike.  With a wonderful display of teamwork from our owners, trainers, jockeys, vets, track personnel and the CHRB, we accomplished these goals in exceptional fashion.”

With a smaller horse population than in 2018, Del Mar carded 21 fewer races (6.6%) than it did during last year’s summer meet, and all-sources handle fell by 10.9% after wagering increases in the prior two seasons.

“Based on the first-half of the year, we knew maintaining the handle trends of the last two years was going to be challenging this meet, especially running fewer races,” said Josh Rubinstein, DMTC’s president.  “However, the bettors continued to support us, especially the last three weeks, when our field size rallied. At the end of the day we had extremely safe racing, handled over $432 million and paid out over $21.0 million in purses. We are very pleased.”

In 2020, summer racing at Del Mar will feature an additional weekend, as the meet will be held over eight weeks from Saturday, July 18 through Labor Day, Sept. 7. Racing resumes at Del Mar this fall, Nov. 8 through Dec. 1.

The post O’Neill, Prat & Hronis Take Del Mar Titles appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

West Rekindles $5 Million Side Bet for PA Derby

Tue, 2019-09-03 14:47

When Gary West issued a challenge to the owners of four horses that ran in this year’s GI Kentucky Derby, offering each one a $5-million side bet any time any one of the quartet faced off against his Maximum Security (New Year’s Day), it seemed like maybe the statement was made in the heat of the moment.

“I firmly believe I have the best 3-year-old in the country and I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is,” he said at the time.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case as some four months later, West told the TDN his offer stands and invited Gary Barber, who owns War of Will (War Front), to accept his bet when the two horses meet in the Sept. 21 GI Pennsylvania Derby at Parx.
One problem: Barber isn’t the least bit interested.

“I’m not going to engage,” he told the TDN in an email.

Maximum Security became the first horse to ever cross the wire first in the Kentucy Derby only to be disqualified, in this case for alleged interference. The stewards’ ruling did not sit well with West, who has since sued to have his horse restored as the official winner of the Derby. Not that Maximum Security necessarily had anything to prove, but West also seemed intent on showing the world he had the best 3-year-old colt in the U.S. and cooked up the challenge concept as a means of proving it.

He said he would make a $5-million side bet with the owners of Country House (Lookin At Lucky), Long Range Toddy (Take Charge Indy), Bodexpress (Bodemeister) and War of Will in any race where any of those horses met up against Maximum Security. Neither horse had to win. They just had to finish in front of the other. Country House was placed first in the race, though he was not bothered. The stewards declared that when Maximum Security came out near the head of the stretch he caused a chain reaction that led to Long Range Toddy, War of Will and Bodexpress all being interfered with.

None of the “challenge” horses have faced Maximum Security since the Kentucky Derby, but both he and War of Will, the subsequent GI Preakness winner, are pointing for the Pennsylvania Derby.

“Of course my, offer, head-to-head, no matter where the horses finish, stands for a maximum of $5,000,000,” West said in an email. “Or it could be for anything less they would like to propose that would make the race more interesting for the media and the fans.”
West said that if his offer is ever accepted he would donate his winnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

“There is nothing in this for me other than promoting the race and racing as 100% of the winnings from Maximum Security’s match race would go to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund,” he wrote. “As you probably recall, I am giving 10% of all Maximum’s Securities lifetime racing earnings to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund; they have already received $63,000 from Maximum Security’s last two races.”

Apparently not looking to be baited into making a bet, Barber also wrote in his email to the TDN: “He should just give the $5 million to the PDJF now.”

West wanted to make it clear he had no ill feelings for Barber or trainer Mark Casse.

“This would be good for racing and, as an FYI, I like and respect the owner and trainer of War of Will, so I don’t want this to be confrontational in any way. That is not the intention,” he wrote.

With Country House out for the year and with Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress not considered horses who are among the best of the division, the only $5-million challenge that makes any sense would be War of Will versus Maximum Security.

Both owners want to prove they have the best horse and will have the chance to do so in the Pennsylvania Derby. The purse is $1 million, big money. But so far as an extra $5 million being on the line, West continues to find no takers.

The post West Rekindles $5 Million Side Bet for PA Derby appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

TDN Q&A with Gray Lyster

Tue, 2019-09-03 12:47

In July, the Consignors and Commercial Breeders Association announced it was endorsing the American Association of Equine Practitioners protocol on pre-sale video scopes as the organization sought to create uniformity and increase buyer confidence with the hope the technology would become more widely utilized at auctions in the U.S. Three weeks ago, Keeneland announced it was encouraging consignors to add video scopes to its repository–and veterinarians to make use of the videos–ahead of the upcoming September Yearling Sale.

The TDN sat down with CBA President Gray Lyster ahead of the Keeneland September Yearling Sale to discuss reactions to both announcements and expectations for the use of video scopes at the two-week auction, which begins Sept. 9.

TDN: The CBA announced it was endorsing the AAEP protocol on video scopes in early July. What was the initial response?

GL: There were immediately a lot of people who were cheering the cause and the trend towards, hopefully, decreasing the amount of scopes on the sales grounds. There have been a lot of people who have been quietly hoping this happens, or at least becomes an opportunity.

