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Updated: 3 hours 37 min ago

Motion ‘Springs’ Another Manhattan Upset

Sat, 2018-06-09 18:08

Trainer Graham Motion sprung the upset in Belmont’s GI Woodford Reserve Manhattan S. for the second straight year with 18-1 shot Spring Quality (Quality Road) mowing his rivals down late for a neck success. The trainer saddled 27-1 shot Ascend (Candy Ride {Arg}) to a 1 1/4-length defeat of favored Time Test (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in last year’s renewal of this event.

Drawn widest of all in post 13, the PA-bred bided his time near the back, with just two rivals beat, as GI Manhattan S. hero Hi Happy (Arg) (Pure Prize) and 48-1 shot Hello Don Julio (Afleet Alex) traded blows on the front end through early fractions of :24.08 and :48.54. Favored MGISW Beach Patrol (Lemon Drop Kid) and Grade II winner Manitoulin (Awesome Again) joined the leaders as three-quarters went up in 1:12.01, but Spring Quality remained patient under Edgar Prado, maintaining his position on the hedge. Hello Don Julio turned for home in front with Hi Happy and Manitoulin continuing to chase and Spring Quality was just gearing up out in the center of the track. The gelding charged up the outside to nail Grade I winner Sadler’s Joy (Kitten’s Joy) and Hi Happy in a blanket finish. A neck separated each of the top eight finishers–except fifth-place finisher Fashion Business (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who was just a head behind fourth-place Manitoulin–and only three-quarters of a length separated the last four finishers.

“I hated the post position, but he had a great trip, considering the post,” said Motion, who also won the 2007 Manhattan with the late 2004 GI Breeders’ Cup Turf victor Better Talk Now (Talkin Man). “We felt like there was quite a lot of pace. The one thing we had to do was save ground; that was the most important thing. We saved ground on the first turn and I loved where he was down the backside. He had to swing a little wide coming off the bend, but he’s really special. How about two years in a row, winning this race with a long shot? It’s pretty crazy.”

Spring Quality has been an exercise in patience for Motion looking at his past performances. A first out winner on the Keeneland main track in October 2014, he was not seen again until March 2016 when he won a dirt sprint at Tampa, after which he was shelved for 11 months. Runner-up at Laurel in his February 2017 return, the bay finished off the board in 1 1/16-mile test at Keeneland last April and returned to winning ways in the mud at Pimlico on the GI Preakness S. undercard last May. Winning the state-bred Robellino S. at Penn National by a neck last August, the homebred lost to hard-knocking MGSW Page McKenney (Eavesdropper) in the state-bred Roanoke S. at Parx in September. Fourth when trying turf for the first time in Belmont’s GII Knickerbocker S. Oct. 9, Spring Quality scored his first grass win in Aqueduct’s GIII Red Smith S. Nov. 11 and came three-quarters of a length short of the previously undefeated Robert Bruce (Chi) (Fast Company {Ire}), who finished sixth in the Manhattan, last time in this venue’s nine-panel GIII Fort Marcy S May 5.

Pedigree Notes:

Spring Quality is the fifth Grade I winner, 18th graded winner and 27th black-type winner for his red hot sire Quality Road, who was also represented by GI Ogden Phipps S. heroine Abel Tasman and GII Honeymoon S. victress Paved Saturday. Abel Tasman, who is also out of a Deputy Minister mare, is one of two champions for her Lane’s End sire, who was also represented at last year’s Eclipse awards by champion juvenile filly Caledonia Road. The winner’s dam Spring Star, a third generation George Strawbridge, Jr., homebred, finished third in her lone start for Hall of Famer Jonathan Sheppard. She is also responsible for MGSW Holiday Star (Harlan’s Holiday) and her most recent produce is a 5-year-old mare named Schon (Harlan’s Holiday). Spring Quality’s second dam is MGSW & MGISP turfer Alice Springs (Val de l’Orne {Fr}) and his third dam is GISW grass runner First Approach (Northern Fling). He also hails from the female family of Australian champion Assertive Lad (Aus) (Zeditave {Aus}) and Australian MG1SW Assertive Lass (Aus) (Zeditave {Aus}).

