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Inside the Winner’s Circle: Covfefe

Tue, 2019-08-06 15:30

“Inside the Winner’s Circle, Presented by Keeneland” is a series showcasing graduates of the Keeneland September sale who have gone on to achieve success on racing’s biggest stages.

When Covfefe (Into Mischief) arrived at Brad Cox’s barn at the Fair Grounds to begin training for her 2019 campaign, the trainer could have circled just about any race on his calendar. He had a talented, fast, well-bred filly and might have entertained thoughts of trying the GI Kentucky Oaks. But what makes Cox one of the fastest rising stars in his profession is that he knows his horses, their strengths, their weaknesses, and which races to point for. Way back on Feb. 17, Covfefe had her first work of the year, a three-furlong breeze at the Fair Grounds, and Cox soon thereafter circled August 3 on his calendar. His plan was to do whatever it took to win the GI Longines Test S. at Saratoga.

“From day one, when she came to New Orleans, the goal was to get her to the Test,” he said. “It’s a tremendous, important race and we really wanted to win it. The idea was to have her as good as she could possibly be on that day.”

It’s not often that things work out that way in the roller-coaster world that is horse racing, but for Cox and the owners, LNJ Foxwoods, the 2017 Keeneland September graduate acted like she was in on the plan. Winning her first Grade I race, she outgamed GI Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress in the stretch to win by a half-length under Joel Rosario. Bellafina (Quality Road) was third. All three were entered in the 2017 Keeneland September sale.

Covfefe was consigned by Gainesway Farm, was bred Helen Alexander and sold for $150,000.

When she entered the sale, the Gainesway team was confident they might be selling a future star.

“All I can say is Helen Alexander breeds some of the best race horses year after year, year in and year out, including Grade I winners,” said Gainesway’s director of sales Brian Graves. “We’re just fortunate to sell them for her. She gets all the credit. She was a medium-sized filly, perfectly balanced, and she looked like she would be razor sharp.”

Covfefe | Sarah K. Andrew

Cox was already impressed before Covfefe ran her first race, an easy maiden win in September at Churchill Downs.

“This filly, from day one, from the first time we breezed her it was like, ‘Wow, she is special.'” Cox said. “I can’t say I knew she’d win a Grade I win but I knew this was an extremely fast filly. The McKathans broke her and thought a lot of her. There have always been a lot of expectations with her. She has a tremendous pedigree. She’s just freaky fast, and that’s the bottom line.”

After the maiden win, Cox tried the GI Frizette S. at Belmont, which is run at a mile. Though he’s not convinced Covfefe is just a sprinter, he found out that day that maybe he had asked too much of her distance-wise as she finished fourth. The connections put her away for the winter and didn’t bring her back until an April 6 allowance race at Keeneland, which she won by a half-length. But it was in her next start, the GIII Ms. Preakness S. that she first served notice that she was among the fastest three-year-old fillies in training. She won the May 17 race by 8 ½ lengths and recorded a 107 Beyer figure.

Yet, as always seems to happen in horse racing, there was a bump in the road.

In her last prep for the Test, Covfefe was entered against older horses in the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs. Sent off at 2-5, she got hooked up in a speed duel with Mia Mischief (Into Mischief), a Grade I winner, and lost the battle. She finished third and her Beyer number tumbled to an 84.

Cox wasn’t worried.

“The Roxelana was a very tough set up for her,” he said. “She was down on the inside and pressed by a very nice filly who she sat right on the outside of her. The track was kind of drying out that day. I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but they went extremely fast early, there’s that long stretch at Churchill and she was beaten by an older filly who is a Grade I winner. In the end, everything still worked out.”

If Cox had any reservations about the Roxelana loss, they were erased when Covfefe had two outstanding workouts at Churchill Downs in preparation for the race. He came to Saratoga glowing with confidence. He had done his job. Covfefe was peaking at the exact time he wanted her to peak.

The biggest problem this time would be the level of competition. Serengeti is a Grade I winner, Bellafina is a three-time Grade I winner and Chad Brown had an undefeated filly in Royal Charlotte (Cairo Prince) who looked like she had yet to reach her potential. There was also the matter of another possible pace meltdown. Serengeti Empress has as much early foot as Covfefe has and drew the rail.

“The public made Bellfina the favorite and Royal Charlotte the second choice, and I think that’s because they figured my filly and Serengeti Empress would get caught up in a speed duel,” Cox said.

Serengeti Empress did get the lead, but Rosario was in no hurry to go after her. He sat a length off the pace, which went in 22, 44 1/5 and got by her rival inside the final furlong.

The main goal from her will be the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and Cox said he has not picked out Covfefe’s next race. But it’s not out of the question that some day we might find out what she can do beyond seven furlongs. Her second dam is Aurora, who has produced GI Juddmonte Spinster S. winner Acoma, GI Super Derby winner Arch and GIII Godolphin Mile winner Festival of Light. The first dam is Antics (Unbridled), whose best offspring prior to Covfefe was Albiano (Harlan’s Holiday), a Grade III winner at nine furlongs in Japan.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if this filly were able to win at longer distances,” Graves said. “But neither am I surprised she’s so good sprinting. Basing this on her second dam, when they come from a family like that and are a good physical specimen like she is, they usually can get it done.”

But that’s nothing Cox needs to worry about for now. He had one race in mind all along that he wanted to win and he got the job done. For his clients, he has developed a very good horse, who has made a lot of money and will someday be a very valuable broodmare.

The game isn’t always that easy.

The post Inside the Winner’s Circle: Covfefe appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Tapit on Top at Saratoga

Mon, 2019-08-05 23:26

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected Yearlings Sale opened its two-day run at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion Monday evening, with a pair of yearlings by Tapit causing the biggest fireworks during a session which produced slight increases in both average and median compared with the auction’s 2018 opener.

“It was an outstanding opening session of the 2019 Saratoga sale,” said Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning, Jr. “I thought we saw very competitive bidding throughout the evening. There was a lot of strength and a lot of diversity in the buying bench and overall we’re very pleased. And we’re very excited to have another group of outstanding horses on deck for tomorrow night. I think it will be another outstanding session tomorrow.”

A total of 61 yearlings sold Monday for a gross of $22,775,000. The average of $373,361 was up 7% from the 2018 opening day figure of $348,976 and was ahead of the cumulative 2018 figure of $369,376, which was second best in the auction’s history. The median of $315,000 was up 5% from last year’s first-session median of $300,000.

“We’re pleased to have increases in the average and median compared to day one last year, although I always caution that you have to look at the whole sale as a composite,” Browning said. “There can be some fluctuations and variations from day to day, but I think we are set for another strong session tomorrow.”

West Point Thoroughbreds, which partnered to purchase the 2018 Saratoga sale topper as well as this year’s $2-million OBS March-topping colt Chestertown (Tapit), made the highest bid of Monday’s opening session of the 2019 auction, going to $1 million to secure a son of Tapit from the Lane’s End consignment. Minutes later, Scott Heider secured a filly by the Gainesway stallion for $950,000. A filly by Medaglia d’Oro rounded out the trio of yearlings to sell for $900,000 or over Monday.

The Saratoga sale continues Tuesday with bidding beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Tapit Colt Shines Brightest at Saratoga

A colt by Tapit out of Grade III winner Feathered (Indian Charlie), was the first and only yearling to reach $1 million during Monday’s opening session, selling to David Ingordo, acting on behalf of West Point Thoroughbreds, after a furious round of bidding about halfway through the evening’s festivities. Hip 80 was consigned by Lane’s End on behalf of breeder Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Farm.

