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Updated: 3 hours 38 min ago

Cummings Named TIF Executive Director

Wed, 2018-06-13 16:13

Pat Cummings has been named the executive director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation, a non-profit orgnization recently founded to “create an active forum for the exchange and curation of ideas designed to improve the prospects of the Thoroughbred industry and its stakeholders.”

“It is great to welcome Pat as the Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation,” said Craig Bernick, TIF founder and board member. “Pat brings a wealth of both domestic and international experience to the table. He is a great communicator, curious by nature and an optimist at heart. He has been a lifelong fan of horse racing, a longtime gambler, and an owner through various syndicates.”

Cummings, 37, joins the TIF after three years as the Executive Manager, Public Affairs (Racing) at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, during which time he helped introduce an increasingly worldwide audience to the Hong Kong racing product while overseeing the strategy and delivery of racing communications, media management and new media development. Prior to that, Cummings spent four years as the director of racing information for Trakus and seven years with the investment firm Vanguard before that.

“Pat is clearly passionate about horse racing, understands its many international aspects, what has and has not worked both here and abroad,” Bernick added. “We see Pat as an ideal person to spearhead TIF’s goal of improving horse racing for owners, gamblers and fans. We are fortunate that he will lead the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation from the start.”

Cummings will be based in Lexington, Kentucky, when he takes up his position late this summer.

“It is incredibly exciting to be returning home to launch the Thoroughbred Idea Foundation,” said Cummings. “Horse owners and gamblers are the foundation of racing and our focus will be on issues that can improve the economics of the sport for these two primary constituencies. The trickle-down impact thereafter is obvious. TIF will curate new, and surely some old ideas, and we will advocate for change to benefit those making the most significant financial investments in the sport while working with racing’s existing decision-makers. I am looking forward to working with our accomplished board and to begin tackling the many challenges ahead.

He continued, “I enjoyed three wonderful years in Hong Kong working in a world-class environment. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is an all-encompassing organization with a great team, a shining example of what is possible in this industry, and to have been a part of that was a priceless experience.”

‘Bomber’ Will Miss Royal Ascot

Wed, 2018-06-13 14:47

Group 1 winner Lancaster Bomber (War Front) will miss an intended engagement in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s S. at Royal Ascot next week due to injury. The bay ran third behind stablemate Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G1 Lockinge S. earlier this spring, but won his first top-flight race last time in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup on May 27.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien was contemplating supplementing his charge for the Prince of Wales’s S. at the Royal meeting, but speaking on www.attheraces.com during a stable tour said, “I don’t think he’ll make it to Royal Ascot. He is going through a niggly problem with a foot at the moment, so it’s likely to he won’t be ready enough to run there.”

O’Brien also confirmed high-class 3-year-old fillies Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and September (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) will not be in action at the summer showpiece fixture in Berkshire next week.

On Aftercare: Finding the Right Path

Wed, 2018-06-13 14:27

So, it’s time to retire your racehorse…

What comes next? You are likely aware of a variety of options and services available to you as a horse owner, but which path ensures that your horse will be equipped with the proper safeguards to ensure he ends up with the best chance at a happy life over the next 20+ years? You dread the prospect of receiving a phone call or Facebook message saying that the horse you once owned is at risk in a kill pen, and you want to take every measure to avoid that situation.

A good place to start is the local HBPA or owner’s organization to see what programs may exist and are funded through the track and horsemen’s group (Take the Lead, Turning for Home for example).

Alternatively, go directly to one of the non-profit organizations dedicated to Thoroughbred racehorse aftercare. Most are accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), giving you assurance that the facilities are inspected regularly and the governance and management have been vetted by the TAA. Most likely, you will be asked to make a donation. See the list of accredited organizations here.

But such placement is not always available. Many horses need time off before retraining or are not sound enough to be re-trained for a second career as a riding horse. The placement spots for pasture-sound only horses are limited at least until the demand for Thoroughbreds in equine-assisted therapeutic placements increases.

So, what options exist for horses that need time off, rehabilitation or are only ever going to be pasture-sound?

First, it is worth a try to retire your horse in a TAA-accredited or otherwise reliable non-profit. You will most likely be required to make a larger donation than if the horse was sound for retraining. But, you can be confident that the horse is enjoying retirement and you can check on him regularly and continue to support him.

“When trying to retire a horse that needs a sanctuary or non-riding home, the TAA recommends reaching out to a TAA-accredited organization in your area that is a noted sanctuary or rehab. Placing a horse in a sanctuary home may take some time,” said Erin Shea of the TAA. “Many equine sanctuaries have large, aging herds, so patience and clear communication of your horse’s needs are key to re-homing your horse if this is your situation. Also, just because a horse cannot be a competitive athlete does not mean that they cannot have a new career and are bound for sanctuary life. For example, TAA-accredited organizations Saratoga War Horse, Equine Rescue of Aiken, Life Horse at Breezy Hill, and Square Peg, among others, all focus on equine-human therapy along with sanctuary for horses.”

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances Program which maintains pasture-sound horses at prison-based farms where the horses have a meaningful second career rehabilitating incarcerated men and women is a great option.

A second alternative is retirement boarding. The cost will be between approximately $200 and $500 per month, not including trimming (which averages $40 every 8 weeks) and vet care (vaccinations and teeth floating run an average of $350 per year). Retirement boarding farms now exist all over the U.S. Once again, you have control over the horse’s well being. One good example is Historic Long Branch in Virginia.

As a third option, you could choose–as a number of owners do–to sell or give away your horse. No one wants their horse to end up in the kill pan, and most tracks have a policy which states that any horse owner or trainer found to have directly or indirectly sold a horse that ends up in the kill pen will have their stalls permanently revoked. This could happen unknowingly if you are not careful about vetting out the buyer or recipient.

Here are some tips to help ensure your horse’s safety:

1) Use a signed agreement like this one provided by CANTER USA to the trainers who chose to list horses for sale on its website.

2) Consider a ‘first right of refusal’ requiring the buyer to agree that they will not give away or sell the horse without first asking if you want it back.

3) Consider a clause that allows for you to check on the horse.

4) Obtain a copy of the buyer’s driver’s license.

5) Include language that they will never put the horse in a livestock auction or sell it to slaughter buyers.

6) Have the agreement notarized.

7) Require a professional reference from a veterinarian. Ask of the vet when they last visited the farm or saw the animals of the person. Obtain the veterinarian’s license number.

8) Sell the horse as “Retired from Racing” and execute the forms provided by The Jockey Club.

“Thoroughbreds are more in demand as riding horses than ever in the past 30 or so years, thanks in large part to incentive programs like TIP and TAKE2, as well as the work of Retired Racehorse Project,” says Nancy Koch, Executive Director of CANTER, USA. “But owners and trainers must use due diligence in their transactions. It is extremely important to get references and check on the horse, or have someone check on the horse a week or so after it leaves to be sure it is adjusting and the people are who they represented themselves to be.”

Being part of a syndicate adds a few issues for owners seeking to secure a second career or retirement for a racehorse.

Regina Schneller, whose partnership has horses with Eddie Coletti, has her name and address attached to all of the partnership horses’ papers in the event that the horse gets claimed and is owned by someone else at the time of retirement.

“To find homes, the first thing that our partnership does is ask if any partners are interested in giving the horse a home, next is to contact Turning For Home. If the horse has problems, then I make take the horse or board it at a retirement farm. I then ask the other partners to chip in on the board/donation, explained Schneller. “One horse recently needed a period of time for to be turned out before training so he went to CANTER and I paid for his care until he was ready to be adopted.”

Diana Pikulski is the former executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and currently the editor of the Thoroughbread Adoption Network. Visit www.thoroughbredadoption.com.

