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Updated: 9 hours 22 min ago

Market Remains Strong at Keeneland January

Tue, 2019-01-08 20:11

Bidding remained competitive throughout the day as the Book 1 portion of the Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale concluded Tuesday in Lexington. David Hanley of WinStar Farm made the highest bid of the day when going to $750,000 to acquire multiple graded stakes winner House Rules (Distorted Humor) from the Blackwood Stables consignment as part of the J. V. Shields’s dispersal.

“I thought today’s session was quite strong all the way through,” Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell said at the close of business Tuesday. “It was a continuation of yesterday, with the short yearlings selling exceptionally well and the mares stepped up to the plate, too.”

Through the first two sessions of the four-day auction, Keeneland sold 465 horses for a total of $38,857,300. The average was $83,564 and the median was $37,000. Nineteen horses sold for $300,000 or more during Book 1, up from 14 during the 2018 Book 1.

During Book 1 at the 2018 auction, 415 horses sold for $28,302,000. The average was $68,198 and the median was $37,000. Two horses sold for seven figures in the book, led by the $1.6-million Mrs McDougal (Medaglia d’Oro).

While Tuesday’s second session of the January auction lacked the fireworks provided by Monday’s $5-million sale of champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road), competition for young, well-covered mares remained high.

“Obviously, we didn’t have an Abel Tasman today, but the mares that were here sold very well,” Russell said. “House Rules, in foal to Quality Road, is the complete package–a graded stakes winner in foal to one of the hottest stallions in the world. I thought she was very well sold at that price and she goes to a good home in WinStar. We’re sorry for the circumstances for the sale. Mr. Shields was a good friend.”

After signing the ticket on Tuesday’s session topper, Hanley admitted, “For the mares you want, it’s tough. There aren’t that many of them and they all are landing on the same ones. But she’s the one we wanted to get today. So we’re really happy.”

Tuesday’s buy-back rate was 21.68%, bringing the two-day figure to 25.60%. It was 32.41% at the same point last year.

Russell credited the high clearance rate on consignors setting realistic reserves.

“These are very professional people,” he said of the sellers. “They have a good gauge on the market, they know what sells. The market is bringing the prices. So I would throw the credit back to the consignors who have adjusted to the market and have priced their horses correctly.”

Quality continued to be key in the selective marketplace, according to bloodstock agent David Ingordo.

“People want quality and if you have quality, you are going to get rewarded,” Ingordo said. “There are nice horses right below that that, if you give up this or that, you get good value. There are some horses that just aren’t worth it and that is reflected in their sales price. If you are honest with yourself about what your horse is worth, you will do fine.”

The Keeneland January sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

WinStar Makes the House Rules

WinStar Farm General Manager David Hanley struck late in Tuesday’s second session of the Keeneland January sale to acquire multiple graded stakes winner House Rules (Distorted Humor) (hip 779) for a session-topping $750,000. The 8-year-old mare, in foal to Quality Road, was consigned by Blackwood Stables as agent for the dispersal of the bloodstock of the late J V Shields, Jr.

“First of all, Distorted Humor,” Hanley answered when asked about the mare’s appeal. “She has a ton of quality. She’s a really beautiful mare and was obviously a really top runner. And we loved the cover. We are excited to see the Quality Road out of her, we think that’s a great mating for her. We’ve been waiting for her all day and we’re delighted to get her.”

House Rules, co-bred by WinStar and El Catorce Inc., was purchased for $90,000 as a Keeneland September Yearling in 2012. She won the 2015 GIII Top Flight H. and GIII Rampart S. in Shields’s colors. Out of Grade I placed Teamgeist (Arg) (Mutakddim), House Rules is a half-sister to Grade I placed Win the Space (Pulpit).

Longtime owner and breeder Shields passed away last October. During his time in racing, Shields served as Director of the New York Racing Association, Director of the Breeders’ Cup, Trustee of the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation and Trustee of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. He was a founding member of the National Thoroughbred Association and a member of The Jockey Club.

Blackwood Stables sold five horses on behalf of the phase 1 of the Shields’ dispersal Tuesday at Keeneland. In addition to House Rules, the dispersal also included multiple graded stakes winner Classic Point (Flatter) (hip 672), who sold for $370,000 to Catherine Parke on behalf of Marc Keller and graded stakes placed Full House (Discreetly Mine) (hip 739), who brought a final bid of $240,000 from Atlantic Bloodstock.

“It is a very bittersweet moment, but we are glad the market appreciated all of Jerry Shields’s horses,” said Katey Caddel, director of client relations and bloodstock for Blackwood Stables. “He was an avid supporter of the sport and truly loved this game and that is reflected in his horses. We are proud to sell them here, but obviously it’s a bittersweet moment.” @JessMartiniTDN

Three Chimneys Holds Out For the ‘Best’

Though Three Chimneys Farm was the underbidder on a few horses earlier in the sale, the historic operation held out for one they really wanted with the farm’s COO Chris Baker fending off all comers late in Tuesday’s session to take home GISP Best Performance (Broken Vow) for $560,000.

“She is by a stallion we have a lot of respect for,” said a smiling Baker after signing the ticket on hip 795A. “She is very good looking and she can run. In this day and age, if you like them, or like that many things about them, you have to stretch to get them. We are happy to have her.”

As for future plans, he said, “We will breed her in 2019. We don’t know to who yet.”

A $185,000 KEESEP buy turned $300,000 FTFMAR juvenile purchase, Best Performance retired with a record of 10-1-5-0 and earnings of $398,448. Campaigned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Tango Uniform Racing and Robert Masiello, the Christophe Clement trainee completed the exacta in five black-type events during her 2017 juvenile campaign, including the GIII Schuylerville S. on the dirt, and in the GIII Miss Grillo S. and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on that surface. The chestnut made her final start in November.

“I think if you look at the stakes placings she had, in the Breeders’ Cup, a Grade I, as a 2-year-old, it is probably more ability–even though it didn’t show up on the catalogue page–for us, that she had Grade I class,” Baker said.”

Out of the Smart Strike mare Give My Regards, Best Performance is a half to SP My California (Calimonco) and hails from the family of GSW Broadway Empire (Empire Maker). She was consigned by Lane’s End, who was the session’s leading consignor by gross receipts, with 22 horses selling for $2,429,000–an average of $110,409.

West Point Thoroughbreds was also represented by SW Lavender Chrissie (Scat Daddy), who sold to David Ingordo on behalf of Montia Holdings LLC for $400,000 carrying her first foal by Union Rags. @CDeBernardisTDN

Media Mischief to Springhouse Farm

Media Mischief (Into Mischief) (hip 440) will be joining the broodmare band at Springhouse Farm after Gabriel Duignan signed the ticket at $450,000 to acquire the 5-year-old mare in foal to Pioneerof the Nile.

“She is a nice mare with a nice page,” Duignan said of the mare, who was consigned by Eaton Sales. “There is a lot to like about her.”

Out of Media Nox (GB), Media Mischief is a half-sister to multiple Group 1 winner Nebraska Tornado (Storm Cat) and group winners Burning Sun (Danzig) and Mirabilis (Lear Fan).

Bred by Juddmonte Farms, Media Mischief made two starts in Khalid Abdullah’s colors in 2017 before selling for 250,000gns to Mercer Bloodstock at the Tattersalls December sale. In foal to Pioneerof the Nile, she RNA’d for $475,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale.

The pedigree has been active in the U.S. recently. Media Nox’s daughter Imprecation (First Defence) is the dam of 3-year-old Anothertwistafate (Scat Daddy), who has impressed in a pair of wins at Golden Gate Fields and is expected to head towards the Feb. 16 El Camino Real Derby.

Duignan acknowledged that colt’s Northern California exploits added to Media Mischief’s appeal.

“He could be very good,” Duignan said of Anothertwistafate. “I know it’s Golden Gate, but he could be very, very good. He’s not your ordinary Golden Gate horse.” @JessMartiniTDN

‘Sweet’ Buy for Hyde

Breeder Tim Hyde added one of Tuesday’s more popular mares to his band when going to $420,000 to secure Sweet Dreams (Candy Ride {Arg}), who was the only mare in foal to Tapit offered at Keeneland January.

“I thought she was very pretty,” Hyde said of hip 568. “Her foal was very nice that was here in November. She is a good-looking mare and she is carrying a Tapit. We will probably resell the baby as a yearling.”

Bred by Courtlandt Farm, Sweet Dreams is out of SW & GSP Cat Charmer (Storm Cat) and is a half-sister to MGSW Strike Charmer (Smart Strike). Gail Cox purchased the dark bay for $67,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September Sale and she won one of three starts.

Sweet Dreams RNA’d for $220,000 at Keeneland November in 2015 carrying a foal by Animal Kingdom. The resulting foal, a filly named Bentley’s Dream was a $65,000 KEENOV weanling turned $325,000 FTSAUG yearling and she won on debut for Lothenbach Stables at Churchill Downs in November. Sweet Dreams was purchased by McMahon and Hill Bloodstock on behalf of Buscar Stable for $180,000 at the 2016 KEENOV sale in foal to Street Sense and that colt brought $210,000 from Japanese interests at the following year’s November sale. That operation sold her 2018 Tapit colt this past November to Alex Solis and Jason Litt for $380,000.

“She was a standout as the only mare in foal to Tapit,” said Sergio de Sousa of Hidden Brook, who consigned the mare.

“Her broodmare career got started off on a good note with her first foal winning first time out. Mission accomplished for us. Well done to the owners and good luck to the new connections.” @CDeBernardisTDN

Ingordo Strikes for Lavender Chrissie

Stakes winner Lavender Chrissie (Scat Daddy) (hip 410) got things rolling early in Tuesday’s session when selling for $400,000 to bloodstock agent David Ingordo, who was acting on behalf of a longtime client. Consigned by Lane’s End, the 7-year-old mare sold in foal to Union Rags.