“He is by Tapit and we love Tapit,” said West Point President and CEO Terry Finley. “We thought he was a great physical, so we tried to buy him. We thought we would have a good shot at that level, so we are glad we had the winning bid at the hammer drop.”

The West Point team had hip 80, currently named Flightline, on their radar before he reached the sales grounds thanks to Ingordo, who is the leader of Lane’s End’s bloodstock team.

“He saw him for the first time in the middle of the spring, so that is a big help. We are really happy with the relationship we have with Ingordo and the Lane’s End family.”

Finley continued, “I am just very excited. We keep buying these types of horses and we just hope we will get back to the big time. That is what partners want. They want really top end horses to take a shot at the brass ring, so to speak.”

Breeder Jane Lyon was equally excited after the sale, wearing the beaming smile of a proud mother while seated alongside her farm manager Bobby Spalding in the middle of the pavilion.

“We did expect the colt to bring this much because we think he is an extremely nice colt and he has been since birth,” Lyon said. “You always hope you get paid for good colts, so we are very happy.”

Out of a stakes-placed daughter of MGISW Finder’s Fee (Storm Cat), Feathered was a graded winner on turf and Grade I-placed on both turf and dirt. Lyon purchased her for $2.35 million carrying a foal by War Front at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale. The resulting foal was a filly now named Good On Paper. The 7-year-old mare produced a colt by the late Pioneerof the Nile Apr. 15 of this year and was bred back to Tapit.

“Feathered is a mare we bought several years ago,” Lyon said. “She is a lovely mare who ran well on both dirt and turf. This is her second foal for us. We loved him since the day he was born. We are very, very happy that he is such a nice yearling and we are happy with the price.”

Summer Wind Farm has been on fire the past few seasons both on the racetrack and in the sales ring, including selling an $875,000 American Pharoah filly at last year’s renewal of this auction and topping the 2018 Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale with a $520,000 son of Flatter. The Georgetown nursery has produced the liked of champion Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}), Saturday’s GI Whitney S. victor McKinzie (Streer Sense), MGISW Moonshine Memories (Malibu Moon), GISW Chasing Yesterday (Tapit) and Japanese Group 1 winner Mozu Ascot (Frankel {GB}). @CDeBernardisTDN

Heider Adds Tapit Filly to the Family

It was a big couple minutes for Gainesway’s super sire Tapit, who followed up a $1-million colt with a $950,000 filly Monday in Saratoga. Scott Heider, sitting alongside bloodstock agent Donato Lanni, made the final bid on the filly (hip 82), who will be trained by Steve Asmussen.

“She is a lovely filly with an unbelievable female family,” Heider said. “She is exactly what we look for when we are looking to buy from the ring. And on this particular filly, when Steve Asmussen says special and Donato Lanni says special, I have to pay attention to the two of them.”

As Heider was talking, Asmussen walked by and congratulated him on the purchase. Heider told the Hall of Famer, “She’s all yours,” and Asmussen responded, “I love that.”

The dark bay yearling, bred and consigned by Gainesway, is out of Pension (Seeking the Gold) and is a half-sister to graded stakes winner Annual Report (Harlan’s Holiday). The filly’s second dam is Grade I winner Furlough (Easy Goer) and her third dam is Blitey (Riva Ridge), dam of Grade I winners Dancing Spree and Fantastic Find.

“We are trying to balance out some of our turf pedigrees with the dirt,” Heider said. “And we really like the folks at Gainesway. We breed to Tapit and we all have all the faith in the world in Tapit. I think this is a special filly. I hope Steve is excited.”

Heider said the filly was purchased with an eye toward her potential to join the family’s broodmare band.

“That’s what we try to do, do well at the track, but we would love to have this filly long term. That would be the plan. Eventually, we would absolutely would want to keep her in our portfolio.”

Heider will switch gears during Tuesday’s second session of the Saratoga sale and, through the Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales consignment, will offer a buzz-worthy son of Curlin who is the first foal out of Grade I winner Taris (Flatter) (hip 134).

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Heider said of the pending offering. “That colt out of Taris has been a superstar from the day he was born and he’s never looked anything other than incredible. We sell the colts. Otherwise we would keep him and race him, but he’s been phenomenal from day one. It appears that everyone likes him and he is absolutely here to sell. I hope the right folks end up with him. We want him to do well. Tomorrow night is going to be a different kind of nervous.”

Tapit ended the session with the two top-priced offerings and the results were gratifying to Gainesway’s Michael Hernon.

“Two super offerings,” Hernon said. “That was a lovely colt from Lane’s End, he was just a top-drawer product (hip 80). And then our own filly, she was aggressively pursued by three leading buyers and thanks to buyers Scott Heider and Donato Lanni. Roy and Gretchen Jackson were aggressive underbidders and chased her all the way. We are delighted with the sale. She is a filly with great potential, a great family behind her–her third dam is Blitey, it’s top Phipps blood there. And she’s a daughter Tapit, who speaks for himself. It’s all there. The pedigree is there, the physical is there she had a lot of class. She’s in good hands and we wish them the very best.”

Gainesway purchased Pension for $160,000 as a 5-year-old at the 2008 Keeneland November sale. She was bred back to Tapit this year.


Partnership Strikes for Medaglia d’Oro Filly

A filly by Medaglia d’Oro (hip 49) set off fireworks midway through Monday’s opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, selling for $900,000 to bloodstock agent Kerri Radcliffe. Radcliffe did her bidding out back flanked by George Bolton and Sheila Rosenblum. The yearling will be campaigned by a partnership which includes those two prominent owners.

“We said if we get this filly our slogan would be, ‘Hot women buy fast horses,'” Bolton said with a chuckle. “I am holding on for dear life.”

He added, “Basically this was [Kerri’s] pick of the whole sale. She was the athlete she loves to buy. So you get another partner and get the horse versus lose the horse and that’s what we are going to do.”

Radcliffe said, “She’s very special. She looks like an athlete and she’s by a great sire. I loved her. She has a beautiful head. She’s very quality.”

Of the new ownership group, Radcliffe said, “There is a whole group of them–a lovely big partnership. She’ll stay in America, but we haven’t picked a trainer yet.”

The dark bay filly is out of Grade I-placed Light the City (Street Sense). Consigned by Eaton Sales, the yearling was bred by Mike Hall and Sam Ross’s Breeze Easy. The operation purchased Light the City, in foal to American Pharoah, for $600,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November sale. Her American Pharoah filly RNA’d for $525,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September sale. She produced another daughter of the Triple Crown winner in 2019 and was bred back to Medaglia d’Oro.

Breeze Easy’s fledgling broodmare band was represented by its first few yearlings to sell a year ago and was represented by weanlings to sell for $450,000 and $300,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale.


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Tapit Goes Back to Back in Saratoga

Mon, 2019-08-05 21:08

Heider Family Stables secured the second of back-to-back pricey Tapits Monday when he scooped up hip 82 for $950,000. The half-sister to Grade II-winning juvenile Annual Report (Harlan’s Holiday) was consigned by Gainesway, Agent V. Gainesway also bred the Mar. 14 foal. The sale came just one hip after West Point Thoroughbreds paid $1 million for a son of the Gainesway stalwart.