Saturday, Belmont Park
WOODFORD RESERVE MANHATTAN S.-GI, $1,000,000, Belmont, 6-9, 4yo/up, 1 1/4mT, 1:58.58, fm.
1–SPRING QUALITY, 118, g, 6, by Quality Road
1st Dam: Spring Star, by Deputy Minister
2nd Dam: Alice Springs, by Val de l’Orne (Fr)
3rd Dam: First Approach, by Northern Fling
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Augustin Stable; B-George Strawbridge
(PA); T-H. Graham Motion; J-Edgar S. Prado. $535,000.
Lifetime Record: 11-6-3-0, $860,797. Werk Nick Rating: A+++.
*Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
*1/2 to Holiday Star (Harlan’s Holiday), MGSW, $345,569.2–Sadler’s Joy, 124, h, 5, Kitten’s Joy–Dynaire, by Dynaformer.
O/B-Woodslane Farm (KY); T-Thomas Albertrani. $185,000.3–Hi Happy (Arg), 122, h, 6, Pure Prize–Historia (Arg), by French
Deputy. O/B-La Providencia, LLC (ARG); T-Todd A. Pletcher.
Margins: NK, NK, NK. Odds: 18.00, 5.70, 4.50.
Also Ran: Manitoulin, Fashion Business (GB), Robert Bruce (Chi), Hello Don Julio, Channel Maker, Multiplier, Catcho En Die (Arg), One Go All Go, Alexios Komnenos (Ire), Beach Patrol. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Jersey Town’s Bee Jersey Lives Up to the Buzz in Met Mile

Sat, 2018-06-09 17:10

Bee Jersey (Jersey Town) became the talking horse of this year’s GI Runhappy Metropolitan H. after an ultra-impressive victory in the May 6 GIII Steve Sexton Mile going two turns at Lone Star, a race also won by 2017 Met Mile victor Mor Spirit (Eskendereya). The Chuck Fipke homebred lived up to the hype at Belmont Saturday, going wire-to-wire to deny two-time G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen winner and top-earning New York-bred Mind Your Biscuits (Posse) in a very tight photo finish. The victory in this “Win and You’re In” event earned Bee Jersey a spot in the gate for the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs in November.

Bet down to 3-1 from a 5-1 morning-line quote, Bee Jersey rocketed out of the 10-hole to take immediate control, clocking opening splits of :23.08 and :45.71 with MGISW sophomore Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) and GSW One Liner (Into Mischief) close behind. Mind Your Biscuits, who had been sitting at the back of the first flight in fifth, began to make his move four-wide approaching the far turn as Bolt d’Oro backed up on the rail leaving One Liner to chase after a cruising Bee Jersey. One Liner called it quits in the lane and Bee Jersey rolled clear with Mind Your Biscuits determinedly chasing after him. The two hit the line practically in unison, well clear of the rest of the field, with Bee Jersey winning the bob to take the Met Mile by a nose. Limousine Liberal (Successful Appeal), winner of the GII Churchill Downs S. last time May 5, completed the trifecta and Bolt d’Oro faded to last.

“He’s a tremendous horse with a lot of talent,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “We’re very fortunate that Mr. Fipke sent him to us and I’m glad he was able to win the Met Mile today. It played out the way we wanted. He’s a fabulous miler. This was the goal with the horse at the beginning of the year and now I think we’ll regroup from here and think of how to get him to the Breeders Cup Dirt Mile in the best condition. [At the sixteenths-pole] He looked good. When he got away from there cleanly like he did I loved it. He picked it up to the wire.”

Chad Summers, trainer of Mind Your Biscuits, said, “He shows up every time. Joel [Rosario] gave him a perfect ride. I think he showed them he can go a mile. All credit to Bee Jersey. Ricardo [Santana, Jr.] put him in front and got away with a :23 first quarter. It’s tough to make up that much ground with that opening quarter.”

Starting his career in Dubai under the care of trainer Doug Watson, Bee Jersey was winless in four starts there, but did finish second to this year’s G1 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) in the 2017 G3 UAE 2000 Guineas S. and was 15th behind that rival in the G2 UAE Derby in March of 2017 before transferring to Asmussen. Making his U.S. debut at Keeneland in October, the chestnut wired the field for a three-length graduation and was second next out at Churchill a month later. Kicking off this term with a six-length romp at Oaklawn Jan. 20, he dominated a Keeneland optional claimer by 7 3/4 lengths Apr. 14 and bested GISW Girvin (Tale of Ekati) by 5 1/2 lengths last time in the Sexton Mile, earning a 104 Beyer Speed Figure.

