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Updated: 11 hours 2 min ago

Immaculately Bred War Front Colt Breaks Maiden By a Pole

Sat, 2019-02-02 17:47

Making his first career appearance around one turn and just his second start on the dirt, Fox Hill Farms’ OMAHA BEACH (c, 3, (War Front–Charming, by Seeking the Gold) shot to the front prior to the end of the backstretch, widened at will on the turn and jogged home to graduate by the better part of a dozen lengths over a rain-affected strip Saturday at Santa Anita. Sent off the 3-5 chalk on the heels of a near-miss second to would-be GIII Robert B. Lewis S. contender Nolo Contesto (Pioneerof the Nile) going a mile over this main track Jan. 4, Omaha Beach landed in third position early on and well out into the track before accelerating sharply to take the race by the throat passing the half-mile marker. Skipping along rhythmically over the off going while never more than hand-ridden by Flavien Part, the dark bay entered the final furlong well in front and was pushed out hands and heels in a sharp 1:21.02 for the seven furlongs. The winner’s dam, a $3.2-million Keeneland September yearling purchase, is a daughter of MGISW Take Charge Lady (Dehere), dam of champion and young sire Will Take Charge (Unbridled’s Song) and GISW Take Charge Indy (A.P. Indy). Omaha Beach is one of four winners from five to make the races for Charming, whose daughter Take Charge Brandi (Giant’s Causeway) won the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and GI Starlet S. en route to being named champion juvenile filly of 2014. Also the dam of Omaha Beach’s Group 1-placed full-brother Courage Under Fire, Charming has not produced a foal since Omaha Beach and is due to American Pharoah this year. Lifetime Record: 5-1-3-1. O-Fox Hill Farms Inc; B-Charming Syndicate (KY); T-Richard Mandella.

Harvey Wallbanger Goes Last to First in Holy Bull Stunner

Sat, 2019-02-02 17:35

The GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S. was billed as face off between hyped ‘TDN Rising Stars’ Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief) and Mihos (Cairo Prince), but it was upended by 25-1 shot Harvey Wallbanger (Congrats), who punched through late for a one-length success over 99-1shot Everfast (Take Charge Indy). Previously undefeated Maximus Mischief finished a neck behind that rival in third and Mihos was fifth.

Unhurried early, Harvey Wallbanger caboosed the field as an eager Epic Dreamer (Gemologist) ticked off opening splits of :23.18 and :46.76 with favored Maximus Mischief stalking from second. Still trailing the field at that point, the Ken McPeek pupil came alive on the backstretch run, progressing up the fence to be third as Maximus Mischief ranged up alongside the pacesetter exiting the bend. The top dueled down the lane with Maximus Mischief wearing down Epic Dreamer in the final sixteenth. However, it was too late as Harvey Wallbanger charged through on the fence to steal the show and Everfast came flying up the outside for the place spot leaving Maximus Mischief in third. Epic Dreamer held fourth over Mihos, who raced mid-pack in the three-path most of the way and never threatened.

“It’s a horse race,” McPeek said. “You can’t duck one, can you? He showed he had some good, solid ability. I was thinking he’d rise up to whatever level you put him in. All we did last fall was really kind of teach him what to do. The end of the season he was a little tired after his fourth race and we backed off, came down here, and took our time. I had some options to run in an a-other-than and I told [co-owner] Harold [Lerner], ‘Let’s find out how good he is, because he can’t be training any better.’ Today, I told [jockey] Brian [Hernandez Jr.], ‘If they go, let them go. Don’t worry about it. Just tuck in, save some ground, and make your run.'”

As for the future, the conditioner said, “Let’s just enjoy the evening here and then figure it out. [GII] Fountain of Youth [Mar. 2], I’ve already got Signalman kind of circled for that, but that doesn’t mean that they both couldn’t run. I’d like to keep them apart if I can but one step at a time.”

“It was great,” said Hernandez. “We had a horse that likes to come from behind and we thought they’d go quick in front. I was able to just kind of sit there. I knew to trust in my horse, because he was second in a couple of good maiden races and he always runs to his competition so I thought he’d give a good showing today. When we turned for home and I got within range of them, I thought I had enough horse to where I’d get past them. I mean, he spurted through there quickly and he did it like a good horse.”

As for the beaten favorite Maximus Mischief, rider Jose Ortiz, who took over for regular pilot Frankie Pennington, said, “He broke good, clean. He sat second behind the speed, but I felt like they were coming on my outside, so I made my decision to go. When I asked him, he wasn’t going the way I wanted him to. I just had to start riding. I had a hard time catching the horse on the lead.”

Runner-up behind a ‘TDN Rising Star’-performance from next-out GI Champagne S. victor Complexity (Maclean’s Music) in his six-panel unveiling at Saratoga Sept. 3, Harvey Wallbanger checked in second again next out when stretched to two turns at Keeneland Oct. 7. Completing the exacta once more at Churchill Downs Oct. 28, the $50,000 FTKJUL buy rallied from well back to earn his diploma beneath the twin spires last time Nov. 17.

Pedigree Notes:

Harvey Wallbanger is the 10th graded stakes victor and 33rd black-type winner for his sire Congrats. His dam Adorabell is a daughter of Distorted Humor, who is also the broodmare sire of top runners such as champion Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) and MGISWs Elate (Medaglia d’Oro), Practical Joke (Into Mischief) and New Money Honey (Medaglia d’Oro). Adorabell was purchased by Harvey Wallbanger’s breeders Tony Holmes and Dr. Walter Zent for $65,000 carrying a foal by Union Rags at the 2014 Keeneland November Sale. She produced a colt now named Cerunnos and they bred her back to Congrats, resulting in Harvey Wallbanger. The 15-year-old mare produced the now-2-year-old filly Bells of War (Declaration of War) in May of 2017, so she was not bred back for 2018, but visited Daredevil last spring. The winner’s second dam is SW Hear the Bells (Deputy Minister), who produced a pair of stakes winners, who are also graded stakes-placed, in Wild Deputy (Wild Again) and Deb’s Honor (Affirmed).

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
FASIG-TIPTON HOLY BULL S.-GII, $350,000, Gulfstream, 2-2, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.69, ft.
1–HARVEY WALLBANGER, 117, c, 3, by Congrats
1st Dam: Adorabell, by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Hear the Bells, by Deputy Minister
3rd Dam: Kemp, by Spectacular Bid
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($50,000 Ylg
’17 FTKJUL). O-Harold Lerner LLC, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables,
Scott K. Akman & Paul Braverman; B-Tony Holmes & Dr. &
Mrs. Walter Zent (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek; J-Brian Joseph
Hernandez, Jr. $208,320. Lifetime Record: 5-2-3-0, $299,520.
Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus* Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Everfast, 116, c, 3, Take Charge Indy–Awesome Surprise, by
Awesome Again. ($47,000 Ylg ’17 KEEJAN). O-Calumet Farm;
B-Extern Developments (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $67,200.
3–Maximus Mischief, 122, c, 3, Into Mischief–Reina Maria, by
Songandaprayer. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($165,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV;
$170,000 RNA Ylg ’17 FTSAUG; $245,000 RNA 2yo ’18 FTFMAR;
$340,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY). O-Cash is King LLC & LC Racing;
B-Martha Jane Mulholland (KY); T-Robert E. Reid, Jr. $33,600.
Margins: 1, NK, 1. Odds: 29.60, 128.70, 0.90.
Also Ran: Epic Dreamer, Mihos, Garter and Tie, Federal Case, Come On Gerry, Gladiator King. Scratched: Going for Gold.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Call Paul Rallies to Popular Swale Success

Sat, 2019-02-02 16:54

Whether Call Paul (Friesan Fire) proves proficient around two turns is a question to be answered somewhere down the line. But for now, the Pennsylvania-bred continues to excel at sprint distances and made it a perfect four-for-four at distances up to one mile, overcoming a bit of a tardy dispatch to best Zenden (Fed Biz) in Saturday’s GIII Swale S. at Gulfstream Park. Topper T (Bellamy Road) was a rough-trip third.