“She was a lovely yearling,” Ingordo said after signing the ticket out back. “We knew her from a yearling. She is in foal to Union Rags. Scat Daddy needs no introduction. He is going to be a super broodmare sire. She was, on physical, as pretty of a mare as was going to walk up here.”

He continued, “This client is going to build a commercial racing/broodmare band. He knows I work at Lane’s End and he knew the mare was there, so he said if you like her, buy her. She will probably go to one of our stallions at Lane’s End.”

A $185,000 KEESEP yearling purchase by West Point Thoroughbreds, Lavender Chrissie won four of her eight starts for trainer Dale Romans, highlighted by a victory in the 2015 Zia Park Oaks. She RNA’d for $290,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November Sale, after which she was put back in training. The gray made just one more start in April of 2017 before being officially retired with earnings of $281,093.

A full-sister to MGSP Gossamer Wings, Lavender Chrissie is a half-sister to GSW Baby J (J Be K) and SW & GISP Laureate Conductor (Bernstein). @CDeBernardisTDN

Union Rags Colt Proves Popular at KEEJAN

A yearling colt by Union Rags (hip 621) was a hot commodity at Keeneland January Tuesday and ultimately sold to Gerry Dilger for $390,000.

Bred by Kinnickinnic Stables, the bay is the first foal out of Zondaq (Bernardini), a half-sister to GSW & GISP Discreet Dancer (Discreet Cat); GSW Travelin Man (Trippi); and SW & GSP Sweet N Discreet (Discreet Cat). Zondaq, a $425,000 KEESEP yearling, was purchased by New Providence Bloodstock for $190,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton February Sale and made two starts for Mike Ryan and trainer Rudy Rodriguez before retiring in the fall of 2016. The colt was consigned here by Indian Creek.

“He was really well received,” said Indian Creek’s Shack Parrish. “It was a little bit above what we expected, but we loved it. Credit should go, I must say, to our former farm manager, who left on the 31st and did the majority of the prep on this guy.”

Indian Creek sold another pricey short yearling later in the sale in hip 795F, a colt by Kitten’s Joy out of Illegal Search (Officer), who summoned $250,000 from Dudley Racing. The bay was bred by Susan King in partnership with Ken and Sarah Ramsey. @CDeBernardisTDN

McMahon Gets Happy

Bloodstock agent Mike McMahon wasn’t able to acquire a weanling from the first crop of Runhappy at the November sales, but he rectified that Tuesday at Keeneland when purchasing a son of the sprint champion for $250,000.

“Runhappy is really a sire that we wanted to buy a colt by and this was the best colt here,” McMahon said. “He stacked up really high with the colts we tried to buy in November. We’ve been after a Runhappy for a while.”

Hip 560 is out of multiple stakes winner Summer Cruise (Vicar) and is a half-brother to graded stakes winner Sandbar (War Pass) and stakes placed Cruzette (War Pass). He was bred by Matthew Ernst and Martha Buckner and was consigned by her family’s Clarkland Farm.

Clarkland purchased Summer Cruise, in foal to Lea, for $100,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale. Her filly by Lea sold for $110,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November sale and resold for $150,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October sale.

Runhappy had 14 weanlings sell at the Keeneland November sale for an average of $149,643 and a median of $145,000. The stallion stands at Claiborne Farm for $25,000.

Asked what has impressed about the champion’s first crop of foals, McMahon said, “They have lots of quality. They are forward horses, bright and good-shaped. They have great hind legs and conformation.”

Hip 560 is likely destined for a return engagement in the sales ring later in the year.

“He’ll pinhook,” McMahon said. “Probably at [Fasig-Tipton] Saratoga, but not necessarily. It could be Keeneland, too. We’ll just play it by ear and see how he develops. He’ll get every chance.” @JessMartiniTDN

Stephen Got Even Dead at 23

Tue, 2019-01-08 18:08

Stephen Got Even (A.P. Indy-Immerse, by Cox’s Ridge), millionaire and winner of the 2000 GI Donn H., has died at age 23 at Lane’s End Farm.

Stephen Got Even stood at Lane’s End from 2001 through 2015 and retired from stud alongside his sire. He is the sire of champion 2-year-old colt Stevie Wonderboy and Grade I winners First Dude and I Want Revenge.

He sired no fewer than 38 black-type stakes winners; his progeny have earned more than $50.5 million.

Bred by W. S. Farish and W. S. Kilroy, Stephen Got Even was foaled at Lane’s End Farm and sold to Stephen and Tomisue Hilbert for $325,000 at the 1997 Keeneland July Yearling Sale. He will be buried in the cemetery at Lane’s End.

“Stephen Got Even will be greatly missed at the farm and will be remembered for his kind disposition,” a press release from Lane’s End read.

WinStar Farm Tops Breeders List in 2018

Tue, 2019-01-08 16:19

WinStar Farm LLC topped the individual breeders list in North America in 2018 with $8,765,757 in earnings, according to statistics released Tuesday by The Jockey Club Information Systems. WinStar Farm LLC bred 219 starters with 204 wins, 164 seconds, and 144 thirds out of 1,216 starts. WinStar Farm LLC also led the individual breeders list in 2016.

Calumet Farm was second with earnings of $8,572,959 with 211 wins out of 1,787 starts.

In addition, WinStar Farm LLC topped the breeders list that includes partners with $11,817,080 in earnings and 319 wins from 2,020 starts. Calumet Farm came in second with $8,630,379 in earnings and 213 wins out of 1,812 starts.

Rounding out the top 10 individual breeders were Besilu Stables LLC, $7,764,896 (20 wins/100 starts); Brereton C. Jones, $7,584,838 (228/1,477); Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey, $7,037,007 (238/1,680); Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, $6,938,655 (113/665); Adena Springs, $6,462,689 (167/1,013); Mike Abraham, $6,416,972 (62/491); Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC, $5,955,327 (137/982); and Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd., $5,747,427 (92/556).

Completing the list of the top 10 breeders including partnerships were Brereton C. Jones, $8,576,043 (246 wins/ 1,641 starts); Besilu Stables LLC, $7,862,435 (23/116); Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey, $7,167,593 (243/1,734); Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, $7,149,383 (122/724); Adena Springs, $6,911,399 (183/1154); Fred W. Hertrich III, $6,692,104 (136/864); and Mike Abraham, $6,587,070 (70/528).

Pedigree Insights: Quality Road

Tue, 2019-01-08 15:31

When it was announced that Quality Road’s fee would more than double to $150,000 this year, the son of Elusive Quality had justifiably been promoted to the major league of American stallions. Only War Front, Tapit, Medaglia d’Oro and Curlin are priced above him, and Quality Road shares the same fee as Into Mischief and Justify, so he is in exalted company.

However, in an industry increasingly prone to knee-jerk reactions, demand for his services have fluctuated quite markedly over the years. For example, his book of mares fell by around a third between his first and second seasons, from 149 mares in 2011 to 91 in 2012. After a reduction of his fee to $25,000, his book revived to 136 mares in his third year, only to fall back to 110 in 2014.

That was the year Quality Road’s first crop came out with all guns blazing, with his sons Hootenanny and Blofeld respectively ranking joint-third and joint-eighth among the colts on the Experimental Free Handicap. Understandably, this earned him a book of 152 mares in 2015, with his fee restored to $35,000, but 2015 wasn’t a banner year for Quality Road’s progeny. They failed to win a graded stake and, as a consequence, his book fell by 40 mares in 2016, leaving him with a crop of 81 2-year-olds to race this year.

Fortunately, his early crops have done so well that they have smoothed out any further bumps in the road and the stallion is enjoying a well-deserved spell of popularity, during which his fee has gone from $35,000 to $70,000 and now to $150,000.

Needless to say, he needed to achieve something fairly extraordinary to fuel these latest increases. The bare facts are that he was represented by no fewer than 11 graded stakes winners in 2017, even though his total number of starters–207– was markedly smaller than those of some of his rivals.

He went close to equalling that feat last year, when he had 10 graded winners among his 221 starters. As many as five of them scored at the highest level, and one of them, City of Light, took the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile to follow Hootenanny (Juvenile Turf) and Caledonia Road (Juvenile Fillies) as his third Breeders’ Cup winner from his first five crops of racing age. He hadn’t fallen far short of a fourth Breeders’ Cup winner when his champion daughter Abel Tasman narrowed Forever Unbridled’s winning margin to half a length in the 2017 Distaff.

Quality Road’s squad of 2018 graded winners underlined his versatility, in addition to his unusual ability. They included members of his first, third, fourth and fifth crops, with the first being represented by Spring Quality (GI Manhattan S. over a mile and a quarter on turf) and Great Stuff (GIII Toboggan S. over seven furlongs). At the other end of the age scale came Lonely Road (GIII Matron S. over six furlongs on turf) and the high-class Bellafina (three graded wins, including Grade I victories in the Del Mar Debutante over seven furlongs and the Chandelier S. over 1 1/16 miles). Bellafina showed that she has lost none of her speed or ability when she easily gave weight and a beating to four opponents in the GII Santa Ynez S. over the weekend.

Quality Road himself raced only once as a 2-year-old, for a maiden special weight win at Aqueduct, and his sire Elusive Quality was unraced at two. That hasn’t stopped him siring plenty of good juveniles, with Bellafina, Abel Tasman, Caledonia Road, Hootenanny, Klimt, Blofeld, Lonely Road and Road To Victory all becoming graded winners at two.

Similarly, the fact that Quality Road was a dirt specialist hasn’t stopped him siring plenty of good turf performers, as did his sire Elusive Quality and grandsires Gone West and Strawberry Road. Hootenanny, Spring Quality and Illuminant have all enjoyed Grade I success on turf, while Paved, Frank Conversation, Lonely Road and Cowboy Culture are other Graded winners on turf. Perhaps the time has come for Europeans to give him more than a cursory look, as his sire enjoyed Group 1 success in Europe with Raven’s Pass, Elusive City, Elusive Kate and Certify.

