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Updated: 5 hours 15 min ago

Annual KEEP Day in Frankfort

Mon, 2019-02-04 13:19

The Kentucky Equine Education Project will host its annual KEEP Day in Frankfort Feb. 12. The event provides KEEP grassroots members, industry leaders and horse breed associations an opportunity to share with state legislators the importance of horses to their districts and to the state’s economy. It will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Senate Caucus Room, Room 265 in the Capitol Annex.

KEEP is a not-for-profit grassroots organization created in 2004 to preserve, promote and protect Kentucky’s signature multi-breed horse industry.

Diversification Key At Cheveley Park

Mon, 2019-02-04 10:21

As an owner/breeder of both flat and National Hunt horses, a seller at public auction and stallion farm, Cheveley Park Stud has its fingers on a lot of pulses in the Thoroughbred business, and indeed David and Patricia Thompson’s operation enjoyed notable successes in all these areas in 2018. In their own silks they enjoyed pattern-race wins with the likes of Angel’s Hideaway (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), Pilaster (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}), Regal Reality (GB) (Intello {Ger}) and Veracious (GB) (Frankel {GB}). Advertise (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), who they sold as a yearling, won the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S. and the G2 Arqana July S. On the stallion front, Pivotal (GB) continued to cement his legacy as a sire, sire of sires and broodmare sire; young stallions Intello (Ger), Mayson (GB) and Garswood (GB) had promising results on the track and Twilight Son (GB) had encouraging returns with his first foals at the sales.

Progress doesn’t happen looking backwards, however, and Cheveley Park is set to cover just under 160 of its own mares this year.

“About 40% will go to outside stallions, and 60% go to our own stallions, of which we have eight,” said the stud’s Managing Director Chris Richardson. “We have a busy season ahead. We have 10 foals on the ground and another 100 to foal in the coming months, so we have plenty to look forward to.”

In running through some of Cheveley Park’s mating plans for 2019, Richardson began with one of the stud’s brighter stars on the racecourse in recent years, the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. winner Persuasive (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}).

“Starting with one of the mares who has foaled we have Persuasive, who won the G1 QEII beating the colts,” Richardson said. “She had a very nice Frankel filly so we’re delighted to have a filly out of a mare like that. She foaled on Jan. 18 and she goes back to Frankel.”

Another Grade I-winning mare, the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Queen’s Trust (GB) (Dansili {GB}), visits Dubawi (Ire) for her second covering, as does her dam Queen’s Best (GB) (King’s Best). The latter was rested last year so will not have a foal of 2019.

One of the more recent additions to the Cheveley Park Stud stallion roster is the Niarchos-bred G1 Juddmonte International and G1 Coral-Eclipse S. winner Ulysses (GB) (Galileo {Ire}). Cheveley Park supported him with 50 mares in his first season last year and will send around 40 this year. Visiting the horse in both years will be a pair of mares bought for seven figures from the U.S. in 2017.

“We have a nice mare that cost $2-million at Fasig-Tipton called Mesa Fresca (Sky Mesa), who we bought in foal to War Front,” Richardson said. “We have a very nice yearling filly by War Front out of her, and she’s the dam of the GI Del Mar Oaks winner Harmonize. She is in foal to Ulysses, and goes back to him.

Fools In Love (Not For Love), who is the dam of Seahenge, winner of the G2 Champagne S., is currently in foal to Ulysses and goes back to him,” Richardson added. “We paid $1-million for her at Keeneland so we’re looking forward to seeing her foal in due course.

“We’re very keen to support our young stallion Ulysses, who I think is very exciting, bred as he is. We sent some nice mares to him last year and we’re looking forward to seeing the foals. We have a few on the ground already: we have a very nice filly by him out of another mare we bought in America called My Hope. She is by Afleet Alex, we paid $525,000 for her at Keeneland and she’s a half-sister to a colt called Carve, who was a multiple stakes winner in the States and it goes back to the family of Bound, Archipenko, Blame; it’s a great family.

“Ulysses covered 115 mares in his first season so we’re looking forward to seeing plenty more foals on the ground in due course,” Richardson said. “He had six Group 1 winners visit him last year and the dams of eight Group 1 winners, along with over 30 stakes-producing mares.”