Overall, the reaction has been positive from both sellers and buyers. It was really nice to see an immediate reaction from a few buyers who said, ‘We’re going to support this initiative. I may still scope some horses, but I really like where we’re going and there is no reason not to use this technology.’

There were also people who had reservations, who said, ‘What the heck does this mean?’ ‘Can we trust these?’ and ‘Are we going to be forced to have to use them?’ And my response to that is, ‘Absolutely not.’ This is about a trial period to hopefully have as many people as possible become comfortable with them. Because, frankly, as sellers we’ve got to know how to produce the proper videos for the buyers. So there is going to be dialogue.

TDN: Why is this initiative so important?

GL: The most important reason we are doing this is animal welfare and safety. While scoping is not an invasive horrible procedure, for some horses, repetitive scoping can trend in that direction. For some horses it’s the third scope, for some horses it’s the 10th scope and I’ve seen other horses that aren’t bothered at all, no matter the number. People need to remember that many of these yearlings have never been off of the farms where they were born and the entire sales process is a stressful and nerve-racking experience. Once a horse starts ‘fighting the scope,’ the risk that they hurt themselves, the vet or handler increases during each subsequent scope. Consignors and sellers really don’t want to force this on anyone uncomfortable with the videos, but we already know that some people are willing to use them, and if we reduce the number of scopes by even just a little, we all win.

TDN: There have been two major yearlings sales so far, the Fasig-Tipton July sale and the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, which gave buyers the chance to try out the video scopes. How did they go?

GL:  We were actually surprised with how well things went. We had more usage than we thought we’d get. If I was using round numbers, I would say that the majority of buyers’ vets were asking to scope horses and also to review videos to have dialogue with consignors about them.

There was a smaller percentage of vets who used the videos without scoping horses, if they were satisfied with the video. And then there was another small percentage of vets who were not interested in using the videos. And those vets’ opinions were respected and they were able to scope the horses.

There was also a group of vets who watched the videos and, if they had any questions, if it wasn’t to their satisfaction, then they asked to scope the horse. So there were some who viewed the videos and then used that to tell whether they needed or wanted to scope the horse.

The bottom line is that have already seen a small reduction in scoping.

TDN: What percentage of horses at the July and August sales would you say had video scopes available?

GL: I would guess that at the August sale, there were close to 50% of the horses who were accompanied by videos.

TDN: And what are your expectations for the Keeneland September sale?

GL: My expectations for Keeneland September are somewhere in the same realm. I think we might see a majority of horses in Books 1 and 2 accompanied by videos. I expect less will be used in the last two-thirds of the sale, but still a significant number.

TDN: The AAEP protocol calls for horses to be scoped within 10 days of a sale. Is that an issue, logistically, for consignors?

GL: The 10 days is a suggestion from the vets through the AAEP, as well as consignors, purely for logistical reasons. I think the majority of people have hoped that the videos can be produced as close to a sale day as possible, but when we enter the ship-show-sale time frame of the Keeneland sale, it gets a little tricky to try to be producing potentially 400 videos in a morning for a horse that is selling the next morning. A few people are saying, ‘I need to do these on the farm or a few days before they ship, just really to make sure, logistically, we get it right.’ Or, ‘My vet can’t handle having to do so many on the grounds, because he has so much other work to do during the sale.’

Some of the people who have produced videos on the farm, actually said at the Saratoga sale that a vet didn’t want to use the video that wasn’t done on the grounds. But a couple of the popular horses started to ‘maybe not scope as well,’ and seeing a scope that had been done six or seven days prior, gave the vet the confidence to pass a horse. Maybe it was a scope that was done on the sales ground, but on the first day the horse shipped in, and then four days later, the day before the sale after being scoped multiple times, the horse was potentially not scoping ‘as well as it could.’ And having the video was reassuring to the vet.

TDN: What types of concerns or questions have you been hearing from both sellers and buyers?

GL: A concern for sellers is the cost of it–sometimes it is more than double the cost of a regular scope. And when you’re dealing with a high volume of horses, or even lower-priced horses, additional expenses add up. So people wonder if it’s only going to be used a little bit, is it worth the financial cost? Others are worried that it might be a little bit of a confusing process in the first year and they want to see how it plays out before they use it. But, overall sellers are really excited about it. Everybody is just a little nervous to try something new with something this important. Nobody wants to decrease buyers’ confidence in any way.

I think the biggest concern for buyers is that no one wants to be forced to use these videos. As sellers, I believe that everybody understands that. The more I’ve spoken to people about this and the more I’ve relayed to people we don’t want to turn people away from scoping our horses, I’ve realized for buyers, all this is is an extra tool. I really don’t think that they lose anything. If they don’t want to use the video, they do not have to. And they can continue the buying process as they have in years prior.

TDN: What sort of opportunity do the videos provide people who are interested in shopping for horses in the back walking ring just prior to selling?

GL: There may be opportunities in the back walking ring, when a horse is 30 minutes away from selling, where previously buyers had to use a scope report with a grade on them. Now they might have access to a video that might bring more confidence then just relying on a letter grade.

TDN: For the first time this year, vets will have 24-hour remote access to the Keeneland repository. What will this mean to buyers and sellers?