Pedigree Notes:

Bee Jersey is the first graded stakes winner and third black-type winner for his sire Jersey Town. A son of MGISW Jersey Girl (Belong to Me), the 12-year-old stallion won the 2010 GI Cigar Mile for owner/breeder Fipke and now stands in Canada. A two-time winner for owner/breeder Courtlandt Farm, the winner’s dam Bees was purchased by Fipke for $100,000 at the 2012 Keeneland November sale carrying a foal by the late Harlan’s Holiday. Fipke sold the resulting foal, a now-gelding named Divine Shift, for $200,000 at Keeneland September and he was picked up by the Zayats the following year at OBS June for $270,000, winning one of four starts. Bee Jersey is the first of her four foals by Jersey Town, which include the unraced 3-year-old filly Jersey Bee’s, who sold to Hunter Valley Farm for $250,000 at KEESEP; a 2-year-old colt named Town Bee; and a 2018 colt born Apr. 24. Her 2017 filly by Jersey Town passed away. Bees is a half-sister to GSW & GISP Madison’s Charm (Capote) and MGSP Pebble Island (Deputy Minister). This is also the family of European champions Duke of Marmalade (Ire) (Danehill), Ruler of the World (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Wolfhound (Nureyev); Horse of the Year and top sire A.P. Indy, champion and sire Lemon Drop Kid; and MGISW sire Summer Squall.

Saturday, Belmont Park
RUNHAPPY METROPOLITAN H.-GI, $1,200,000, Belmont, 6-9, 3yo/up, 1m, 1:33.13, ft.
1–BEE JERSEY, 118, c, 4, by Jersey Town
1st Dam: Bees (SP), by Rahy
2nd Dam: Run for Lassie, by Fappiano
3rd Dam: Lassie’s Lady, by Alydar
1ST GRADE I WIN. ($250,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O/B-Charles E Fipke (KY); T-Steven M Asmussen; J-Ricardo Santana Jr. $650,000. Lifetime Record: 10-5-3-1, $976,293. Werk Nick Rating: C+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Mind Your Biscuits, 122, h, 5, Posse–Jazzmane, by Toccet. ($47,000 Ylg ’14 KEEJAN; $47,000 RNA Ylg ’14 SARAUG; $47,000 RNA 2yo ’15 OBSAPR). O-Shadai Farm, J Stables LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC, M. Scott Summers, Daniel Summers, Chad Summers & Michael E Kisber; B-Jumping Jack Racing LLC (NY); T-Chad Summers. $220,000.3–Limousine Liberal, 117, g, 6, Successful Appeal–Gift of Gab, by In Excess (Ire). O-Katherine G Ball; B-Mike & Katherine Ball (KY); T-Ben Colebrook. $120,000.
Margins: NO, 5 1/4, 3/4. Odds: 3.25, 4.10, 14.90.
Also Ran: Discreet Lover, Ransom the Moon, McCraken, Good Samaritan, Awesome Slew, One Liner, Warrior’s Club, Bolt d’Oro.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. NBC HD Replay.

A Raving Beauty Proves ‘Gamest’

Sat, 2018-06-09 16:27

A Raving Beauty (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) remained unbeaten in America with a three-quarter-length success in the GI Just a Game S. Saturday at Belmont. Sent off as the 7-2 second choice behind Grade I-winning stablemate and 9-5 favorite Off Limits (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}), the gray broke sharply, but was quickly overtaken by an eager Lull (War Front) and sat back in third, running alongside ‘TDN Rising Star’ Proctor’s Ledge (Ghostzapper) as the pacesetter was chased by GISW La Coronel (Colonel John) through opening splits of :23.34 and :46.37. A Raving Beauty and Proctor’s Ledge closed in on the top on the backstretch, splitting to overtake La Coronel with Proctor’s Ledge riding the rail and A Raving Beauty tipping out two wide. Breathing down Lull’s neck at the top of lane, A Raving Beauty was going the better of the two and swept to the front in the final strides to score. Proctor’s Ledge overtook Lull late for second and Off Limits checked in fourth.