Siyouni Available on Southern Hemisphere Time

Wed, 2018-06-13 12:36

Siyouni (Fr) (Pivotal {GB}-Sichilla {Ire}, by Danehill), will be available on Southern Hemisphere time at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval in France for €50,000 (A$76,700), the stud announced on Wednesday. His progeny are led by Ervedya (Fr), a triple Group 1 winner from his first crop, while the bay has been enjoying a banner year, with juvenile Group 1 winner Laurens (Fr) scooping the May 27 G1 Prix Saint-Alary after finishing runner-up in the G1 English 1000 Guineas. The 2017 French champion sire’s lone Australian runner, Aylmerton (Aus), struck in the G2 Todman S. Down Under in March. Siyouni has also been represented by additional 2018 group winners Finsbury Square (Ire), La Signare (Fr), City Light (Fr), and Barkaa (Fr) so far.

“Siyouni’s continuous success in Europe and his first group winner in Australia have sparked significant interest in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Georges Rimaud, manager of The Aga Khan Studs in France. “The number of mares he has covered this year and his increased value mean we will not be able to shuttle him, however, we wished to make him available to breeders interest in using him Southern Hemisphere time. I believe he is now a very attractive stallion for the Australian market, as he produces strong, well developed, fast horses that are precocious and can ran on at the highest level.”

Out of the winning Sichilla, Siyouni won the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Grand Criterium for his owner/breed H.H. the Aga Khan in 2009 and was also second in the G1 Prix Jean Prat and G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp, both in 2010.He is a half-brother to English/French highweight and G1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot S. victress Siyouma (Ire) (Medicean {GB}), and SWs & MGSPs Siyenica (Fr) (Azamour {Ire}) and Sayana (Fr) (Galileo {Ire}).

Mark Taylor Talks About Coventry Stakes Contender Legends of War

Tue, 2018-06-12 18:06

Qatar Racing’s American-bred Legends of War (Scat Daddy), raised and sold in Kentucky, is slated to compete in Royal Ascot’s G2 Coventry S. on opening day of the famous meeting June 19 on the heels of an impressive debut maiden win traveling six furlongs at Yarmouth May 23. Bred by Deron Pearson’s DP Racing and raised at Taylor Made Farm, the colt sold for $200,000 to Hunter Valley Farm at the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase yearling sale last September before ultimately re-selling for 900,000gns at the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-Up Sale. With Legends of War seemingly poised to make a mark across the Atlantic, Mark Taylor of Taylor Made sat down with the TDN to discuss the colt’s story. An edited transcript follows.

TDN: What were your impressions of Legends of War as a youngster on the farm? Did he show anything that suggested he could one day become a successful racehorse?

MT: Legends of War is a horse that’s very interesting–especially in context of the American horses going to Europe conversation. First of all, I want to give [the staff on the farm] credit. We’re raising a lot of good horses here right now and it has nothing to do with–we’ve just got an awesome team and I give them so much credit for the way they take care of these horses.

Legends of War was always a horse that honestly we picked on for being too small. If you go back and look at the notes, he was very well made, a very good mover, very correct, a touch short-legged. But if you look at him, he is by Scat Daddy out of a Rahy mare, out of Danehill Dancer mare, and he looked like he was supposed to look. He wasn’t supposed to be a big horse.

You look at a horse like Legends of War, you could tell he would have a turn of foot. He was more of a compact, big hipped, nimble kind of horse that had a huge, huge walk on him.

TDN: You brought Legends of War to the Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Sale and he ultimately hammered for $200,000 to Hunter Valley Farm. What were your expectations when you brought him to auction?

TDN: We figured a European was probably going to buy this horse, so [we decided to] put him over there. He sold for $200,000, which at the time, was good. But we raised him for Deron Pearson, who’s a very good client of ours and maybe we underestimated that colt to Deron. I’m sure in hindsight, maybe he would have kept him. The plan as always was to sell the horse. Deron keeps a few, but he’ll put most of his through the ring. He’s a great breeder. Most people know him as just a racing guy, but he’s producing.

TDN: Hunter Valley ultimately resold Legends of War for 900,000gns at the Tattersalls Breeze-Up Sale as a 2-year-old and he took a major step towards justifying the price with an impressive debut win at Yarmouth last month. What were your thoughts on the performance?

MT: I was super impressed by Legends of War–that’s kind of what I envisioned him doing. I said, “This horse is going to be early, and he’s going to be turf.” So it didn’t really surprise me, but you never know if a horse is going to have that class.

And the way he won was super impressive, and it bodes well for what’s on the horizon.

TDN: You also consigned two-time group stakes winner and recent G1 Investec Derby runner-up Roaring Lion (Kitten’s Joy) as a Keeneland September yearling in 2016. Do you notice any subtleties to the differences between turf racing in North America and Europe? Specifically, are there certain types of horses who are better equipped to handle racing over there?

MT: Roaring Lion was always getting a tick higher grades [than Legends of War] conformationally, and I think that’s because as Americans, we’ve got a little bit more of a size bias than Europeans do.

When we had Unbridled’s Songs, and a lot of them, they tried taking a few of them over to Europe. Unbridled’s Song was a sneaky good turf sire in America, but he was too big in my opinion to handle the courses over there with the undulation. They weren’t nimble enough. They’re galloping horses. They can’t get stopped, they can’t get in trouble and the turn of foot is not their thing.

TDN: Scat Daddy is obviously at the top of everyone’s mind these days after Justify’s Triple Crown win and a number of other top-level performances. Although he passed away at a young age, do you see him making a mark on the breed for years to come?

MT: We all need a son of Scat Daddy to emerge on both sides [of the Atlantic]–it’s happening over here with Justify obviously, but the more these sons of Scat Daddy that we can get into the breeding shed over the next few years, the better for everybody. It’s amazing because if you look around, as of last year, there really are not a lot of sources of [the Scat Daddy bloodline]…Hopefully the more of those we can get in these last couple crops, the better.

TDN: Do you have any other runners slated to compete at Royal Ascot?

MT: There is a really nice filly by First Samurai called Chelsea Cloisters–we had her in [Fasig-Tipton] July last year, and Gatewood Bell has had a lot of luck buying from us. He bought Con Te Partiro (Scat Daddy) a couple years ago and she won a listed race at Royal Ascot, and then he bought this filly. He made a really nice buy there–she has shown that she’s got some class and she’s going to be tough over there.

We really have a lot of good horses running in Europe, and the timing couldn’t be better because the markets are getting very international. Luckily, we’ve got breeders that are producing those kind of horses that can go over there and compete with the world’s best.

 

Troutts to Be Honored at Chaplaincy Brunch

Tue, 2018-06-12 18:00

Lisa and Kenny Troutt, owners of WinStar Farm, and co-owners of Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy), will be honored at the New York Race Track Chaplaincy Annual Brunch, which will be held at Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, Aug. 15.

The event will feature several sponsorship levels (click here for information) as well as a journal which will be distributed to the guests in attendance. In addition to their well-known contributions to the horse racing industry, Lisa and Kenny Troutt are noted philanthropists with active roles with the Race Track Chaplaincy of America, in addition to numerous other charities.

Micro-Shares Could Bring Huge Changes to Partnership Paradigm

Tue, 2018-06-12 15:44

A California-based start-up company is off and running with a new twist on the growing racehorse partnership trend. Shares of in-training Thoroughbreds will be offered to the public in “micro” increments for as little as $100, and the entrepreneurs of MyRacehorse envision that eventually, participants in their online investment network will be able to trade horse shares just like buying and selling securities in a stock market.

Co-founders Michael Behrens and David Kandasamy have already done a year’s worth of pre-launch diligence to make sure the offerings on MyRacehorse are in compliance with securities laws, laying the groundwork for a future expansion into trading when horse inventory and investor interest grow to the point where the marketplace becomes robust enough to facilitate share-swapping.

What’s different from other partnership ventures is that MyRacehorse acquires minority stakes in individual Thoroughbreds (say between 5% and 30%), then forms an individual “company” around that purchase and offers micro-shares of that investment to the general public.

The amount that the micro-shares sell for is based on the valuation of the horse plus several prepaid fees, and that sum is then divided into proportional allotments that entitle a prospective buyer to anywhere from .1% to 1% of a stake in the horse, including future purse earnings or even a pro-rated portion of a sale price if the horse gets claimed or sold.