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Tapit Colt First to Seven Figures at Fasig

Mon, 2019-08-05 20:58

The Tapit colt Flightline became the first seven-figure seller of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale after bringing a cool $1 million from West Point Thoroughbreds. Consigned as hip 80 by Lane’s End, the Mar. 14 foal is out of GSW/MGISP Feathered (Indian Charlie). Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind Equine paid $2,350,000 for Feathered in foal to War Front at the 2016 Keeneland November sale.

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Medaglia d’Oro Filly ‘Lights’ Things Up in Saratoga

Mon, 2019-08-05 20:12

A Medaglia d’Oro filly out of the stakes-winning and Grade I-placed Light the City (Street Sense) was the first yearling to approach the $1-million mark Monday evening as agent Kerri Radcliffe went to $900,000 to secure her at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale on behalf of a partnership that will include George Bolton, Sheila Rosenblum and others. Catalogued as hip 49, the Mar. 21 foal was consigned by Eaton Sales. Breeze Easy paid $600,000 for Light the City at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November sale. The resulting filly was a $525,000 RNA at KEESEP last season.

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SF Bloodstock Donates $100,000 to Co-Sponsor New Vocations Indoor Arena

Mon, 2019-08-05 15:22

New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program announced today that leading owner SF Bloodstock has donated $100,000 to co-sponsor the aftercare facility’s indoor arena. In doing so, they join co-sponsor Stonestreet Stables, who were the first to pledge their support, and Fasig-Tipton, who are co-sponsoring the ring in honor of the late Bill Graves. The indoor arena is used to retrain off-the-track horses as they work towards new lives as riding horses.

“There’s nothing’s more important than life beyond the racetrack for our equine athletes,” said Tom Ryan of SF Bloodstock. “SF is committed to supporting this great cause and has the utmost confidence in New Vocations.”

“We are so grateful for SF Bloodstock’s generous sponsorship as they were one of the first donors to support our capital campaign and have been avid contributors of our efforts annually,” said New Vocations Program Director Anna Ford. “The indoor arena allows us to provide transitional training throughout the year without being compromised by the rainy days and cold winter months. We definitely would not be able to serve as many retired racehorses without this building.”

New Vocations launched a capital campaign in 2015 to expand its efforts by building the country’s premier adoption facility at the historic Mereworth Farm. The indoor arena plays a vital role in allowing the program to train retired racehorses year-round, as well as host fundraisers and annual events. It also allows New Vocations to host guests and tours in the indoor viewing room, and it serves as an event venue for industry partners. New Vocations is seeking two additional individuals or organizations to complete the sponsorship of the building.

New Vocations was founded in 1992, and has grown into the largest racehorse adoption program in the country, having placed over 7,000 individual horses, and serving nearly 500 horses annually. With facilities in Kentucky, Ohio, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and New York, New Vocations serves over 40 racetracks, working directly with owners and trainers in need of equine aftercare options.

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Pedigree Insights: Amalfi Sunrise and Constitution

Mon, 2019-08-05 14:46

As the TDN Rising Star Amalfi Sunrise drew off for an easy six-length success in the GII Sorrento S., I was reminded of a commission I received in the fall of 2015. With the Breeders’ Cup bandwagon due to roll into Lexington and Keeneland, WinStar wanted to promote its extensive team of stallions. I was asked to write 250-word summaries for each of them, including three which were scheduled to be added to the roster in 2016.

Strangely, those three–Constitution, Commissioner and Daredevil–were respectively responsible for Amalfi Sunrise, Powerfulattraction and Shedaresthedevil, who filled first, second and third places in the Del Mar Grade II.

Here’s how I assessed Constitution:

“If Constitution can follow in the footsteps of his sire Tapit and broodmare sire Distorted Humor, he will represent a gilt-edged investment in his early years at WinStar. After all, Tapit was available for only $12,500 in his third and fourth years, but the tremendous success of his early crops fueled a rise to 10 times that amount by his eighth season. By 2015 his fee was $300,000. It is a measure of Tapit’s talent that those two seasons spent at $12,500 produced a total of six Grade I winners, including a champion 2-year-old in Hansen.

“Distorted Humor’s story has been very similar. Although his fee in his fourth season fell to $10,000, he too did so well that his fee stood at $150,000 by his eighth season, before rising to $300,000. His first four years, all spent at $12,500 or less, yielded six Grade I winners, including the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness hero Funny Cide and the GI Travers S. winner Flower Alley.

“Constitution was arguably more accomplished than either of these excellent stallions. Having defeated future GI Belmont S. winner Tonalist on his second start, Constitution took his record to a perfect three-for-three with his victory in the GI Florida Derby. Unfortunately, a shin fracture ruled him out of the Triple Crown events, but Constitution later gave another demonstration of his class in winning the GI Donn H.

“Constitution’s dam, the group-placed 2-year-old Baffled, is closely related to Awesome Humor, one of the best juvenile fillies of 2002, when she won the GI Spinaway S.”

That concluding sentence needs a bit of updating, as the quick-maturing Baffled now has three graded/group winners to her credit, the other two being the English-raced Group 2 juvenile winner Boynton and the Grade III-winning Jacaranda, who defeated Paulassilverlining to take the 2014 Tempted S.

Rather like Tapit and Distorted Humor, Constitution didn’t find it all that easy to maintain the first rush of interest from breeders, which saw him cover an impressive 172 mares at a fee of $25,000 in his first season in 2016. His second year was more than OK, even though his book fell to 143, but year three saw him credited with just 110 mares. Consequently, his fee was reduced to $15,000 for the 2019 season. I don’t know how many mares he attracted at the lower fee, but he would surely have been helped by some of the prices paid for his first-crop juveniles at the 2-year-old sales, with youngsters changing hands for $600,000, $350,000, $280,000, $240,000, $220,000 and $200,000.

Of course, books of over 100 mares in those first three years will, with a bit of luck, still give him enough ammunition to avoid the types of peaks and troughs which can result from pronounced fluctuations in crop size.

Although it’s still too early to be drawing many firm conclusions about a young stallion, the comparison of Constitution to Tapit and Distorted Humor is looking far from fanciful. He is making a dream start, with Amalfi Sunrise’s Grade II success coming only three weeks after Constitution’s son By Your Side had maintained his unbeaten record in the GIII Sanford S. over six furlongs. He is therefore one black-type winner, and some $90,000, ahead of the similarly promising American Pharoah on the freshman sires’ table, which augurs well for a fascinating summer and fall.

If Amalfi Sunrise fulfils the promise of her first two victories, Constitution should become the third son of Tapit to sire a Grade I winner, following Concord Point and Tapizar, who were respectively responsible for those fine fillies American Gal (GI Test S. and GI Humana Distaff H.) and Monomoy Girl (whose terrific run of important successes culminated in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff).

Although confident of Constitution’s potential, I am a little surprised that he is making his mark so quickly, as he didn’t race at two. I think his dam Baffled can take some of the credit, as she gained her first success in the May of her juvenile season and then improved on that effort when third of 20 in the G3 Albany S. at Royal Ascot the following month.

As I mentioned earlier, she has also produced two other smart performers which were successful at group/graded level as 2-year-olds. And don’t forget her close relationship to Awesome Humor, whose unbeaten juvenile campaign featured victories in the GIII Debutante S., GII Adirondack S. and GI Spinaway S., all before the end of August. Awesome Humor and Baffled share the same sire, Distorted Humor, and Baffled’s second dam Horns Gray was the dam of Awesome Humor.