The Cheveley Park team are also awaiting Ulysses foals this season out of the dams of the aforementioned Regal Reality and Advertise. Both mares will visit outside sires after foaling; Regal Realm (GB) (Medicean {GB}) is booked to Caravaggio (Ire), while Furbelow (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), Advertise’s dam, returns to his sire, Showcasing. Another outside stallion Cheveley Park will patronize this year is Shadwell’s popular sprinter Muhaarar (GB), who has his first runners in 2019.

Integral (GB) (Dalakhani {Ire}), the G1 Sun Chariot S. and G1 Falmouth S. winner, is in foal to Ulysses and goes to Muhaarar,” Richardson said. “Her first foal is a Dubawi colt that has gone into training with Sir Michael Stoute and he’s called Inherent. So we have a bit of action coming through on that.”

Joining Regal Realm on the trip to Ireland will be Infallible (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), the dam of black-type winners Veracious, Intimation (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Mutakayyef (GB). She returns to the latter’s sire, Sea The Stars (Ire). Richardson noted that Veracious remains in training with Sir Michael Stoute.

After enjoying so much success with its stallion barn flagbearer Pivotal, Cheveley Park is supporting his leading son in France, Siyouni (Fr), with the 2017 G2 Rockfel S. winner Juliet Capulet (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) for her first covering.

“Siyouni is an interesting son of Pivotal, which brings me on to Pivotal, who has just turned 26 years of age,” Richardson said. “He covered 53 mares last year, only eight of them were not in foal, so his fertility last year was exceptional for a horse of his age. We have just under 50 mares booked to him again this year so hopefully all being well he’ll continue to breed a few select mares. He’s such a phenomenal sire-he’s produced champion sprinters to Classic mile-and-a-half winners. He’s a sire of sires and now as a broodmare sire he’s taking all before him. We have a mare who is a daughter of Islington that we bought last year called Angel Vision, and she visits Pivotal this year. She’s currently in foal to Dark Angel.”

Richardson noted that Cheveley Park’s other ‘elder’ statesman-although he is nine years Pivotal’s junior-Dutch Art (GB) is under a bit of a fertility issue cloud after returning some concerning figures end of last year. He will be closely monitored during the early part of the season but it could be that the six younger members of the roster may need to take up the baton. In addition to Ulysses those include Intello, who in addition to Regal Reality had G1 Prix Jean Prat winner Intellogent (Ire) and dual Group 3 winner Young Rascal (Fr) from his first crop of 3-year-olds last year. In an agreement with Intello’s owners the Wertheimer brothers, the G1 Prix du Jockey Club winner has thus far alternated every second season between Cheveley Park and Haras du Quesnay in France. He is at Cheveley Park this year and will be visited by Troarn (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), the full-sister to Almanzor (Fr) bought by Cheveley Park for €600,000 at Arqana December in 2017.

Garswood is an interesting prospect heading into his first year with 3-year-olds, having sired two stakes winners last year off an opening £7,000 covering fee. Lethal Force has been a reliable source of winners but is still looking for that first stakes winner to raise his profile further, while Mayson has sired five stakes winners from four-figure fees from three crops of racing age. The youngest members of the roster are Group 1-winning sprinters Twilight Son (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}) and Unfortunately (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}).

“Garswood is a son of Dutch Art, a very good-looking horse and a horse we bred. He had two stakes winners in France last year so we’re hopeful that he can build on that going forward,” Richardson said. “We have Lethal Force who has lots of winners but probably just needs a good stakes horse. Mayson is teetering on the verge of making that big step up. He had another phenomenal year last year. Twilight Son, we were delighted with his first foals, they sold extremely well averaging nearly £30,000, which is treble his stud fee. They look really rather similar to his sire Kyllachy; his stock were always considered to be real trainers’ type horses and hopefully Twilight Son can emulate that.

“We have Unfortunately, who was a champion Group 1-winning 2-year-old in France by Society Rock, who once again could rekindle what Cheveley has always been associated with, which is speed stallions.”

As an added incentive for breeders to use the G1 Prix Morny winner Unfortunately, Cheveley Park is offering a £10,000 bonus to the breeder of Unfortunately’s first 2-year-old winner from his first crop. The breeders of all 2-year-old winners from his first crop will receive a free return.

One could imagine that a reputation of producing precocious sprinters in a market that is increasingly craving such could put Cheveley Park on the front foot, but Richardson said the stud is actually looking to diversify its portfolio in the interest of its own racing ambitions and the greater good of the business-hence the introduction of stallions like Ulysses and Intello.