“We showed a lot of confidence her first time in this country putting her in a graded stakes [GIII Beaugay S.] last time and she delivered and ran really well,” said winning trainer Chad Brown, who captured last year’s renewal of this even with Antonoe (First Defence). “Then to come around and come right back in a few short weeks and to be put in a Grade I, that’s climbing the ladder pretty fast given her previous form. She really responded and I’m so impressed with the way she ran today, and how, in both starts, Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] has gotten along with her.”

Brown added, “I thought he made a really important decision early when La Coronel decided to move down the backside to just stay behind her and get her to relax and maybe drop the bit a little. Then she responded and she switched off nicely and came with that good turn of foot that she showed in her first start.”

As for his beaten favorite, the conditioner said, “It looked like she was just too far back today. She didn’t help Javier [Castellano] at all out of the gate to give him any position. She’s a one-run horse and unfortunately, with those kind of horses, sometimes you’re susceptible to how the horses in front of you have the jump on you.”

A Raving Beauty was previously campaigned in Europe by trainer Andreas Suborics and breeder Gestut Karlshof, winning a pair of stakes in her native Germany. Runner-up in Germany’s G3 Grosser Preis der Landeshaupstadt Dusseldorf S. Oct. 1, she was second in Italy’s G1 Premio Lydia Tesio S. Oct. 29 before being privately purchased by these connections and transferred to two-time Eclipse winner Brown. The 5-year-old won her Stateside debut for her new team here at Belmont in the May 12 GIII Beaugay S.

Pedigree Notes:

A Raving Beauty is the ninth Grade I winner for her sire Mastercraftsman. Her dam Anabasis is a half-sister to three=time German Highweight Alianthus (Ger) (Hernando {Fr}). The winner is her first foal and she is also responsible for the 4-year-old filly Ava (Ger) (Kamsin {Ger}), the sophomore gelding Adjali (Ger) (Kamsin {Ger}) and a yearling filly named A Racing Beauty (Ger) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}).

Saturday, Belmont Park
LONGINES JUST A GAME S.-GI, $700,000, Belmont, 6-9, 4yo/up, f/m, 1mT, 1:32.14, fm.
1–A RAVING BEAUTY (GER), 117, m, 5, by Mastercraftsman (Ire)
1st Dam: Anabasis (Ger), by High Chaparral (Ire)
2nd Dam: Allure (Ger), by Konigsstuhl (Ger)
3rd Dam: Adjani (GB), by Surumu (Ger)
1ST GRADE I WIN. (€60,000 RNA Ylg ’14 ARAUG; €95,000 RNA Ylg ’14 BB14; €225,000 4yo ’17 ARQDE). O-Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC & Bethlehem Stables LLC; B-Gestut Karlshof (GER); T-Chad C Brown; J-Irad Ortiz Jr. $375,000. Lifetime Record: Hwt. Older Mare, SW & GSP-Ger, 19-5-3-2, $694,555. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.2–Proctor’s Ledge, 123, f, 4, by Ghostzapper
1st Dam: Archstone, by Arch
2nd Dam: Aliata, by Mr. Prospector
3rd Dam: Drumtop, by Round Table
O/B-Patricia L Moseley (KY); T-Brendan P Walsh. $130,000.3–Lull, 117, f, 4, by War Front
1st Dam: Quiet Now, by Tiznow
2nd Dam: Quiet Dance, by Quiet American
3rd Dam: Misty Dancer, by Lyphard
O/B-Claiborne Farm & Adele B Dilschneider (KY); T-Christophe Clement. $70,000.Margins: 3/4, HF, NK. Odds: 3.65, 7.30, 4.60.
Also Ran: Off Limits (Ire), On Leave, Dream Dancing, Cambodia, La Coronel.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. NBC HD Replay.