There is also plenty of evidence in the bottom half of Amalfi Sunrise’s pedigree to suggest that she should continue to thrive as she matures. Her broodmare sire, the Belmont S. winner and Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker, was much more of a classic type than a noted 2-year-old. I think the same could be said of his stallion career, though he did enjoy Grade I 2-year-old success with Pioneerof The Nile, Country Star and Grace Hall (there may well be another in the shape of his spectacular son Eight Rings, who earned TDN Rising Star status last Sunday).

Of the previous 14 graded/group winners out of Empire Maker’s daughters, only one has scored at that level as a 2-year-old, that being the GI Frizette S. winner Separationofpowers.

Amalfi Sunrise’s second dam, the Phone Trick mare Bella Chiarra, didn’t race at two and didn’t reach her peak until she was five, when she landed the GII Rampart H. over 1 1/16 miles. Bella Chiarra’s half-brother David Copperfield did win at two, on his only appearance, but made his name as a smart turf over the next three seasons.

The other noteworthy aspect of Amalfi Sunrise’s pedigree is that she is inbred 4X3 to Unbridled. Others with two lines to the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner include Unique Bella (3X3), Sweet Loretta (3X3), Tacitus (3X4) and West Coast Belle (3X3). All of these four Grade I or Grade II winners were sired by Constitution’s sire Tapit.

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Empire Maker Colt First Winner, First ‘Rising Star’ for Powerful Partnership

Sun, 2019-08-04 19:31

The powerful ownership group involved with juvenile colt Eight Rings (Empire Maker) celebrated their first win as a team Sunday as the buzzed-about Bob Baffert trainee blitzed Del Mar maiden company to become a no-brainer ‘TDN Rising Star’. A $520,000 Keeneland September yearling, the dark bay prepped for this with a bullet five-furlong drill from the gate in 1:00 flat here July 25 in company with unraced Garth (Into Mischief–Country Star) (Click for XBTV Video) and was crushed down to 3-5 favoritism despite the presence of several other well-bred and pricey newcomers. Pushed on early by pilot Drayden Van Dyke to take a narrow advantage, Eight Rings was hung out three deep as two foes sped up to his inside to share pacesetting duties through a :21.83 opening quarter. The favorite dispatched with those foes with eye-catching ease around the bend, however, got the half in :45.41 and ran up the score from there to the tune of 6 1/4 lengths. He stopped the clock in 1:03.68. Express Train (Union Rags), himself a $500,000 KEESEP grad, was 9 1/4 lengths clear of third finisher and $300,000 OBSAPR buy Shooters Shoot (Competitive Edge) in third.

Eight Rings is a son of Purely Hot (Pure Prize), who at one point had been claimed for $4,000, but blossomed at ages five and six to become a graded winner in the 2014 GIII Whimsical S. sprinting over the Woodbine all-weather. A granddaughter herself of MGSW Wood So (Baederwood), Purely Hot has a yearling colt by Tourist and a filly foal by Pioneerof the Nile. She was bred back to Union Rags for 2020.

Eight Rings is owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding and Ben Goldberg and Elliott Friman’s Golconda Stables. Led by SF and Starlight–co-owners of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy)–the group made an even bigger splash than usual at last year’s yearling sales when they invested $11,430,000 to secure 24 Classic-leaning colts with the plan to send them all to Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, eyeing stallion-making events like the Triple Crown races.

“When we bought him as a yearling, we were excited, and Eddie Woods, who broke the horse, said he didn’t turn a hair all winter,” said SF’s Tom Ryan Sunday evening from Saratoga on the eve of the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale. “He was one of the first horses shipped out to California this spring and has trained like a good horse since then. They’ve still got to show up in the afternoons, but he looks like he really enjoys his job.”

As for what the buying group liked about the colt last September, Ryan said, “There was consensus across the board on him–Bob loved him, [agent] Donato [Lanni] loved him, [Newgate Farm’s] Henry Field loved the horse and so did [Starlight’s] Frankie Brothers. Every time we went back to see him, he put his head down, moved well. He’s got a beautiful head, neck and shoulder and he’s very balanced.”

Considering the quality of the group’s stock, it’s a pretty safe bet that Eight Rings won’t be the only ‘Rising Star’ unveiled by the group in the coming months. As for who the other standouts might be, Ryan said, “We have a few that we’re excited about, but we’ll let them do the talking.”

5th-Del Mar, $61,351, Msw, 8-4, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:03.68, ft.
EIGHT RINGS, c, 2, Empire Maker
1st Dam: Purely Hot (GSW, $426,905), by Pure Prize
2nd Dam: Wood Not, by Kissin Kris
3rd Dam: Wood So, by Baederwood
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,600. Click for the chartor VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Free catalogue-style pedigree.
O-SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables LLC, Frederick Hertrich, III, John D. Fielding & Golconda Stables; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert. *$520,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP

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Picture ‘Perfect’ in Adirondack

Sun, 2019-08-04 19:02

Tracy Farmer’s Perfect Alibi, a beaten favorite last out, made amends in a big way when prevailing in a roughly-run renewal of the GII Adirondack S. Sunday at Saratoga.

An impressive first-out victress May 16 at Churchill when dusting a field of maidens by 9 1/2 lengths, the $220,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga pickup was shipped to Belmont for the June 6 Astoria S. and ran in spots before coming up three-quarters of a length short to debuting ‘TDN Rising Star’ Maryanorginger (Strong Mandate).

Let go as the distant third choice here behind 3-5 favorite Frank’s Rockette, Perfect Alibi broke in good order and tracked from fourth in a bunched-up vanguard behind longshot Integral (Algorithms) through a :22.06 quarter. Remaining on hold while in traffic behind a :45.84 half, the dark bay found a seam in mid-stretch after several of the tiring frontrunners played bumper cars, and shot through the hole to challenge for the lead inside the eighth pole. Battling with slow-starting Magic Dance to her outside and the chalk to her inside, Perfect Alibi found just a little more in the closing strides to best the latter by a half-length. Magic Dance ran well to stay on for third, ahead of Miss Peppina.

“This filly is funny because in the morning when she breezes, you wouldn’t know she’s anything,” winning trainer Mark Casse said. “She’ll go a half [mile] in 50 [seconds] and it’s like she’s giving you everything. I was a little surprised she broke her maiden the way she did so easy. I told Mr. Farmer, ‘I can’t tell you not to run her, I can’t tell you to run her.’ She’s a little bit like Sir Winston. When he gallops out, he shows you something. Good thing about Mr. Farmer is he’s not afraid to lose. Sometimes, you have to run them. This is why you run them, because if you watched her train the past couple of weeks, you would think she wouldn’t be any good.”

“I had a good trip. I broke running because she’s that kind of filly. She has a nice stride,” added victorious rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. “I got a good position on the turn and I just had my hands down and relaxed. Turning for home, Asmussen’s filly [Magic Dance] was on the outside, so I didn’t want to make a premature move and try to get through because it looked like [jockey Ricardo] Santana had a lot of horse, so I just waited. They didn’t keep a straight [path], so I got through in between the horses and she responded really well. Mark is the type of trainer that doesn’t put too much pressure on you, so I just had to be patient and ride her with confidence. I think she’s learning race by race. She’s going to get better down the road.”

Pedigree Notes:

Perfect Alibi is the 67th stakes winner and 25th graded stakes winner for Sky Mesa. She is the fifth foal to race out of SW No Use Denying, who produced a filly by Flatter Feb. 3 before being bred to Carpe Diem. Second dam Rumors Are Flying is a half-sister to GISW Missed the Storm (Storm Cat) and MGSW Green Means Go (Green Dancer), while third dam Missed the Wedding is a half to champion Chris Evert (Swoon’s Son).