Slow into stride from gate five, the 3-2 chalk settled worse than midfield through the opening exchanges as Country Singer (Majesticperfection) crossed his rivals from his widest gate to lead on a fast opening quarter that was up in :21.76. Allowed to improve his position on the backstretch, Call Paul began to warm up to the task with three-eighths of a mile to the finish and was produced four or five wide off the home corner by Irad Ortiz, Jr. High Crime (Violence), the pace-presser for the opening five furlongs, took command when Country Singer called it a day at the three-sixteenths, but by then, Call Paul was working up a full head of steam, hit the front at the furlong pole and edged clear. Zenden held gamely for second, while Tommy T came home nicely once out of the kickback to round out the triple.

“I didn’t panic when he broke a step slow. I have a lot of confidence riding [trainer Jason Servis’] horses,” Ortiz, Jr. said. “I just helped him a little bit to get position. From there I just waited for the moment to go, and when I asked him, he responded really well.”

A debut winner at Delaware July 5, defeating future GI Hopeful S. and recent Jerome S. hero Mind Control (Stay Thirsty), Call Paul validated heavy favoritism in the Aug. 12 GII Saratoga Special S. He struggled in two tries over a mile thereafter, filling third spot in the GI Champagne S. Oct. 6. and in the Nov. 4 GIII Nashua S., but he found a soft spot and romped by five in the state-bred restricted Pennsylvania Nursery S. to close the season Dec. 1.

Pedigree Notes:

One of two graded and five black-type winners for his Maryland-based sire, Call Paul is kin to the 2-year-old filly Pink Caddy (El Padrino), a yearling colt by Bullsbay and his dam was most recently bred to Uncle Lino. Third dam Royal Strait Flush was a full-sister to champion Landaluce and produced Jade Flush (Jade Hunter), a Grade II winner who nearly took down the colors of champion and subsequent GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Inside Information (Private Account) in the 1995 GI Spinster S.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
SWALE S.-GIII, $150,000, Gulfstream, 2-2, 3yo, 7f, 1:23.43, ft.
1–CALL PAUL, 122, c, 3, by Friesan Fire
1st Dam: Avani Force, by Forestry
2nd Dam: Avani, by Gulch
3rd Dam: Royal Strait Flush, by Seattle Slew
($20,000 Ylg ’17 EASOCT; $210,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY).
O-Michael Dubb, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables LLC & Bruce
Irom; B-Beatrice Patterson & Vicky Schowe (PA); T-Jason
Servis; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $87,420. Lifetime Record: GISP, 6-4-0-2,
$366,920. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Zenden, 120, c, 3, Fed Biz–You Laughin, by Sharp Humor.
($7,500 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $47,000 2yo ’18 OBSOPN). O-Pichi
Investments LLC; B-Brent & Beth Harris (KY); T-Victor Barboza,
Jr. $28,200.
3–Topper T, 120, c, 3, Bellamy Road–Des Moines, by Evansville
Slew. O-Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable & Pantofel Stable;
B-Blackoak Farm (IA); T-William I. Mott. $14,100.
Margins: 1 1/4, 2, NK. Odds: 1.50, 8.00, 6.50.
Also Ran: High Crime, Frosted Grace, Seismic Jolt, Chinomado, Hard Belle, Take Command, Country Singer, Jackson.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Former Claimer Tax Rides Rail, Digs In to Take Withers

Sat, 2019-02-02 16:40

Tax went from claimer to graded winner and GI Kentucky Derby candidate with a victory in Aqueduct’s GIII Withers S. Saturday. Stumbling at the start, the 2-1 chalk quickly recovered, moving up the fence from his rail draw to take command, but was soon passed by Not That Brady, who put up an opening quarter in :23.56. In a three-way duel for second as that foe clocked a half in :47.39, the dark bay was shuffled back into a joint third, but reasserted up the fence entering the lane. Taking command in mid-stretch, Tax held off a stubborn Not That Brady and a determined Our Braintrust to score. Our Braintrust’s trainer Mark Casse lodged an objection against Not That Brady for interference in the stretch, but the result was left as is after a steward’s inquiry.

“He ran really good today,” trainer Danny Gargan said. “I think down the backside, he got a really good education. Junior [Alvarado] said he was really impressed with him. He said he kind of got stuck down in there and clipped heels a couple of times.”

The conditioner added, “As far as our next spot, we’ll look at the [GII] Tampa Bay Derby [Mar. 9], also the [GIII] Jeff Ruby [Steaks S. Mar. 9] at Turfway Park. Somewhere like that, a two-turn race. I don’t want to back him up, the [GIII] Gotham [S. Mar. 9] is a one-turn mile and I think that’s a sprinter’s race. So, we’ll probably come out of this race and go somewhere like that and probably come back here for the [GII] Wood [Memorial S. Apr. 6]. He’s definitely going to run between now and the last prep so I can get three races in if we get lucky enough to get to the [Kentucky] Derby.”

“I was hoping the hole would open up and I got lucky and got through,” Alvarado said of the trip. “He responded right away when we got the space, it was just enough for him. When we got to the lead at the sixteenth pole he started waiting again for the horses. He’s a big guy, but mentally he’s not 100% in the game yet. He’s still learning and today was a great learning experience for him.”

Second on debut sprinting at Churchill Downs Sept. 29, Tax was claimed from breeders Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider and trainer Ben Colebrook for $50,000 by Gargan and Hugh Lynch out of a winning effort in a two-turn test at Keeneland Oct. 21. Corms Racing Stable joined the ownership and Gargan sent the colt to this venue’s GII Remsen S. Dec. 1, where he finished third behind ‘TDN Rising Star’ Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief). Randy Hill’s R A Hill Stable and Dean and Patti Reeves’s Reeves Thoroughbred Racing bought into the colt following that effort.

Pedigree Notes:

Tax is the 39th graded winner and 67 black-type winner for his late sire Arch. The winner is a son of Toll, who did not produce a foal in 2017, but had an Orb colt in January of 2018 and was bred back to Blame. His second dam is MGSW & GISP Yell (A.P. Indy), who produced GISP Chide (Blame) and SW Cheery (Distorted Humor), the dam of MGISW and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Elate (Medaglia d’Oro). This is also the family of GISW Eastern Echo (Damascus); MGSW & MGISP new sire Ironicus (Distorted Humot); MGSW On Leave (War Front); GSW & GISP sire Congrats (A.P. Indy); and graded winners Norumbega (Tiznow), Hunting (Coronado’s Quest) and Quiet Harbor (Silver Deputy).

Saturday, Aqueduct
WITHERS S.-GIII, $252,500, Aqueduct, 2-2, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:50.23, ft.
1–TAX, 120, g, 3, by Arch
1st Dam: Toll, by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: Yell, by A.P. Indy
3rd Dam: Wild Applause, by Northern Dancer
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O-R. A. Hill
Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch & Corms
Racing Stable; B-Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider (KY);
T-Danny Gargan; J-Junior Alvarado. $137,500. Lifetime Record:
4-2-1-1, $186,300. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Not That Brady, 120, g, 3, Big Brown–Lisa’s Booby Trap, by
Drewman. ($135,000 Ylg ’17 SARAUG). O-Michael Imperio,
Rudy R. Rodriguez & Lianna Stables, Inc.; B-KatieRich Farms
(NY); T-Rudy R. Rodriguez. $52,500.
3–Our Braintrust, 122, c, 3, Freud–Caller Trust, by Trust N Luck.
($27,000 RNA Ylg ’17 FTKJUL; $25,000 Ylg ’17 EASOCT). O-Gary
Barber; B-Barak Farm (MD); T-Mark E. Casse. $30,000.
Margins: HD, NK, 4 3/4. Odds: 2.10, 8.70, 3.90.
Also Ran: Sir Winston, Admire, Moretti, Lucky Lee. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Violence’s Feedback Guts Out Forward Gal Score Off the Bench

Sat, 2019-02-02 16:21

‘TDN Rising Star’ Feedback made good on the promise she showed when romping by eight lengths in her Saratoga unveiling Aug. 12 with a gutsy win in the GIII Forward Gal S. Saturday, her first start since that debut six months ago. Hammered down to 1-2 favoritism to repeat in this return, the bay showed initiative early, but was overtaken to her inside by Fashion Faux Pas (Flatter) and settled to stalk from second through a :22.20 opening quarter. Seizing command from that foe, the Klaravich colorbearer registered a half in :45.34 under Irad Ortiz. Challenged by Bye Bye J approaching the far turn, Feedback kept on finding to hold that rival at bay, as well as a late surging Champagne Anyone.