An interesting aspect of Bellafina’s pedigree is that she is out of a Malibu Moon mare, the stakes-placed Akron Moon. Bellafina is comfortably the best winner sired so far by Quality Road from mares by sons of A.P. Indy, but there are also Grade III-placed performers out of daughters of Congrats and Bernardini, as well as Bellafina’s brother Diamond King, who has been second or third in three GIIIs at up to nine furlongs.

Bellafina ranks alongside Stellar Wind, Girvin, By The Moon and My Conquestadory as one of five Grade I winners produced by daughters of Malibu Moon. Bearing in mind that Malibu Moon spent his first four years as a stallion at a very modest fee in Maryland, he had every right to make a slowish start as a broodmare sire with his eldest daughters. All five of his Grade I winners are out of mares sired after his move to Kentucky, following his eye-catching start with his first runners in 2003.

Not For Love, the non-stakes-winning stallion responsible for Bellafina’s second dam Akronism, is another well-connected horse who gave Maryland breeders access to some first-rate bloodlines. Akronism took the Maryland Million Distaff H. over seven furlongs as a 3-year-old and later took the GIII Royal North S. over six furlongs on turf and the GIII Seaway S. on all-weather.

Bellafina has almost single-handedly raised this family’s profile. As recently as November 2016, Akron Moon failed to find a buyer at $47,000. Two years later, after Bellafina’s two Grade I successes, she was back under the hammer. Although she again failed to sell, she was RNA’d at $2,700,000, again in foal to Quality Road.

Under the Radar: Tonalist

Tue, 2019-01-08 14:50

Today, we begin a series where we ask agents and others who book a lot of mares for their clients which sires might be flying slightly under the radar in this breeding season. Who might be getting overlooked in the rush for the new, hot thing? Read on.

Clark Shepherd, Shepherd Equine Advisers: TONALIST — Lane’s End Farm, $15,000

When I analyze matings for my clients, I try to stay commercial, but first and foremost, I want to design a racehorse. I make a list of OPTIMAL Matings from my overall analysis, then drop back and ask what makes sense physically, then what makes sense commercially.

I focus mainly on the $15,000-plus seasons for built-in commercial perception. If asked this same question last year, I would have said Blame. I supported him from the beginning, and to get to him last year for $12,500 was a blessing. Now, it’s hard to get a mare to him. I have also strongly supported stallions like Violence in a similar way from the start.

In doing upwards of 100 matings per year, you start to see a lot of patterns. Every year a new sire has a pedigree structure that tends to accommodate a broad base of mares. This is almost always a strong indicator of a potential racehorse sire. I like to support this type of stallion in the beginning and even through his “off” years prior to his progeny hitting the track. This approach has proved to be very rewarding. Real results end up creating commercial success even if it wasn’t necessarily perceived that way in the beginning.

This year, I’d have to say Tonalist fits the same profile of sire potential and great value. I’ve been a heavy supporter of Tonalist from day one. I’ve already booked mares this year to him. He’s come down the ladder as far as stud fee, and he seems to accomodate all kinds of mares, both physically and by pedigree structure. I’ve been able to back up my initial impression with what my clients’ mares have produced and what I’ve seen at the sales, not to mention his good sales averages. They might not be 2-year-olds winning at Keeneland in April; they may take a little time, but they’re going to be good horses.

Click for Tonalist’s catalogue-style pedigree or Race Record.

Abel Tasman Stars at Keeneland January Opener

Mon, 2019-01-07 19:50

The Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale was off to a strong start Monday in Lexington even before Abel Tasman (Quality Road) strode into the ring, but the fireworks erupted for the Eclipse champion, who ultimately sold for a sales-record $5 million to Coolmore. It was the most ever paid for a broodmare prospect at the January sale and tied the auction’s highest-priced offering set by the broodmare Mackie in 2000.

“We are very proud and pleased to be able to offer Abel Tasman and to get that result,” said Keeneland’s Director of Sales Operations Geoffrey Russell. “We thank the Cleary brothers and the China Horse Club for the opportunity to market her.”

During Monday’s session, 223 horses sold for $21,052,200. The average was $94,404 and the median was $39,000. With 93 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 29.43%.

During the first session of last year’s January sale, 186 head sold for $13,265,100 for an average of $71,318 and a median of $45,000. The highest price at last year’s opening session was $485,000, one of two to top $400,000 on the day. Three sold for $700,000 or over Monday.

“It was a very solid session across the board,” Russell said. “Even taking Abel Tasman out of the numbers, the sale is very well up.”

A colt by Into Mischief, also bred by the Cleary’s Clearsky Farms, was the day’s top-priced short weanling when bringing a final bid of $375,000.

“Short yearlings are very much in demand,” Russell said. “There is a great appetite for them still. I hope that continues on.”

Taylor Made Sales Agency, which consigned Abel Tasman, sold 50 horses during the session for a gross of $9,433,000 and an average of $188,660. The agency’s Mark Taylor continued to see  demand at the top, but horses struggling to find buyers at the lower levels.

“It’s been good, but it’s been very much like it always is in this market,” Taylor said. “The top 5% is really good and it’s fun. And then the next 20% is solid and it’s good, but below that, it’s really tricky. If you’re selling a $100,000 horse, don’t be confused and think she’s a $200,000 mare. You need to know what you have and set your resereve accordingly.”

The Keeneland January sale continues through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Abel Tasman to Coolmore

“She’s a queen, though, isn’t she?” Ashford Stud manager Dermot Ryan said after signing the ticket at a sale-record tying $5 million to acquire champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road) (hip 288) on behalf of Coolmore. “They are very rare when they come across like that. She had everything and would be anybody’s dream filly to own.”

Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency on behalf of Clearsky Farms and the China Horse Club, Abel Tasman is a six-time Grade I winner. She won the 2017 GI Kentucky Oaks, GI Acorn S. and GI Coaching Club American Oaks and was second in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff before earning the Eclipse statue as champion 3-year-old filly. Her 2018 season included wins in the GI Ogden Phipps S. and GI Personal Ensign S. and she is a finalist for Eclipse champion older female.

“Quality Road is one of your premier young sires at the moment,” Ryan said. “Being by Quality Road, it leaves her open to all the Coolmore stallions. We have American Pharoah, Justify, Uncle Mo, Galileo (Ire)–all of those directions. M.V. [Magnier] will talk to his dad and partners and they’ll decide and let us know.”

Abel Tasman’s $5-million price tag tied the Keeneland January record set in 2000 when Britton House Stud purchased Mackie, in foal to Mr. Prospector.

“Going on the previous market that we saw in November, I definitely think you’d have to think she was up around that level,” Ryan said of the filly’s record-tying price. “Hopefully she’ll go on and produce herself with one of our own sires. It’s very possible. We’re very, very pleased to have her. She’s a collector’s item.”

The sale was a good result for both sides, according to Mark Taylor of Taylor Made.

“I thought it was a good price for the seller and I thought it was good value for the buyer,” Taylor said. “You can’t say $5 million isn’t premium and maybe you get a little greedy, but I just had a lot of respect for Abel Tasman. I think she is worth every penny of that.”

Coolmore purchased Mariah’s Storm, in foal to Storm Cat, from Taylor Made for $2.6 million at the 1996 Keeneland November sale. That in utero foal became champion and standout stallion Giant’s Causeway. Taylor thinks the operation may have scored a similar score with Abel Tasman.

“She is the kind of mare that can produce a stallion and you could be sitting here 20 years from now, like the case was when Coolmore bought Mariah’s Storm from us,” Taylor said. “She could be a mare that makes you $300 or $400 million. It’s a lot of money, but she’s worth a lot of money. She has tons of potential down the road.”

Bidding on the star filly began dramatically in the packed pavilion, with an opening salvo of $3 million instantly hushing the expectant crowd.

“I think it was interesting that someone opened her up at $3 million,” Taylor said. “I think that is indicative of the fact that you don’t have a huge pool of people willing to play at that level. There are a handful of them and they are all pros, so there is no reason to mess around from zero to $3 million. I don’t think Coolmore actually got engaged until about $4.5 million, so they waited and waited and then got engaged. They were well north of the reserve and there were lots of live bids between the reserve and $5 million.”

Abel Tasman was bred by Bernard and Eamonn Cleary’s Clearsky Farm, a nursery started by their late father Eamon in 2009. Through much of Monday’s opening session of the January sale, Clearsky Farm was also represented by the top-priced short yearling after pinhooker Gerry Dilger purchased hip 39, a colt by Into Mischief, for $375,000. The chestnut is out of stakes placed Mary Rita (Distorted Humor), who was purchased by Clearsky for $230,000 at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

“That’s a nice little testamonial to their program,” Taylor said of the session-topping yearling. “They do a fantastic job. Their dad started the operation and they’ve progressed and carried on. They have a great farm manager [Barry Robinette] and great land and they are very shrewd about the mares they buy. Hats off to them, they are doing an amazing job.”

The China Horse Club, which is also co-owners of Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy), bought into Abel Tasman prior to her 3-year-old campaign.

“China Horse Club has only been in the business five years and have won an English Derby, Kentucky Oaks and a Triple Crown,” Taylor said. “The plan they put together and how they are executing it is nothing short of just phenomenal. It was a pleasure to work with both of those groups and we just got lucky enough to present Abel Tasman to the public.” — @JessMartiniTDN

Teo Reflects on the Impact of Abel Tasman

It was a hard decision for China Horse Club Founder and Chairman Teo Ah Khing to part with champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road), who has meant so much to his operation. Ultimately Teo and his partners Clearsky Farm, who bred the superstar mare, decided it was the best business move and they were rewarded Monday when the six-time Grade I winner topped the auction on a $5 million bid from Coolmore.