Sunday, Saratoga
ADIRONDACK S.-GII, $200,000, Saratoga, 8-4, 2yo, f, 6 1/2f, 1:18.39, ft.
1–PERFECT ALIBI, 120, 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)
Ylg ’18 FTSAUG). O-Tracy Farmer; B-Pin Oak Stud, LLC (KY);
T-Mark E. Casse; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $110,000. Lifetime Record:
3-2-1-0, $188,488. *1/2 to Noble Thought (Harlan’s Holiday),
GSP, $221,448. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click
for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Frank’s Rockette, 120, f, 2, Into Mischief–Rocket Twentyone,
by Indian Charlie. ‘TDN Rising Star’. O/B-Frank Fletcher (KY);
T-William I. Mott. $40,000.
3–Magic Dance, 122, f, 2, More Than Ready–Magical World, by
Distorted Humor. ‘TDN Rising Star’. O/B-Three Chimneys
Farm, LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen. $24,000.
Margins: HF, 1 1/4, 3/4. Odds: 6.70, 0.70, 2.35.
Also Ran: Miss Peppina, Big Q, Mylastfirstkiss, Integral, Just Fly.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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A Thread of Blue Strings Them Along to Upset Saratoga Derby

Sun, 2019-08-04 18:19

The speedy A Thread of Blue got to his preferred spot, loose on the lead, and kept on going to pull a 13-1 upset under Luis Saez in the inaugural $1-million Saratoga Derby Sunday at the Spa.

Graduating at third asking in a Belmont off-the-turfer last October, the $430,000 OBS March buy was third in the Awad S. on grass Nov. 4 at Aqueduct before reeling off three consecutive victories over the Gulfstream green, including scores in the GIII Palm Beach S. and Dania Beach S. Nailed late when second in the GII American Turf S. May 4 at Churchill, the dark bay was last seen retreating to fourth as the favorite after chasing a quick pace in the GII Penn Mile S. June 1 at Penn National.

Stretching out beyond 8 1/2 furlongs for the first time in this 1 3/16-mile second leg of NYRA’s newly-created Turf Trinity series, A Thread of Blue broke typically smartly and took charge past the wire for the first time with minimal prodding from Saez. Dictating terms in the clear through reasonable fractions of :23.62 and :48.54 over the firm turf, he remained in hand while throwing down a three-quarter split in an untested 1:12.32.

Arriving at the top of the stretch in control, he was soon set upon by the tandem of Digital Age on the far outside and GI Belmont Derby runner-up Social Paranoia (Street Boss) between rivals, but dug in and found a finishing punch in the final sixteenth to hold firm over the former foe, hitting the wire a comfortable length to the good under a jubilant Saez. Cape of Good Hope (Ire), one of two Aidan O’Brien raiders for the Coolmore contingent, juiced the trifecta at 25-1, while Social Paranoia flattened out to be fourth.

“[An] uncontested lead is big, and he’s a very talented horse,” said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He likes it firm, obviously, winning three in Florida. He doesn’t like to ship that well, but he ran great at Churchill. [The] Penn [Mile] just didn’t go well. We gave him a little more time going into this, but he’s been training unbelievable and it just worked out great. We talked about three different races in eight days: the Hall of Fame, the Secretariat, and this race. We just kept landing back on this race, after talking to [owner Len] Green and his son, Jonathan. We didn’t have to go anywhere and we might get an easier lead going further.”

As for whether A Thread of Blue will continue to stretch out in the last leg of the Turf Trinity, the 1 1/2-mile Jockey Club Derby Invitational Sept. 7 at Belmont, McLaughlin said, “We might have to talk about a mile and a half, but we got this one. We’re happy with this.”

Saez, who was winning his third seven-figure race of the year after Maximum Security (New Year’s Day)’s wins in the GI Xpressbet Florida Derby and GI Haskell Invitational, added, “In a big race, you never know, but we were lucky that it was pretty easy up front. When we came into the stretch, I knew I had plenty of horse. I saw them coming, but he responded pretty well. It was easy for him today.”

Pedigree Notes:
A Thread of Blue, one of 71 stakes winners and 36 graded stakes winners for Hard Spun, is the second black-type winner out of 21-year-old dam Enthused, herself a two-time Group heroine in England. He was preceded by Irish GSW Norman Invader. Enthused, out of G1 Coronation S. victress Magic of Life, is a half to the dam of five-time South African G1SW Inara (SAf) (Trippi), while her second dam Larida was a three-time GSW and GISP. She is responsible for a juvenile Union Rags colt named Fused, a yearling Temple City filly and a colt of this term by Karakontie (Jpn).

SARATOGA DERBY INVITATIONAL S., $1,000,000, Saratoga, 8-4, 3yo, 1 3/16mT, 1:52.02, fm.
1–A THREAD OF BLUE, 122, c, 3, by Hard Spun
                1st Dam: Enthused, by Seeking the Gold
                2nd Dam: Magic of Life, by Seattle Slew
                3rd Dam: Larida, by Northern Dancer
($150,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $430,000 2yo ’18 OBSMAR).
O-Leonard C. Green; B-Flaxman Holdings Limited (KY); T-Kiaran
McLaughlin; J-Luis Saez. $535,000. Lifetime Record: GSW,
10-5-2-1, $879,290. *1/2 to Ea (Dynaformer), GSP, $598,471;
Norman Invader (War Chant), GSW-Ire, GSP-Fr, $593,079;
Galvanize (Medaglia d’Oro), SP-UAE, $205,511.
2–Digital Age (Ire), 122, c, 3, Invincible Spirit (Ire)–Willow View,
by Lemon Drop Kid. (325,000gns Ylg ’17 TATOCT). O-Klaravich
Stables, Inc.; B-Merry Fox Stud Limited (IRE); T-Chad C. Brown.
3–Cape of Good Hope (Ire), 122, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Hveger
(Aus), by Danehill. (240,000gns Ylg ’17 TATOCT). O-Michael B.
Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier & Derrick Smith; B-Hveger
Syndicate (IRE); T-Aidan P. O’Brien. $100,000.
Margins: 1, 1 1/4, NK. Odds: 13.20, 4.60, 25.75.
Also Ran: Social Paranoia, Henley’s Joy, Rockemperor (Ire), Kadar, Mohawk (Ire), Flying Scotsman, Seismic Wave, Eons.
Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


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Goldencents Colt Cruises to Upset Unveiling at Ellis

Sun, 2019-08-04 16:03

3rd-Ellis, $50,036, Msw, 8-4, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:05.12, ft.
JUGGERNAUT (c, 2, Goldencents–Hashtag Stormy, by Stormy Atlantic) had been working at Santa Anita through mid-July, but prepped for this with a :49 flat move at Churchill July 27. Ignored at 25-1 for a typically patient barn, he was looking to become the second Keith Desormeaux-trained and James Graham-ridden 2-year-old graduate on the card after second timer Automate (New Year’s Day) pulled off his own 20-1 upset in the opener. Scrubbed on from a wide draw to make the lead, the bay emerged from the pack to open several lengths on his competition through a :22.23 opening quarter. Able to get a bit of a breather from there through a :45.63 half, he continued on in the lane to air by 6 1/4 lengths. Dean Martini (Cairo Prince), representing another predominantly California-based trainer in Peter Miller, completed the $383 one-dollar exacta at 24-1. The Desormeaux/favorite/Desormeaux pick three returned $2035.80 for a buck. Juggernaut has a yearling half-sister by these connections’ MGISW Exaggerator (Curlin). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $30,000. Click for the chart.
O-Big Chief Racing, LLC & Rocker O Ranch, LLC; B-Big Chief Racing (KY); T-J. Keith Desormeaux.