“I’m happy and relieved, because this horse really didn’t have quite enough works into her where I really wanted to run her quite yet, but looking at the schedule and trying to hopefully get her on the [GI Kentucky] Oaks trail, I figured if we don’t get her started this weekend it was going to be hard to get there,” trainer Chad Brown said. “We were a little short on works, but she showed her class and her ability to overcome it. I looked at the fractions and she was right up on it which I expected, but I thought she was very vulnerable the last sixteenth knowing that I was a couple works short. But she dug in and showed her class.”

As for what’s next, Brown said, “I’ll just have to evaluate how much time she needs to recover from this effort because she was quite tired when she came back. I’d like to run her twice more before the Oaks. [The GII Davona Dale Mar. 2] would be the logical thing to do, so hopefully if she’s not too knocked out from this and it’s just a matter of getting the fitness she needed, she’ll be ready to go in four weeks. But, if not, we’ll just wait a little longer.”

Pedigree Notes:

Hailing from the second crop of Violence, Feedback is the Hill ‘n’ Dale sire’s third graded winner and 14th black-type winner. The son of Medaglia d’Oro was also represented by a new ‘TDN Rising Star’ at Gulfstream Saturday in Violencia, an ultra-impressive debut winner for Rodolphe Brisset, who trains one of Violence’s other graded winners, ‘TDN Rising Star’ Talk Veuve to Me. Out of GSP Honest Answer, Feedback is a half-sister to GSP runners Law Abidin Citizen (Twirling Candy) and Sweet Swingin (Street Sense), as well as the dam of MSW R Kinsley Doll (Big Drama). The winner also hails from the family of Canadian champion Truth of It All (Proud Truth) and MGISWs I Ain’t Bluffing (Pine Bluff) and Borrego (El Prado {Ire}).

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
FORWARD GAL S.-GIII, $150,000, Gulfstream, 2-2, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:23.51, ft.
1–FEEDBACK, 116, f, 3, by Violence
1st Dam: Honest Answer (GSP, $182,020), by Tale of the Cat
2nd Dam: Cup of Honey, by Raise a Cup
3rd Dam: Honey Deb, by Herbager
‘TDN Rising Star’ 1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES
WIN. ($85,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc.;
B-Wolverton Mountain Farm LLC & Cameron Wheeler (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $89,280. Lifetime Record:
2-2-0-0, $136,030. *1/2 to Law Abidin Citizen (Twirling Candy),
GSP, $238,665. Werk Nick Rating: D.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Bye Bye J, 120, f, 3, Uncaptured–Red Pine, by Awesome
Again. ($21,000 Ylg ’17 OBSWIN). O-Monarch Stables, Inc.;
B-McDowell Farm (AR); T-Ronald B. Spatz. $28,800.
3–Champagne Anyone, 116, f, 3, Street Sense–Lucevan, by
Ghostzapper. ($70,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Six Column Stables,
LLC & Randall L. Bloch; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings
LLC (KY); T-Ian R. Wilkes. $14,400.
Margins: HF, NK, 1HF. Odds: 0.50, 5.60, 12.90.
Also Ran: Jeltrin, Horologist, Hollywood Glory, Brunette Princess, Frond, Fashion Faux Pas. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

Violence Filly Runs Away to Rising Stardom at Gulfstream

Sat, 2019-02-02 14:27

Violencia turned back an odds-on Chad Brown firster and finished full of run to earn ‘TDN Rising Star’ honors at Gulfstream Saturday. Picked up for an even $100,000 at Keeneland September, the bay showed a steady series of breezes for trainer Rodolphe Brisset at Payson Park, highlighted by a half-mile gate move in :48 2/5 (2/22) Jan. 7. Part of a three-way scrum for second favoritism behind e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ 9-10 Palomita (Into Mischief), Violencia broke as a 27-5 chance and beat the sharp-starting heavy favorite to the punch to dictate terms through a :22.30 quarter. That one crept closer passing a :45.11 half, but Violencia made short work of her rival once turning for home, drawing clear under Jose Ortiz to a good-looking 7 1/2-length success. Palomita held for second. The victress is a half to He’s So Fine (Purge), GSP, $451,468; and Auntjenn (Uncle Mo), GSP, $178,673. Her dam foaled a filly by Shanghai Bobby last term before visiting Tiznow.

5th-Gulfstream, $43,350, Msw, 2-2, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:09.70, ft.
VIOLENCIA, f, 3, by Violence
1st Dam: World Event, by Quiet American
2nd Dam: Harbour Cat, by Storm Cat
3rd Dam: Harbour Club, by Danzig
Sales History: $120,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $100,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $25,800. Click for the Equibase.com chart, free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Rick Howard, Kent Donworth & Rags Racing Stable LLC; B-Kathie Maybee & Matt Bowling (KY); T-Rodolphe Brisset.

OBS March Catalog Online

Fri, 2019-02-01 17:15

The catalog for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2019 March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training is now available via the OBS website at www.obssales.com.

A total of 577 juveniles have been cataloged for the two-day sale, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, Mar. 12 and 13, with both sessions beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Under-Tack Show will span three days, beginning Thursday, Mar. 7 with Hips 1-192. Hips 193-384 will breeze Friday, Mar. 8 and Hips 385-577 will go Saturday, Mar. 9. All three sessions will begin at 8 a.m.

“Since we expanded the sale format in 2015, March has really become a much broader marketplace,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “We were able to add a group of precocious horses in addition to the select type horses they already expect in March. All you have to do is look at the list of runners that have come out of this sale over the past few years to see that quality horses come in all different types and price ranges.”

Stallions represented in the March Sale include: American Pharoah, Awesome Again, Bernardini, Candy Ride (Arg), Curlin, Distorted Humor, Empire Maker, Ghostzapper, Into Mischief, Kitten’s Joy, Medaglia d’Oro, Pioneerof the Nile, Speightstown, Tapit, Tiznow, Quality Road, Uncle Mo, Union Rags and War Front.

TwinSpires.com Triple Crown Throwdown: Withers, Holy Bull, Bob Lewis

Fri, 2019-02-01 16:41

Ed DeRosa of TwinSpires.com takes on TDN’s Steve Sherack and Brian DiDonato as they handicap each prep race leading up to the GI Kentucky Derby. The three will make $100 Win/Place bets-highest bankroll after Arkansas Derby/Lexington day wins.

DeRosa: Smarty Jones S. – Gray Attempt went to the front and dug in to score. Bankroll: $530.

GII Holy Bull S. – A troika of Kentucky Derby points on Saturday ushers in Super Bowl weekend. We got off the schneid last week, and will look to add to our score with a trio of logical horses led by Maximus Mischief, who I see not only as the most likely winner of the Holy Bull, but also of all three races. I loved the brilliance he showed winning his first two starts sprinting and then stretching out to win the Remsen. I typically don’t like Remsen winners next out, but this is not your grandfather’s Remsen winner who excelled in that race because of the nine furlongs as a juvenile. This horse is just better than the rest. Selection: #8 Maximus Mischief (1-1).