“We wish the best of luck to the buyer,” said Teo, who watched the bidding in the pavilion, seated beside his wife Ivy. “We enjoyed the journey with her from 2-year-old to 3-year-old to 4-year-old. She is such a great horse and has done so much in her career, especially for the China Horse Club. She brought China Horse Club into American Grade I territory. She is our ambassador.”

The China Horse Club bought half of Abel Tasman at the end of her juvenile campaign, just after her win in the 2016 GI Starlet S. Transferred to Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the bay went form last-to-first in the 2017 GI Kentucky Oaks, becoming the China Horse Club’s first American Grade I winner in just their third year in the horse racing industry. She followed suit with wins in the GI Acorn S. and GI CCA Oaks and finished second in that year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff to clinch the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old filly. An impressive winner of both the GI Ogden Phipps S. and GI Personal Ensign S. in 2018, Abel Tasman is up for a second Eclipse as one of the finalists in the top older dirt female category.

“The Kentucky Oaks opened up the door for the Chinese to believe that America is a good place to invest in the horse industry,” said Teo. “Abel Tasman has done a lot for the American industries through China Horse Club. We are sad to part with her, but we hope this encourages more Chinese to buy in America.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Summer Wind Scoops Up a ‘Star’

Summer Wind Farm owner Jane Lyon was unable to make the trip in from Arkansas for the January sale, but she still made her presence felt with Lane’s End’s Chance Timm going to $750,000 on the breeder’s behalf to secure A Star is Born (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (hip 292), who is in foal to War Front.

“I felt it was a very, very good price for a mare who has produced a Group 1-placed foal, is by Galileo and is in foal to War Front,” Lyon said when reached by phone in her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. “I probably would not have gone much higher because I have bought a lot of mares this year, but I did not want to let her get away at a bargain.”

A daughter of SP Looking Back (Stravinsky), A Star is Born is full-sister to Irish Highweight Rip Van Winkle (Ire) and a half to Italian GSW Le Vie Infinite (Le Vie Dei Colori). Campaigned by Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore contingent, the bay won just one of her eight starts, but has been quite successful in the breeding shed.

A Star is Born’s first foal was the now-4-year-old colt Fleet Review (War Front), who is a stakes winner and MG1SP in Europe. Her second foal Dual Career, another War Front colt, summoned 475,000 guineas at the 2017 Tattersall’s October Sale. The 8-year-old mare produced by fillies by War Front in 2017 and 2018.

“I thought she was a world class mare, the dam of a very good horse and in foal to War Front,” said Hill ‘n’ Dale’s John Sikura, who consigned the mare. “Galileo is the best stallion on the planet, so she is everything you could hope for. She has a good public auction record as far as how well her foals have sold. She is a relatively young mare in foal to a great horse and she is already a producer. It is very fair money. I think she could have made $1 million.”

The Galileo/War Front cross has been very successful in the past, producing the likes of Grade/Group 1 winners U S Navy Flag, Fog of War and Roly Poly. Lyon bought another Galileo mare in foal to War Front at the recent Keeneland November sale, going to $1.75 million for Key to My Heart (Ire) (click here for KEENOV story.

“I thought the only Galileo mare I would ever have is the filly I just sent down to Billy Mott [a now-3-year-old homebred out of More Hennessy (Hennessy)],” Lyon said. “But, when we saw [Key to My Heart] in November, she was just an outstandingly gorgeous specimen. [Summer Wind manager] Bobby [Spalding] and I both just loved her. We thought we would be there at the right price and we were. It was kind of the same thing with this mare. We thought we would be there if it was not an over the top price. Hopefully if she produced one Grade I-caliber horse, she will do it again!”

It has been a banner year for Summer Wind Farm both on the racetrack and in the sales ring. The Georgetown nursery is responsible for undefeated MGISW and soon-to-be champion Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) and dual Grade I winner McKinzie (Street Sense). Lyon also bred and races GISW Chasing Yesterday (Tapit), a half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile). The farm sold the $520,000 yearling topper at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale; were represented by an $875,000 American Pharoah filly at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga Sale; and sold 11 yearlings for a gross of $5.705 million and average of $518,636 at Keeneland September. —@CDeBernardisTDN

Fatale Bere Sparks Late Fireworks

A late supplement, added to the sale just 10 days ago, and the last horse to go through the ring Monday, GISW Fatale Bere (Fr) (Pedro the Great) provided some late fireworks, selling to Shadai Farm for $700,000.

A two-time winner in Europe, the 3-year-old filly captured her American debut in the 2017 Surfer Girl S. at Santa Anita. Annexing the GIII Providencia S. in April, hip 397K came charging late to upset the favorite by a neck in the GI Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18. The Leonard Powell trainee closes out her career with a record of 11-5-0-1 and earnings of $427,964.

“She is going to a great home,” said Elite’s Brad Weisbord. “They buy the best bloodstock and have the greatest people working for them. It was unfortunate for the partners that Fatale Bere was injured as the favorite for the [GI] American Oaks, but Keeneland stepped up and offered a supplement. We are thankful to [trainer] Leo Powell for selecting us to sell the filly. I think she brought exactly what she was worth. Obviously, she has a little bit of an obscure pedigree, a European pedigree by a sire power that is not super strong. But, the Grade I got her over the goal line and she is a gorgeous European physical.”

The Elite team did not have much time to advertise and show off the filly as she was such a late addition. While late supplements come with those types of challenges, Weisbord said extra marketing goes a long way, as does a Grade I win.

“We found out just about two weeks ago that they were thinking about selling her with us and about 10 days ago that she would be a supplement,” Weisbord said. “We got lucky a few years ago, we sold Long On Value here. It was one of the first supplements they offered in a long time and we got him done. I do think you need to market extra to make sure everyone doesn’t miss it.”

He continued, “Obviously, the big buyers are not going to miss it, but for people who get their catalogues hard printed, your older-school buyer who doesn’t go online, you have to market just a touch extra to make sure everybody understands she is here. When you have a Grade I winner, that usually takes care of itself, but we tried to stress how brilliant her Del Mar Oaks was and our passports go a long way in doing that.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

More Pharoah for O’Callaghan

Peter O’Callaghan was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon to purchase weanlings from the first crop of American Pharoah in 2017 and he was rewarded handsomely when he sold a colt by the Triple Crown winner for $2.2 milllion during last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale. O’Callaghan will be hoping for more of the same after purchasing a short yearling (hip 82) by the Coolmore sire for $330,000 Monday at Keeneland.

“He’s a great individual by a special horse,” O’Callaghan said. “It was full price for him, but hopefully it will work. He’ll be back here in September [sale] and we’ll give it a go.”

As American Pharoah’s first 2-year-olds hit the track this year, O’Callaghan thinks there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about his chances for success, especially given the promising start at stud by another son of Pioneerof the Nile.

“American Pharoah was such a special racehorse,” O’Callaghan said. “And he’s a son of Pioneerof the Nile. Cairo Prince is doing very well now, so there’s no reason American Pharoah can’t do well.”

Out of Please Sign In (Doc’s Leader), hip 82 was co-bred by Alfred Nuckols, Jr.’s Hurstland Farm and William Kartozian and was consigned by Hurstland Farm. He is a half-brother to Grade I winner Cry and Catch Me (Street Cry {Ire}) and Group 1 winner Certify (Elusive Quality), as well as to Bijou (Street Sense), who topped the 2013 Keeneland January sale when selling for $1.45 million.

“It’s a lot of fun having one like this, an American Pharoah with that kind of page that has his pedigree and his physical,” Nuckols, whose involvment in the family goes back four generations, said. “Those are the easy ones to sell. The other ones are the tough ones. But it’s just fun raising a horse like that. I’ve always thought a lot of him. He’s been a nice colt since he was foaled.”

Of the colt’s final price tag, Nuckols added, “We had a $250,000 reserve on him, but I just didn’t know. It’s opening day and you never know what they’re going to go for. I’m pretty happy with that.” —@JessMartiniTDN

Louisiana Partners Hit a Home Run

Perry Judice and David Meche purchased Semillon (Eskendereya), carrying her first foal by Outwork, for just $35,000 at the 2017 Keeneland November Sale and were rewarded Monday when the resulting colt (hip 132) sold to Chris White for $120,000.

Consigned by Select Sales, the bay colt hails from the family of GISW Cotton Blossom, GSW Vicarage and MSW Miss Atlantic City.

“We were not expecting him to bring quite that much,” said Meche, owner of Muscadine Farm. “He has really put on a lot of flesh in the last 60 days. It is night and day. He has really grown. He was ready. He looked the part and we thought getting him in the sales ring as soon as we could was best.”

Meche continued, “We like the colt because if his attitude. He is a tough colt and he has a good walk. That is what we liked the most about him.”

This is not Meche and Judice’s first rodeo when it comes to pinhooking a yearling they purchased in utero.

“We have always bought and sold and had success selling some young babies in the past,” Meche said. “We foal out, prep them and bring them here. Our goal is to buy quality mares in foal to young stallions to bring the foals back to market.”

He added, “The mare is rebred and in the regional market in Louisiana. We will definitely bring this mare back to breed in Kentucky next year.” —@CDeBernardisTDN

Q&A: Cormac Breathnach On McCraken

Mon, 2019-01-07 17:12

First-year stallions always create a lot of buzz in January in Kentucky, with farms showing off the new arrivals at open houses to breeders eager to see how they have developed since they left the track, and reminding those breeders of their racing exploits. Sunday, we caught up with Cormac Breathnach, Director of Stallion Nominations for Airdrie Stud, to talk about their new multiple graded stakes-winning son of Ghostzapper, McCraken.

TDN: Let’s talk a minute about his racing career.