Still Having Fun Closes to Score Woody Stephens Upset

Sat, 2018-06-09 15:40

Still Having Fun surged late to spring the upset in Saturday’s GII Woody Stephens S. on the GI Belmont S. undercard. The slightest bit hesitant at the break, the 13-1 shot ran in second last early as GII Fountain of Youth S. winner Promises Fulfilled blazed through an opening quarter in :21.46 and a half in :43.68. Starting to pick off a few rivals on the backstretch run, the bay rallied four wide in the lane, sweeping past the rest of the field, and collared Engage in the final strides to score the first graded win for both himself and his trainer Timothy Keefe. Promises Fulfilled won the photo for third over favored World of Trouble (Kantharos).

“This is great,” Keefe said of his first graded win. “I’m just thankful to Gary [Barber] and Adam [Wachtel] for buying into this horse and having the faith to keep him with me, and thank Jim Scott and Terp Racing for over the years supporting me with a lot of horses. We just always hoped he was a nice horse. Jimmy gave me some money to go to Timonium, like he does every year to buy a horse, and I bought this one. Obviously, he’s fulfilled a lot of dreams.”

“I had a perfect trip because there was a lot of speed in front of me,” said winning rider Joel Rosario. “He was very comfortable. He was a little far back, but I was just waiting until we were turning for home to set him down and ride him. By the eighth pole, I knew I had it. He has such a big stride.”

Earning his diploma for Terp Racing in a $40,000 maiden claimer at Laurel last November, Still Having Fun was bought into by Gary Barber and Wachtel Stable, finishing a neck second in his first start for the new partnership in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity S. a month later. Kicking off his sophomore season with a pair of wins in the Frank Whiteley S. Jan. 27 and the Miracle Wood S. Feb. 17, he was fourth in the Private Term S. at Laurel Mar. 17 and a non-factor sixth in that venue’s Federico Tesio S. Apr. 21. The $12,000 EASOCT buy was last seen finishing second to the highly regarded Mitole (Eskendereya) in a sloppy renewal of Pimlico’s Chick Lang S.

Pedigree Notes:

Still Having Fun is the fourth graded winner and eighth black-type winner for his sire Old Fashioned, who currently stands in Korea. The winner is the second foal out of Casual Kiss, who has since produced the unraced 2-year-old colt Stranger Danger (Buffum); a yearling half-brother named Yourbarnormine (Jump Start); and a 2018 half-sister by Golden Lad. This is also the family of GSW Gotaghostofachance and MSW I’mtoogoodtobetrue.

Saturday, Belmont Park
WOODY STEPHENS S. PRESENTED BY MOHEGAN SUN-GII, $400,000, Belmont, 6-9, 3yo, 7f, 1:21.45, ft.
1–STILL HAVING FUN, 121, c, 3, by Old Fashioned
1st Dam: Casual Kiss, by Dehere
2nd Dam: Bushel and a Peck, by Numerous
3rd Dam: Foolish Kisses, by Cannonade
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($12,000 Ylg ’16 EASOCT). O-Gary
Barber, Wachtel Stable & Terp Racing LLC; B-Mr. & Mrs.
Charles McGinnes & Tim Keefe (MD); T-Timothy L. Keefe;
J-Joel Rosario. $220,000. Lifetime Record: 8-4-2-0, $431,703.
Werk Nick Rating: C.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Engage, 123, c, 3, Into Mischief–Nefertiti, by Speightstown.
($200,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $550,000 2yo ’17 OBSMAR).
O-Woodford Racing, LLC; B-Woods Edge Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown. $80,000.3–Promises Fulfilled, 123, c, 3, Shackleford–Marquee Delivery,
by Marquetry. ($37,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Robert J. Baron;
B-David Jacobs (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $48,000.Margins: 1 1/4, 3 1/4, NK. Odds: 13.00, 4.40, 3.65.
Also Ran: World of Trouble, Beautiful Shot, Givemeaminit, The Tabulator, Strike Power, Pure Shot, Madison’s Luna, Aqua Bel Sar. Scratched: Kanthaka. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Monomoy Girl Adds Another Grade I in Acorn