“What you actually are buying is a stock into a company that owns a single asset, which is a minority stake in a racehorse,” Behrens told TDN.

Behrens acknowledges that the allure of MyRacehorse for many micro-owners won’t be the iffy prospect of turning a profit on the deal. Rather, he explained, the company is looking to tap into the burgeoning “experiential investment” trend, which in marketing-speak translates to the growing tendency for 20-to-40-year-olds to spend disposable income on meaningful experiences rather than consumer goods and merchandise.

To that end, MyRacehorse aims to sweeten the deal for newcomers to the sport or casual racetrack attendees: Micro-owners will receive customized updates about their horses and invitations to owners-only events, backstretch tours to meet their horse, and race-day parties at the track.

“We want to build a global household name brand that makes horse ownership something that is not just for people who go to the races, but those who seek experiential entertainment,” Behrens said. “If we take a step back and look at the macro way things are going, the younger demographic is definitely shifting their money to experiential investments. They enjoy new things and just being part of different, new experiences, and we think MyRacehorse aligns perfectly with that.”

Considering that the racing industry has displayed an intense yearning to cozy up to the coveted millennial demographic, MyRacehorse could, in theory, end up doing a lot of the sport’s heavy lifting, marketing-wise, if the fun-driven involvement aspect of the platform takes off.

How existing owners can participate

Behrens (a marketing executive who has developed direct-to-consumer strategies for both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies) and Kandasamy (a technology specialist who has worked as a product development executive at Netscape, AOL, and Yahoo) have indicated that they want their fledgling firm to wade into the marketplace gradually in an effort to have a smooth launch.

Right now, MyRacehorse has six California-based horse micro-partnerships on offer and investing for the time being is limited to California residents only. Behrens said he expects the company will roll out horse offerings in other states by the end of this year.

“Once we go national, obviously we’ll have to scale up our inventory accordingly, because we’ll want to make sure we have horses that are targeting local markets,” Behrens said.

The company is actively seeking existing Thoroughbred owners who want to participate by selling minority stakes in their horses, and the best way for those owners to get involved is by sending an email to sales@myracehorse.com indicating interest.

If an owner wants to sell to MyRacehorse, it discloses what percentage of the horse it wants to offer and what the valuation will be. MyRacehorse does its own financial diligence to ensure that the valuation is realistic, and requires a health check by a veterinarian to rule out illness or injury prior to listing the horse on its platform.

Once the horse passes the vet check, the two parties enter a contract for the horse to be listed on the platform. This agreement stipulates a time window, perhaps 10 to 14 days, for MyRacehorse to sell all of its micro-shares to the public.

“As soon as we close the offer [by selling the microshare allotment], the majority partners get the check,” Behrens explained. “They have liquidity, and can reinvest that money as they see fit.”

If the micro-shares don’t sell out in the time specified, the deal is off for all parties.

What can micro-buyers expect?

Any California resident over 18 can currently buy up to $2,500 in MyRacehorse micro-shares. The business is regulated by the state’s Department of Business Oversight.

The listed share price for each horse comes with two surcharges: A 15% fee that goes to the managing partners (this is how MyRacehorse makes money as a business), and a pre-paid training fee that gets escrowed to cover the minority partnership’s share of the bills. Dividends such as purse winnings above and beyond expenses, should there be any, will be paid to shareholders through the app.

While micro-owners will be involved at the meet-and-greet participation level, they should not expect to have a say in decisions that affect when, where, and how often the horse races.

“We’ll be holding minority stakes in these horses, so obviously we’re bestowing the responsibility to care for the horse with the [majority] ownership groups that we’re part of,” Behrens said.

Potential stumbling blocks?

As partnerships at all levels of racing evolve, one difficulty has been percolating beneath the surface: As more and more people get in on fractional ownerships, their demands are exponentially increasing.

In that vein, Behrens was asked how MyRacehorse aspires to overcome being overrun with requests from micro-owners–from backstretch access to seating to face-time with the horse–once the platform is fully operational nationwide. Could his firm end up facing the equivalent of penny stockholders making outrageous demands at shareholder meetings?

“That’s a good question, and that’s been the one thing that savvy people in the industry have highlighted to us that would be our biggest challenge,” Behrens said. “Technology can really help to overcome those challenges. We’re not naive enough to think that we won’t encounter some, but our goal is to build a digital platform that solves a lot of these challenges.”

The scalable delivery of content and updates is one way Behrens said that difficulty could be eased. He also said the firm plans to take a page from the playbook of racing clubs in the United Kingdom, which he visited in preparation for MyRacehorse’s launch. A lottery for prime perks on raceday is one concept he floated as MyRacehorse attempts to evolve into a wide-ranging trading marketplace.

“That’s the whole goal of doing this with the backbone of being a regulated security,” Behrens said. “Our vision is to have real-time liquidity for the members. Let’s say you are a micro-owner of a horse who just won impressively–all of a sudden you can see bid and ask offers for that asset on an exchange. We’re already working on that, but it’s going to take some work around the structure and the broker/dealer type of regulations and an improved tech stack. But absolutely, that’s where we’d like to be eventually.”

 

Enjoying Life In A Different League

Tue, 2018-06-12 13:30

Hovering just outside the top ten trainers in France is Matthieu Palussiere, a name which gained wider recognition through last year’s Royal Ascot victory of Con and Theresa Marnane’s Different League (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}). The statuesque filly was unbeaten in her two starts prior to the G3 Albany S. and went on to secure two Group 1 placings in the Prix Morny and Cheveley Park S. prior to her sale for 1.5 million gns by Amy Marnane to White Birch Farm and MV Magnier.

If one spoke to Palussiere without knowing his name it would be easy to assume that he’s a neighbour of the Marnanes in Tipperary, for the Frenchman has spent almost as much time away from his native country as he has at home and has a strong Irish accent that would have most people fooled. He was born, however, in Le Mans, famed for a different type of horsepower, and he was, by his own admission, “a latecomer to racing”.

He’s making up for that tardy start now. Having returned to France in 2013 after a long spell in Ireland, Palussiere is now sending out runners and winners from his Maisons-Laffitte base with eye-catching frequency, thanks largely to his fruitful association with the irrepressible figure known on the breeze-up circuit as ‘King Con’.

While the €8,000 foal purchase Different League did not pass through a breeze-up sale—she failed to reach her reserve when bought in as a yearling at Doncaster for £14,000—a number of the Palussiere stable’s winners this season have been unsold 2-year-olds from the Bansha House Stables draft who have very quickly taught any potential buyer who shirked them at the sales the folly of that decision. In turn they have elevated Theresa Marnane, in whose yellow and black colours they run, to the position of fifth leading owner in France behind only such heavyweight names as the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Stables, Godolphin, Gerard Augustin-Normand and the Wertheimer brothers. Not even the Aga Khan and Al Shaqab Racing can match strides with Madame Marnane.

The Marnane-Palussiere combination has thus far provided a first winner for Lane’s End Farm’s Noble Mission (GB) in the dual winner On A Session, who, portentously, has won the same two races annexed by Different League before her Albany assault. It’s safe to assume that the colt won’t be the same generous 20-1 starting price when he lines up for the Chesham S. next week.

On A Session won’t be alone on the lorry bound for Ascot. The dual winner Junius Brutus (Fr) (Cockney Rebel {GB}) will get the ball rolling in the G2 Coventry S. on Tuesday though he, like G3 Albany S. entrant No More Regrets (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), could yet be running for different connections as both will be offered in Monday night’s Goffs London Sale. The latter, who was unsold at 38,000gns at the Craven Sale, has won in France and was runner-up in the listed Premio Vittorio Crespi in Milan on Sunday.

On Wednesday it will be the turn of Forever In Dreams (Ire) (Dream Ahead), another dual winner, to make use of her racecourse experience in the G2 Queen Mary S., while Saturday will see a three-pronged attack, with On A Session’s Chesham challenge being followed by Rolling King (More Than Ready) and Pardon My French (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) going head to head in the Windsor Castle S.