CB: McCraken was a top performer. He was an undefeated, graded-stakes-winning two-year-old and to this point still remains the only graded two-year-old colt by Ghostzapper. He broke his maiden very impressively at Churchill Downs for Ian Wilkes, who we all know is a very patient trainer and lets his horses come along, so that was a really marked kind of debut performance. He then went on to win the Street Sense S. and followed up with the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. In his three-year-old debut, he broke the track record winning the GIII Sam Davis S. and by that point was kind of the consensus number one Derby pick, if you will, for most people. He ran well in the Derby. He got struck into leaving the gate. I think a mile and a quarter might have been a little step too far for him.

He came back, got a little recuperation time following the Derby, came back and won the GIII Matt Winn S. very impressively. And then was just touched off from the wire in the GI Haskell Invitational. Girvin caught him, Practical Joke was behind, Battle of Midway and Irish War Cry were in the race. It was a strong renewal of the race. He basically had the race won, opened up two or three lengths at the eighth pole and I think just got caught the last few strides and Girvin got there. But a really top performer. He was six for seven up to a mile and a sixteenth. The horse we’re really proud to retire here to Airdrie and he really fits our model very well.

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TDN: Being a top-class son of Ghostzapper like that has to be a plus as well.

CB: Absolutely, I mean Ghostzapper is a horse I was very close to for a long time (at Adena Springs) and there’s been a market for a son of Ghostzapper for many years. He has been a top stallion for the last several years and to us, McCraken is hands down the best one to retire to Kentucky. And what he really offers breeders that’s a little unusual in that sire line is precocity. He was so quick and ready to go early as a two year old, and that’s not always something that comes with the Awesome Again and Ghostzapper sire line, they’re typically two turn, three and up type of horse. So he adds a lot of speed and a lot of early performance to that sire line.

TDN: Can you tell us a little about the horse’s conformation?

CB: He stands just over 16 hands. He’s 16 1/2. He’s a very balanced horse. He’s got a lot of both his sire and grandsire in him. He’s leggier but he’s got that tremendously long deep shoulder and deep chest that Ghostzapper has and a very long and strong gaskin. Which to me are really true traits of Ghostzapper. He’s a short-ish coupled horse. Very balanced. You know he looks like he’s the kind of horse that you can breed to a lot of different mares, a lot of different body types, because he’s sort of the bullseye. You know there isn’t a lot that you need to add or subtract with him. He’s correct in front, moves well, you know so we’re very pleased with him.

TDN: How many mares would you expect him to cover this year?

CB: I’d say we’ll get in the region of 120, maybe 140 mares, but somewhere in that window. We’re well on the path to that right now and we just hope to add a few in this January sale coming up and through the spring. But we’re very pleased with the quality of mares he’s been getting. We’ll get good support from Governor Jones as all our stallions do and that’s really a key I think, you know to getting horses off on the right foot. So, we’re going to breed plenty of nice mares to him, about 20 mares or so and then we’re getting some good outside support. It’s all positive.

TDN: Finally, how’s he settling in?

CB: He’s settled in really well. He’s a professional horse. He’s very comfortable in the new environment. He’s been test bred and he’s done exceedingly well with that. So far, he has been a really easy resident to the stallion barn. We look forward to that continuing.

Champ Abel Tasman Lights Up Keeneland January

Mon, 2019-01-07 15:58

Heading into Monday’s opening session of the Keeneland January sale, champion 3-year-old filly Abel Tasman (Quality Road) was the one everyone was looking to for fireworks and the 5-year-old did not disappoint, realizing a $5-million final bid from Team Coolmore. Consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency XCVII, the daughter of Vargas Girl (Deputy Minister) was bred by her co-owner, Clearsky Farms, who campaigned the champ in tandem with China Horse Club International. A Grade I winner at two for trainer Bob Baffert, the bay won a trio of Grade Is at three, including the GI Kentucky Oaks. Winner of the GI Personal Ensign and GI Ogden Phipps in 2018, she is once again nominated for a divisional title.

A Star is Born to Summer Wind

Mon, 2019-01-07 15:11

Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Farm went to $750,000 to acquire the 9-year-old mare A Star is Born (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) during Monday’s opening session of the Keeneland January sale. The mare, who sold in foal to War Front, is the dam of MG1SP Fleet Review (War Front). She was consigned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales.

Bellafina Back to Winning Ways With Jaw-Dropping Santa Ynez Romp

Sun, 2019-01-06 19:30

Sunday, Santa Anita
SANTA YNEZ S.-GII, $200,000, Santa Anita, 1-6, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:22.00, ft.
1–BELLAFINA, 124, f, 3, by Quality Road
1st Dam: Akron Moon (SP), by Malibu Moon
2nd Dam: Akronism, by Not For Love
3rd Dam: Jerry Bomb, by Explosive Bid
($220,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $800,000 2yo ’18 FTFMAR).
O-Kaleem Shah, Inc.; B-JSM Equine LLC (KY); T-Simon
Callaghan; J-Flavien Prat. $120,000. Lifetime Record: 6-4-1-0,
2–Mother Mother, 120, f, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Mother, by
Lion Hearted. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($450,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP).
O-George Bolton, Barry Hall, Barry Lipman, Mark Mathiesen &
Andrew Molasky; B-T F Van Meter (KY); T-Bob Baffert.
3–Tomlin, 120, f, 3, Distorted Humor–Belle of Perintown, by
Dehere. ($200,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Fairview, LLC;
B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Steven Specht. $24,000.
Margins: 8HF, 1 3/4, 7HF. Odds: 0.40, 2.10, 16.50.
Also Ran: Reflect, Sold It. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina seemed well on her way to an Eclipse statuette for Champion 2-Year-Old Filly heading into November’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs. But she disappointed as the favorite and likely ceded that award to Jaywalk (Cross Traffic). Sunday at Santa Anita, however, the $800,000 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream purchase gave the racing world an empathic reminder that she is nevertheless one of the top contenders as eyes start to look towards the GI Kentucky Oaks with a comprehensive romp in the GII Santa Ynez S.

Second at odds-on in her career bow July 4 at Los Alamitos, Bellafina scored by 4 1/4 lengths in the GII Sorrento S. Aug. 5 at Del Mar and triumphed by the same margin in the GI Del Mar Debutante S. Sept. 1. Appearing ready for her coronation after a recording a stylish 6 1/2-length rout in the GI Chandelier S. around two turns here Sept. 29, she pressed the pace under the Twin Spires as the 19-10 favorite before fading to finish a well-beaten fourth. Reported to be in season during that effort, all eyes were on Bellafina as she kicked off her 3-year-old campaign in the Santa Ynez.

Away smoothly and in a straight line with all the money on, she punched through between horses to travel along the hip of clear second choice Mother Mother through a modest :22.67 quarter. Drawing on even terms with that one passing the half-mile pole, Bellafina awaited her cue from Flavien Prat and poked a head in front on her own accord going by a :45 flat half. Given just a slight nudge outside the quarter pole, the heavy favorite easily shook away from her rival nearing the stretch and poured it on from there, cruising under the wire the easiest of winners in sharp time. Mother Mother held on for second, ahead of Tomlin, who was in turn well clear for the show.

“She pretty much just took [Prat] to the front and I thought from halfway we were looking pretty good,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “She wasn’t even blowing after the race. She was so composed and it was like it was nothing for her.”

Shah added in regard to the Breeders’ Cup loss, “It was just not meant to be, not her day. She needed to come back and show us what she did today to validate that she’s one of the best fillies in the country.”

Pedigree Notes:

Bellafina is a full-sister to last year’s Federico Tesio S. victor Diamond King, who also placed in the GIII Smarty Jones S., GIII Oklahoma Derby and GIII Swale S. Her dam is a stakes-placed half-sister to Have At It (Kitten’s Joy), winner of last fall’s GII Hill Prince S., out of MGSW Akronism. Akron Moon is responsible for a juvenile filly by Verrazano and was bred back to Quality Road once more last spring.

Tom’s d’Etat Confirmed for Pegasus

Sun, 2019-01-06 19:16

G M B Racing’s Tom’s d’Etat (Smart Strike) has been confirmed to run in the GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park according to racing manager Greg Bensel. The 6-year-old began serious preparations for North America’s richest race with a half-mile breeze in :49 flat (19/110) Sunday at Fair Grounds, his first major activity since capturing the Tenacious S. by 3 1/2 lengths Dec. 22 at the New Orleans oval. That was the first stakes try for the bay, who has racked up six victories in nine career outings.

“This will be a true test,” Bensel told the Fair Grounds notes team. “We don’t know where he fits in the Pegasus, but I do know that he’s won six out of his nine career races so he deserves a chance. He’s a horse that can definitely go the distance up against that type of talent. It will be the most talented field there can be.”

Bought for $330,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Tom’s d’Etat announced himself with a nine-length romp in a Saratoga optional claimer last summer, but had gone unseen for over a year before resurfacing with another dominant optional claiming score Nov. 4 at Churchill prior to his Tenacious heroics. He will have two more breezes before the Pegasus, Stall said.

The Week In Review: Transformation of TVG Seems Inevitable

Sun, 2019-01-06 18:33

The Week in Review

If you were trying to watch the early races from Gulfstream and Aqueduct on TVG over the weekend, you had a problem. On Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST, TVG is airing a sports betting show called “More Ways to Win.” One of the hosts is Dave Weaver, who has been part of TVG’s racing team.

By the time More Ways to Win went off the air on Saturday, two races had been run at Gulfstream, two at Aqueduct and Tampa and one at Laurel. For the Aqueduct and Gulfstream races, they interrupted the sports betting show just long enough to show the running of the race. There was nothing in the way of build up or analysis from the network’s horse racing experts.

As things stand now, the racing fan isn’t missing that much because of the More Ways to Win show. What is disturbing is the direction this is surely going to go.

More Ways to Win is from the sports betting firm Fanduel. TVG and Fanduel are owned by the same company. Fanduel is putting this much emphasis into a sports betting show when its product is currently available only to a tiny percentage of the country. New Jersey residents can bet with Fanduel online or at the Meadowlands. Fanduel also runs the sports book at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia and has the contract to eventually open a sportsbook at a casino in Pennsylvania. That’s it.