GIII Withers S. – It could be a big day for Charles Zacney, whose Cash Is King Stable is also in on Lucky Lee in the Withers, which I see as the most competitive of Saturday’s Derby prep slate. Lucky Lee follows a similar path to the Withers as fellow colorbearer Maximus Mischief did to the Remsen, winning his first two starts at Parx in brilliant fashion. I’ll play that brilliance to stretch out given the pedigree and what is a square price on the morning line. Selection: #5 Lucky Lee (7-2).

GIII Robert B. Lewis S. – The Lewis is interesting pitting two established 2-year-olds (Gunmetal Gary and Mucho Gusto) against the flashy maiden winner Nolo Contesto. I’ll go with the up-and-comer from John Sadler’s barn. Nolo Contesto’s debut wasn’t terrible considering the start and picked up a lot of horses late. Then he was much the best next out when taking a lot of money considering the debut. The 94 Brisnet Speed Rating fits with these, and I see him as most likely to improve. Selection: #6 Nolo Contesto (5-2).

Sherack – Smarty Jones S.Bankit fell too far behind over a very speed-favoring surface and never factored as the favorite. Bankroll: $0.

GII Holy Bull S. – Between the tough post and two very fast stretch-out sprinters drawn just to his outside, this is no layup for the unbeaten and very talented Maximus Mischief. I’ll instead opt for the second-choice Mihos, who should receive an absolute dream set-up. Mihos has looked plenty promising in his last two victories as well, including an impressive come-from-behind win in the one-turn mile Mucho Macho Man S. in Hallandale Jan. 5. The added distance and stretch to two turns should be right up his alley. Selection: #6 Mihos (5-2).

GIII Withers S. – I liked Admire’s debut enough–he completely blew the start from his rail draw and turned in a serious move on the far turn and into the stretch to finish a respectable fifth going six furlongs–to give him a chance at a big price here. While he’ll have to improve plenty off that 71 Beyer he earned last out in his hard-fought maiden breaker in late November, it was still fairly impressive for him to return just 22 days later and successfully stretch to the demanding distance of 1 1/8 miles over a sloppy, sealed track. Scratched from the GIII Lecomte S. after drawing wide, he seems to be training well enough with a steady diet of five-furlong breezes in South Florida for his connections to take a swing at the Derby trail. Selection: #4 Admire (15-1).

GIII Robert B. Lewis S. – The word was out on Nolo Contesto after his eventful debut fifth–he was bumped so hard in the early stages that Joel Rosario briefly lost one of his irons–and he knuckled down nicely next out after covering all the ground to graduate in his two-turn debut going a mile at Santa Anita in early January. Having likely favorite and horse to beat Mucho Gusto walk around the track on the lead is an obvious concern, but another step forward from the promising Hronis Racing colorbearer can make him a major player. Selection: #6 Nolo Contesto (5-2).

DiDonato – Smarty Jones S. – Boy was I wrong about Super Steed… Didn’t seem like he really ran his race over a track that played to speed all weekend and he checked in seventh. Bankroll: $500.

GII Holy Bull S. – To state the obvious, there’s a ton of pace signed on here. Maximus Mischief might just be a monster, and maybe he can rate, but he’s far from a lock against this formidable group. Mihos is the obvious alternative, but he’s tough to pass up for me. What made his Mucho Macho Man win impressive was how early he was switched off cover. He ran four wide out in no-man’s land around the entire turn and covered way more ground than every one of his rivals according to Trakus (between 21 and 53 ft.). The added real estate shouldn’t be an issue. Selection: #6 Mihos (5-2).

GIII Withers S. – Considering the comment on my virtual stable for Lucky Lee is “early Derby horse?” I’d say I probably have to pick him. I just loved how he moved through the stretch when running up the score in a Parx allowance last time–he’s got that A.P. Indy low head carriage thing going on and appears plenty capable of getting an additional furlong. Selection: #5 Lucky Lee (7-2).

GIII Robert B. Lewis S. Nolo Contesto found trouble sprinting first out, but stepped forward in a big way to come out on top of a duel when stretched to a mile Jan. 4. The horse he beat is a well-bred, highly regarded colt who might not possess the most killer instinct out there, but he is a pretty good barometer for his competition. The horses who narrowly beat that runner in each of his previous two starts subsequently took stakes events (he runs back one race before the Lewis). The winner of his debut annexed an allowance and was third in a stakes since then. Nolo Contesto should appreciate the added distance of this, and he looked great breezing in company last week. Selection: #6 Nolo Contesto (5-2).

Click for Withers, Holy Bull & Robert B. Lewis Ultimate PPs from Brisnet.com.

Pacific Classic Card to Feature Five Graded Stakes

Fri, 2019-02-01 15:08

This year’s GI TVG Pacific Classic card will be held Saturday, Aug. 17 as part of an enhanced racing program that will feature an unprecedented five graded stakes races, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club announced Friday.

Del Mar’s 29th edition of its signature race, the $1-million Pacific Classic, will headline a blockbuster program that also will offer four additional graded stakes–the $300,000 GI Del Mar Oaks, the $250,000 GII Del Mar H., the $100,000 GIII Torrey Pines S. and the $100,000 GIII Green Flash H.

“We’ve seen it across the country,” said DMTC President Josh Rubinstein, “that racetracks and racing fans respond very positively to ‘big days.’ The Triple Crown races, the Breeders’ Cup programs–they put a special buzz in the air; they make the day into something that transcends the racing itself. Our plan is to bolster our premier race and make it the showcase event on a day like we’ve never had before at Del Mar.”

Del Mar’s 36-day summer season will run from Wednesday, July 17 through Labor Day Monday, Sept. 2.

Monmouth Gets Subsidy, but NJ Pols to Hold Their Feet to Fire

Fri, 2019-02-01 14:40

A bill to provide Monmouth Park with a $10-million annual subsidy for five consecutive years passed the New Jersey Assembly Thursday and is expected to be signed into law by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

The money replaces a $17-million annual subsidy given to Thoroughbred racing by the Atlantic City casinos, one that then Governor Chris Christie pulled the plug on in 2011. Since, Monmouth has struggled to compete with other Mid-Atlantic area tracks that receive casino money and have the ability to offer larger purses.

But what separates this subsidy from those in other racing states, including those that funnel slots money to the racetracks, is that Monmouth will not be getting a free ride. Neither will the state’s two harness tracks, The Meadowlands and Freehold, which will also share in the subsidy that totals $20 million for the two breeds.

There are several provisions in the bill that the tracks must meet. If they fall short of those goals, the purse subsidy could end. Many of the provisions are requirements that involve the breeding industries for both Thoroughbred and Standardbreds, so far as increasing the number of mares and foals in the state. The New Jersey breeding industry has been decimated over the last several years. The legislation also calls for Monmouth to improve in areas that involve on-track business.

According to Dennis Drazin, who heads the management team that operates Monmouth, the government is requiring Monmouth to show increases in attendance, handle, field size and, oddly, the number of horses four years or younger stabled in New Jersey for the majority of the year.

“I don’t think we have to hit every one, but they’re trying to be responsible,” Drazin said. “You have to look at the legislature and what message they’re trying to send. There are a lot of groups out there saying why should horse racing get $100 million when there are other needy parties? I saw some criticism this morning that Governor Murphy vetoed a homeless bill; the reasons had nothing to do with us. But there are some people that don’t think we should be getting this money. The legislature is trying to be responsible, saying we’re not going to hand out $100 million if it’s not going to make a difference”

Drazin said he was confident Monmouth would meet the criteria.

“I’m going to spend my money in a way that we meet the goals,” he said. “When I go in and decide how to spend it, I want to make sure I have their requirements in mind when I make decisions as to how to spend our money. I will reestablish the 40% bonus for New Jersey breds running in open company, which should definitely encourage people to breed in the state. I’m not going to do things that are foolish. We were going to run until Dec. 7 at Meadowlands, but no longer will do that. Those days were not going to produce good handle numbers for us.”