“Pivotal has been a prime example of the fact that most good horses that stay need to have some speed,” Richardson said. “That’s one thing that he’s been able to introduce to the industry and his legacy will live long as a result of it. It’s worked for us and there’s been a number of people to say, ‘Cheveley has always been associated with sprinters, stick with it, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ But we’re conscious with our own breeding program for the future. We want to have the opportunity to be running in mile-and-a- quarter, mile-and-a-half races and competing on a more international front, as we have done as an example with Queen’s Trust coming to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Factors such as Brexit and the extreme polarization in the breeding stock market last year mean that breeders face some uncertainties heading into the season, and Richardson said it will be important to control numbers and focus on quality.

“I think we’re all very aware of the fact that we are facing some challenging times, especially in the UK,” he said. “There are a lot of uncertainties over Brexit, which is something people are genuinely nervous about. The economy is indicating quite a lot of potential concerns going forward and we have to bear all those things in mind.

“The markets were very selective, it’s certainly challenging times, but I think the important thing is we have to remain focused on controlling numbers. Within the industry there are a lot of people suggesting they want more fixtures, more races, more runners, which frankly is going to be difficult to maintain because there are only so many breeders and owners that can accommodate the number of horses that are being bred. We have to be conscious of the fact that we don’t want to get back into a scenario where we’re suffering from overproduction. In the States, there is a wealth of people who are prepared to invest in racing and breeding, and the markets are much more sustainable, whereas in Europe it’s much more a delicate balance. I think the industry has to be careful. There is plenty of work going on behind the scenes with regards to prizemoney issues, and we’re also trying to encourage people to have a longer-term view, using more middle-distance stallions, which I think is important for the future of the industry. It’s not all about the commercial angles or precociousness. We do need to be looking at the industry with a long-term view, hence why we’ve tried to diversify into a few more middle-distance stallions.”

With a diverse portfolio of young stallions and a strong band of top-quality broodmares working for them, Cheveley Park Stud has plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2019 and beyond.

A Bit Special A Comfortable Winner in Sweetest Chant

Sun, 2019-02-03 17:44

A Bit Special notched the first graded stakes win of her young career with a decisive stalk-and-pounce score in Sunday’s GIII Sweetest Chant S. at Gulfstream Park. Having already captured the Our Dear Peggy S. and Wait a While S. over the Hallandale turf Sept. 29 and Dec. 8, respectively, the daughter of Mukhadram (GB) ran her overall record to four-for-five with her latest success.

Securing a closer-than-usual stalking position around the first turn as Eyeinthesky (Sky Mesa) showed the way through an opening quarter-mile in :23.92, she settled down the backstretch but was asked to match a bid from Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom) to her outside approaching the far turn. Cued up to go after the leader on the bend, she seized control entering the lane under confident handling by jockey Julien Leparoux. Kept under a brisk hand ride late, A Bit Special widened to win comfortably. Regal Glory held second, with fellow Chad Brown trainee La Feve (Fr) finishing fast to complete the trifecta.

“She could be anything,” said winning trainer Patrick Biancone. “She should be unbeaten. The race when she got beat, she lost 10 lengths at the start and she only got beat [a neck]. She’s special and she’s a lovely animal to be around. When they’re good like that, it’s fantastic for the team.”

Biancone acknowledged the win was bittersweet, because A Bit Special’s regular rider Romero Maragh remains hospitalized after suffering a serious spinal injury in a Jan. 31 spill.

“This makes me sad,” Biancone said. “They ask me why I’m not smiling and it’s because the kid is injured. It’s tough.”

A Bit Special was a first-out maiden winner sprinting five furlongs over the Gulfstream turf Aug. 19 and rallied from a distant last to be second, a neck behind the winner, in the Sept. 1 Sharp Susan S. From there, she returned to the winner’s circle with a three-length victory in the Our Dear Peggy before kicking off the Championship Meet in style in the Wait a While.

Pedigree Notes:

A Bit Special, from the first crop of 2014 G1 Coral Eclipse S. winner and G1 Dubai World Cup runner-up Mukhadram, becomes the first graded/group stakes winner for her sire less than two months after becoming his first stakes winner. Imported to America after being purchased for €80,000 as a Goffs Orby yearling by Wavertree Stables, she is a half-sister to Turkish champion older mare Iskra (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}). The winner’s dam, Euro Empire, enjoyed stateside success of her own, capturing two stakes in Southern California and finishing second in the GI Oak Leaf S. and third in the GI Del Mar Debutante in 2000.