Just imagine what the scope of Fanduel’s sports betting platform will be in the U.S. in, say, five years. It will be massive. If they’re devoting this much time to sports betting on TVG now, what will happen when they’re in 30 states and their sports betting revenue dwarfs their take on racing?

The likely answer is that TVG is going to become a sports betting network that may or may not show a few horse races here and there. The racing can always be farmed out to TVG2, but that network is not available to nearly as many people as the main TVG network is.

People love to complain about TVG and, in particular, some of its hosts. You might want to stop taking TVG for granted because the TVG as we know it is probably not long for this world.

For what it’s worth, the More Ways to Win show is outstanding, with lots of valuable insights from hosts, Weaver among them, who clearly know their stuff.

Upheaval on Road to the Derby

The first week in January is not normally a time when you expect anything significant to happen when it comes to potential candidates for the GI Kentucky Derby, but last Saturday’s races produced the sort of upheaval normally found when the major preps come rolling around.

It was a very good day for two horses and a not-so-good-day for two others.

Despite the horse having had only one career start, the hype machine had hit overdrive for Coliseum (Tapit), the favorite in the GIII Sham S. at Santa Anita. That was hardly a surprise. Trained by Bob Baffert, by Tapit, owned by Godolphin and an easy winner of his maiden race, the ‘TDN Rising Star’s potential seemed unlimited. The only glitch was that Baffert had often mentioned that the horse was high on talent but needed to make strides in the maturity department.

Baffert’s worst fears came true when Coliseum left the gate seemingly disinterested and never really got into gear. In a flat performance, he finished sixth, beating one horse. While it was a major setback, it’s way too early to give up on Coliseum.

“He needed the race and he got behind after he didn’t break and I was afraid of that,” Baffert said.

Still, with the way his 3-year-olds had been mowing down everything in sight since last summer, it was a shock to see a highly regarded Baffert colt throw in a clinker. Guess, the guy is human after all.

Horses mature at different rates and Baffert will, no doubt, eventually bring out the best in him. That may not happen by Derby Day, so, perhaps this could be a GI Haskell-GI Travers horse. We’ll see.

As Coliseum took a step in the wrong direction, Sham winner Gunmetal Gray (Exchange Rate) vaulted into the top tier of Derby contenders with a visually impressive win. The horse was last on the final bend before unleashing a powerful turn of foot that carried him to a one-length win under Mike Smith. It was the first start for the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained colt since he finished fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Even with the explosive late effort, there will no doubt be skeptics when it comes to Gunmetal Gray. His Beyer figure was an 82. That’s not the kind of number it takes to win the Kentucky Derby. Not even close.

At Gulfstream, there was a similar story in the one-mile Mucho Macho Man S. Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}), appeared to be a major player on the way to Louisville. In the hands of Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, he broke his maiden at Saratoga and then finished second in the GI Champagne after stumbling at start and spotting the field several lengths. With a fever having knocked him of the Juvenile, he finally made it back to the races yesterday, and the results were not pretty. With no apparent major excuses, he finished a lackluster fourth.

The winner was ‘Rising Star’ Mihos (Cairo Prince). In his first try beyond six furlongs he stayed perfect at three-for-three for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, winning by a neck. While there was nothing wrong with his race, he will likely have to do more before being considered an upper echelon Derby candidate.

Did Computer Sharks Attack Sham Pools?

Looks like the computer guys–those big players who use computer algorithms to handicap the races and collect huge rebates–made major last-second bets on the Sham. Based on the betting patterns, they were clearly convinced that Coliseum was an overlay. Whether or not they collected on Gunmetal Gray is unclear.

Here are the odds when the horses entered the gate and the final odds:

Horse – Start of Race – Final Odds
Sueno: 16, 18
Gray Magician: 8, 5
Savagery: 25, 17
Easy Shot: 70, 87
Coliseum: 2-5, 3-5
Gunmetal Gray: 7-2, 7-2
Much Better: 12, 7

This may have been a no harm, no foul situation since the price on the winner didn’t change. But suppose someone had bet on Much Better and he won. They were expecting to collect $26 and instead cashed for $16. You win, but you feel like you lost. That’s not how you keep your customers coming back. Imagine how much money had to bet on a Saturday card at Santa Anita to account for such huge late odds swings? This is bad for the game.

KEEJAN Kicks Off 2019 Sales Season

Sun, 2019-01-06 13:59

Coming off a strong November sale, Keeneland looks to pick up 2019 right where they left off with the four-day Keeneland January Horses of All Ages Sale, which kicks off at 10a.m. Monday.

The 1,583-horse catalogue is highlighted by champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road), who sells as Hip 288 during the opening session. There are 709 broodmares/broodmare prospects, 601 yearlings, 258 horses of racing age and six stallions.

“I think it starts with the quality offerings the consignors have brought to the sale,” said Keeneland’s Vice President of Sales Bob Elliston. “It starts with champion mare Abel Tasman and then recentle Fatale Bere, Grade I winner of the Del Mar Oaks. Those two would make headlines at any kind of breeding stock sale, so we are very excited about that.”

A Grade I winner at ages two, three and four, Abel Tasman won an Eclipse Award and six Grade I events, earning a total of $2,793,385 for Clearsky Farm, China Horse Club and Hall of Famer Bob Baffert.

“I think that she’s one of these rare collector’s items that don’t come around very often,” said Mark Taylor, whose Taylor Made Sales is consigning the mare. “A lot of those great mares are in private hands, they don’t see the sales ring, so she’s unique. Winning six Grade Is, for anybody that races horses, I mean winning a Grade I is difficult. To do it six times, and then the iconic races that she won in the fashion she won them in, and her versatility. She’s rare, and it’s really, really a privilege to have her in the barn. Mares like her just don’t come around very often.”

The January sale boasts some impressive recent graduates, such as MGISW Catholic Boy (More Than Ready), G1SW Mind Your Biscuits (Posse), MGSW Flameaway (Scat Daddy) and GSW and GISP Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man).

“If you bring these kinds of quality racehorses, as well as quality broodmares and short yearlings, with the outstanding successes that have occurred, people are keen on coming to January,” Elliston said.

At last year’s January sale, 909 horses sold for a gross of $34,996,000 with an average of $38,499 and a median of $12,000. The 2018 renewal was topped by MGSW Mrs. McDougal (Medaglia d’Oro), who summoned $1.6 million from bloodstock agent Steve Young. The highest-priced yearling was a $1 million son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah purchased by Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier.

The January sale runs through Thursday with sessions beginning at 10a.m. daily.


Exchange Rate Colt Comes Guns Blazing in the Sham

Sat, 2019-01-05 19:32

Saturday’s GIII Sham S. was billed as and bet like a procession for highly touted TDN Rising Star‘ Coliseum (Tapit), but when that one came up empty, another grey colt stole the show as Gunmetal Gray (Exchange Rate) rallied from last to first to score impressively. Installed the 7-2 second choice having last been seen finishing fifth behind Coliseum’s stablemate Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 2, the $225,000 OBS March acquisition only out-broke the favorite but was allowed to lope along at the back by Mike Smith behind splits of :23.46, :46.95. Still left with lots to do once Much Better (Pioneerof the Nile) took over heading for home, Gunmetal Grey swung out into the center of the track in upper stretch and catapulted past foes under left-handed encouragement to score by a widening length. Sueno (Atreides) tagged Much Better for second, while the latter’s stablemate Coliseum never looked comfortable after rushing up out wide and checked in a disappointing sixth of seven.

Saturday, Santa Anita
SHAM S.-GIII, $100,702, Santa Anita, 1-5, 3yo, 1m, 1:38.96, ft.
1–GUNMETAL GRAY, 120, c, 3, by Exchange Rate
1st Dam: Classofsixtythree (GISP, $195,774), by Include
2nd Dam: Rambling Rose, by Blush Rambler
3rd Dam: Whip Cream, by Vigors
RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $225,000 2yo ’18 OBSMAR).
O-Hollendorfer, LLC, Pearl Racing & West Point
Thoroughbreds; B-Lee Pokoik (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer;
J-Mike E. Smith. $60,000. Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-0, $217,200.
Werk Nick Rating: F. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Sueno, 120, c, 3, Atreides–Class Above, by Quiet American.
($1,500 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $61,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Silverton
Hill LLC; B-Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings, Inc (KY); T-J. Keith
Desormeaux. $20,000.
3–Much Better, 120, r, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Dust and
Diamonds, by Vindication. ($600,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV).
O/B-Three Chimneys Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $12,000.
Margins: 1, 3/4, 1 1/4. Odds: 3.70, 18.50, 7.80.
Also Ran: Gray Magician, Easy Shot, Coliseum, Savagery.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

“I didn’t expect to be that far back,” said Hall of Famer and Eclipse Award finalist Smith, who hadn’t before ridden Gunmetal Gray. “I got taken off my game plan a little bit. Coliseum kind of slipped and broke to the right. He really hit me in behind and set me farther back than I wanted to be… I learned that distance shouldn’t be a problem, which is very important. The best part of his race was certainly the last part of it.”

A debut fifth behind yet another highly regarded Bob Baffert pupil in ‘TDN Rising Star’ Roadster (Quality Road), Gunmetal Gray improved markedly with the stretch out to a mile and romped by 6 3/4 lengths to graduate at Del Mar Aug. 22. He was second to the aforementioned Game Winner in the GI American Pharoah over an additional sixteenth of a mile here Sept. 22, but found himself very far back early at the Breeders’ Cup and did well to run on for the last of the major purse pieces.

“Mike knew we wouldn’t be near the lead and we were hoping to get some pace to run at,” said winning trainer and fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, whose prior win in the Sham came in 2002. “Mike sat back, bided his time and he ran them down. We came back here after the Breeders’ Cup and he’s really trained well the past two months.”