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Lope de Vega Firster Put Up at the Spa

Sun, 2019-08-04 15:48

4th-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 8-4, 2yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:41.17, fm.
SKETCHES OF SPAIN (IRE) (f, 2, Lope de Vega {Ire}–Janicellaine {Ire} {GSP, $130,051}, by Beat Hollow {GB}), trained by Chad Brown, was one of two well-meant firsters for the trainer, the other being the 9-5 favorite Situation Room (Summer Front). Both the Brown runners settled behind the early pace as Sawanage (English Channel) and Osaka Girl (First Samurai) slugged it out early through initial fractions of :23.16 and :47.99. While the favorite appeared to idle a bit approaching the quarter pole, 5-1 chance Sketches of Spain was full of run, and thrust herself into contention several paths out rounding the home turn. Meanwhile, 41-1 longshot Crystalle (Palace Malice), who caboosed the field early, gathered steam, swinging into the stretch widest of all. As the field straightened out in the lane, the pacesetters started to fall back, while the second flight of runners–including the Todd Pletcher-trained Sparkling Sky (More Than Ready) and Sketches of Spain–were taking their shot at the lead. However, moving fastest of all on the far outside was Crystalle, who boomeranged past Sketches of Spain and Sparkling Sky in deep stretch, but in doing so, veered slightly inward, causing a chain reaction with those foes who were stationed behind her left hip. Despite crossing the wire ahead by a widening 2 1/4-length margin, Crystalle was demoted to third behind Sketches of Spain, who assumed the victory, and Sparkling Sky, promoted to second. Favored Situation Room rounded out the Super. The winner’s dam, Janicellaine, a half-sister to European and English Highweight juvenile filly Chriselliam (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), has a yearling colt by New Bay (GB) in addition to a 2019 full sister to the winner.
Sales history: 400,000gns Ylg ’18 TATOCT. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Peter M. Brant; B-Ballylinch Stud (IRE); T-Chad C. Brown.

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World of Trouble Recovering From Foot Bruise

Sun, 2019-08-04 14:24

Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ multiple Grade I winner World of Trouble (Kantharos), who had to be scratched as a heavy morning-line favorite from Saturday’s GIII Troy S. at Saratoga, is recovering from a foot bruise and visited the track Sunday morning, according to trainer Jason Servis.

“He’s better. He had a foot bruise. We tested it and he was tender, real tender. We kind of had to cut it out and it got a little more tender, nothing serious,” Servis told the NYRA notes team. “He actually went to the track today, but he’s still a little tender on that foot. It’s a shame. It was just bad timing. It showed up on Monday, and we were trying to make it.”

Servis said the Grade III Turf Monster S. Sept. 2 at Parx stands as the next target for World of Trouble at this point. A narrow runner-up in last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, the bay is unbeaten in four starts this season, including victories in the GI Carter H. on dirt and GI Jaipur Invitational S. on turf.

“We were always going to run here and then try to make the Turf Monster, so we’ll point for the Turf Monster,” Servis said. “He’s a monster. He’s a monster horse. I can’t wait to breed to him.”

Elsewhere in Servis’s barn, last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Uncle Benny (Declaration of War) will make his 2019 debut in Wednesday’s Mahony S. for 3-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass.

“The distance might be an issue, but he’s doing super. We thought it’d be a good starting point,” Servis said. “And, if it rains, we’ll run. I don’t know that he’s as good a dirt horse, but I wouldn’t scratch if it comes off. He’s a nice, big, good-looking horse.”

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Expensive Cairo Prince Filly Aces Debut in Spa Opener

Sun, 2019-08-04 13:33

1st-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 8-4, 2yo, f, 7f, 1:23.94, ft.
DAPHNE MOON (f, 2, Cairo Prince–Crozat, by Street Sense) scored a decisive debut victory at the Spa in Sunday’s opener, becoming the seventh individual 2-year-old winner on the year for trainer Jeremiah Englehart. Rating behind the leaders in mid-pack along the rail, she steadily advanced on the inside following fractions of :23.11 and :46.35. Looming wide around the turn, the dark bay surged down the center of the straight and collared Weekend Fun (More Than Ready) in deep stretch for a 3 1/4-length tally. Daphne Moon brought $525,000 at the OBS April Sale after breezing a quarter in :21 flat, making her the most expensive juvenile by her leading second-crop sire to sell this year. The dam of the winner, Crozat, is a half-sister to Grade III victor Jungle Prince (Sir Cat). She produced a Creative Cause colt this season before being bred back to Bernardini. Englehart saddled New York-bred filly Risky Mischief (Into Mischief) to aTDN Rising Star-garnering debut Wednesday. Al Gold’s Gold Square LLC and Englehart are also responsible for standout juveniles this year including Astoria S.-winning Rising StarMaryanorginger (Strong Mandate); Stillwater S. heroine My Italian Rabbi (Competitive Edge); and Cleon Jones (Tale of the Cat), who aired at second asking a week ago. Cleon Jones and Daphne Moon had worked in company at the Spa July 21 (5f, 1:01.58, 9/38). Sales history: $65,000 RNA Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $182,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $525,000 2yo ’19 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Gold Square, LLC & Double O Racing Stable, LLC; B-Nick Bentley (KY); T-Jeremiah C. Englehart.

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Daylight Win for Constitution Filly in Sorrento

Sat, 2019-08-03 19:30

Amalfi Sunrise (Constitution) flattered her ‘TDN Rising Star’ status even further by collecting another facile win in Saturday’s GII Sorrento S. at Del Mar. Sent off the well-supported favorite following an ultra-impressive 6 1/4-length score in her Santa Anita debut June 23, the dark bay was part of a three-way tussle up front with ‘TDN Rising Star’ and last-out GIII Schuylerville S. winner Comical (Into Mischief) and Princess Mo (Uncle Mo), carving out an opening quarter in :22.50. Looking ready to dispense of those rivals at any moment, Amalfi Sunrise took over at the five-sixteenths after a half in :45.91, rounded the final turn clear of the rest and rolled home in splendid isolation, triumphing by six lengths over Powerfulattraction (Commissioner), who closed from the back to be second. Following the winner under the wire, Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) was third with Shanghai Keely (Shanghai Bobby) further back in fourth. The sires of the first four home were all conditioned by Todd Pletcher during their racing days. WinStar freshman sires accounted for the trifecta.

“It really was impressive the way she drew away at the end,” affirmed winning trainer Simon Callaghan, who also trains third-place finisher Shedaresthedevil. “She’s a naturally fast filly and that’s the way she likes to run, up near the pace. She took a lot of heat and still was able to pull away which was very professional.”

Added Norberto Arroyo Jr., “Oh, I had a ton of horse. She’s a very nice filly. Maybe the best filly I’ve ever been on to this point, and I’ve been on some nice fillies. She’s something special.”

Pedigree Notes:

Amalfi Sunrise becomes the second black-type winner for her freshman sire Constitution (by Tapit). The GI Florida Derby and GI Donn H. winner was also responsible for Our Country, winner of the first race at Saratoga Saturday. Fellow WinStar Farm/ Pletcher freshman stallion Commissioner–the sire of Sorrento runner-up Powerfulattraction–also had a debut winner on Saratoga’s Saturday card, taking the third race of the afternoon with Pletcher-trained Glory Road. The third foal out of Soot Z following Group 3-placed Gotti (More Than Ready) and SP Senatus (Sky Mesa), Amalfi Sunrise has a yearling half-brother by Violence and a half-sister by Tiznow foaled earlier this season. Soot Z was bred back to Into Mischief.