As is evident from this enviable team of young talent, after 18 years in Ireland, Palussiere’s then relatively low-key training career charted a markedly different course when he “happened to meet Con”.

“I started out in racing in Marseille with Christian Scandella but when I decided I wanted to see a bit of the world Ireland was the first choice,” says Palussiere.

It transpired to be a good choice as it was at the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud that he met his wife Liz, who has played an important role not just in his home life but also in the pre-training business they ran before the five years with a training licence, first based on the Curragh and later in Tipperary.

He continues, “Initially I was only planning to be [in Ireland] for six months but I ended up staying 18 years. I got a job with the Aga Khan breaking yearlings. I was there during what were to me the best years—Sinndar, Daylami, all those champions.”

A four-year stint with the Aga Khan led Palussiere to a job running Mick Halford’s second yard on the Curragh and continuing in his breaking role before going out on his own and notching his first winner as a trainer in 2008 when Deputy Consort saluted at Limerick in Liz’s colours. Greater success would come that same year via the Grade 3-winning hurdler Tramp Stamp (Ire) but Palussiere decided to call time on his lengthy sojourn overseas as the realities of the economic downturn started to be felt by many in Irish racing.

“I had a mix of jumps and flat horses and we had some success but then the economic crisis came along and I decided it was time to return to France,” he says. “I knew Con through the ponies—both our children were involved in showing and I’d see him every other week. When he learned that I was moving back to France he suggested we work together and that’s where it all started. Without himself and Theresa I wouldn’t be where I am, there’s no doubt. I’m very pleased to be working with them. I have to tip my hat to Con. He loves the game and he’s not afraid to gamble. He buys very well and this year’s [2-year-olds] are better than last year’s but the sales were bad. That suits me because they are coming this way, and that explains the success we have here.”

Palussiere admits that he took time to adjust to being back at home. “Obviously I am French but I was so young when I left France that I haven’t been taught in the French ways,” he says.

He’s clearly been well taught in the ways of Irish horsemanship and is backed up in Maisons-Laffitte by a team of riders from his former adopted home who together have already put 31 French winners on the board this season.

“We have a load of top-class people down there and they are doing a great job,” says Marnane, who makes regular trips from Tipperary to Paris to see the horses.

“It was a horrendously bad year this year at the sales. I don’t know what went wrong. We’re selling more winners than anyone else and we’ve even had a Classic winner this year [Teppal].”

That bad year in the ring is already translating into a good year on the racecourse, however, and the Marnane and Palussiere families will be returning to Berkshire with their enhanced team in the hope of adding at least one more Royal Ascot victory to the roll of honour.

Reflecting on his first taste of success at the meeting, Palussiere says, “It was amazing, it’s something I’ll never forget. I don’t tend to be nervous—you go there and you’re hoping that you’ll run well but you never dream that will happen. But there we were there with all Con’s friends from Tipperary and we all started dancing. That never happens on a racecourse in France, and not really in England, except perhaps at Cheltenham. Let’s hope we’ll all be dancing again this year.”

 

 

 

 

 

OBS June Sale Starts Wednesday

Tue, 2018-06-12 13:21

The Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age, which provides the final act in the 2018 juvenile sales season, begins its three-day run in Central Florida Wednesday with bidding slated to start on the first of 936 catalogued head at 10 a.m.

The June sale concludes the troika of OBS 2-year-old auctions for the year and follows on the heels of a successful April sale that saw increased participation in the middle market. OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski hopes the strength of the April sale continues into June.

“Our April sale was fantastic,” Wojciechowski said. “We were really pleased with how the April sale went. You would think, if people didn’t get their orders filled in April, certainly it would make sense that they would be here in June.”

The June sale had been originally scheduled to begin Tuesday, but officials moved the start back a day to give horsemen more travel time after a big weekend of racing at Belmont Park. As buyers started to hit the barns Monday morning, Wojciechowski said the excitement of racing’s newest Triple Crown winner could be another boon for the June sale.

“I think the results of the Belmont and the Triple Crown-a rising tide raises all ships–I think that bodes well for the industry,” he said. “We’re starting to see people showing up at the barns that you may not have seen at the breeze show. And nowadays, with the advent of video and the popularity of that, it’s not an issue if they’re not at the breeze show.”

Six horses shared the fastest furlong work time of :9 4/5 during last week’s four-session breeze show (114, 211, 332, 403, 613, 652), while a filly by Cairo Prince (hip 61) turned in the fastest quarter-mile time of :20 2/5. A colt by Uncle Mo (hip 41) had the fastest three-furlong work time of :32 2/5.

“We were very happy with the breeze show,” Wojciechowski said. “We did get lucky and dodge some weather. We had a couple of days when we had an interruption with the rain, but given the surface that we have, we were able to resume right away under the same track conditions as we started the day. So all in all, it went very well.”

Held over two sessions last year, 434 horses sold for a total of $14,999,900. The average was $34,562 and the median was $18,500. A colt by Midnight Lute brought the sale’s top price when selling for $320,000 to trainer Linda Rice. He was one of three to bring $300,000 or over.

OBS opened the juvenile sale season with its March sale and will conclude it with the June sale. Throughout the spring, there has been a familiar refrain of a still-polarized marketplace, with high demand for the top horses that sometimes seems to evaporate further down the ladder.

“We didn’t see any big surprises in the marketplace in 2018,” Wojciechowski said. “A lot of the trends that we’ve seen over the last few years, we continued to see. That being said, I expect the horses that they deem to be the best in the June sale will sell very well and hopefully we’ll be able to continue to get the other ones done, as well.”

The June sale had a pair of stakes winners over the weekend when Lovely Bernadette (Wilburn), a 2016 graduate, won the GIII Mint Julep H., and 2017 graduate King Humor (Distorted Humor) won the Ocala Flame S. at Gulfstream Park. There and Back (First Dude), who was bought back for $400,000 at last year’s June sale, graduated in his debut for trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita Saturday. Other recent graduates include last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) and GI Clark H. winner Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}).

The June sale continues through Friday with sessions beginning daily at 10 a.m.

Belmont Stakes on NBC Draws 15 Million Viewers

Mon, 2018-06-11 17:36

More than 15 million viewers tuned in to NBC to watch Justify (Scat Daddy) complete his sweep of the Triple Crown in Saturday’s Belmont S. From 6:45-7 p.m. ET, 15.3 million watched the handsome chestnut become racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner. The full race portion of the telecast (6:22-7:13 p.m. ET) posted a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 12.7 million viewers on NBC, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, which will rank as the weekend’s most watched event, according to fast national data provided by Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics.

Ward Expecting Huge Royal Ascot Meet

Mon, 2018-06-11 17:31

Wesley Ward has already won nine races at Royal Ascot and believes he can add several more to his total when the meet begins June 19. Not only is Ward bringing the largest group (10) he has ever sent over there, he is bringing several he expects are capable of winning.

“I am very confident,” he said. “Very, very confident. I usually go over there bringing a couple I think can win. But this year I start with the biggest group I’ve ever had and they are quality horses.”

Ward will bring five older horses and five 2-year-olds. All the

2-year-olds are fillies. He explained that, while he has several talented 2-year-old males, he didn’t want to bring any horses that he thought could be in over their heads.

“You’ve got to have a really good horse in order to go over there and win,” he said. “It’s a long way to go to lose. It’s a lot of expense to go over there and lose and I try to deter the owners if I really don’t think we have a chance. I just want to bring the ones I think we have a really big chance with.”

The following is Ward’s roster of Royal Ascot runners, with his comments on each:

Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy) is a two-time Royal Ascot winner and will be going for a repeat in the June 19 G1 King’s Stand S. with John Velazquez in the irons. She is 0 for 3 since winning last year at Ascot and was second in her prep, the Giant’s Causeway, as the 7-10 favorite. But Ward believes she is doing well as the race approaches.