Gunmetal Gray becomes the third horse to exit the Juvenile with a stakes win: third finisher Signalman (General Quarters) came back to annex the GII Kentucky Jockey Club S., while seventh finisher Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), already a Grade I winner, nabbed the Jerome S. on New Year’s Day.

Earning 10 points Saturday, Gunmetal Gray sits fourth with 14 points on the GI Kentucky Derby leaderboard. He was a 76-1 shot in the Pool 1 of the Derby Future Wager, which closed

Nov. 25.

Pedigree Notes:

Gunmetal Gray is the 90th stakes winner and 40th graded winner for his late sire (by Danzig). He was the most expensive colt, and second priciest juvenile overall, to sell by Exchange Rate last season after he breezed a furlong in :10 1/5. Gunmetal Gray is the fourth winner and first graded winner out of Classofsixtythree, who was third in the 2010 GI Ruffian Invitational H. for owner/breeder Lee Pokoik and trainer Gary Contessa. Pokoik purchased second dam Rambling Rose for $82,000 as a FTKJUL yearling in 1998. Classofsixtythree’s recently turned 2-year-old daughter Land of Liberty (Uncle Mo) sold for $250,000 at this past Keeneland September sale to Fox Hill Farm. She produced an American Pharoah filly May 2 and was bred back to Gun Runner.

TDN Rising Star Mihos Gets Up in Mucho Macho Man

Sat, 2019-01-05 17:05

Third on debut behind next out graded winner Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) at Belmont Sept. 23, Mihos earned the ‘Rising Star’ nod next out when earning his diploma at Aqueduct Nov. 24. Installed as the second choice behind the much-hyped Code of Honor (Noble Mission {GB}), the bay bided his time at the back of the pack, running alongside the favorite through a :23 flat opening quarter. Those two advanced up the outside in unison to sit mid-pack with Code of Honor just ahead of Mihos through a half in :45.42. Trophy Chaser hit the front at the top of the stretch and tried to run away with it, but Mihos charged up the outside to collar that rival in the final strides for a neck success. Florida-bred Garter and Tie rounded out the trifecta with Code of Honor fading in the lane to be fourth.

“He was resolute, that’s for sure. That’s kind of typical of him,” trainer Jimmy Jerkens said. “The first two races, he kept coming. Even when he looked like he didn’t have the best of it, he gives himself a little breather and then comes again.”

“We were a little wide the whole way,” said winning rider Jose Ortiz. “Code of Honor was on my inside and I tried to make a move. I tried to run with him. I thought he was the horse to beat. I thought it would take a lot of speed to catch Trophy Chaser. When we got to the 3/16ths, my horse switched leads a little late. Trophy Chaser got away from me a little bit, but when he changed leads and I hit left-handed and he gave me a great kick. He had a target in front of him and he kept coming.”

As for the beaten favorite, Hall of Famer John Velazquez said, “He was going easy, but at the quarter-pole he took a deep breath and let the bridle go.”

Mihos is the second foal out of Feline Flatline, an unraced half-sister to GISW Sharla Rae (Afleet Alex). She produced a Summer Front filly in 2017 and a Speightster colt in 2018. Feline Flatline was bred back to American Freedom. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

MUCHO MACHO MAN S., $100,000, Gulfstream, 1-5, 3yo, 1m, 1:37.56, ft.
1–MIHOS, 116, c, 3, by Cairo Prince
1st Dam: Feline Flatline, by Lion Heart
2nd Dam: Jinny’s Gold, by Gold Fever
3rd Dam: Nijinsky Dancer, by Upper Nile
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($320,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE
WIN. O-Centennial Farms; B-Wayne, Gray & Bryan Lyster (KY);
T-James A. Jerkens; J-Jose L. Ortiz. $61,380. Lifetime Record:
3-2-0-1, $108,880.
2–Trophy Chaser, 116, c, 3, Twirling Candy–European Union, by
Successful Appeal. ($35,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $55,000 RNA Ylg
’17 KEESEP; $42,000 2yo ’18 OBSMAR). O-JCA Racing Stable
LLC; B-Overbrook Farm & Kildare Stud (KY); T-Juan Carlos Avila.
3–Garter and Tie, 120, c, 3, Brooks ‘n Down–Garter Belt, by
Anasheed. O/B-Jacks or Better Farm Inc. (FL); T-Ralph E. Nicks.
Margins: NK, 2 1/4, 5 1/4. Odds: 2.90, 4.90, 7.30.
Also Ran: Code of Honor, Well Defined, Gladiator King.

Munnings Filly Stays Unbeaten at Gulfstream

Sat, 2019-01-05 15:28

Fancy Dress Party, perfect in a pair of previous sloppy track efforts, including a $75,000 optional claimer at Churchill Nov. 24, took it to the next level in Saturday’s Glitter Woman S. at Gulfstream Park.

The 4-5 favorite forced the issue from an outside second through an opening quarter in :22.29, gained command on the far turn and wasn’t for catching in the stretch, drawing clear to win for fun.

“I think she might be a little better on a fast track, actually,” winning trainer Ben Colebrook said. “She did it very impressively. He waited as long as he could and then when he unleashed her, man, she was very impressive. We’re just happy to get the stakes win. She got kind of a late start in her 2-year-old year. She didn’t get a break. It’s a long year and a lot of big races. I don’t know what we’ll do with her yet.”

The winner’s dam had a colt by Conveyance in 2017. She was barren for the 2019 season.

GLITTER WOMAN S., $75,000, Gulfstream, 1-5, (C), 3yo, f, 6f, 1:11.81, ft.
1–FANCY DRESS PARTY, 120, f, 3, by Munnings
1st Dam: The Schvagen, by Matty G
2nd Dam: Mea, by Dayjur
3rd Dam: Meafara, by Meadowlake
($280,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-LNJ
Foxwoods; B-Douglas S Arnold (KY); T-Ben Colebrook; J-Luis
Saez. $45,105. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $132,405. *Full to Will
Munnings, SW, $235,969.
2–Horologist, 118, f, 3, Gemologist–Cinderella Time, by
Stephen Got Even. O-There’s A Chance Stable; B-Cameron
Beatty (NJ); T-John F. Mazza. $14,550.
3–Brunette Princess, 118, f, 3, Bodemeister–Giant’s Princess, by
Giant’s Causeway. ($25,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $75,000 RNA 2yo
’18 OBSAPR). O-OGMA Investments, LLC; B-John David
Zuidema (FL); T-Gustavo Delgado. $7,275.
Margins: 5 3/4, NO, 1. Odds: 0.90, 14.00, 7.30.
Also Ran: Jeltrin, Midtown Rose, Love My Honey, Paula Andrea, Myrrh. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Goldencents Colt Impresses on Meydan Debut

Sat, 2019-01-05 14:31

1st-MEY, AED165,000, Mdn, NH/SH3yo, 1600m, 1:40.81, ft.
MOSHAHER (c, 3, Goldencents–Miss Valiant, by Valiant Nature) tossed his hat into the local Classics fray with a dominant debut display. First away, bay colt was outrun and settled fifth for the opening quarter mile, then pulled Pat Dobbs up towards the front to sit three deep on the pace. Given his head leaving the 600-metre marker, Moshaher put pay to front-running Weld Aldar (GB) (Universal {Ire}) in upper stretch and stayed on strongly through the final furlong to defeat Lacienegaboulevard (Shanghai Bobby) by 6 1/4 lengths. “We were very hopeful coming into the race, because his work at home has been exceptional, but you just never know if they will reproduce that,” winning trainer Doug Watson said. “He did not trial, as he arrived a bit late, but we did work him out of the gates and he did everything right. We think he is a nice horse, so it is nice to see him win like that first time out.” The winner, produced by a half-sister to 2001 GI Mother Goose S. winner Fleet Renee (Seattle Slew), is kin to Valtrus (Lemon Drop Kid), SP, $249,329; and Fearsome (Speightstown), SW, $209,973. Sales history: $55,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $87,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $26,958. VIDEO
O-H and B; B-Darlene & Jeff Wahman (KY); T-Doug Watson.


Curlin Half-Brother to Bolt d’Oro Sharp on Debut

Sat, 2019-01-05 13:35

Global Campaign (c, 3, Curlin–Globe Trot, by A.P. Indy), a half-brother to MGISW Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro), kicked off his career with a sharp victory at Gulfstream Saturday afternoon.

The bay showed no fewer than four bullet moves on the worktab, headed by a five-furlong drill in 1:00 2/5 (1/21) at Palm Meadows Dec. 29 and was off as the even-money favorite.

The $250,000 KEESEP yearling broke well and forced the issue from the outside while hard held in second. He gained command under his own restraint on the far turn, kicked for home in complete command while racing on his left lead, and switched over in midstretch to win by a geared-down five lengths. Growth Engine (Tapit) was second.

The final time for seven furlongs was 1:24.49.

Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0.

O-Sagamore Farm LLC & WinStar Farm LLC; B-WinStar Farm LLC (Ky); T-Stanley Hough.

Racing Age Prospects Bring the Form to Keeneland January

Sat, 2019-01-05 11:37

As horses of racing age continue to attract increasing interest at public auction, a pair of owners will look to capitalize with offerings carrying recent graded stakes updates into the Keeneland January Horses-of-All-Ages Sale next week in Lexington. During Monday’s first session of the four-day sale, Marc Detampel will offer GIII Commonwealth Turf S. third-place finisher Marzo (Medaglia d’Oro) through the Hunter Valley Farm consignment and Stuart Morris will consign recent GIII Mr. Prospector S. third-place finisher Heartwood (Tapit) Tuesday.

Marzo Could Pay Dividends for Detampel

Marc Detampel, who has been an active player buying at horses-of-racing-age sales in recent years, will be looking to capitalize on a timely investment when he sends graded stakes placed Marzo (Medaglia d’Oro) (hip 397E) through the sales ring as part of the Hunter Valley Farm consignment Monday in Lexington.