Sat, 2018-06-09 13:38

GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) took her 2018 record to a perfect four-for-four with a victory in Belmont’s GI Acorn S. Saturday. Away well, the 3-5 chalk was content to sit back in third, running off the rail as ‘TDN Rising Stars’ Moonshine Memories (Malibu Moon) and Talk Veuve to Me (Violence) battled through an opening quarter in :23.15 and a half in :46.48. Talk Veuve to Me edged clear of her two-time Grade I-winning rival approaching the far turn just as Monomoy Girl was gearing up three-wide to make her run. Moonshine Memories called it a day at the top of the stretch and Talk Veuve to Me and Monomoy Girl were left to decide matters. However, while Talk Veuve to Me made a creditable run, she proved no match for Monomoy Girl, who powered clear in the stretch to win by two lengths. Talk Veuve to Me finished another 4 1/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Gio Game (Gio Ponti). Moonshine Memories faded to fourth and champion juvenile filly Caledonia Road (Quality Road) never factored, finishing fifth.

“We were sitting off two fast fillies, they kind of showed the way, but it was a huge effort,” said winning trainer Brad Cox. “Florent [Geroux] did a great job asking her to run out of there and establish position. Those other two fillies away from her just a little bit, and she settled nicely down the backside and around the turn.”

As for what’s next, Cox said, “Obviously, things can change as the year moves on, but I’m thinking right now the [GI] Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga [July 22] then maybe the [GI] Cotillion [S. at Parx Sept. 22] and then the Breeders’ Cup, if everything goes to plan. She’s done everything we’ve asked of her.”

A neck short of being a perfect four-for-four during her juvenile campaign, Monomoy Girl kicked off this season with a win in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. at the Fair Grounds Feb. 17. Romping by 5 1/2 lengths when capturing her first Grade I in Keeneland’s Ashland S. Apr. 7, the $100,000 KEESEP buy won a gritty battle with MGSW and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Wonder Gadot (Medaglia d’Oro) to win the Oaks by a half-length on the First Friday in May.

Pedigree Notes:

Monomoy Girl’s breeders purchased her dam Drumette, a daughter of MSW Endless Parade and half-sister to GSW Drum Major (Dynaformer), with the winner in utero for $75,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. The 10-year-old mare is also responsible for a 2-year-old full-brother to Monomoy Girl named Cowboy Diplomacy; a yearling colt by Palace Malice; and a 2018 colt by Shackleford. Click here for a feature on her breeders.

Saturday, Belmont Park
ACORN S.-GI, $671,000, Belmont, 6-9, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:34.10, ft.
1–MONOMOY GIRL, 123, f, 3, by Tapizar
1st Dam: Drumette, by Henny Hughes
2nd Dam: Endless Parade, by Williamstown
3rd Dam: Mnemosyne, by Saratoga Six
($100,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-M Dubb, Monomoy Stables LLC, The Elkstone Group LLC & Bethlehem Stables LLC; B-FPF LLC & Highfield Ranch (KY); T-Brad H Cox; J-Florent Geroux. $375,000. Lifetime Record: 8-7-1-0, $1,495,750. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Talk Veuve to Me, 115, f, 3, by Violence
1st Dam: Biblical Point, by Point Given
2nd Dam: Bibical Sense, by Blushing Groom (Fr)
3rd Dam: Star in the North, by Northern Dancer
($45,000 RNA Wlg ’15 KEENOV; $20,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $95,000 RNA 2yo ’17 OBSMAR). O-Team Valor International, Rodolphe Brisset & Stephen McKay; B-JSM Equine LLC (KY); T-Rodolphe Brisset. $130,000. 3–Gio Game, 117, f, 3, by Gio Ponti
1st Dam: Game for More, by More Than Ready
2nd Dam: Ermelinda, by Sea Hero
3rd Dam: Future of Gold, by Fountain of Gold
($47,000 RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $160,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR). O-John C Oxley; B-H Allen Poindexter (KY); T-Mark E Casse. $70,000. Margins: 2, 4 1/4, 3HF. Odds: 0.60, 4.00, 24.50.
Also Ran: Moonshine Memories, Caledonia Road, Starcloud. Scratched: Spectator.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Abel Tasman Back on Track With Dominant Phipps Score

Sat, 2018-06-09 13:01

Champion Abel Tasman (Quality Road) returned to her winning ways in style with a runaway decision as the even-money favorite in the ‘Win and You’re In’ GI Ogden Phipps S. early on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

Last year’s champion sophomore filly on the merits of a campaign that saw her win the GI Kentucky Oaks, GI Acorn S. and GI Coaching Club American Oaks, she recently returned from a winter vacation to finish a somewhat head-scratching fourth as the heavy favorite in the GI La Troienne S. at Churchill Downs May 4.