“She is coming in as well as last year,” he said. “She is older now and may have needed a race. She was a little more keyed up than normal in the Giant’s Causeway this year, a little more keen than normal early in race. She really benefitted from that race because her works since have been as good, if not better, than ever.”

Hemp Hemp Hurray (Artie Schiller) will try to give owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey their first Royal Ascot win in the June 20 G3 Jersey S. Though he’ll be tested for class, the connections have to be happy with his last race, an 11 3/4-length win in the Animal Kingdom S. at Turfway.

“Mr. Ramsey has an insatiable desire to win over there,” Ward said. “It’s one of his bucket list goals. This guy ran a 6 on the Ragozoin sheets in his last race. He really is a serious sprinter. We’re hoping we can get lucky in this race for Mr. Ramsey. We know we are an outsider. We know it’s a competitive field, but we are very hopeful.”

Owned and trained by Ward, Bound For Nowhere (The Factor) is listed at 12-1 to 14-1 in the ante-post betting for the June 23 G1 Diamond Jubilee, but the trainer believes this horse has as good a shot as any horse he will send over there. He is coming off a four-length win the GII Shakertown at Keeneland.

“I am very, very, very excited about this guy,” he said. “I have always held this horse in high regard. I am really thinking I’m bringing the best turf sprinter in the U.S. over there and we’ll see if that’s the case. He came out of his last race so good and ran a big number on the Ragozin sheets. His works since have been eye-openers. He is a beautiful specimen.”

Master Marion (Quality Road), who goes postward in the June 20 Royal Hunt Cup, tried the synthetic surface for the first time in his career last out and was a well-beaten fourth as the favorite on the GIII Hanshin S. at Arlington. Ward believes a return to the grass will help.

“No, I’m not concerned about his last race,” the trainer said. “He had been working at Turfway and working very well, but for whatever reason he didn’t fire on the synthetic at Arlington. I attribute the loss to him not getting a hold of the track.”

The winner of the 2015 Diamond Jubilee, Undrafted (Purim) goes into the June 23 Wokingham S. off a third-place finish in the Elusive Quality S. at Belmont. Can he still get it done at this level at age 8?

“From everything I’ve seen in his training he is doing awesome,” Ward said of the veteran, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. “The one thing you can’t get around is the age factor. At Belmont, he ran against a slow pace and he closed really well. I thought it was a great race. I think he’s going to run big over a course he likes and has won over.”

Chelsea Cloisters (First Samurai), who heads to the June 20 G2 Queen Mary S., was among Ward’s most impressive 2-year-old winners at the Keeneland meet, winning a maiden by eight lengths.

“She’s an extremely talented 2-year-old filly,” he said of the youngster, who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. “We had some torrential downpours and Keeneland was gracious enough to let us get works in on the turf and she just cruised over a soft course. That’s always a big factor. I know she likes soft going. I’m excited about her.”

Stillwater Cove (Quality Road) broke her maiden by a only nose at Keeneland, but Ward saw enough good things in that race to put her on the plane to England for the June 22 G3 Albany S. Joel Rosario has the mount.

“I am real excited about her as well,” he said. “She won her first start, but got a bad ride by my favorite rider Julio Garcia. He admitted it himself. He got her out there seven, eight lengths in front and held on by a nostril. She’s a more long-winded filly and I think she’ll eventually want to go two turns. She’s worked really well since that race.”

With Ward sending so many 2-year-old fillies to Royal Ascot, it figured that he’d run one against males so that he could keep his horses apart. He’s chosen Shang Shang Shang (Shanghai Bobby) for that assignment in the June 21 G2 Norfolk S.

“I’m really excited to have her in there,” he said. “She had a big win (by 2 1/2 lengths at Keeneland) and has done everything right since that win. She really took a liking to the firm turf Sunday. It was her best work to date. She might be a little vulnerable if it comes up soft. Her work Sunday at Keeneland was probably the best of all my 2-year-olds. I’m never afraid to run fillies against colts, especially in 2 year-old sprints. I actually think it’s an advantage.

Owned by Don Alberto Stable, Our Passion (Elusive Quality) has the advantage of having already won over the turf, which she did in a Belmont maiden, when she goes postward in the June 20 Windsor Castle S.

“I got her ready for the grass and she won with authority at Belmont,” Ward said. “We’re looking to get a win for Don Alberto and the easiest spot might be one of the non-graded races like the Windsor Castle.”

Moonlight Romance (Liaison) will give Ken Ramsey another shot at a coveted win at Royal Ascot. After finishing second on the dirt in her debut at Keeneland, she took to the grass and won a maiden race at Belmont by 5 1/2 lengths.

“We’re looking at a couple of different races for her,” Ward said. “The decision will ultimately be Mr. Ramsey’s.”

Spontaneous Tribute to Graves Raises $30,000 for TAA

Mon, 2018-06-11 16:25

When Mike Levy was called to the podium by Becky Goodman at the UK Markey Cancer Foundation’s dinner and live auction at Mt. Brilliant Farm Sunday night, the last thing he expected to be asked to do was to raise money for another charity.

“Every year, they have a golf tournament fundraiser with a party the night before where they auction off trips and experiences,” said Levy. “But unbeknownst to me or anyone else in the room, Becky Goodman told Tommy Biederman there would be one extra item auctioned last night on the program. I was bid spotting, and she called me to the podium and said that the community had lost a great friend in Bill Graves. `While we are here,’ she said, `what was Bill’s charity of choice?’ I said he was a proponent of the TAA, and then we collectively challenged the room to raise their hands to donate $1,000.”

“It was really spontaneous,” said Becky Goodman. “With so many people in the horse community in attendance, so many of the conversations drifted to Bill, and people saying, `I can’t believe Bill is gone,’ and as I sat during the auction, I thought this would be some way we could give back to Bill. He was such a good guy; someone you could always go to for an honest opinion. So when the auction was over, I said, `I’d like to do one last thing. Who would like to honor Bill Graves with a donation to his favorite foundation?’ Mike stepped in and said, `How about stand up for $1,000. And within a few short minutes, we raised the money, and it made everyone feel so good to do something nice for something he cared so much about.”

Levy said that they raised $30,000 from donations from the crowd.

“We are honored to be the recipient of the industry’s generosity, and we cannot thank the Graves family enough for their support of the TAA,” said Stacie Clark Rogers, Operations Consultant for the TAA. “We are devastated by the loss of Bill, and our thoughts are with his family and friends during this time.”

 

Sports Betting Gets Green Light in New Jersey

Mon, 2018-06-11 15:48

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill Monday that allows sports betting to begin at racetracks and casinos in New Jersey on professional and collegiate sporting events, four days after legislation was approved by state lawmakers and almost a month since the Supreme Court of the struck down a law banning sports betting in the United States. The move effectively ended a wait that has appeared frustrating at times for Monmouth Park, which was at the forefront of the push to legalize sports betting through the Supreme Court, but ultimately was forced to wait to begin taking bets during a legislative tangle in the Garden State.

“Today is a great day for New Jersey,” said Dennis Drazin, chairman and CEO of Darby Development LLC, which operates Monmouth Park on behalf of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, on Monday. “After a thorough review of the legislation, Governor Murphy has taken decisive and swift action in the best interests of New Jersey’s economy and sports fans across our state. I look forward to the Governor joining us at Monmouth Park Racetrack on Thursday morning to usher in a new era for New Jersey by placing the first bet.”

In a Monday statement, Murphy said, “I’m thrilled to sign Assembly Bill 4111, because it means that our casinos in Atlantic City and our racetracks throughout our state can attract new business and new fans, boosting their own long-term financial prospects.”

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Racing Commission will hold a meeting to review regulations related to the establishment of sports betting at New Jersey racetracks. Once the meeting is complete, Murphy will be able to ratify the Racing Commission’s decision and licensed racetracks will then be able to apply for a temporary waiver to commence sports betting.