GL: Last year, Keeneland opened the repository online after sales hours, so vets had the opportunity to review X-rays in the evenings and first thing in the morning over the internet when the sale was not in session. Now, 24 hours a day, the vets who check in at the sale are going to be able to read X-rays and view videos online, at a moment’s notice, even if the vet is not physically in the repository.

From my perspective, I’m going to encourage back-ring buyers to use this opportunity to ask their vet to review X-rays and scope videos. The buyer’s vet may be at their office at a clinic, or at barn 49, but they will be able to view them on laptops or iPads wherever they are. I really think that is a huge bonus to the ‘back-ring buyer.’ And being an occasional back-ring buyer myself, on a lesser level, I would certainly prefer to have my vet review a video, than use a consignor’s scope report with a subjective grade.

Oftentimes we are in the back ring with X-ray reports and we are having trouble explaining some of the terminology to buyers on these reports. And in the end, if the finding is a big deal or not?–it’s difficult for a consignor to give that explanation to a potential buyer. Now we have the opportunity to encourage them to have a vet review those at a moment’s notice, if they are uncomfortable or if it’s a confusing finding. I think it’s a huge advantage that their vet has quick online access.

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Ghostzapper Colt Leads Home Peter Miller Exacta in Eventful Futurity

Mon, 2019-09-02 21:44

Rockingham Ranch’s Nucky (Ghostzapper), twice entered for a high claiming tag in his first four races, pulled off a 35-1 upset in the GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity on closing day at the seaside oval in a race that was almost immediately turned upside down when odds-on favorite Eight Rings (Empire Maker) ducked in sharply and lost his rider in the opening strides.

Fifth debuting in the Churchill slop June 8, Nucky was second for a $75,000 tag there 12 days later and fourth against straight maidens July 13 at Ellis before dominating $100,000 maiden claimers by 10 1/2 lengths back at trainer Peter Miller’s local base Aug. 21. Let go as the second-longest shot in this class hike, the dark bay broke a step slowly but recovered quickly to track the pace.

Meanwhile, Eight Rings, who broke inwardly, lugged into Storm the Court (Court Vision) a handful of strides out, causing both jockeys to fall off their mounts. Making a bold three-wide move to forge a narrow advantage passing a salty :44.90 half, Nucky took charge soon after straightening for home and went clear past the eighth pole. Wrecking Crew put in a mild bid, but couldn’t get to the winner while holding the place from Defense Wins to give Miller a one-two finish as he picked up his first Futurity score. The riders of Eight Rings (Drayden Van Dyke) and Storm the Court (Flavien Prat) appeared to escape major injury and both horses were unscathed, though Van Dyke was taken to the hospital to be examined according to Daily Racing Form.

“It was obviously unfortunate,” Miller said of the incident. “You never want to see any horse or rider go down. My first thoughts are with the horses and the riders. I don’t know what happened, but after that, we won clear. To finish one-two in the Del Mar Futurity, for me, I mean it’s just incredible under any circumstances.”

“What a way to end the meet. I don’t deserve this. But somebody wanted me to have it,” added winning pilot Norberto Arroyo, Jr. “I thank the Lord up above. My aim was to track the two horse [Eight Rings]. My horse broke good and I was looking for the two. By the four and a half [furlong pole] I couldn’t see him at all and I knew something must have happened. Then I just went to riding my horse. He responded well. I don’t know if he was the best horse in the race to start, but he was the best to finish.”

Pedigree Notes:

With his victory, Nucky becomes the 72nd stakes winner, 39th graded stakes winner and 12th Grade I winner for Ghostzapper. He is the first foal to race out of GSW turfer Lady Ten, a $250,000 by Barry and Judith Becker at Keeneland November in 2016. She produced a Super Saver filly Mar. 5 before being bred to Candy Ride (Arg).

RUNHAPPY DEL MAR FUTURITY-GI, $301,053, Del Mar, 9-2, 2yo, 7f, 1:25.52, ft.
1–NUCKY, 118, c, 2, by Ghostzapper
1st Dam: Lady Ten (GSW, $249,014), by Rock Hard Ten
2nd Dam: Mismonique, by French Deputy
3rd Dam: Bocamis, by Miswaki
WIN. ($130,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-Rockingham Ranch;
B-Barry & Judith Becker (KY); T-Peter Miller; J-Norberto
Arroyo, Jr. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-0, $217,750.
2–Wrecking Crew, 120, r, 2, Sky Kingdom–Truelladeville, by Yes
It’s True. ($18,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $115,000 Ylg ’18 FTKJUL;
$875,000 2yo ’19 FTFMAR). O-Rockingham Ranch & David A
Bernsen LLC; B-Westrock Stables (KY); T-Peter Miller. $60,000.
3–Defense Wins, 118, c, 2, Flatter–Deb’s Charm, by Silver
Charm. ($50,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $175,000 2yo ’19 FTFMAR).
O-C T R Stables LLC (Calvert), Great Friends Stable, LLC, Kramer
Racing, RAP Racing, K T Racing, Steven Keh & Tom Mansor;
B-Hargus & Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm (KY); T-Doug F.
O’Neill. $36,000.
Margins: 2 3/4, HF, 1 3/4. Odds: 35.00, 9.80, 37.70.
Also Ran: Ginobili, Fore Left, Garth, Eight Rings, Storm the Court. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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A Record-Breaking $700-Million Meet at Saratoga

Mon, 2019-09-02 20:16

The 2019 Saratoga meet, NYRA’s first ever where the meet was expanded to eight weeks but limited to five days of racing, ended yesterday and the numbers proved that the experiment was a big hit as Saratoga’s all-sources betting handle for the meet topped $700 million for the first time.