Saturday, Del Mar
SORRENTO S.-GII, $200,351, Del Mar, 8-3, 2yo, f, 6f, 1:10.96, ft.
1–AMALFI SUNRISE, 120, f, 2, by Constitution
1st Dam: Soot Z, by Empire Maker
2nd Dam: Bella Chiarra, by Phone Trick
3rd Dam: Bannockburn, by Count Brook
TDN Rising Star‘ 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($40,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $185,000 2yo ’19 OBSAPR). O-Doug Branham & Marsha Naify; B-Jack Mandato (KY); T-Simon Callaghan; J-Norberto Arroyo, Jr. $120,000. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $159,000. *1/2 to Gotti (More Than Ready), GSP-UAE. *2nd black-type winner and graded winner for first-crop sire (by Tapit). Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Powerfulattraction, 118, f, 2, Commissioner–Magnet, by Seeking the Gold. ($32,000 Ylg ’18 KEEJAN; $102,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $225,000 2yo ’19 OBSMAR). O-Exline-Border Racing LLC, Robin Christensen, Steve Dorfman, Dan Hudock & Susanna Wilson; B-McDowell Farm (AR); T-Peter Eurton. $40,000.
3–Shedaresthedevil, 123, f, 2, Daredevil–Starship Warpspeed, by Congrats. ($100,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $20,000 RNA Ylg ’18   KEESEP). O-Glencrest Farm, LLC & Qatar Racing Limited; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Simon Callaghan. $24,000.
Margins: 6, NO, 3 1/4. Odds: 0.70, 19.00, 4.50.
Also Ran: Shanghai Keely, Princess Mo, Comical.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.




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Mr. Money Becomes a Millionaire at Mountaineer

Sat, 2019-08-03 19:00

Mr. Money has proven more or less unbeatable since a breakout romp in the GIII Pat Day Mile on GI Kentucky Derby Day May 4, and the progressive colt strung together his fourth consecutive win Saturday while becoming a millionaire.

Breaking well from a high draw, the heavy favorite locked on to Plus Que Parfait early and traveled under stout restraint through opening splits of :24.42 and :49.10. He poked a head in front turning for home, and was clearly going much better than his rivals as he hit the top of the lane. Kept to task, he bounded away with powerful strides to run up the score as he pleased.

A convincing third-out winner last September at Churchill in his first route try, Mr. Money was far from disgraced when fourth behind Game Winner (Candy Ride {Ire}) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile over the same track and trip. He resurfaced to be seventh behind War of Will (War Front) and Country House (Lookin At Lucky) in the GII Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds Feb. 16, and settled for fifth behind longshot stablemate By My Standards (Goldencents) in the GII Louisiana Derby Mar. 23. He put it all together when cut back for the one-turn-mile Pat Day, but had no trouble stretching back out to air in the GIII Matt Winn S. back under the Twin Spires June 15. He earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure while taking the GIII Indiana Derby by 2 1/2 lengths July 13 and avoiding a loose horse in the process.

Saturday, Mountaineer
WEST VIRGINIA DERBY-GIII, $500,000, Mountaineer Casino & Resort, 8-3, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:50.28, ft.
1–MR. MONEY, 120, c, 3, by Goldencents
1st Dam: Plenty O’Toole, by Tiznow
2nd Dam: O’ Toole, by Distorted Humor
3rd Dam: Well Dressed, by Notebook
($130,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Allied Racing Stable, LLC;
B-Spruce Lane Farm (KY); T-W. Bret Calhoun; J-Gabriel Saez.
$301,000. Lifetime Record: 10-5-2-0, $1,074,220.
Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Chess Chief, 118, c, 3, Into Mischief–Un Blessed, by
Mineshaft. ($145,000 RNA Ylg ’17 FTSAUG). O-Estate of James
Coleman, Jr.; B-Morgan’s Ford Farm (VA); T-Dallas Stewart.
3–Plus Que Parfait, 122, r, 3, Point of Entry–Belvedera, by Awesome Again. ($24,000 RNA Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $135,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Imperial Racing, LLC; B-Calloway Stables, LLC (KY); T-Brendan P. Walsh. $50,000.
Margins: 6, NK, 4HF. Odds: 0.50, 35.40, 6.10.
Also Ran: Top Line Growth, Chilly in Charge, Math Wizard, Fluminense, Conative, Cornstarch. Scratched: Grumps Little Tots. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree.

Pedigree Notes:
A half-brother to the 2-year-old colt Mr. Kidd (Palace)–who recorded his first published breeze last week (3f, :38.60, 7/8 at Churchill July 27); yearling filly by Awesome Again that fetched $190,000 as aweanling at KEENOV last fall; and a filly foal by Speightstown, Mr. Money is out of a winning daughter of O’ Toole, a full-sister to GSW Witty and to GISP Helsinki. His stakes-winning third dam produced G1 Dubai World Cup hero Well Armed (Tiznow) and Life Well Lived (Tiznow), the dam of GISW American Patriot (War Front). Plenty O’Toole was bred back to Ghostzapper for 2020.

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Baffert Gets His Whitney with McKinzie

Sat, 2019-08-03 18:12

Saturday’s GI Whitney S. lost some of its appeal when two-time G1 Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) was scratched sick, depriving fans of a battle with ‘TDN Rising Star’ McKinzie (Street Sense) in the ‘Win and You’re In’ qualifier for the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita the first weekend in November. Though that clash is on hold for the next eight weeks, McKinzie upheld his end of the bargain, getting a thinking-man’s ride from Hall of Famer Mike Smith before holding off a late rally from fellow ‘TDN Rising Star’ Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}). Vino Rosso (Curlin) came home a distant third.

Not many feature-race trophies are missing the name ‘Baffert,’ but the conditioner was welcoming home his first winner of the race, which came 15 days after the passing of Marylou Whitney.

“I was hoping that when I was thinking about running here, I’d never won this race and wanted to see her here, so it’s kind of sad. It’s a great honor to win the Whitney,” said Baffert. “I’ve never won the Whitney, so this is a huge moment for me. This win is very emotional for me.”

Monongahela (K One King), a last-start winner of the GIII Iselin S. at Monmouth, won a contested race into the clubhouse turn with McKinzie hustled along by Smith to be a forward factor and GII Suburban S. victor and Whitney second choice Preservationist (Arch) also intent on being in the early mix. Three deep around Monongahela turning up the backstretch, Smith allowed McKinzie to roll forward and lead for a stride or two, but he ultimately let Preservationist overtake him, took a tug and guided McKinzie to the outside heading up the backstretch with 6 ½ furlongs to travel. Racing well off the inside, the pair opened about four lengths on Vino Rosso in a share of third, while Yoshida and Joel Rosario were content to trail. Preservation appeared to be going well enough passing the half-mile marker and opened some daylight on McKinzie, but the complexion of the race began to change nearing the quarter pole, as McKinzie turned up the heat outside the front-runner, Vino Rosso was hitting his best stride four wide and Yoshida was winding up with a five-deep bid from the back of the field. Ridden hands and heels while taking over from Preservationist for good at the three-sixteenths, McKinzie began to pull clear under a left-handed stick and held sway late as Yoshida attacked the line for second before galloping out with the winner.