How Monmouth will allocate the purse money has yet to be decided and could become a subject of debate among local horsemen. All that is known for now is that Monmouth will hold a 61-day meet, plus six additional days of all turf racing at the Meadowlands. That’s an increase of nine days over what was scheduled in 2018. Drazin said Monmouth would also race on Sundays in October. One of the benefits of that would be the possibility that NFL bettors will also wager on racing.

But, going forward, will Monmouth’s direction lead toward additional racing dates or the same length of meet with higher purses? Some horsemen are in favor of having the purses hiked substantially for a portion of the meet, a mini-elite meet that mirrored the 2010 “Elite Meet” when Monmouth average nearly $1 million daily in purses. Still others want to see the purses stay the same with a substantial addition to the racing calendar. When asked what direction Monmouth would go, Drazin said, “I am not prepared to comment on that as of yet.”

No matter what direction Monmouth heads, the $10-million subsidy is seen as a major shot in the arm for an industry that needed one.

“We’ve been working very hard on this for at least a year because the subsidies we used to get helped us be competitive in the region where it is very difficult to compete with states that have slots and casino revenues and get hundreds of millions,” Drazin said. “But it is very meaningful to get a purse subsidy when you haven’t had anything for years. It puts us in a position for the next five years where we have security. The breeding industry can understand that if they drop a foal in New Jersey today this is what they have to look forward to. Hopefully, there will be more mares and foals in New Jersey. On the racing end, it puts us in a more competitive position with the surrounding states. We’ll never be at the New York level, but it puts us at higher level for our overnight purses structure and we’ll be more in line with other tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Sovereign Award Finalists Announced

Fri, 2019-02-01 08:17

The Jockey Club of Canada has released the finalists in 11 equine and 5 human categories for the Sovereign Awards, to be held Thursday, Apr. 18 at the Chateau Le Jardin in Woodbridge, Ontario.

The finalists for Canadian Horse of the Year will be revealed during the awards ceremonies. In addition to the divisional awards, Gus Schickedanz and the late William D. Graham will each be honored with the E. P. Taylor Award of Merit for their lifelong dedication and contributions to the Canadian Thoroughbred industry. Winners of the three media awards will also be announced during the ceremonies and awards will also be presented to Woodbine 2018 Player of the Year Nick Noce of Rochester, NY, for the outstanding handicapper and to the outstanding groom.

The divisional finalists are as follows:

2YO Filly

Bold Script (Speightstown)

My Gal Betty (Point of Entry)

Tiz Breathtaking (Tiznow)

2YO Male

Avie’s Flatter (Flatter)

Solidify (Tapizar)

War of Will (War Front)

3YO Filly

Dixie Moon (Curlin)

Here’s Hannah (Numaany)

Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d’Oro)

3YO Male

Lookin to Strike (Lookin At Lucky)

Neepawa (Scat Daddy)

Sky Promise (Sky Mesa)

Older Female

Escape Clause (Going Commando)

Gamble’s Ghost (Ghostzapper)

Starship Jubilee (Indy Wind)

Older Male

Mr Havercamp (Court Vision)

Pink Lloyd (Old Forester)

Tiz a Slam (Tiznow)

Female Turf Horse

Dixie Moon (Curlin)

Niigon’s Eclipse (Niigon)

Starship Jubilee (Indy Wind)

Male Turf Horse

Johnny Bear (English Channel)

Mr Havercamp (Court Vision)

Tiz a Slam (Tiznow)

Female Sprinter

Code Warrior (Society’s Chairman)

Escape Clause (Going Commando)

Moonlit Promise (Malibu Moon)

Male Sprinter

Ikerrin Road (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB})

Pink Lloyd (Old Forester)

Yorkton (Speightstown)

Outstanding Broodmare

Avie’s Empire (Empire Maker–dam of Avie’s Mineshaft {Mineshaft} & Avie’s Flatter)

In Return (Horse Chestnut {SAf}–dam of Johnny Bear and US GISW Channel Maker {English Channel})

Loving Vindication (Vindication–dam of Wonder Gadot)

Breeder: Adena Springs, Chiefswood Stables, Tall Oaks Farm

Owner: Gary Barber, Chiefswood Stable, Ivan Dalos

Trainer: Kevin Attard, Mark Casse, Norman McKnight

Jockey: Luis Conteras, Eurico Rosa da Silva, Rafael Hernandez

Apprentice: Daisuke Fukumoto, Kazushi Kimura, Lenny Seecharan

 

Copano Kicking A Star on the Rise in Japan

Thu, 2019-01-31 18:14

A horse that ‘bounced all over like an orangutan’ and ‘refused to show’ at the 2016 Keeneland September sale has become one of Japan’s top dirt sprinter/milers, and Group 1 competition–both at home and potentially in the desert–beckons over the coming months for Sachiaki Kobayashi’s Copano Kicking (Spring At Last). The 4-year-old gelding made it seven wins from nine starts and consecutive victories at Group 3 level in the Negishi S. (1400m) at Tokyo Racecourse Jan. 27 (see below, gate 11).

The dark bay was bred in Kentucky by Reiley McDonald from Celadon, a three-time winner in six appearances who was her sire Gold Halo (Jpn) (Sunday Silence)’s only foal to race in the United States. The colt was catalogued as hip 3210, deep into the 10th session of the September sale, and Top Line Sales‘s Torie Gladwell found herself at the Eaton consignment in search of pinhooking prospects, though at first it may have been difficult to believe that what she saw in front of her might turn into something special.

“This colt came out and he just did not want to show,” she explained. “He was bouncing all over like an orangutan and he refused to walk, but you could just tell that he was a real athlete. I left him on my list and then my husband [Top Line’s Jimbo Gladwell] and I went back to look at him and the same thing–the horse just would not calm down and show.

“Reiley ended up buying the horse back (on a bid of $19,000),” she continued. “When we approached Reiley about purchasing the horse, he said he would actually send the horse to us on a half-deal, so he stayed in and partnered on the colt and we took him and trained him for no bills.”

Gladwell said that it really wasn’t all that hard to see through the colt’s mischievous and petulant ways and she had faith that he could become a profitable commodity during the following year’s under-tack sales.

“He just looked really precocious, it looked like he was very well put-together and super athletic,” she said. “He was rearing and bucking and playing. He really caught our attention because he was so athletic on the end of the shank. He acted like he was going to do it and do it eagerly. He was not a laid-back sort of horse. He had a big hip, a really good gaskin, good forearm and you didn’t have question whether he was going to go out there and give it his all every time. You could tell by looking at him at the yearling sales that he was a feel-good horse and he was going to try hard any time you turned his head loose.”

But those qualities did not mean that raising him was straight-forward. In fact, it was anything but.

“All we had to do was keep him in one piece, but that wasn’t even easy,” she said. “He jumped out of the paddock twice, so we had to quit turning him out. We like to turn all of our 2-year-olds out. We think it helps lay down bone and we think it helps them mentally and this guy needed to go out, as hot-minded as he was. After the second time, the crew showed up and called Jimbo at six in the morning and they’re like, ‘Spring At Last is gone! He’s gone! We can’t find him! He’s nowhere!’ He ended up down at another person’s barn talking to the fillies over the fence. But not a scratch on him, didn’t get hurt. After that, we decided we weren’t going to be able to turn him out.”

 

WATCH: Copano Kicking makes it back-to-back Group 3s in the Negishi S.

 

How, then, do you train such an animal?

“He got to go out in the round pen and we would lunge him before we rode him every day,” she reported. “We would warm him up a little longer than the normal horse, but even though we did all this, he’d still want to go up there and train too hard and too fast every day. Any time you turned him loose to breeze him, he would go balls to the wall. Finally we had to stop breezing him because if you wanted him to go an eighth, he’d go three-eighths. Want a quarter? He’d breeze a half.”

On pedigree, the colt was not a slam dunk for a boutique breeze-up sale like Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream, but he was accepted all the same.

“Physically, the horse was a 10 on the end of the shank,” Gladwell said. “He was beautiful, had a good smooth walk, all the right lines. Just a really early 2-year-old type, so that’s why we went to Gulfstream with him.”