With betting expected to begin Thursday at Monmouth, the Oceanport oval is in position to unlock a new revenue stream that will likely improve purses and race dates, according to Drazin.

 

Pedigree Insights: Monomoy Girl

Mon, 2018-06-11 11:42

When a stallion proves his dominance by becoming champion sire on more than one occasion, is it safe to assume that he will develop into a noted sire of sires? The evidence over the last 60 years suggests it is, though have inevitably been a few exceptions.

During those 60 years we have seen Nasrullah notch up the last of his five American championships. Several of his stallion sons, such as Never Bend and Red God, made a lasting impact on the breed, with Bold Ruler proving even more dominant than his sire. This eight-time champion burned very brightly but comparatively briefly. His sons Raja Baba and What A Pleasure became champion sire and the title also fell to his great grandson Seattle Slew, who created the only lasting branch of this male line.

What A Pleasure and Exclusive Native, another two-time champion, didn’t really make their name as prolific sires of sires, though Exclusive Native gave us Affirmed. The next dual champion, Halo, made a huge impact elsewhere, with Sunday Silence and Southern Halo enjoying phenomenal success in Japan and Argentina respectively.

There could be few complaints about the next few multiple champion sires, with Mr Prospector, Danzig, Deputy Minister, Storm Cat and A.P. Indy all being responsible for plenty of successful stallion sons.

Smart Strike is also passing on his talent, with four sons, headed by Curlin and English Channel, siring Grade I winners. Giant’s Causeway has gone one better, as he has five sons with Grade I winners to their credit, with the Irish-based Shamardal being easily the most prolific.

So what does the future hold for Tapit, the champion sire of 2014, ’15 and ’16? The latest edition of the Blood-Horse Stallion Register already lists 17 stallion sons of the Gainesway star in the tail-male sire line chart for Nasrullah. Tapit has a lot to live up to, as his male line features several of the multiple champions mentioned earlier in this article, including Nasrullah, Bold Ruler and A.P. Indy.

It is worth reminding everyone that Tapit hasn’t always ranked among America’s highest-priced stallions. He started his stallion career in 2005 at $15,000 and spent his third and fourth seasons at $12,500. In other words, any son of Tapit born before 2010 was produced comparatively cheaply and therefore may not have the strength of bloodlines in the bottom half of their pedigrees which is evident in Tapit’s younger sons. A fine example was Hansen, whose first three dams were non-black-type daughters of Sir Cat, Highland Park and Temperence Hill.

Tapit’s younger sons include Flashback and He’s Had Enough, members of Tapit’s fifth crop, sired at $35,000, and Constitution, Tonalist, Anchor Down and Tapiture, who were sired at a fee of $50,000. Next come Frosted, who was sired at a fee of $80,000, and Cupid, a member of Tapit’s first $125,000 crop. They are likely to be joined by Tapit’s 2017 Belmont S. winner Tapwrit and ultimately by colts from Tapit’s four crops sired at $300,000, the eldest of which are 2-year-olds this year.

As things stand, four sons of Tapit have so far sired graded stakes winners, and these four–Tapizar, Concord Point, Trappe Shot and Hansen–all emerged from Tapit’s less expensive early crops. Of these four only Tapizar and Hansen were Grade I winners and Hansen and Concord Point have both been sold to Korea. Although Concord Point hit the Grade I target with American Gal, winner of last year’s Test S. and this year’s Humana Distaff S., it is left to Tapizar, winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, and Trappe Shot, winner of the GII True North H., to be the early flagbearers for Tapit. Next in line, with his first runners this year, is the Grade II winner Flashback, who started at a fee of $7,500 at Hill ‘n’ Dale. This year’s first-crop sires also include some interesting regional stallions, such as the New York-based Honorable Dillon, who started at $5,000 at Rockridge Stud, the Florida-based He’s Had Enough, who began at $5,000, and the Maryland-based Grade III winner Bandbox.

He’s Had Enough, who was beaten only a head by Shanghai Bobby in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, certainly caught the eye at this years 2-year-old sales, with colts selling for $485,000, $370,000 and $320,000. However, we will have to wait until this year’s yearling sales to see how the market reacts to the first yearlings by some of Tapit’s big hitters. Tonalist’s first weanlings sold for up to $260,000 and Constitution’s for up to $185,000. There will also be a lot of interest in Frosted’s first weanlings later in the year.

By then, Tapizar may well have added to his reputation. Although his first crop failed to produce a graded stakes winner, Tapizar drew attention to himself by siring as many as five colts– American Pastime, Mr Crow, Tip Tap Tapizar, Hollywood Handsome and Zartera–which have been placed at graded level (the first four have all finished second in a graded stake).

However, it has been Monomoy Girl, a filly from his second crop, who has been responsible for Tapizar’s breakthrough. This magnificent filly would be unbeaten in eight starts but for her neck defeat in the GII Golden Rod S. last November. Since then she has reeled off GI victories in the Ashland S., Kentucky Oaks and the Acorn S., to make herself a major candidate for divisional honors.

Monomoy Girl is out of a Henny Hughes mare, whereas it was a mare by Henny Hughes’s sire Hennessy who provided Tapit with his excellent daughter Careless Jewel, an 11-length winner of the GI Alabama S. over a mile and a quarter before taking the GII Cotillion S. Monomoy Girl therefore contributed to a very good day for admirers of Hennessy, who also ranks as the great-grandsire of Triple Crown hero Justify.

 

Candy Ride Colt Upsets Solomini in Affirmed

Sun, 2018-06-10 19:30

DRAFT PICK (c, 3, Candy Ride {Arg}–Firehouse Red, by Arch), a last-out maiden winner, got first run on heavy favorite Solomini (Curlin) and kicked away late to take the GIII Affirmed S. at Santa Anita. Taking six tries to get his diploma, the $450,000 Keeneland September graduate did so impressively last out May 12 and was made the distant 4-1 second choice in this first stakes attempt. Sitting outside in the second flight past pokey fractions of :24.60 and :49.13, the bay made a three-wide move on the latter half of the far turn with Solomini spun one path further out. Draft Pick took charge a furlong from home and edged clear to score by 2 1/2 lengths over longshot Axelrod (Warrior’s Reward) in 1:44.34, with Solomini checking in third. Lifetime Record: 7-2-0-2, $112,080. O-C R K Stable LLC; B-Hinkle Farms (KY); T-Peter Eurton.

Flatter Filly Stays Unblemished in Jersey Girl

Sun, 2018-06-10 18:05

JERSEY GIRL S., $150,000, Belmont, 6-10, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:09.92, ft.
1–SOWER, 117, f, 3, by Flatter
1st Dam: Enth, by Seeking the Gold
2nd Dam: Limit, by Cox’s Ridge
3rd Dam: Bound, by Nijinsky II
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. ($120,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). O-Leonard
C. Green; B-Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider (KY);
T-Linda Rice; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0,
$142,440.2–Devine Mischief, 118, f, 3, Into Mischief–Vibrant, by Vicar.
($200,000 Ylg ’16 FTSAUG; $450,000 2yo ’17 FTFMAR).
O-Breeze Easy, LLC; B-Spendthrift Farm LLC (KY); T-Joe Sharp.
$30,000.
3–Take Charge Paula, 123, f, 3, Take Charge Indy–Perfect Paula,
by Songandaprayer. ($40,000 Wlg ’15 KEENOV; $47,000 RNA
Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $50,000 2yo ’17 OBSMAR). O-Peter Deutsch;
B-Extern Developments LTD. (KY); T-Kiaran P. McLaughlin.
$15,000.Margins: 4 3/4, 4HF, 2 3/4. Odds: 4.50, 3.55, 1.05.
Also Ran: Pacific Gale, Lezendary, Buy Sell Hold, Strategic Dreams.