–Ben Massam

Sunday, Gulfstream Park
SWEETEST CHANT S.-GIII, $100,000, Gulfstream, 2-3, 3yo, f, 1mT, 1:35.62, fm.
1–A BIT SPECIAL (GB), 118, f, 3, by Mukhadram (GB)
                1st Dam: Euro Empire (MSW & MGISP, $281,145),
                                by Bartok (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Lotta Glory Beau’s, by Empire Glory
                3rd Dam: Lotta Beau’s, by Beau’s Eagle
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. (15,000gns Wlg ’16 TATFOA;
€80,000 Ylg ’17 GOFOR; $70,000 RNA 2yo ’18 FTFMAR).
O-Linda Shanahan, Mrs. M. V. & J. P. Magnier; B-Lindum
Partnership (GB); T-Patrick L. Biancone; J-Julien R. Leparoux.
$59,520. Lifetime Record: 5-4-1-0, $193,605. *1/2 to Iskra
(GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}), Ch. Older Mare-Tur, MSW-Tur,
$212,800. *1st GSW for her sire (by Shamardal). Click for the
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Regal Glory, 118, f, 3, Animal Kingdom–Mary’s Follies, by
More Than Ready. O-Paul P. Pompa, Jr.; B-Paul P Pompa (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown. $19,200.
3–La Feve (Fr), 116, f, 3, George Vancouver–Marcela Howard
(Ire), by Fasliyev. (€7,500 Ylg ’17 DEANOV). O-Madaket
Stables LLC, Robert V. LaPenta, Lindy Farms & Team Hanley;
B-Bernard & Mme Raymonde Leclere (FR); T-Chad C. Brown.
Margins: 2HF, 1 3/4, NK. Odds: 2.30, 3.20, 3.10.
Also Ran: Eyeinthesky, Hard Legacy, Mission From Elle, Miss Unbridled Cat, Bella Ciao, Ardara Belle (Fr).
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Awesome Again Filly Graduates in Busanda

Sun, 2019-02-03 16:44

Always Shopping broke her maiden and earned her first black-type rosette in the Busanda S. at Aqueduct Sunday. The shortest price on the board, the Pletcher-trained runner tucked in behind horses and sat fifth against the fence as Filly Joel set uncontested fractions of :23.91 and :48.52. Making her bid for the lead after three-quarters in 1:13.34, she tipped out in upper stretch and edged past a stubborn Filly Joel for the victory, earning 10 points toward a start in the GI Kentucky Oaks, May 3. Fifth debuting at the Spa in late July, the Repole Stable homebred ran a distant second to Filly Joel downstate at Belmont upped to 1 1/16 miles Oct. 25 and was second again cut back to a mile locally to the reopposing Miss Marilyn (Bellamy Road) Dec. 14.

“We were cautiously optimistic about this spot,” said Byron Hughes, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “We were always looking to stretch her out and get her to race at two turns. Manny [Franco] did a great job saving ground and tilted her out down the stretch. She’s the grinding type and kind of grinded out the win. At this point, we’ll see how she comes out of this race and go from there.”

The 66th black-type winner for her sire, the Adena Springs veteran Awesome Again (Deputy Minister), Always Shopping is a half-sister to SW and GIII Delaware Oaks third Mo Shopping (Uncle Mo). GI Frizette S. bridesmaid Stopshoppingmaria foaled full-sisters to Mo Shopping in 2017 and 2018. She was covered by Medaglia d’Oro in 2018. This is the extended family of Canadian champion grass horse, GISW and Grade I sire Perfect Soul (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells). Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


BUSANDA S., $101,000, Aqueduct, 2-3, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:52.24, ft.
1–ALWAYS SHOPPING, 118, f, 3, by Awesome Again
                1st Dam: Stopshoppingmaria (SW & GISP, $394,631),
                                by More Than Ready
                2nd Dam: Skybox, by Spend a Buck
                3rd Dam: A Status Symbol, by Exclusive Native
   1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O/B-Repole Stable Inc (KY); T-Todd A.
Pletcher; J-Manuel Franco. $55,000. Lifetime Record: 4-1-2-0,
$87,000. *1/2 to Mo Shopping (Uncle Mo), SW & GSP,
2–Filly Joel, 118, f, 3, Dialed In–Sally’s Song, by Unbridled’s
Song. O/B-Arindel (FL); T-Rudy R. Rodriguez. $21,000.
3–Afleet Destiny, 118, f, 3, Hard Spun–Afleet Lover, by
Northern Afleet. ($35,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY). O/T-Uriah St.
Lewis; B-Wynnstay LLC & H.Allen Poindexter (KY). $12,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 5HF, 4. Odds: 2.15, 2.35, 4.90.
Also Ran: Miss Marilyn, Discreet Sister, Lady Banba, Getting Warmer, Floss Dancer, Destiny Over Fate. Scratched: Elegant Zip, No Mo Lady.