Total all-sources handle was $705,343,949, surpassing last year’s total by $46 million or 7%. Those numbers look even better when considering that NYRA lost an entire card, July 20, when it had to cancel because of the heat. NYRA likely would have handled between $21 and $23 million on that day. It also had to cancel seven races July 25 due to a severe storm.

“This has been a truly outstanding meet highlighted by the traditional recipe that sets Saratoga apart: world-class Thoroughbred racing and entertainment,” O’Rourke said. “We would not be in this enviable position without the dedication of the owners, the talent of the horsemen, and the unmatched enthusiasm of our fans. I want to thank the local community for their support and everyone who contributed to our success this summer. This summer also marked the loss of one of Saratoga’s most ardent benefactors, Mrs. Marylou Whitney. Saratoga and NYRA will forever be grateful for her contributions to racing.”

Though NYRA cannot come out with its racing schedules until they are approved by the New York Gaming Commission, O’Rourke said that organization would apply for the same five days/eight-week meet next year, but added that it is possible that there could be a change to the dark days. This year, they were Mondays and Tuesdays, and he said there’s some talk of going to Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead.

“The off days on Mondays and Tuesdays certainly worked for us, but I heard some complaints from the restaurants that they were dead on Sunday nights,” O’Rourke said. “I want to hear what they have to say before deciding on the off days for next year. We like to consider more than just the bottom line for Saratoga because this town is about more than just a racetrack. To make Saratoga the success that it is, the entire community, and what is good for them, matters.”

Coming into the meet, NYRA did not know if the additional week was going to take a toll on people, and, if it did, if the extra day off would somehow make up for it. As for how fans, horsemen and employees held up through an eight-week meet, O’Rourke said there were pluses and minuses.

“People don’t realize that eight weeks is a long way to be away from home and I am sure there are some people who will be glad to be heading back,” he said. “But certainly everyone seemed to appreciate having that extra day where the backstretch workers could take a little break and a lot of the employees and fans got two days to rest up.”

The ADW and simulcast players seemed to enjoy the extra day off more than anyone else as on-track handle actually fell slightly at the meet, from $148,826,388 to $146,812,772.

“I think one reason our off-track handle was up over our on-track handle was because of the immense amount of television coverage we did during the meet,” O’Rourke said. “That gave people all over the country the chance to follow our races, and not just on the big days.”

NYRA’s programming, Saratoga Live featured more than 190 hours of live programming this season compared to 80 hours when the broadcast was first introduced in 2016.

When asked if the extra television exposure might have cost NYRA on-track business, O’Rourke said, “Not at all. That was one of the big pluses of this meet, all the exposure we got at this meet. I have to give Tony Allevato and Eric Donovan, two integral people involved with the TV production, a ton of credit. It’s not that easy to put together that much programming and they did a very good job doing so.”

O’Rourke said several ideas will be tossed around concerning how to increase on-track crowds, including the shifting of give-away days and ways to further capitalize on the 1863 Club, which was opened for this year’s meet. NYRA started July 11, the earliest start ever for a Saratoga meet. Traditionally, on-track attendance picks up in August and such an early start could not have helped on-track business.

Jose Ortiz was the leading rider at the meet, besting his brother, Irad Ortiz Jr., by a 60-53 margin. It was his third straight Spa title. Chad Brown won the training title with 41 victories. He fell short of the meet record he set last year when making 46 trips to the winner’s circle.

New York racing is set to resume Sept. 6 at Belmont Park, but plans for the Long Island track having an abbreviated meet before moving to Aqueduct are currently up in the air. The reason given was that NYRA was worried about conducting racing there while construction was ongoing for a new arena for the New York Islanders. But O’Rourke said Monday that may no longer be the case.

“I want to see what happens when we get back to Belmont,” he said. “There’s a chance that the problems caused by the construction won’t be as great as anticipated and if that’s the case then maybe we will run the full meet there rather than going to Aqueduct.”

The post A Record-Breaking $700-Million Meet at Saratoga appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Liam’s Map Colt Leads Home Asmussen Triple in the Hopeful

Mon, 2019-09-02 18:04

Basin, the longest price of Steve Asmussen’s three-headed monster in Monday’s GI Runhappy Hopeful S. at Saratoga, proved easily best of all and ran away to an empathic triumph in the Spa’s annual closing-day feature, becoming the first stakes winner for his freshman sire (by Unbridled’s Song) in the process.

Unveiled as an 11-10 chalk June 14 at Churchill, the $150,000 KEESEP buy just missed by a nose to the re-opposing By Your Side (Constitution), who returned to capture the local GIII Sanford S. on opening weekend. Earning his diploma when besting next-out ‘TDN Rising Star’ Three Technique (Mr Speaker) going a furlong shorter here July 21, the bay was given a 31-10 Hopeful chance while ‘Rising Star’ stablemates Gozilla (Flatter) and Shoplifted (Into Mischief) went off at 6-5 and 5-2, respectively.