Consigned by Top Line, the colt did them proud with a powerful breeze clocked in :10 flat. It was one of five works to share the bullet.

“If he wasn’t a bullet worker, we were going to be sorely disappointed,” Gladwell admitted.

Kobayashi signed the ticket on hip 35 at $100,000, right on the reserve set by the Gladwells and McDonald.

“Reiley had already made his mind up that if he didn’t bring $100,000, we were going to race him. We were very high on the colt,” she reported. “He had a couple of issues after the under-tack show that probably held him back from bringing a lot of money, because he was very popular. He was vetted a handful of times after that breeze and the vet issues scared some people. But the Japanese looked at him and fell in love.”

Copano Kicking’s victory in the Negishi S. paves the way for a start in the G1 February S. at Tokyo Feb. 17, a race won by the Kobayashi-owned champion dirt horse Copano Rickey (Jpn) (Gold Allure {Jpn}) in 2014 and 2015. It will mark Copano Kicking’s first attempt at a mile, but a good performance could lead to an appearance in the G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) at Meydan Mar. 30.

“We’ve never had another horse like him,” Gladwell said. “We’ve been doing this for 10 years, we’ve had maybe only three like him. It’s neat when you get horses like that to come in and you know the minute you start training them that you’ve got one that could be really talented.”

The Gladwells have their passports at the ready.

“I’d love for him to run in Dubai, we’d love to go over there and cheer him on,” she admits.

Lane’s End Welcomes New Stallions

Thu, 2019-01-31 17:50

Just days after the arrival of new stallions City of Light (Quality Road) and Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) after the GI Pegasus World Cup, Lane’s End held a press day Wednesday to allow the media to meet the horses, as well as fellow newcomer West Coast (Flatter), and catch up with the farm’s other stalwarts and its human team. With three new stallions and four sires with their first 2-year-old runners this year, Lane’s End has plenty to be excited about in its 40th year in 2019, and we discussed all these things with Lane’s End’s Bill Farish, Chance Timm and David Ingordo.

When you get these new horses off the track, like City of Light and Accelerate this week and West Coast back in November, what is their routine like and how long does it take them to settle in?

Chance Timm: Each horse is individual but for the most part we just want them to settle down and take a few days and take a deep breath. For now, for both City of Light and Accelerate, their primary routine is just getting a bit of turnout time in a round pen. If the weather would cooperate a bit more we’d graduate them to a small paddock turnout, but the objective is to get them on to the same routine as the other stallions as soon as possible and normally with a horse like West Coast, who got here at a different time of year, within a week or two he is on that kind of routine.

This is a whole new experience for us, with them having just come off the track at Gulfstream a couple days ago. We’re trying to take a step back and just give these horses a chance to chill out and give Billy Sellers–our stallion manager who has been here for 30-plus years–give him a chance to do what he needs to do with them and get them prepared for their job and what they’re here for.

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What types of mares could you imagine working with West Coast?

CT: For me from a pedigree angle he’s really interesting. His sire is bred like a lot of the good A.P. Indy sons, A.P. Indy over Mr. Prospector. Inbreeding to Mr. P has been hugely successful with A.P. and his sons and I think that’s going to be a really interesting angle for him. He’s going to have a lot of opportunity that way; he’s out of an Honour and Glory mare so inbreeding to In Reality is also going to be a really good play. Tapit has had a lot of success doing that as well. He’s going to have every opportunity.

Do you see any similarities between West Coast and his sire Flatter, or is he more like his dam’s side?

David Ingordo: A lot of stallions will favour their broodmare sire, and Honour and Glory would throw a very attractive horse. I think this horse has that ‘pretty’ coming through from Honour and Glory. I was pretty keen when we got West Coast because I think Flatter is a very underappreciated stallion and there’s no reason why he can’t be a sire of sires.

Can you reminisce about the day you bought Accelerate as a yearling, and reflect on what he has developed into since then?

DI: John [Sadler] is great. I get him on the phone, I tell him what the plan is and which ones I like and we grade them. On the day of the sale I said man, I’m going to ask him to stretch a bit here, because I wasn’t the only person who liked the horse. He really improved more than I expected because he was such a nice-looking yearling. What he’s turned into today, he doesn’t need to take a back step to anybody; even City of Light, who is as good-looking a horse as you’ll ever find, Accelerate can stand next to him and doesn’t have to be embarrassed.

Accelerate spent about a week at the farm after the Breeders’ Cup, but breeders booking their mares hadn’t had a chance to see City of Light at Lane’s End. How did that affect the process of building his first book?

Bill Farish: We were able to get Accelerate and West Coast here after the Breeders’ Cup so they had that time and a lot of people came out to see them. But with City of Light they didn’t. He obviously had a reputation, he was a $700,000 yearling and people that had seen him or talked to people that had seen him heard glowing reports because he’s just a gorgeous horse. I think in most cases it would have been tough, but his reputation and what he’d done on the racetrack really made it easy. We were completely crushed with requests for him, so it hasn’t hurt him at all having only recently arrived.

Can you talk about the physical similarities between City of Light and his sire, Quality Road?

BF: He might be a slightly more refined version of his father but they do look a lot alike. Mike [Cline] and Allaire [Ryan] were the first ones in our organization to see him and I think that’s what Allaire told me was the first thing that jumped out for her, how much he looked like his father.

Quality Road won three times at Gulfstream and twice he set track records in Grade Is, and I just felt leading up to the Pegasus like City of Light was going to do something similar.

Lane’s End is 40 years in existence this year. There have been many successes to celebrate over that time, but what stands out for you?

BF: A.P. Indy has been the standout franchise player for the farm. His influence on the breed has been amazing. He’d have to be the real standout, but we’ve been fortunate to have sires like Kingmambo, Smart Strike and others that really have made for a great 40 years.

How has the business changed in the time you have been involved?

BF: The business has changed quite a bit. When dad first started the farm, the July sale was really the bellwether sale of the year. Most of our yearling crop was targeting the July sale then the Saratoga sale afterwards, and the September sale was really like the October sale is now.

I think that’s one of the single biggest changes. The stallion market hasn’t changed that much over the years other than the obvious fact that book sizes have increased tremendously; we’ve gone from 50-mare books to where some farms are now breeding over 200 mares.

The fact that so many of your stallions descend from Lane’s End’s foundation sires like A.P. Indy and Smart Strike has to be a big point of pride?

BF: That’s been one of the really gratifying things. Dad has been very successful over the years with sons of A.P. Indy, sons of Smart Strike, and to see now in the case of Quality Road to have City of Light come back to the farm, it’s very exciting, and to have two sons of Candy Ride (Arg) here. There are five descendants of A.P. Indy standing here at Lane’s End.

It could be a very big year for the Lane’s End stallions, as you have four horses with their first 2-year-olds. Can you tell us a bit about each of them?

BF: We are lucky to have four freshman sires this year: Honor Code, Liam’s Map, Tonalist and Mr Speaker. All of them had good-sized books in their first year so there should be lots of 2-year-olds out there running for them.

Honor Code started at a fee of $40,000 and he’s maintained that straight through. His books have averaged about 150 mares. He’s set up to have a big year; he was the second-leading freshman sire to American Pharoah at the sales so we couldn’t be happier with how his first crop was received by the yearling market.

Liam’s Map has had very good books his first three years and it looks like he’s going to have another good book this year. He was the third highest averaging freshman sire last year at the yearling sales and I think we’ll see quite a few of his offspring at the 2-year-old sales. The early reports on the Liam’s Maps have been great.

Tonalist had very strong books his first two years, and in his third year he had more mares than in his second year. We’re very hopeful that the Tonalists are going to surprise us; he’s a little more under the radar than some of these other horses but being a son of Tapit and bred the way he is, he’s really an exciting prospect.