Away slowly from the gate here as the even-money chalk, last term’s GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner-up was a close third through the opening quarter in :23.58 and slingshotted herself to the front shortly thereafter to lead by a length through a half-mile in :46.36. Confidently handled by Hall of Famer Mike Smith at the top of the stretch, Abel Tasman was handridden from there to win for fun. Abel Tasman was the regular workmate of her classy 7-year-old stablemate Hoppertunity (Any Given Saturday), who got the money in the following race in the GII Brooklyn Invitational.

“Her race at Churchill Downs was a disappointment,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “She didn’t run well. You could tell today the light got turned on. I am so proud of her. She’s one of my favorite all-time horses. What she did in the Oaks last year, she brought us from being nowhere to somewhere. It’s good to see these great mares back. She’s a champion and you want to see a champion run like that.”

Smith added, “You know her, she does that every time. She gets away slow and then she makes that big middle move. Sometimes it’s better to let her do it, if they’re going slow. If they’re going fast and she does it, that’s when I’ve gotten myself in trouble and that’s happened before. But they were going easy enough that it was ok.”

Pedigree Notes:

Abel Tasman’s dam Vargas Girl, a maiden of eight career starts, was purchased for $130,000 at the 2010 Keeneland January Sale carrying her third foal by Sky Mesa, who turned out to be GIII Dogwood S. winner Sky Girl. Three years later, Vargas Girl produced another Sky Mesa filly in the stakes-placed Moonlight Sky, who brought $675,000 from China Horse Club International at last year’s FTKNOV Sale. Vargas Girl is a half-sister to GISW Bevo (Prospectors Gamble) and GSW Moonlight Sonata (Carson City), herself the dam of GSWs Wilburn (Bernardini) and Beethoven (Sky Mesa), as well as SW La Appassionata (Bernardini). Abel Tasman is her dam’s most recent produce.

Saturday, Belmont Park
OGDEN PHIPPS S.-GI, $717,500, Belmont, 6-9, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:40.36, ft.
1–ABEL TASMAN, 123, f, 4, by Quality Road
1st Dam: Vargas Girl, by Deputy Minister
2nd Dam: Wheatly Way, by Wheatly Hall
3rd Dam: Family Way, by Cyane
($65,000 RNA Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-China Horse Club International Ltd & Clearsky Farms; B-Clearsky Farms (KY); T-Bob Baffert; J-Mike E Smith. $400,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. 3yo Filly, 13-7-4-0, $2,412,385. *1/2 to Sky Girl (Sky Mesa), GSW, $172,191; and Moonlight Sky (Sky Mesa), SP, $154,313. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*.2–Ivy Bell, 115, m, 5, by Archarcharch
1st Dam: Fallseed, by Forest Wildcat
2nd Dam: Numero Uno, by Afleet
3rd Dam: Une Pavane (Fr), by Caro (Ire)
($40,000 Wlg ’13 KEENOV; $50,000 Ylg ’14 FTKOCT; $85,000 3yo ’16 FTKHRA). O-China Horse Club International Ltd, Madaket Stables LLC & Mathis Stable LLC; B-T/C Stable LLC (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher. $140,000.3–Unbridled Mo, 121, m, 5, by Uncle Mo
1st Dam: Unbridled Waters, by Unbridled
2nd Dam: Waterside, by Topsider
3rd Dam: Talk Out, by Tobin Bronze
O/B-Red Oak Stable (Brunetti) (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher. $75,000.Margins: 7HF, 1 3/4, HF. Odds: 1.00, 7.80, 4.70.
Also Ran: Pacific Wind, Unchained Melody, Berned. Scratched: American Gal, Highway Star.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Kingman’s First Winner Becomes a Rising Star in Newmarket Debut