Sower shook off some early pace pressure and burst clear in the lane to stay undefeated in the Jersey Girl S. at Belmont. Romping by 7 1/4 lengths first out Apr. 28 at Laurel, the $120,000 OBS April repeated in more workmanlike fashion May 18 at Pimlico and was given a 9-2 chance in this first stakes foray. Away well, the chestnut made the point but was soon challenged and ran head-and-head through a :22.33 quarter. Cutting the corner into the lane, she shook loose from her pace pursuer and slammed the door past the eighth pole en route to a sharp score. Devine Mischief was second-best, while even-money favorite Take Charge Paula finished a well-beaten third. The victress has a yearling half-sister by Lea and her dam was bred to Runhappy last term.

“She finished up nicely today,” said winning trainer Linda Rice. “Once she got a little pressure on the outside, I said, ‘Well, let’s see how she handles a little pace pressure.’ In Maryland on the mud, she was kind of in and out. Every time he hit her, she ducked from side to side. So, I was a little concerned at that time about going seven [furlongs], but it appears to me that if she can sit a little more comfortably in the race, she’d be fine with that. It’s early, but you’ve always got to think about the {GI Longines] Test [S.]” Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Uncle Mo Colt Fastest of Week at OBS

Sun, 2018-06-10 17:10

A colt by Uncle Mo (hip 41) turned heads with a powerful three-furlong breeze in :32 2/5 during Thursday’s first session of the under-tack preview of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age and, when the preview concluded its fourth session Sunday, the time remained unmatched.

“He’s an exceptionally good horse,” said consignor Gayle Woods. “I think he’s the best horse I’ve ever had my hands on and I’ve had some pretty nice horses. I only have to think about him and he gives me goose bumps. He’s full of class and he does everything right. He’s just a very special horse.”

The bay colt is out of Mississippi Queen (Artie Schiller), a half-sister to GI Juddmonte Spinster S. winner Asi Siempre (El Prado {Ire}), who is the dam of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up and G1 St. James’s Palace S. third-place finisher Outstrip (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}).

Mississippi Queen, with this foal in utero, sold for $360,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale and he was bred by Paget Bloodstock. Woods is part of a partnership selling the colt.

Of the youngster’s bullet work, Woods said, “I knew he was a good horse, but I didn’t think he would have quite that much speed because he’s so big–he’s close to 17 hands. But he galloped out in :44 3/5, :58 3/5. He just looked like he was galloping and did it so easy.”

After Thursday’s breeze, there was some speculation that the colt had set a record for a 2-year-old over the OBS synthetic surface, but Woods knew that wasn’t quite so. Four years ago, Woods sent a Scat Daddy filly (hip 1025) out to work three furlongs in :32 2/5. That filly, who RNA’d at the 2014 June sale for $975,000, was subsequent Grade I winner Celestine.

“When I went up to the office, they said, ‘We’re looking it up. We think that’s a record for a 2-year-old,'” Woods recalled. “I said, ‘It’s not because Celestine worked :32 2/5.’ She was obviously a very classy filly, too, and I don’t remember exactly what she galloped out in, but I feel like this colt galloped out stronger than she did. I seriously think he could be top of the top horses.”

While the vast majority of the horses working this week in Ocala drilled in one or two furlongs, Woods sent  three of the 12 2-year-olds to work three furlongs.

“I tend to do it a lot because my view is that it’s June and they’ve already run a bunch of [2-year-old] races,” Woods said of the three-furlong works. “I think horses, if they are up to it, they should be breezing three-eighths by the time they come here.”

Woods also had an unraced 3-year-old gelding by Jimmy Creed (hip 853) who was the only horse at the under-tack show to work four furlongs (:45 1/5).

“I just think it helps sell them if they are a little further ahead and they are gate-carded when they come here,” Woods said. “The Uncle Mo isn’t gate-carded, but I have broken him at the gate. He’s just a star. Whatever you want him to do, he’ll do.”

The OBS June sale begins Wednesday and continues through Friday with sessions commencing daily at 10 a.m.

Justify “Fantastic” After Legendary Belmont Victory

Sun, 2018-06-10 16:31

Undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy) who ran into the record books Saturday, becoming the 13th winner of the American Triple Crown with a decisive 1 3/4-length score in the GI Belmont, emerged from the win in excellent condition, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said Sunday morning. After notching his sixth win in just under 16 weeks, the handsome chestnut appeared to be no worse for the wear.

“Today he looked fantastic,” Baffert said Sunday morning. “He wasn’t blowing after the race–he was blowing harder after the Preakness. That was the best work he had coming into all this.”

Justify had a number of visitors to the barn Sunday, including Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who piloted the colt to victory Saturday, members of the China Horse Club and owner Ahmed Zayat, whose Zayat Stables campaigned American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) to become the 12th Triple Crown winner in 2015.

“He’s in that private, special club, the Triple Crown, and he established himself as one of the greats,” said Baffert. “The thing about him I cannot believe [is] the way he walked in the paddock yesterday. He left the stable barn and I was watching the other horses and they were all skittish and he walked up there just like King Kong. He knew, like he’d been there. He’s really intelligent and a smart, smart horse and he knows when to turn it on.”

Baffert said the colt will be shipped from Belmont to Churchill Downs Monday morning and get a “week or so” off before his connections decide his next goal. Justify is tentatively scheduled to return to his home base at Santa Anita Park next Sunday, June 17.

“We’ll take a deep breath and see where we are,” said Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar. “[Bob] will get Justify right and then we’ll make a plan. We’re looking forward to sharing him more. He’s become a household name and I’m looking forward to his next race as much as [everyone else].”

With his victory, Justify became the only undefeated Triple Crown winner besides Seattle Slew, who won the Belmont in wire-to-wire fashion in 1977.

Just 1 3/4 lengths behind Justify was Phoenix Thoroughbreds’s runner-up Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}), who put forth a new career-top effort in his main-track debut and first start for trainer Chad Brown, who said he was pleased with the effort Sunday morning. Brown added that he did not have any immediate plans made for Gronkowski, but indicated that the GI Travers S. at Saratoga Aug. 25 is a summertime goal for the 3-year-old.

“My first thought is that the Travers would be a good race for this horse if he were to break better and get a better pace to run at,” said Brown. “It’s a race I would love to win, and it looks like it would suit this horse. How we get from this race to the Travers, I haven’t decided yet. But that’s the race I have in my mind. I’ll discuss it with the owners.”

Brown also sent out A Raving Beauty (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) to victory in the GI Just a Game S. on the Belmont undercard and said the 5-year-old European import will be pointed to the July 21 GI Diana S. at Saratoga.

While much of Saturday’s focus understandably was centered on the monumental rise of Justify to Triple Crown glory, his 3-year-old filly counterpart Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) continued her dominance of her division with her third consecutive Grade I score in the GI Acorn S. The chestnut was in good order Sunday morning, according to trainer Brad Cox, who said the filly will likely make her next start in the GI Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga July 22.

“She looked great [Sunday] morning,” said Cox. “We came out of the race extremely well. She looked great, happy, healthy.”

 

Tiznow Firster Runs to the Money at Belmont

Sun, 2018-06-10 13:45
1st-Belmont, $71,250, Msw, 6-10, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:05.57, ft. WHISKEY ECHO (c, 2, Tiznow–Atala, by Stormy Atlantic) took all the money for his debut in the Sunday opener at Belmont and validated the support with a convincing score. Showing a bullet half-mile gate drill at Keeneland in :46 3/5 (1/49) May 29, the $225,000 Keeneland

Justify Wires Belmont to Become 13th Triple Crown Winner

Sat, 2018-06-09 19:20

ELMONT, NY – After American Pharoah finally ended the 37-year drought with his historic Triple Crown run just three years ago, was there any less hype or excitement surrounding the unbeaten Justify (Scat Daddy) as headed into this year’s GI Belmont Stakes seeking to become racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner?

That question was answered with an enormous exclamation point when the big red horse with the white blaze kicked for home in command on a beautiful late Saturday afternoon on Long Island as the capacity crowd of 90,327-many sporting gold foam crowns in support-roared so loud that you felt the building shake.