Breeding Stock Sales Season Makes Final Stop at Fasig

Sun, 2019-02-03 14:37

Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Winter Mixed sale, the last major breeding stock sale before the 2019 breeding season, will take place Monday and Tuesday in Lexington, KY. A catalogue of 528 head will be on offer, with hips 1-274 going through the ring Monday starting at 10:00 a.m. and the remaining offerings selling Tuesday starting at the same time.

“There’s always a strong market at this sale for maiden mares with a little bit of pedigree or race record; there’s always a stallion’s book that needs a some extra mares; someone’s always got an extra season or share out there that they need a mare for, and that has always been a source of strength in this part of the market,” said Fasig-Tipton Executive Vice President Bayne Welker when asked about expectations heading into the auction. “I think we saw a lot of strength in the foal market [in 2018] and that will continue on into the short yearlings–there has been quite a buzz for those, so I think we’ll see quite a bit of scrambling for those at the top.”

The 2018 edition of the auction saw slight year-over-year increases compared to 2017, with 364 head changing hands for a combined $10,436,800. The average was $28,613 and median was $10,500. The RNA rate was 22.7%.

When asked to compare this year’s catalogue to last year’s, Welker said, “It’s very similar to any open February sale we’ve had in absence of having a marquee horse or a dispersal to tag on to it–it’s about what you’d expect. There’s been a lot of hustling around and some very good entries that have come in the supplemental part of the catalogue and I think a lot of that’s due to the strength of the market. People have taken the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, let’s put a pretty good short yearling in here.’ Or they’ve been able to find a decent kind of broodmare prospect to put on offer that the market gravitates towards this time of year.”

Last year’s sale topper was racing or broodmare prospect Girl Talk (Medaglia d’Oro)–a supplemental entry and the last horse through the ring as hip 574–who brought $310,000 from Rock Ridge Thoroughbreds. Consigned by Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud on behalf of Ramona Bass LLC and Cheyenne Stables LLC, the daughter of MGSW One Caroline (Unbridled’s Song) was fresh off a runner-up finish in Aqueduct’s Ladies H.

“Supplemental entries play a big part, especially in February, but in a lot of our sales,” Welker said. “It’s been very instrumental and a very key part of our market in February.”

A total of 52 supplemental entries were added to the original catalogue for 2019.

The priciest short yearling at the 2018 sale was a Tiznow colt (hip 419) purchased by Jack Johnston for $260,000 out of the Blake-Albina Thoroughbred Services consignment. The colt brought $575,000 from Alex and JoAnn Lieblong later last season at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.

Another FTKFEB ’18 purchase who provided her buyer with a solid return on investment was GSP Moana (Uncle Mo) (hip 319). Purchased for $220,000 by Roderick Wachman Bloodstock from Bluewater Sales as a racing or broodmare prospect, she was put in foal to Into Mischief and resold for $500,000 at Fasig-Tipton November.

“I think it does,” said Welker when asked if he thought positive subsequent results for purchases out of this sale last year might make prospective buyers shop the 2019 renewal a little harder. “People look at the market pretty hard as a whole, and this is the last stop in the mixed market and the last stop at which people will be able to buy a broodmare prospect, broodmare or short yearling, so it’s one of those things where sometimes need and necessity help drive the market a little bit further than if it was at a different spot on the calendar.”

For more information, visit

‘Wallbanger’ in Good Order, McPeek Considering Options

Sun, 2019-02-03 13:50

Harold Lerner, AWC Stables, Nehoc Stables, Scott Akman and Paul Braverman’s Harvey Wallbanger (Congrats) emerged from his breakout victory in Saturday’s GII Fasig-Tipton Holy Bull S. in good order, trainer Ken McPeek said Sunday morning. The colt, who was dismissed as a 29-1 chance in the 1 1/16-mile event, rallied up the rail to score by a length over fellow longshot Everfast (Take Charge Indy).