Mr Speaker is bred on the same cross as Tapit and is a great-looking horse. Unfortunately he went down to Chile in his second year and actually got stuck down there, he couldn’t clear quarantine, so he missed his second year at stud here. But he had a very good book of mares his first year. He had a good book his third year so we’re hoping to get him going with his first runners this year. They also sold well at the sales and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he snuck up and had a very good year.

 

New Jersey Assembly Passes Purse Subsidy Bill

Thu, 2019-01-31 16:44

Three days after clearing the New Jersey state Assembly Appropriations Committee by a unanimous 11-0 vote, a bill that would provide a $10-million annual purse supplement to Monmouth Park over five years passed a vote on the Assembly floor by a 68-6-1 count Thursday. With this final major clearance secured, the bill will go to the desk of Governor Phil Murphy to be signed into law.

Bill 2992 would distribute $20 million between the state’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries annually, with Monmouth Park receiving the entire $10-million allotment to the Thoroughbred industry. Should Murphy sign the bill into law, Monmouth could gain access to the new purse funds for its 2019 meet, which begins in May. The racing industry previously received a $17-million annual purse supplement funded by Atlantic City casinos until the fund was terminated by Governor Chris Christie in 2011.

During Monday’s Assembly Appropriations Committee session, an amendment to the bill was added which requires recipient racetracks to provide an annual report that demonstrates a positive impact created by the purse subsidy.

 

Late Entries Added to F-T Winter Mixed Sale

Thu, 2019-01-31 16:09

Fasig-Tipton has catalogued an additional three entries for its 2019 Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale supplemental catalogue. These entries may now be viewed online and in the Equineline catalogue app. These new entries, catalogued as hips 529-531, are a yearling colt by Point of Entry consigned by Brookdale Sales, and the 5-year-old mares Holders Season (Speightstown), offered in foal to Vancouver (Aus) and consigned by Legacy Bloodstock, and La Manta Gris (Lemon Drop Kid), consigned by Lane’s End as a racing/broodmare prospect.

The Kentucky Winter Mixed Sale will be held Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 4-5, in Lexington, KY. Print versions of these latest entries will be available on the sales grounds in an addendum to the main and supplemental catalogues.

NYRA, Oaklawn Combine for First Cross Country Pick 5

Thu, 2019-01-31 15:57

The New York Racing Association, Inc. will team up with Oaklawn Park Saturday, Feb. 2, to offer its first Cross Country Pick 5, highlighted by the GIII Withers S. from Aqueduct Racetrack and the Martha Washington S. from Oaklawn Park, following up on its Cross Country Pick 4 offerings in 2018. Live coverage and analysis of each leg will be broadcast on FOX Sports Saturday At The Races from 4-6:30 p.m., airing on FS2, and produced by NYRA.

Hosted by NYRA, the Cross Country Pick 5 offers a low 15% takeout and $0.50 minimum base wager. It starts with Race 6 from Oaklawn Park at 4:52 p.m. and concludes with the Martha Washington (Race 8, 5:55 p.m.)

Saturday’s Cross Country Pick 5 is the first of a month-long series that will see the multi-race wagering challenge move to Tampa Bay Downs Feb. 9 for the GIII Sam F. Davis S. card in conjunction with the Jimmy Winkfield S. at the Big A.

Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is available through NYRA Bets, on track, ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. For more information on the Cross Country Pick 5, visit NYRA.com/CrossCountry.

Gulfstream Barn Placed Under Quarantine With Case of “Swamp Fever”

Thu, 2019-01-31 15:35

Gulfstream Park officials have placed Barn 3 under quarantine after an unidentified horse tested positive for “Swamp Fever,” or equine infections anemia. As first reported by the Daily Racing Form, all other horses in the barn produced negative tests when inspected by veterinarians.

According to the Racing Form report, the quarantine could last at least two weeks. Officials at The Stronach Group said that all horses in Barn 3 are required to train during a special window in late morning until the quarantine is lifted. In order for the quarantine to be lifted, the remaining horses in the barn will be required to pass testing administered by the state’s Department of Agriculture.

 

Young Mares Lead Tattersalls Opener

Thu, 2019-01-31 14:18

Newmarket, UK–Newmarket can be an unforgiving place in the depths of winter and potential buyers remained on the cold side as a new year of British auctions opened in subdued fashion at the Tattersalls February Sale on Thursday.

Some vendors might well have forecast the apathetic market as a number of the more interesting horses were withdrawn, whilst this year’s sale did not have the rare attractions from 2018, which included some of the Ballymacoll Stud dispersal and choice fillies owned in partnership by Markus Jooste.

Although the clearance rate of 75% was much the same as last year, the day one average was down 74% from 27,536gns to 7,121gns, with the median also dropping 50% from 5,500gns to 2,750gns. Eighteen fewer lots went through the ring but the aggregate fell a hefty 77% from 3,992,650 to 925,700.

A quartet of in-foal broodmares offered at lunchtime livened up business, providing two of the day’s top three lots.

Highest honours went to All I Need (Ire) (Peintre Celebre) (lot 67), who never raced herself but is a half-sister to the Wildenstein family’s G3 Prix Allez France S. heroine Aquamarine (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and also came in foal to Haras de la Haie Neuve’s surprise package Pedro The Great (Henrythenavigator).

Offered by Voute Sales, she has now joined John Deer’s Oakgrove Stud just outside Chepstow. Stud manager David Hilton was on hand for the bidding and signed the ticket at 55,000gns, and explained that their interest had been sparked some way down the mare’s page.

“Tim Lane [former manager] bought Altesse Imperiale, who is under the second dam, and she has been a really good mare,” he said. “She has bred four winners, three of them black-type horses, including Altruistic, who finished third in the G1 Racing Post Trophy, so it made sense. She’s in foal to Frankel.

“It is a very active family and she suits us physically – she is a fine mare and we have a breeding rights in some strong bodied stallions. I’m very happy to have got her at that price.”

Hilton imagined that he would be discussing All I Need’s next mating in the horse box on the way home to South Wales.

It will be all hands on deck back at Oakgrove, which stands Deer’s multiple Group 1 winner Al Kazeem, as the stud has already welcomed the first arrival of the new year.

“We had a nice Teofilo colt out of a Shamardal mare, from the family of Lady Grace,” he added. “He looks to have a lot of quality.”

Now Or Never For Kalandara

There had been high hopes that lot 69 would be a star turn, only for this to prove short-lived. Baroda and Colbinstown Studs’s Kalandara (Ire) (Rainbow Quest) had risen into the higher echelons through the exploits of her daughter Luminate (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}, a dual Group 3 winner in France and sold to be a broodmare here for 900,000gns in December Sale.

She is in-foal to Lope De Vega (Ire) and her price rose as far as 230,000gns before she was led away unsold. Similarly, lot 66, Hestia (Fr) (High Chaparral {Ire}), who was entered in-foal to €100,000 sire No Nay Never, was bought back on behalf of the Irish National Stud.

A buyer was found for the other mare expecting a foal from last year’s leading first-season sire. This was Art Of Dance (GB) (Medicean {GB}) (lot 68), who is from a family that Eamonn Reilly of BBA Ireland knew well and prompted him to lodge the final bid of 50,000gns. She is a daughter of the G2 Sun Chariot S. winner Danceabout (GB) (Shareef Dancer) and had another No Nay Never filly foal last year.

“I bought her Bated Breath colt Marshall Law here as a yearling for 72,000gns,” Reilly explained. “He’s in training with Jessie Harrington and has shown some good form at Leopardstown.

“She has been bought for an Irish breeder and being in-foal to No Nay Never is very attractive.”

Flanagan Phones It In

Although many familiar faces from the bloodstock world were missing, modern technology means that sales can always be monitored from afar and a late movement from a switched-on Mick Flanagan landed him Highclere Stud’s Snazzy (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) (lot 159).

Listed-placed from in a six-run juvenile campaign for Charlie Fellowes, her third dam is the exceptional sprinting mare Cassandra Go (Ire), who has produced star after star including Magical (Ire) and Rhododendron (Ire).