Marzo is a son of stakes-winner Spring Party (Smart Strike), a half-sister to Grade I winner Emcee (Unbridled’s Song) and to the dam of Constitution (Tapit). A $1-million Keeneland September purchase in 2016, the dark bay made just two starts and was well-beaten in both in the fall of 2017. He went through the sales ring at last year’s Fasig-Tipton July Horses-of-Racing Age-Sale and was purchased by Detampel for $35,000.

“I buy a number of horses out of these horses-of-all-ages sales,” Detampel said. “We look for horses that we think we can improve, either by gelding them or by adding blinkers, so they have some potential. In general, we are looking for horses that have only made a few starts. Once they’ve made eight, 10, 12 starts, they kind of are what they are. When they’ve only made a couple, you still don’t know what they can be.”

Marzo, gelded after his purchase last July, broke his maiden over the turf at Ellis Park in September in his first start for Detampel. He hinted at more to come with a third-place effort over a yielding Churchill turf in the Nov. 10 GIII Commonwealth Turf S. and a runner-up effort in the off-turf Woodchopper S. at Fair Grounds Dec. 29.

“With Marzo we saw a horse who could potentially run on any surface,” Detampel explained. “We thought he had the versatility, which he certainly has. You can enter him on the turf and, if it comes off, you feel fine. Especially when you are racing down in New Orleans in the winter, it’s nice to have those horses who can run on the off track as well.”

Of the decision to supplement Marzo to the January sale, Detampel said, “Marzo has exceeded our expectations. We bought him at the right price and now we have a chance to take some money off the table. I certainly buy and sell a lot and my stable turns over quite a bit from year to year–Fergus Galvin from Hunter Valley really is my guy and makes a lot of the buying and selling decisions. We buy a lot out of those sales and we see what those racehorses go for. This is one where we thought we can take a nice profit.”

Detampel, a Chicago-based managing director at the consulting firm A&M, first became involved in racing some eight years ago.

“My neighbor, John Wade, owns a part of Hunter Valley Farm,” Detampel said. “I was talking to him and I became curious as he was talking about it. I started to go to Lexington and to Hunter Valley with him and he introduced me to Fergus. I became good friends with Fergus and he became a mentor, a guy who guided me in racing, and still does. I just fell in love with it.”

Over the years, Detampel’s racing stable, which currently numbers some 20 head, has evolved.

“When I started, I was claiming horses,” he said. “I loved the action, I loved to have horses running. And claiming was a quick way to get in the game. You claim a horse, you can run it in two or three weeks. But as I got into it more and was doing more claiming, you also realize half the horses either have a throat issue or a chip in the knee, a chip in the ankle–obviously you don’t get to vet them before you claim them. Even if the horse looks good on form, it’s just a roll of the dice if you’re getting a sound horse with a good throat. So I thought it was time to get out of the heavy claiming.

Detampel continued, “At the racing sale, you can vet and you can really look at the horse. So that became a more attractive option.”

In the last two years, Detampel has become more active in the yearling market.

“If you buy a yearling with a good pedigree, anything is possible,” Detampel said. “In terms of upgrading the quality of your stable, yearlings give you more upside than claiming horses, who have the advantage that you can run them right away and have a lot of action. So it’s been just a shift in philosophy.”

In addition to Galvin, Detampel gives plenty of credit to trainers Ben Colebrook, Brad Cox, Eddie Kenneally and Marzo’s conditioner Brendan Walsh. With their guidance, Detampel’s stable tied with perennial leaders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. as top owners at the Keeneland spring meeting last year. In addition to Marzo, the stable was represented in 2018 by multiple stakes placed Siem Riep (Tapit) and graded stakes placed Princess Princess (Discreet Cat).

Asked about his involvement beyond the racetrack, Detampel said, “I do pinhook, mainly yearlings to 2-year-olds. I have a Liam’s Map right now with David Scanlon. On the breeding side, Hunter Valley is obviously huge into broodmares and I get involved a little bit with that. I’m involved mainly through buying fillies with really good pedigrees that have residual value as broodmares, buying a yearling or a 2-year-old filly, racing her, and then at some point selling her in foal.”

As someone who is active buying racing prospects himself, Detampel thinks Marzo will have plenty of appeal to potential buyers at Keeneland.

“I think two things really stand out with Marzo,” Detampel said. “Number one, he can run on any surface. That gives you a lot of flexibility. And number two, he has finished second quite a bit and has all his conditions. So he’s running good numbers, he has his conditions, shows he can compete at the stakes level and has had a couple tough seconds. If I’m looking to buy, I am thinking that’s great. I want to see a horse that has lost by a neck or a length, rather than winning by a neck or a length, because he still has those conditions. Marzo still has his 1X condition, which, looking at his form, you have to feel like he is going to knock off his 1X whenever you want to go for that condition.”


Chapman to Test Market with Heartwood

When trainer James Chapman purchased Heartwood (Tapit) (hip 795) for $75,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton July Horses-of-Racing-Age Sale, the well-bred gray had a Churchill maiden win to his credit from five trips to the post. Running in the colors of Chapman and Stuart Tsujimoto since then, the now-5-year-old entire is a multiple stakes winner and multiple graded stakes placed. He will go through the Keeneland January sales ring off a runner-up effort in the Nov. 22 GIII Fall Highweight H. and a third-place finish in the Dec. 22 GIII Mr. Prospector S. at Gulfstream Park.

“He was just a really good-looking horse who looked like he had a lot of potential,” Chapman said of Heartwood’s appeal in the summer of 2017. “He always, from when I first got him, showed he was going to be a nice horse. He’s just gotten better and better.”

Heartwood, a $500,000 weanling at the 2014 Fasig-Tipton November sale, is a son of multiple stakes winner and graded stakes placed Maple Forest (Forestry).

“He is there, but we’re not going to give him away,” Chapman said of Heartwood’s January engagement. “He’s there to see if he brings decent money. If he does, he’ll find a new home. If not, we’ll just keep going on with him.”

Chapman will also offer War Ballad (Declaration of War) (hip 603) through the Stuart Morris consignment at Keeneland next week. The 3-year-old filly, who RNA’d for $5,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Turf Yearling Sale, is a two-time winner and a granddaughter of multiple graded stakes winner Miraculous Miss (Mr. Greeley).

“She’s a really nice, well-bred filly who should be a really nice 3-year-old,” Chapman said of the dark bay. “We bought her at a nice price and she’s done well for us, so we’re just moving her on.”

Chapman agreed the January sale provided horsemen with a useful opportunity.

“Keeneland does a really good job with the sale,” Chapman said. “It’s nice because I do this for a living. So it’s nice to have ways to move money around.”

Chapman, who trained two-time G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner Caller One (Phone Trick), is now based in Lexington and, while he has 40 horses in training, his operation isn’t limited to racing.

“We do everything,” he said. “We do babies–the 2-year-old thing has gotten a little bit dicey–but we buy weanlings to yearlings and run horses. We do whatever, but I try not to breed. When you can go to Keeneland and buy those nice horses for reasonable prices, less than the stud fees, I try to not breed.”

The Keeneland January sale will be held Monday through Thursday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Eclipse Award Finalists Announced

Sat, 2019-01-05 11:36

Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky), Triple Crown hero and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy) and the exceptional 3-year-old filly Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) will battle it out for hotly contested and much-debated Horse of the Year honors as the finalists for the 2018 Eclipse Awards in 12 equine and 5 human categories were revealed Saturday morning.

Accelerate, whose owner Hronis Racing was among the three finalists in that particular division, won six of his seven outings in 2018, including a wide-trip success in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Justify’s rise to glory in 2018 was nothing short of sensational, going from a February maiden score to become the second Bob Baffert-trainer runner in four years to win the Triple Crown, albeit in the remarkable space of less than four months.

But for a somewhat questionable disqualification in the GI Cotillion S., Monomoy Girl would have amassed a perfect record in 2018, with marquee victories in the GI Kentucky Oaks, the GI Acorn S. and GI CCA Oaks ahead of a brave success in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff. All three are also well-positioned to be named unanimous champions in their individual divisions.

The complete list of Eclipse Award finalists is as follows:

Horse of the Year

Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky)

Justify (Scat Daddy)

Monomoy Girl (Tapizar)

3-Year-Old Male

Catholic Boy (More Than Ready)

Justify (Scat Daddy)

McKinzie (Street Sense)

3-Year-Old Female

Midnight Bisou (Midnight Lute)

Monomoy Girl (Tapizar)

Rushing Fall (More Than Ready)

2-Year-Old Male

Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg})

Improbable (City Zip)

Knicks Go (Paynter)

2-Year-Old Female

Bellafina (Quality Road)

Jaywalk (Cross Traffic)

Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire})

Male Sprinter

Imperial Hint (Imperialism)

Roy H (More Than Ready)

Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic)

Female Sprinter

Finley’sluckycharm (Twirling Candy)

Marley’s Freedom (Blame)

Shamrock Rose (First Dude)

Male Turf Horse

Expert Eye (GB) (Acclamation {GB})

Glorious Empire (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire})

Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic)

Female Turf Horse

A Raving Beauty (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire})

Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire})

Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire})

Older Dirt Male

Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky)

City of Light (Quality Road)

Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg})

Older Dirt Female

Abel Tasman (Quality Road)

Marley’s Freedom (Blame)

Unique Bella (Tapit)


Jury Duty (Ire) (Well Chosen {GB})

Optimus Prime (Fr) (Deportivo {GB})

Zanjabeel (GB) (Aussie Rules)


Mike Abraham

John D Gunther

WinStar Farm LLC


Peter Brant

Hronis Racing LLC

Team Justify

Apprentice Jockey

Reylu Gutierrez

Weston Hamilton

Edgar Morales


Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Jose Ortiz

Mike Smith


Steve Asmussen

Bob Baffert

Chad Brown