Breaking in stride from his outside post, Basin quickly deferred under leading rider Jose Ortiz to sit third as Gozilla made the point while pressed along by longshot American Butterfly through a :22.66 quarter. Drawing within a length of the front as the sextet compressed passing a :45.84 half, he poked his head in front when set down by Ortiz three sixteenths from home. Drifting out sharply nearing the eighth pole, he was quickly corrected and leveled off impressively to slam the door by the sixteenth marker en route to a dominant 6 1/2-length score. Shoplifted just got up for second over Gozilla, giving Asmussen a one-two-three finish as he registered his first career Hopeful victory.

“I think that the day suited him with the post-position draw and the way that it came out,” said Asmussen. “Those are three very talented horses and hopefully that’s the last time they’ll run against each other for a while. Gozilla didn’t get a lot out of his maiden race and he was back in 22 days; Ricardo [Santana, Jr.] said he was blowing afterwards. Joel [Rosario] thought that Shoplifted spun his wheels away from there and it took him quite a while to get on his feet. I’ve always been surprised with how much speed he [Basin] showed. Physically, and pedigree wise, we were excited about him running long and we were surprised at how sharp he was the first time he ran.”

Regarding his banner Saratoga summer with 2-year-olds, Asmussen added, “We felt great about them coming into the meet. We thought we had some extremely talented 2-year-olds and I think they’ve proved that.”

“I saw them going at it and it was the first time going seven furlongs, so you’ve got to be a little careful,” said Ortiz. “I just took my time. I could have moved a little earlier, but I didn’t want to since they were fighting. I gave my horse a really nice breather from the half-mile to the quarter pole and that made a difference. I made just one move with him.”

Pedigree Notes:

Basin gets the ball rolling in the black-type category for Lane’s End Farm’s brilliant Liam’s Map, who was never worse than second in eight career starts and registered four 110+ Beyer figures, including a pair of 114s in back-to-back conquests of the GI Woodward S. and GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to close out his career in 2015. He is a half-brother to GSW Rise Up and a yearling colt by Orb. His dam was bred to Nyquist this season. Third dam Beal Street Blues captured the GII Del Mar Debutante S. in 1992.

Monday, Saratoga
RUNHAPPY HOPEFUL S.-GI, $350,000, Saratoga, 9-2, 2yo, 7f, 1:23.48, sy.
1–BASIN, 120, c, 2, by Liam’s Map
                1st Dam: Appenzell, by Johannesburg
                2nd Dam: Bourbon Blues, by Seeking the Gold
                3rd Dam: Beal Street Blues, by Dixieland Band
WIN. ($150,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-Jackpot Farm;
B-Cottonwood Stables, LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen; J-Jose
Ortiz. $192,500. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $261,000. *1/2 to
Rise Up (Rockport Harbor), GSW, $1,225,540. **First stakes
winner for freshman sire (by Unbridled’s Song). Werk Nick
Rating: A+. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Shoplifted, 120, c, 2, Into Mischief–Shopit, by Yes It’s True.
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($525,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $800,000 2yo ’19
FTFMAR). O-Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables, LLC & LNJ
Foxwoods; B-Machmer Hall, Carrie & Craig Brogden (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen. $70,000.
3–Gozilla, 120, c, 2, Flatter–Atlantic Dream, by Stormy Atlantic.
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($170,000 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $150,000 Ylg
’18 FTKOCT; $395,000 RNA 2yo ’19 OBSAPR). O-Zayat Stables,
LLC & Gary Barber; B-Wildwood Farm & Indian Creek (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen. $42,000.
Margins: 6HF, NK, 2. Odds: 3.10, 2.80, 1.30.
Also Ran: American Butterfly, By Your Side, Inside Risk. Scratched: Green Light Go. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


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Constitution Colt As Advertised, Named ‘TDN Rising Star’ at the Spa

Mon, 2019-09-02 15:49

The cleverly named Gouverneur Morris (c, 2, Constitution– Addison Run, by Unbridled’s Song), picked up for $600,000 after breezing an eighth in :10 1/5 at the FTFMAR juvenile sale, ran to the billing as the 3-5 favorite to earn the ‘TDN Rising Star’ nod in his Saratoga unveiling over the sloppy going on closing day.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the gray’s worktab included a sharp four-furlong breeze in :47 3/5 (17/108) at the Spa Aug. 17. Gouverneur Morris was last of seven out of the stalls and took a bump shortly after the start from his inside. He recovered quickly to sit a perfect trip in third as Maximiliano (Quality Road), a $425,000 KEESEP yearling purchase, and Secret Rules (Secret Circle) battled through an opening quarter in :22.38. He ranged up with a sweeping move while about five or six wide approaching the quarter pole, and from there it was just a question of how much he’d win by. The Team Valor and WinStar Farm representative was handridden down the lane by John Velazquez en route to a powerful nine-length decision. Maximiliano was second; Secret Rules was third.

The February foal, a half-brother to this year’s GIII Dwyer S. runner-up Final Jeopardy (Street Sense), MGSP, $164,450, becomes the 11th winner for his freshman sire (by Tapit). Gouverneur Morris was the most expensive of 41 juveniles to switch hands ($110,843 average) by his sire this year.