“He came back fine, no problems,” McPeek said. “He’s definitely matured and he showed a lot of killer instinct yesterday. He had a couple races as a 2-year-old where he didn’t put horses away when he had a chance to. I think the win he had in the fall got him some confidence, and hopefully this one takes him to the next step.”

Harvey Wallbanger finished second in each of his first three career tries in maiden races in Kentucky, before breaking through with his first victory in a maiden heat at Churchill Downs Nov. 17. McPeek said the colt will be nominated to both the GII Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 2 and the GI Florida Derby Mar. 30, with the Florida Derby firmly circled on the calendar as his likely final GI Kentucky Derby prep.

McPeek added that his GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. winner and MGISP Signalman (General Quarters) remains on track for a start in the Fountain of Youth, where he could meet Holy Bull beaten favorite and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief), who flattened out late to finish third.

“He came out of the race very well,” said trainer Butch Reid. “He was a little tired this morning, so maybe I didn’t have him quite as tight as I thought I did. He came out of it fine and ate up his dinner last night but walked a little quiet this morning. I’m going to say he gets a lot out of that race yesterday and it’s going to set him up perfectly for the next spot.”


Influential Florida Horseman J.B. McKathan Passes Away

Sun, 2019-02-03 13:19

Florida horseman J.B. McKathan passed away after suffering a heart attack Saturday. He was 53. McKathan and his brother Kevin, sons of pioneering pinhooker Luke McKathan, launched their 200-acre training center in Citra in 1988. The farm’s most famous graduate is Zayat Stable’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“I guess the simplest way to put it is: ‘super satisfying,'” J. B. McKathan told TDN after American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown sweep in 2015. “We’ve had horses in the past that have been close, but training him was a privilege. He was so easy, and so talented. At some point with horses like that, it’s just up to the horse. He never did one thing wrong, he was nothing but super fast–just really great to be around and super sound.”

The McKathans had a long association with the Zayat operation, breaking such racetrack standouts as Pioneerof the Nile, Bodemeister, Paynter and American Pharoah for the family.

“When we got into the business, we only had one other farm before we started going to the McKathans and we’ve been with them 14 years,” said Justin Zayat. “Every good horse that Zayat Stables has had, J.B. had his hands on. He has been a huge part of our operation. We even had a horse named J Be K once who won the GII Woody Stephens and was named after J.B. and his brother Kevin–that’s how close we’ve been with them. It’s a very big loss for all of us.”

Zayat continued, “On a personal note, he taught me a lot through the years. And he loved to tell stories. He would talk and tell a zillion stories at a time. He would always keep you entertained.”

McKathan was among the first to recognize a Pioneerof the Nile colt as a star-in-the-making in the spring of 2014.

“Around March, we go to Ocala to see all of our 2-year-olds breezing,” Zayat recalled. “When American Pharoah breezed, J.B. said, ‘I’m scared of this horse–he’s too fast. Get him out of here.’ And we sent him to Baffert right after that.”

McKathan Bros. Training Center was also the early home of dual Classic winners Silver Charm and Real Quiet.

Islanders Arena Project Means Changes to NYRA Schedule, Including Longer Saratoga

Sat, 2019-02-02 19:39

According to a source, the New York Racing Association Board of Directors has approved a resolution to adjust the opening day of the 2019 Saratoga meet to Thursday, July 11, eight days prior to what would have been opening day under the normal schedule. The meet will end on the traditional closing day, Labor Day, Sept. 2.

The number of racing days at the meet will be 40, the same as last year. During the second through fifth weeks of the meet, NYRA will race only five days a week, as opposed to six. Mondays and Tuesdays will be dark days.

NYRA cannot formally announce its racing schedule until it is approved by the New York Gaming Commission, but there is no reason to believe that agency will stand in the way of the proposed change.

The alteration of the Saratoga schedule is among a number of possible changes NYRA may have to make to its future racing schedules due to the construction of a new arena for the New York Islanders, which will be built adjacent to the far end of the track’s grandstand. Ground will likely be broken on the arena in late spring or early summer. The source said some of the construction will take place as close as 150 feet from the Belmont paddock. Operating a racetrack in what will essentially be a construction zone causes obvious problems and NYRA is seeking ways to lessen the headaches. By moving out of Belmont a week earlier than normal, that will ease some of the difficulties.

“There are equine safety issues that will arise both during morning training hours and during normal racing hours because of the proximity of the construction,” the source said.