Although Flanagan often acts as agent for the China Horse Club, this 52,000gns purchase is believed to be for his own collection and Snazzy is likely to visit Nathaniel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}).

David Cox, who made the final bid, said, “Mick rang me this morning and said would I take a look at her, and I told him she’s handy and moves well. She looked good value.”

The breeding route for Straight Aim (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) (lot 154) had developed a marked National Hunt slant after the exploits of her late half-brother Nichols Canyon (GB) (Authorized {Ire}), who became a garlanded staying hurdler when moved from John Gosden to Willie Mullins.

She was knocked down for 33,000gns to Max Pimlott, who explained that she was bought for an undisclosed Irish jumping breeder.

Not a lot was expected from the consignment of yearlings and juveniles, many of which would have struggled to make the cut in a more selective sale.

A dozen 2-year-olds were being offered but only two rose beyond four figures. David and Emma Armstrong, the breeders of Mayson (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), supported the young stallion by purchasing Houghton Bloodstock’s filly out of Astley Park (GB) (Dutch Art {GB}) (lot 75) for 10,000gns. Blandford Bloodstock later paid 11,000gns for lot 83, one of the first crop of Free Eagle (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire} out of a half-sister to G1 Dubai World Cup winner Moon Ballad (Ire)(Singspiel {Ire}).

It was much the same with the yearlings, a considerable number of which failed to even reach 1000gns. Trainer Phil Kirby, who raises youngsters alongside his burgeoning training operation in Yorkshire, could have got a bit of value about lot 131 when signing for just 11,000gns for a daughter of the estimable Camelot (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}). The progeny of Territories (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) are a year away from running but Jill Lamb Bloodstock landed the successful bid of 15,000gns for a daughter of Vereri Senes (GB) (Nayef), from the immediate family of James Garfield (Ire) (Exceed And Excel {Ire}).

NYTB Finalizes Board, Gallo Re-Elected President

Thu, 2019-01-31 11:47

The Board of Directors of New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) held its first meeting of 2019 Wednesday, with the newly seated board re-electing Thomas J. Gallo, III, founder and managing owner of Dream Maker Racing, Thomas J. Gallo III Sales Agency, LLC and owner of Blue Stone Farm, as Board President. Mallory Mort of Gallagher’s Stud was re-elected as NYTB Board Vice-President. Vivien Malloy of Edition Farm was likewise re-elected for another term as NYTB Secretary/Treasurer. All three NYTB board officers will serve two-year terms concurrent with their two-year tenure on the board.

Additional Directors:

Scott Ahlschwede, D.V.M.

H. James Bond

Seth Gregory

Daniel P. Hayden

Michael Lischin

Joanne Nielsen

Suzie O’Cain

Joan M. Taylor, DVM

Director Emeritus:

Chester Broman

 

In Their Footsteps: Phil Hager

Thu, 2019-01-31 11:25

Pedigree pundits usually use the word “taproot” to refer to broodmares whose tail-female descendants have produced numerous successful runners. Phil Hager cleverly used the commonly known phrase to launch his new bloodstock agency in July 2018. Hager brings years of industry expertise and hands-on experience to Taproot Bloodstock.

30-year-old Hager grew up on one of the Bluegrass’s most storied properties–Idle Hour Farm. Hager is the son of David Hager, formerly of Idle Hour Farm and 2009 Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ Club Farm Manager of the Year, and great-nephew of Idle Hour founders Julian and Margaret Hager Rogers. In her own name, Mrs. Rogers bred full brothers Ribocco and Ribero, back-to-back winners of the Irish Derby and English St. Leger in 1967 and 1968, respectively.

Hager and his 26-year-old twin sisters, Hunter and Claire, grew up in Paris, Kentucky, on the Idle Hour property. They watched their father breed graded stakes winners like Custom for Carlos (More Than Ready), Go Noni Go (Get Stormy) and Lovely Bernadette (Wilburn), prep yearlings for sales, and break horses. Like many other youngsters reared on family farms, Hager was put to work in the stables at an early age.

“I think I always loved horses, for sure,” Hager said. “I don’t know, I thought for sure I’d make my living in it until I got into high school or college.”

Hager attended the University of Kentucky, majoring in business to round out his existing equine education.

“Horses like Custom for Carlos, when they were running, that obviously piqued your interest a lot,” Hager said. “I remember, we had a couple yearlings sell really well at the sale, and that always piqued your interest, too, because the farm obviously is a lot of work and you kind of get in the routine of doing the same thing over and over again.”

During college summer breaks, Hager prepped yearlings for trainer Neil Howard and Brian Graves at Gainesway Farm. He also interned at Fasig-Tipton and worked for well-known bloodstock agent David Ingordo, learning how to create a short list under Jeanne and April Mayberry.

Of his time working with Ingordo, Hager said, “The cool thing about David–David is a guy that doesn’t talk a whole lot. He’s very serious, but he was a very good teacher if you learned to listen.”

To understand what he was looking for in a yearling, Ingordo would allow Hager to inspect his own “short, short list.” Hager recalled, “That kind of ingrains in your mind: ‘That’s what kind of horses you need to be buying.'” During his time working with Ingordo, the boss purchased such standouts as Bodemeister and Paynter.

Hager read as much about pedigrees as he could and consulted experts like his godfather, pedigree expert Ken McLean, formerly of Overbrook Farm. In January 2011, he began work at the McLean family’s Crestwood Farm in Lexington.

“I helped sell kind of everything that they had there [like stallion seasons], but I also helped recruit some stallions,” Hager said. “Get Stormy (Stormy Atlantic) was a horse that I helped bring in.”

Hager seeks out good racehorses that might fly under the radar price-wise and can produce good breed-to-race runners for breeders. Turf star Get Stormy, for example, might not seem like the most commercial horse.

“We saw him run at Keeneland quite a bit and he was just a good racehorse, obviously, but he had a lot of speed and I know that was one thing we liked about him,” recalled Hager, who eventually reached out to Get Stormy’s trainer Tom Bush. “We had a very good conversation. At the time, they had a couple options of where to stand him.”

Hager also recruited Texas Red, a GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-winning son of Afleet Alex who brings pedigree and performance to the table. Though certainly not the most regally bred horse, the colt is ideal for Crestwood’s price range and breed-to-race ethos.

“Because we don’t have a huge budget to go after the champions of a generation, things like that, we kind of have to find horses that fly under the radar a little bit,” Hager said. “Texas Red is a very nice-looking horse. Obviously he had a ton of talent, won the [2014] Breeders’ Cup Juvenile easily and then came back and won the [2015 GII] Jim Dandy S. He had a couple setbacks, unfortunately–that probably cost him.”

In 2013, Hager left Crestwood for several months to work for trainer Bill Mott, soaking up the presence of stable stars such as Royal Delta and Ron the Greek. Along with Mott’s assistants– including his close friend and Mott’s son, Riley–Hager would work grueling hours of 4:30 a.m. to seven or eight at night.

“When I was working for [Mott] and the Saratoga sales were coming up, I asked Bill, ‘Would you care if I went after training to look at yearlings over there?'” recalled Hager, who eventually proved his sales acumen to the Hall of Fame trainer and became his buyer at the sales.

The snowball effect continued through his association with Mott, with Hager expanding his client base to add Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing, Christophe Clement and George Isaacs of Bridlewood.

“Obviously, that would have never happened if it were not for Bill taking a shot on me, so it meant a lot,” Hager said.

Soon enough, Hager decided it was time to go out on his own and, with the launch of Taproot Bloodstock, has been able to focus in on horses that offer affordability and athleticism.

Throughout his young career, Hager has taken his mentors’ lessons to heart.

“In this business, you can go a long way by just being humble and honest and keeping your head down and working hard,” Hager reflected. “I think that’s really probably the most important thing, especially working under people like Neil Howard at Gainesway and Bill Mott and even at Crestwood. Guys like that–they do most of their talking with their horses and their work ethic.”

 

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