The stakes-placed Addison Run, a $360,000 purchase by Machmer Hall while carrying Gouverneur Morris at the 2016 KEENOV Sale, produced a colt by Runhappy in 2018 and a filly by Into Mischief this year. She was bred back to Candy Ride (Arg). This is the extended female family of champion 2-year-old colt and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Midshipman (Unbridled’s Song) and MGISW Frosted (Tapit).

6th-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 9-2, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:04.29, sy.
GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, c, 2, by Constitution
1st Dam: Addison Run (SP), by Unbridled’s Song
2nd Dam: Fleet and Fancy, by Touch Gold
3rd Dam: Fleet Lady, by Avenue of Flags
Sales history: $200,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $600,000 2yo ’19 FTFMAR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Click for the catalog style pedigree.
O-Team Valor International & WinStar Farm LLC; B-Machmer Hall, Carrie & Craig Brogden & James F. Miller (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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Nolde Surges to Del Mar Derby Win

Sun, 2019-09-01 22:17

Nolde (Pioneerof the Nile, who was nosed out of the win when second over the Del Mar lawn in the July 17 Oceanside S., got the better of the photo finish Sunday to win the GII Del Mar Derby. The 6-1 shot settled well off the pace as Kingly (Tapit) sprinted out to a clear lead. Kingly was in front and racing keenly through fractions of :23.44 and :47.80, but his advantage evaporated when Neptune’s Storm strode to the lead without prompting at the top of the lane. Kingly tried valiantly to battle back along the rail, but it was Nolde finding a seam between the two foes late and charging to the lead. Originaire closed stoutly down the center of the course to nip Neptune’s Storm for second.

“Sometimes when you get on this horse, he’s nice and easy going. Not today,” said winning jockey Victor Espinoza. “He was strong; like a bull. I like that. He was telling me he was ready. When we ran last time, I knew he ran a good race, but I knew he’d be better next time. He’s got a long stride and distance is going to be good for him. He’s not an easy horse to ride, but he’s got a lot of talent. We’ve just got to figure out a way to bring it out. When I sent him inside today, he just went. He was ready.”

Nolde made the first four starts of his career on the main track, but moved to the lawn to graduate in his fifth outing going one mile at Santa Anita May 3. He added a June 21 optional claimer at that same distance in Arcadia and was caught late while making his stakes debut in the Oceanside. He was making his first start beyond a mile in the Del Mar Derby.

“The Oceanside prepared him nicely for this, which was the plan,” said winning trainer John Shirreffs. “We were very happy with the way the horse trained for the race. Victor has ridden him a number of times and really knows the horse. He got him settled in a nice position and Nolde has a really nice turn of foot.”

Pedigree Notes:
Nolde is out of the Moss homebred Sister Moon, who RNA’d for $57,000 at the 2011 OBS April sale and was second the Anoakia S. and who set a 5 1/2-furlong track record at Del Mar that year. The dark bay was runner-up the following year in the GIII Railbird S. She produced a filly by Empire Maker in 2018 and a colt by Quality Road this year before being bred back to City of Light.

The Mosses purchased Nolde’s second dam Shimmer for $210,000 at the 2003 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and she was a two-time winner in their colors for John Shirreffs in 2005. She sold, in foal to Union Rags, for $140,000 at the 2013 Keeneland November sale.

The winner’s third dam, graded-stakes winner Private Light, also produced graded-stakes placed Sailor’s Warning (Storm Cat) and graded winner Cielo Gold (Conquistador Cielo).

Sunday, Del Mar
DEL MAR DERBY-GII, $251,404, Del Mar, 9-1, 3yo, 1 1/8mT, 1:46.98, fm.
1–NOLDE, 122, c, 3, by Pioneerof the Nile
                1st Dam: Sister Moon (GSP, $107,350), by Dixie Union
                2nd Dam: Shimmer, by Pulpit
                3rd Dam: Private Light, by Private Account
Moss (KY); T-John A. Shirreffs; J-Victor Espinoza. $150,000.
Lifetime Record: 8-3-2-1, $270,470. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click
   for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Originaire (Ire), 122, c, 3, Zoffany (Ire)–Polly Perkins (Ire), by
Pivotal (GB). (€50,000 Ylg ’17 GOFOR; 70,000gns 3yo ’19
TATFEB). O-BG Stables; B-Vimal and Gillian Khosla (IRE); T-Jeff
Mullins. $50,000.
3–Neptune’s Storm, 122, g, 3, Stormy Atlantic–Immortal Life
(Ire), by Iffraaj (GB). ($50,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $70,000 Ylg ’17
KEESEP; $130,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR). O-CYBT, Gevertz, Saul,
Gitomer, Lynn, Goetz, Mike, Nentwig, Michael and Weiner,
Daniel; B-Tracy Farmer (KY); T-Richard Baltas. $30,000.
Margins: NK, HD, NK. Odds: 6.60, 6.30, 2.40.
Also Ran: Hackberry, Kingly, Moody Jim (Ire), Nolo Contesto, Visitant, Parsimony. Scratched: Walker Stalker. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


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Quality Road Filly Becomes Latest Baffert Rising Star at Del Mar