So far, NYRA has yet to announce any of its racing dates or its stakes schedule past closing day at Aqueduct, Apr. 20. It had been waiting to get a clearer idea of when the arena construction would begin, but realized it needed to make an announcement about Saratoga so as to cause as little inconvenience as possible for horsemen, fans and employees.

“At this point, it is a little bit later than folks are accustomed to when it comes to our announcing not only the Saratoga schedule, but also the Belmont spring and Belmont fall schedules,” the source said. “We’re just looking at 2019 and confirming racing dates so people can finalize their plans for the summer and horsemen have some clarity when it comes to Saratoga.”

While the Saratoga 2019 dates were the only issue the NYRA Board voted on when it came to future racing schedules, it is clear that the arena project could affect NYRA’s racing schedule for some time, perhaps as much as two years. The Islanders arena is not expected to open until the start of the 2021-2022 hockey season.

For now, NYRA is focused only on coming up with a workable schedule for 2019 and what it needs to do to stay away from the construction as much as possible. The source said that it is possible that weekday cards at Belmont could start as late as 3:30 and that the Belmont fall meet could be shortened, with racing switching to Aqueduct earlier than normal.

“More likely than not there will be a condensed fall meet at Belmont Park followed by some version of the remainder of the Belmont fall meet being contested at Aqueduct,” the source said. “We want to be running as much as possible at Belmont Park. But once we get into the fall, it may become necessary to condense things and move over to Aqueduct. That piece of it has not necessarily been finalized. We understand this will require the patience of horsemen, patrons and all the various constituencies that make racing happen in New York. This is a significant project that will have an impact for some time.”

Mucho Gusto Much the Best in Lewis

Sat, 2019-02-02 18:19

‘TDN Rising Star’ Mucho Gusto lived up to his name once again with a decisive score in a sloppy renewal of the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. at Santa Anita Saturday. Favored at 3-5 over GIII Sham S. victor Gunmetal Gray, the chestnut came out running from the outside post in this five-horse affair, but so did Kid Cantina (Richard’s Kid) and Magnificent McCool (Giant’s Causeway). Those two took control with the chalk keeping a close eye on them from third through a first quarter in :23.57. Kid Cantina sharply plummeted backwards on the fence leaving Magnificent McCool on his own up front with Mucho Gusto closing in a bit in second as the half went up in :46.55. The Bob Baffert runner seized control from the pacesetter on the backstretch run and it was all over from there. Mucho Gusto stormed clear to win for fun and Gunmetal Gray rallied for second over Easy Shot. Kid Cantina was euthanized.

“He got to sit off the pace, which was good,” said Baffert. “They have to learn to do that, and I was really happy with Joe [Talamo]. He rode him with a lot of confidence today, like he was a good horse and [Talamo] was on his own. I didn’t give him any instructions…He’s a good horse. He’s a fighter, too. If they’d have hooked him, he likes to fight.”

The Hall of Famer continued, “This is the time of the year when you want to start getting excited about something. I want to run him in spots where he’s going to be very competitive, and we have those other horses, so it depends on what the other horses are doing. Right now, I’m going to nominate my horses everywhere and whoever’s doing great that week runs in that race…Let the games begin.”

“Every race, he’s getting better and better,” said Talamo. “He settled today like he’s been doing this a hundred times. He galloped out real strong. I don’t think distance is going to be any problem. At the three eighths [pole], I was pretty confident. He’s a 3-year-old, but he feels like an older horse.”

Picked up for just $14,000 at Keeneland January, Mucho Gusto brought $95,000 in his next trip through the Keeneland ring that September. The colt RNA’d for $55,000 at the OBS March sale after breezing an eighth in :10 flat over the synthetic and was sent through the ring at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale two months later, where he summoned $625,000 from Michael Lund Petersen after working a quarter-mile over a sloppy dirt track in an eye-catching :21 1/5. He is currently the most expensive offspring of 2013 GI Breeders’ Cup Classic hero Mucho Macho Man to be sold at auction.

A good-looking debut winner going six panels at Los Alamitos Sept. 20, Mucho Gusto followed suit with a gritty score in Del Mar’s GIII Bob Hope S. going one panel further Nov. 17. He was last seen finishing second behind a dominant performance from undefeated stablemate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity when trying two turns for the first time Dec. 8.