“I didn’t want to be shoved down on the inside,” said Smith, winning the Whitney for the first time since guiding Brunswick to the victory in 1993. “The inside didn’t look like the place to be. Everything out in the middle of the racetrack was winning and I saw the option, but I wanted to ride hard enough to separate from the field, so that if I needed to get out, I could get out. It worked today, it might have been a horrible move some other time.”

Added Mike Pegram about the former Los Alamitos executive for whom the 4-year-old is named, “Big Brad was a one-of-a-kind person, and this horse is a one-of-a-kind horse. When Bobby [Baffert] called me and told me we had a good one, I said, ‘There’s only one name we can give him.’ And you’ve seen him today.”

The conditioner indicated that McKinzie would have one more start prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“Originally, my plan was to run him in the Met Mile and keep him in California,” Baffert said. “I said I need to get a sexy win in him and the Whitney–it doesn’t get sexier than that.”

Winner of the GI Pennsylvania Derby and GI Malibu S. last season, McKinzie was runner-up at short odds in the GII San Pasqual S. and in the GI Santa Anita H. ahead of a convincing defeat of Friday’s Alydar S. winner Tom’s d’Etat (Curlin) in the GII Alysheba S. at Churchill May 3. His last start came in a loaded renewal of the GI Met Mile at Belmont June 8, but he struck interference for the majority of the final quarter mile and could only get to within 3/4 of a length of the victorious Mitole (Eskendereya).

Pedigree Notes:

McKinzie’s dam, a dual Grade II winner and third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at two, was second in the GI Ashland S. in 2005 and sold to Summer Wind Farm for $2.7 million in foal to Storm Cat at Keeneland November in 2006. A half-sister to SW & MGSP Mambo Train (Kingmambo), Runway Model is the dam of the 2-year-old filly Map Maker (Liam’s Map), who recently breezed a half-mile in :48.40 at Los Alamitos July 30.

Saturday, Saratoga
WHITNEY S.-GI, $980,000, Saratoga, 8-3, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:47.10, ft.
1–MCKINZIE, 124, c, 4, by Street Sense
1st Dam: Runway Model (MGSW/MGISP, $725,598), by Petionville
2nd Dam: Ticket to Houston, by Houston
3rd Dam: Stave, by Navajo
($170,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Karl Watson, Michael E.Pegram,
& Paul Weitman; B-Summer Wind Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert;
J-Mike E. Smith. $535,000. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 12-7-4-0,
$2,238,560. *1/2 to Rompin Reid (Medaglia d’Oro), SP,
$172,225. ‘TDN Rising Star.’  Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Yoshida (Jpn), 124, h, 5, Heart’s Cry (Jpn)–Hilda’s Passion, by
Canadian Frontier. (¥94,000,000 Ylg ’15 JRASAL). O-China
Horse Club International Ltd., WinStar Farm,LLC, Head of Plains
Partners LLC; B-Northern Farm (JPN); T-William I. Mott.
$185,000. ‘TDN Rising Star’
3–Vino Rosso, 124, c, 4, Curlin–Mythical Bride, by Street Cry
(Ire). ($410,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Repole Stable & St. Elias
Stable; B-John D. Gunther (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $100,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, 4 3/4, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.85, 8.50, 4.60.
Also Ran: Preservationist, Forewarned, Monongahela, Imperative. Scratched: Thunder Snow (Ire).
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton




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Declaration of War Colt Scores on Saratoga Dirt to be Named Newest ‘Rising Star’

Sat, 2019-08-03 17:47

Newcomer En Wye Cee (Declaration of War) had been keeping good company in the mornings, and belied 10-1 odds Saturday afternoon at the Spa to best a strong-looking group of maidens while garnering the ‘TDN Rising Star’ distinction. The bay sported an upbeat tab that included a 1:01 flat breeze in company over the Oklahoma training track July 19 alongside GI Whitney S. third finisher Vino Rosso (Curlin) (Click for XBTV video) and fired a 1:01 1/5 bullet with well-bred Fort McHenry (Tapit) July 11 (Click for XBTV Video). Able to save some ground early from midpack behind splits of :22.02 and :45.19, En Wye Cee was taken very wide by Jose Ortiz for clear sailing entering the stretch. Even-money Free Enterprise (Curlin)–a $485,000 yearling buy who was a good second in fast time first out–emerged from the cavalry charge in midstretch, but En Wye Cee gobbled up ground with impressive strides down the center to reel in the leader and get up by a half-length before galloping out with good energy. The winner’s 2-year-old half-brother Eternal Summer (Summer Front) was seventh in the day’s first race going two turns on the grass. Dam Celtic Arch (Arch), who cost just $3,000 in foal to Trappe Shot at last year’s Keeneland November sale, is a half to a pair of overseas stakes performers and hails from the extended female family of Grade II winner Regal Sanction (Regal Classic). Celtic Arch was bred back to Pennsylvania-based Peace and Justice for 2020.

6th-Saratoga, $90,000, Msw, 8-3, 3yo/up, 6 1/2f, 1:15.44, ft.
EN WYE CEE, c, 3, Declaration of War
1st Dam: Celtic Arch, by Arch
2nd Dam: Royal Sanction, Royal Academy
3rd Dam: Northern Sanction, by Affirmed
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $49,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Free catalogue-style pedigree.
O-Waterford Stable; B-Waterford Stables, Inc. (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

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Karak Is Karakontie’s First Stakes Winner

Sat, 2019-08-03 17:32

Breeze Easy’s Karak (f, 2, Karakontie {Jpn}–Down the Well {Ire}, by Mujadil) powered clear to a three-length victory in the Tyro S. Saturday at Monmouth Park, becoming the first stakes winner for her freshman sire. The 3-5 favorite attended the pace through an opening quarter in :20.03 over the firm turf course. She overtook the lead after a half in :44.24 and drew clear despite drifting out down the lane to complete the five furlongs in :57.08. Slap Happy (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) was second and Now Is (Sidney’s Candy) was third.

Tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ after a front-running three-length debut win at Belmont Park May 25, the bay filly traveled to Royal Ascot and finished 15th in the June 19  Windsor Castle S. last time out. A $22,000 Keeneland November weanling, Karak RNA’d for $30,000 as a Keeneland September yearling and was a $365,000 OBS March acqusition. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $95,000.

O-Breeze Easy LLC. B-Parrish Hill, Amanda Roach Cole & Karakontie (Ky). T-Wesley Ward.

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Into Mischief Filly Passes the Test

Sat, 2019-08-03 17:30

Covfefe (f, 3, Into Mischief–Antics, by Unbridled), a runaway heroine of the GIII Miss Preakness S. at Pimlico with a gaudy 107 Beyer Speed Figure earlier this spring, came out on top in a GI Longines Test S. for the ages Saturday.

Off at odds of 3-1, the bay chased GI Kentucky Oaks victress Serengeti Empress (Alternation) from second through fractions of :22.19 and :44.28. The two locked horns approaching the quarter pole and the stage was set. Covfefe finally fought her way past Serengeti Empress in deep stretch and had about a half length on her ultra-game rival on the wire.

It was a long way back to Bellafina (Quality Road) in third.

The final time for seven furlongs was 1:21.26.

Covfefe set a pressured pace and tired late to finish third in Churchill’s Roxelana Overnight S. last out June 22.

Sales history: $250,000 yrl ’17 KEESEP.

Lifetime Record: 6-4-0-1.

O-LNJ Foxwoods; B-Alexander-Groves Thoroughbreds (Ky); T-Brad Cox.

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