Sun, 2019-09-01 21:01

Quality Response (f, 2, Quality Road-Argue, by Storm Cat) chased a fast pace while wide and drew clear powerfully in the lane to become the latest ‘TDN Rising Star’ for Bob Baffert at Del Mar Sunday afternoon. Showing plenty of speed in the mornings at Los Alamitos, the $200,000 KEESEP grad scaled it back with three relatively modest works over the local main track, most recently going five furlongs in 1:01 flat (11/54) Aug. 26. A bit overlooked at 5-1 while the money poured in on 3-2 favorite and barnmate Scarlet Lips (Malibu Moon), Quality Response broke running and chased from a close third while three deep past a sharp :21.75 quarter. Cruising to the lead three-sixteenths from home, she displayed an impressive turn of foot when set down by Joe Talamo and quickly removed any doubt of the result before rambling home a 7 1/4-length winner in 1:04.95. Scarlet Lips finished strongly to be second after being sluggish early. Quality Response shares a sire, breeder and trainer with GISW ‘Rising Star’ Roadster. Her second dam is a half-sister to MGSW/MGISP sire E Dubai (Mr. Prospector) and No Matter What (Nureyev), the GISW dam of European champion Rainbow View (Dynaformer). Stone Farm homebred Argue, a maiden of 10 career starts, was bred to Alternation for the 2020 season.

8th-Del Mar, $62,755, Msw, 9-1, 2yo, f, 5 1/2f, 1:04.95, ft.
QUALITY RESPONSE, 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)
Sales history: $200,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,600. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Click for the catalog style pedigree.
O-Karl Watson, Michel E. Pegram & Paul Weitman; B-Stone Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert.

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Perfect Alibi Gutsy Again in Rail-Running Spinaway Score

Sun, 2019-09-01 18:24

Tracy Farmer’s Perfect Alibi (Sky Mesa), who survived a rough stretch duel to capture the GII Adirondack S. four weeks ago at Saratoga, showed her courage once again when digging in at the rail to deny favored Frank’s Rockette (Into Mischief) for the second straight time in the GI Spinaway S. Sunday at the Spa.

“She’s game. She likes to fight and she has a strong kick,” jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. said of the winner. “She wanted to win and there was some contact, but when she made the hole, she made it through. Everything worked out good for her today. I think she can go better going longer, but we’ll enjoy this right now and see what happens next.”

A dominant 9 1/2-length winner on debut May 16 at Churchill, Perfect Alibi narrowly missed when second in the Astoria S. June 6 at Belmont before bulling her way to victory in the Adirondack. Somewhat overlooked in the wagering Sunday to be 26-5, while Frank’s Rockette was backed to 9-5, Perfect Alibi settled second-last early behind a :22.65 quarter. Advancing steadily along the inside on the turn, she snuck through a rail opening at the top of the lane and hooked up with the favorite outside the furlong grounds. Those two threw down head and head until just inside the sixteenth marker, where Perfect Alibi began to prove superior, edging away to a 1 1/4-length score in 1:23.44.

“She showed she had a lot of fight in her last time out as well, so I wasn’t afraid to make that tight space [along the rail] with her,” Ortiz said. “I didn’t have too many options and when I saw the space along the rail, I went for it.”

Winning trainer Mark Casse said there is plenty to look forward to with the Spinaway winner.

“This filly is just a fighter,” Casse said. “She keeps coming. I think the farther she runs, the better she likes it. Now, we have to decide if we go to the [Oct. 6 GI] Frizette [at Belmont Park] or the [GI Darley] Alcibiades S. [at Keeneland]. Hopefully, if all goes well, we’ll head to the Breeders’ Cup. I think she’s proven she at least deserves a chance.”

Pedigree Notes:

Perfect Alibi’s GI Spinaway score continued a big year for her breeder, Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stud. The farm also bred this year’s GI TVG Pacific Classic winner Higher Power (Medaglia d’Oro). That Grade I winner’s half-brother Alternation stands at Pin Oak and is the sire of 2019 GI Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress. The same day Higher Power won the Pacific Classic, Tone Broke, a son of Pin Oak stallion Broken Vow, won the Breeders’ S. at Woodbine.

Perfect Alibi is a third-generation Pin Oak bred. Her dam No Use Denying won the 2009 John W. Rooney Memorial S. and placed in an additional four stakes. Her second dam, Rumors are Flying (Kris S.), was a Pin Oak homebred who raced only twice in 1999 before joining the farm’s broodmare band and produced multipled graded placed Badge of Truth (Silver Deputy). The Spinaway winner’s third dam, Missed the Wedding, also made two starts in the Pin Oak colors, but had more success in the breeding shed where she produced 1993 GI Test S. winner Miss the Storm (Storm Cat), as well as multiple graded stakes winner Green Means Go (Green Dancer).

No Use Denying, also dam of graded placed Noble Thought (Harlan’s Holiday), produced a filly by Flatter this year and was bred back to Carpe Diem. The mare’s now 3-year-old Dark Corner (Into Mischief) sold for $120,000 at last year’s OBS April Sale.