Pedigree Notes:

Mucho Gusto became the first graded stakes winner from the first crop of Mucho Macho Man with his victory in the Bob Hope and is still the Adena sire’s sole black-type victor at this point. His dam Itsagiantcauseway did not produce a foal in 2017, but had a colt by Jack Milton last April and was bred back to Alpha. The late Giant’s Causeway is also the broodmare sire of Horse of the Year Gun Runner, MGISW and young Ashford sire Verrazano (More Than Ready) and European MG1SW Hawkbill (Kitten’s Joy). The winner also hails from the family of Canadian Horse of the Year Peaks and Valleys (Mt. Livermore) and MGSW Alternation (Distorted Humor).

Saturday, Santa Anita
ROBERT B. LEWIS S.-GIII, $147,351, Santa Anita, 2-2, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:41.81, sy.
1–MUCHO GUSTO, 122, c, 3, by Mucho Macho Man
1st Dam: Itsagiantcauseway, by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: Countervail, by Seeking the Gold
3rd Dam: Strike a Balance, by Green Dancer
‘TDN Rising Star’ ($14,000 Ylg ’17 KEEJAN; $95,000 Ylg ’17
KEESEP; $55,000 RNA 2yo ’18 OBSMAR; $625,000 2yo ’18
EASMAY). O-Michael Lund Petersen; B-Teneri Farm Inc. &
Bernardo Alvarez Calderon (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Joseph
Talamo. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, $234,000.
Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Gunmetal Gray, 124, c, 3, Exchange Rate–Classofsixtythree,
by Include. ($85,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $225,000 2yo ’18
OBSMAR). O-Hollendorfer, LLC, Pearl Racing & West Point
Thoroughbreds; B-Lee Pokoik (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer.
3–Easy Shot, 120, c, 3, Trappe Shot–Daddy’s Dreamgirl, by Scat
Daddy. ($80,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Calumet Farm; B-Hinkle
Farms (KY); T-J. Keith Desormeaux. $18,000.
Margins: 4 3/4, HF, 2 1/4. Odds: 0.60, 1.70, 12.00.
Also Ran: Magnificent McCool, Kid Cantina. Scratched: Nolo Contesto. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Japanese-Bred Empire Maker Filly Prevails in Martha Washington

Sat, 2019-02-02 18:06

MARTHA WASHINGTON S., $125,000, Oaklawn, 2-2, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:39.82, ft.
1–POWER GAL (JPN), 118, f, 3, by Empire Maker
1st Dam: Nan (GISP, $221,974), by High Yield
2nd Dam: Trip Around Heaven, by Halo
3rd Dam: Key to Flight, by Key to the Mint
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. O-Gary Barber; B-Paca Paca Farm (JPN);
T-Mark E. Casse; J-David Cohen. $75,000. Lifetime Record:
4-2-0-2, $126,370.
2–Marathon Queen, 115, f, 3, Super Saver–Marathon Lady, by
Graeme Hall. O/B-Alex & JoAnn Lieblong (KY); T-Steven M.
Asmussen. $25,000.
3–Taylor’s Spirit, 119, f, 3, Algorithms–Spirit Rising, by Dehere.
($37,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $80,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR).
O-Mark Norman & Norman Stables LLC; B-David Lickhalter
(KY); T-Scott Gelner. $12,500.
Margins: HF, NK, 1 1/4. Odds: 3.20, 2.20, 6.00.
Also Ran: Sunset Wish, Crafty’s Dream, Sheza Handfull, Arch Avenue.

The Japanese-bred Power Gal overcame a wide trip and closed into a modest pace, diving late to capture the Martha Washington S. Saturday at Oaklawn.

A rallying third debuting last April at Keeneland, the dark bay graduated off the bench in the Aqueduct mud Nov. 3 and completed the trifecta again in an optional claimer there Dec. 22. Made the third choice in this stakes debut, she broke alertly before settling in a three-wide joint third behind a :24.73 quarter. Traveling fourth as three leaders began to go at it past a :49.95 half, she advanced into contention four wide on the latter half of the far bend. Drawing alongside the leaders outside the sixteenth pole, she kept to her task late to edge pace player Marathon Queen on the wire. The winner shares a second dam with GI Del Mar Derby hero Gabriel Charles (Street Hero) and is the most recent foal out of her dam, who was second in the 2009 GI Del Mar Oaks. With the victory, Power Gal earns 10 qualifying points for the GI Kentucky Oaks. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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
’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 chart, the PPs or the free 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 chart, the PPs or the free 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
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 chart, the PPs or the free 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
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 chart, the PPs or the free 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 chart, free 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.