The ‘TDN Rising Star’ led them every step of the way and had 1 3/4 lengths to spare over European invader Gronkowski (Lonhro {Aus}), who rallied smartly from last of 10, to finish a very good second. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to GI Florida Derby runner-up Hofburg (Tapit) in third.

Hall of Famer Bob Baffert joins “Sunny Jim” Fitzsimmons as the only two trainers to campaign multiple Triple Crown winners. Baffert now stands alone for the most victories by a trainer in Triple Crown races with 15.

“It’s amazing,” Baffert said. “It never gets old. American Pharoah, he’ll always be my first love. [Justify] was showing me the same signs [as American Pharoah], he showed me that same brilliance. Superior horse. I mean, he could have won every race on the undercard today. He’s just that kind of horse.”

Baffert continued, “I got very emotional, because I really think I’m getting help upstairs. I think of my parents, I think of all the good friends I’ve lost, and I know they’re up there–I really believe in that, that they’re helping me out, they’re giving me that little push. I think things happen for a reason. If it was meant to be, it was meant to be. I knew this horse was doing well. We had him ready, but that horse, it was just–just to train a horse like that, he’s just a magnificent animal. I’m just glad that I got a chance to train a horse like that.”

Unlike Justify’s wins in the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. over extremely sloppy conditions, the weather was picture perfect Saturday and this marked his first time racing on a fast track since his GI Santa Anita Derby tally in April. Justify, a well-documented unraced at two and a blowout debut maiden at Santa Anita Feb. 18, joined the brilliant Seattle Slew–also a wire-to-wire Belmont winner in 1977–as the only undefeated winners of the Triple Crown. Justify is now six-for-six.

With the placard sporting the China Horse Club red-and-yellow silks already in place on the Belmont infield shortly after the timer read 2:28.18 for 1 1/2 miles, Justify joins fellow Triple Crown winners Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978) and American Pharoah (2015).

Justify, a $500,000 KEESEP yearling purchase, is campaigned in partnership by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing. He was bred in Kentucky by John D. Gunther.

“It was such a blessing, and just thinking about winning the Triple Crown, and it’s just unbelievable,” WinStar’s Kenny Troutt said. “And then seeing him down that stretch, I mean, I was yelling and screaming, I went crazy down that stretch. It was a great blessing.”

China Horse Club’s Teo Ah Khing added, “As I said in the Preakness, the Lord opens the doors, and the doors opened. We are thankful for everybody here and the media and all our friends and especially our partners that we have. We treasure them. As you know, there are about 20 of our members here watching probably at the corridor, and they are on Cloud Nine, and so am I.”

They’re Off in the Belmont Stakes…

Justify, off as the 4-5 favorite, jumped well from his rail draw and quickly showed the way passing the raucous grandstand for the first time. His Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Restoring Hope (Giant’s Causeway) left the stalls running as well, but after taking the clubhouse turn about four wide and racing under a tight hold, Justify held a narrow advantage through an opening quarter in a swift :23.37.

Hall of Famer Mike Smith was able to slow things down from there, as Justify clicked off a half-mile in :48.11 and six furlongs in 1:13.21. Smith, already a two-time winner of the Belmont aboard Drosselmeyer (2010) and Palace Malice (2013), let it out a notch as the Gary and Mary West colorbearer began to back out of it entering the far turn, but there were some threats looming.

Vino Rosso, winner of the GII Wood Memorial S., made the first move, cutting into Justify’s advantage at the top of the stretch. Hofburg, widest of all, and the rail-skimming Gronkowski, both began to wind up from the back with flashy runs, too, and the stage was set.

Justify apparently had other ideas though. He switched leads right on cue, and, after a few taps of Smith’s whip, the outcome was never in doubt.

“This horse ran a tremendous race,” Smith said. “He’s so gifted. He’s sent from heaven. He’s just amazing. He [was] standing so still [in the starting gate], I actually thought, ‘He’s not going to break today.’ I mean, he left there like he was going 440 yards in Ruidoso, New Mexico.”

What They’re Saying at the Belmont…

“I’m really proud of my horse. The horse ran a great race. I think in each race I had the second-best horse and that’s the way it went. That’s the end of the story. Justify is a top horse and he won the Triple Crown, and that’s what horse racing is all about. You’ve got to run against everybody and it only takes one good one to beat you. To come so close in the Triple Crown…but we ran into a real buzz saw.” –Chad Brown, trainer of runner-up Gronkowski

“You can’t doubt [Justify] now, there’s no way. You’ve got to give him credit. He did it right up on the pace, and everybody had an opportunity to take their shot. They didn’t do it today. They let it go too easy. I thought at the quarter-pole, our horse was moving and we wanted to be close at the quarter-pole and we did get into position and made a run, but the speed wasn’t coming back. They went too slow.” –Bill Mott, trainer of third-place finisher Hofburg

“I made a premature run to see if I could get there. It wasn’t enough.” –John Velazquez, jockey aboard fourth-place finisher Vino Rosso

“I thought Vino Rosso ran well. Johnny [Velazquez] felt like he needed to move a little earlier than he really wanted to because there were pretty soft fractions up front. He felt like if he was going to have any chance he had to go a little sooner than he wanted to and thought that may have compromised his finish a little bit.

“Noble Indy didn’t behave great in the paddock. He got a little bit anxious in the post parade but none of the race went as we wanted it to go. We wanted to get away from the gate, get involved early to be close to the pace. He didn’t break great. He broke out a little bit, and basically Javier [Castellano] decided he was going to something different than we set out to do and the horse didn’t’ respond very well.” –Todd Pletcher, trainer of Vino Rosso and 10th place finisher Noble Indy

“We were fifth. Justify, God bless. A Triple Crown winner. Good for him.” –Steve Asmussen, trainer of fifth-place finisher Tenfold

“It was a monster race. It’s a great honor to be a part of it. The noise from the crowd out front was shaking this building. It was incredible. It’s nice to be a part of something special.” –Dale Romans, trainer of seventh-place finisher Free Drop Billy

“Congratulations to Justify on becoming Thoroughbred racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner and further congratulations to his ownership connections, trainer Bob Baffert, and jockey Mike Smith for their superb management and handling of this extraordinary athlete. This achievement elevates Justify into the pantheon of America’s all-time greatest Thoroughbreds. A Triple Crown winner is rare enough; an undefeated Triple Crown winner is rarer still.” –Alex Waldrop, NTRA President & CEO

Saturday, Belmont Park
BELMONT S. PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS-GI, $1,500,000, Belmont, 6-9, 3yo, 1 1/2m, 2:28.18, ft.
1–JUSTIFY, 126, c, 3, by Scat Daddy
                1st Dam: Stage Magic (GSP, $133,981), by Ghostzapper
                2nd Dam: Magical Illusion, by Pulpit
                3rd Dam: Voodoo Lily, by Baldski
‘TDN Rising Star’. ($500,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-China Horse
Club International Ltd., WinStar Farm, Starlight Racing, Head of
Plains Partners LLC; B-John D. Gunther (KY); T-Bob Baffert;
J-Mike E. Smith. $800,000. Lifetime Record: 6-6-0-0,
$3,798,000. *1/2 to The Lieutenant (Street Sense), GSW,
$209,537. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Gronkowski, 126, c, 3, Lonhro (Aus)–Four Sugars, by Lookin
At Lucky. ($75,000 Wlg ’15 KEENOV; 50,000gns Ylg ’16
TATOCT; 300,000gns 2yo ’17 TATBRE). O-Phoenix
Thoroughbred III; B-Epic Thoroughbreds Llc (KY); T-Chad C.
Brown. $280,000.3–Hofburg, 126, c, 3, Tapit–Soothing Touch, by Touch Gold.
O/B-Juddmonte Farms, Inc. (KY); T-William I. Mott. $150,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, 1 3/4, NK. Odds: 0.80, 24.75, 5.20.
Also Ran: Vino Rosso, Tenfold, Bravazo, Free Drop Billy, Restoring Hope, Blended Citizen, Noble Indy.
Click for the Equineline.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. NBC HD Replay.

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