Sunday, Saratoga
SPINAWAY S.-GI, $350,000, Saratoga, 9-1, 2yo, f, 7f, 1:23.44, ft.
1--PERFECT ALIBI, 122, f, 2, by Sky Mesa
1st Dam: No Use Denying (SW, $219,016), by Maria’s Mon
2nd Dam: Rumors Are Flying, by Kris S.
3rd Dam: Missed the Wedding, by Blushing Groom (Fr)
1ST GRADE I WIN. ($220,000 Ylg ’18 FTSAUG). O-Tracy Farmer;
B-Pin Oak Stud, LLC (KY); T-Mark E. Casse; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr.
$192,500. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, $380,988. *1/2 to Noble
Thought (Harlan’s Holiday), GSP, $270,448.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A.
2–Frank’s Rockette, 120, f, 2, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Rocket Twentyone, by Indian Charlie
2nd Dam: Symphonic Lady, by Blare of Trumpets
3rd Dam: Wavering Lady, by Wavering Monarch
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, Inc.;
B-Frank Fletcher (KY); T-William I. Mott. $70,000.
3–Figure of Speech, 120, f, 2, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Starlight Lady, by Elusive Quality
2nd Dam: Colcon, by Pleasant Colony
3rd Dam: Continental Girl, by Transworld
($200,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc.;
B-Brandywine Farm (Jim & Pam Robinson) (KY); T-Chad C.
Brown. $42,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 5, 1. Odds: 5.20, 1.95, 3.65.
Also Ran: Miss Peppina, Shippy, Risky Mischief, Mundaye Call. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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Champagne Likely for Famished

Sun, 2019-09-01 17:12

Tobey Morton’s Famished (Uncle Mo), who broke his maiden second time out going seven furlongs at Saratoga Saturday (video), will likely make his next start in the Oct. 5 GI Champagne S. at Belmont Park.

“If everything shapes up well, we’ll aim for the Champagne,” trainer John Kimmel said. “It looks like the way he finished today he has the ability to go even further. The track is a bit deeper today. For him to give a good, sustained finish is a good indication that he’s going to carry himself a little further.”

Kimmel’s 2-year-old success at the Saratoga meeting also included Crystalle (Palace Malice)’s win in the Aug. 29 P.G. Johnson S.

“You can thank the owners,” Kimmel said. “They had the confidence in me to pick these horses out and I’m really glad that they’re showing up for them this summer because I had been telling them that I think they would have a good campaign into the fall and next year.”

Kimmel has another exciting juvenile waiting in the wings. Mandatory (American Pharoah), a half-brother to multiple Grade I winner I’m a Chatterbox (Munnings), worked five furlongs at Saratoga in 1:01.87 (8/14) Aug. 26 as he prepares for his first start.

“He’s getting very close to the races. He has the looks of a colt with a very nice future,” Kimmel said. “He’ll work from the gate Monday and if everything goes well, we’ll look to find a race for him in the next couple of weeks.”

Kimmel purchased the colt on behalf of Morton for $400,000 following a :10 4/5 furlong work at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale.

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Gold Cup Possible for Preservationist

Sun, 2019-09-01 17:06

Centennial Farms’ Preservationist (Arch) came out of his win in Saturday’s GI Woodward S. in fine shape, according to trainer Jimmy Jerkens. Preservationist stalked the pace and made a bid between horses in midstretch to win the Woodward, his first Grade I tally, by a half-length and register a 106 Beyer Speed Figure.

“It’s always good when you can save ground and the horses can deal with being in a crowd like that and still be on the bridle. That’s huge,” said Jerkens. “It took a while to happen, but it finally did at the very end once a horse on the outside started to fade and opened it up a bit. I felt once he got some room, a big horse like him would wear them down.”

While not ready to commit to a next start for the 6-year-old Preservationist, Jerkens said the Sept. 28 GI Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park was possible.

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Expensive More Than Ready Filly Finds a Seam, Bursts Through to Graduate at Spa

Sun, 2019-09-01 16:15

7th-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 9-1, 2yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:42.30, fm.
SPARKLING SKY (f, 2, More Than Ready–Bet to Win {GSP}, by Pulpit), a $650,000 Keeneland September buy, ran to daylight and graduated in a sharp performance Sunday at the Spa. Third on debut here Aug. 4, she was elevated to second when Crystalle (Palace Malice) was DQ’ed, and flattered by that result when the demoted winner came back to conquer the P.G. Johnson S. Thursday at Saratoga. Backed to 6-5 here, the Barry Schwartz colorbearer found a cozy spot stalking from fourth in the clear through modest fractions of :24.20 and :48.87. Frontrunner and stablemate Laughable (Distorted Humor) was traveling comfortably until starting to bear out nearing the five-sixteenths pole, and left the inside wide open for Sparkling Sky by the time heads pointed for home. Quickly seizing the advantage, the favorite went clear past the eighth pole and was not threatened the rest of the way, hitting the wire 2 1/2 lengths to the good in 1:42.30. Our Little Jewel (Hat Trick {Jpn}) was second best. Sparkling Sky, the most expensive yearling and third-most expensive progeny overall to sell for her sire in 2018, is a full-sister to Justa Lady, MSW & GSP, $353,745. Her graded stakes-placed dam produced a filly by Mastery this season before returning to More Than Ready once more. Sales History: $650,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $67,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Barry K. Schwartz; B-Curtis C. Green (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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