Sat, 2018-06-09 09:39

1st-Newmarket (July), £8,000, Cond, 6-9, 2yo, 6fT, 1:12.56, g/f.
CALYX (GB), c, 2, by Kingman (GB)
1st Dam: Helleborine (GB), by Observatory
2nd Dam: New Orchid, by Quest For Fame (GB)
3rd Dam: Musicanti, by Nijinsky II
Calyx sported a pacifying rug for stalls entry, but nonetheless enjoyed solid favouritism in this unveiling. Catching the eye on the front end throughout, he unleashed a closing burst to fully justify that faith and earn ‘TDN Rising Star’ status in emphatic style. The 5-2 pick broke alertly and stalked the pace in a handy third through the early fractions. Under a firm grip until looming large hard on the steel at the quarter-mile marker, he quickened to the fore approaching the final furlong and powered clear on the climb to the line to easily account for prior winner Octave (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) by an impressive five lengths, becoming the first winner for his freshman sire (by Invincible Spirit {Ire}). Half-brother to a colt foal by Muhaarar (GB), the homebred bay is also the first scorer out of G3 Prix d’Aumale victress and G1 Prix Marcel Boussac second Helleborine (GB) (Observatory), herself a full-sister to G1 Haydock Sprint Cup heroine African Rose (GB), who in turn produced G3 Princess Margaret S. winner Fair Eva (GB) (Frankel {GB}). His granddam, G3 Lancashire Oaks third New Orchid (Quest For Fame {GB}), is a half-sister to G1 Dewhurst S.-winning sire Distant Music (Distant View). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, £5,175.
1ST-TIME STARTER. O-Khalid Abdullah; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd (GB); T-John Gosden. Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Munnings, Dialed In Colts Share Bullet at OBS

Fri, 2018-06-08 18:32

A pair of colts shared the fastest furlong time during the second session of the under-tack show for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June Sale of 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Friday in Central Florida.

Consigned by Randy Bradshaw, hip 403 became the third horse of the four-session under-tack show to cover the furlong distance in :9 4/5 Friday.

“We thought he would probably go in :10 1/5 or :10 flat, so I wasn’t totally surprised by :9 4/5,” Bradshaw said. “He’s a pretty fast colt.”

The youngster, out of Zadie Creek (Repriced), is a half-brother to multiple stakes winner Beyond the Reach (Sahm).

“He’s a medium-sized horse and built to be fast,” Bradshaw said of the colt. “He’s just a quick-looking horse and by a sire who gets quick horses. He’s a very honest, genuine horse who gives it to you when you ask him. That’s all we can ask as trainers–he’s there every time we ask him to go.”

Hip 403, who was bred by James Leech, RNA’d for $30,000 as a Keeneland November weanling in 2016. Bradshaw is consigning the colt on behalf of Jeff Weiss of Rosedown Racing. The two men have already enjoyed success at OBS this spring, having teamed up to sell the $1.1-million sale topper by Medaglia d’Oro in April.

“He’s a lucky guy,” Bradshaw said of Weiss with a chuckle. “I’ve had three horses at the breeze shows for him and two of them went :9 4/5.”

Friday’s under-tack show was delayed by about a half-hour when heavy rains hit the area just prior to the start of the last set of the day. During that set, hip 332 became the fourth horse of the week to work the furlong in :9 4/5. The colt by Dialed In is out of Top Trick (Hat Trick {Jpn}), a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Blushing Heiress (Blushing John). Bloodstock agent Mike Ryan signed the ticket on the colt at $225,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale and he is consigned to the June sale by de Meric Sales

After several years with a fairly stagnant middle market, Bradshaw agreed the April sale saw increased competition in that range and he hopes that trend continues as the juvenile sales season concludes next week in Ocala.

“[The] June [sale] is always going to be a little tough because it’s the last 2-year-old sale of the year and we’re getting close to starting into buying yearlings again,” he said. “You’ve got to have one that works fast and looks good and has some sire power to get them sold, but if you have the right horse you can get it done in June.”

He continued, “If you get a shin or something happens earlier in the year that you can’t make March or April, the June sale gives you one last shot to get there. Sometimes some of these horses need a little time to develop, so it’s a necessary thing that we have a June sale. I think it’s a little bit tougher to get one sold at this juncture and most people are looking for a bargain this time of year. It’s down to the last hooray with people needing to sell their horses and people looking for a bargain, so I think the middle market will be all right for June.”

While the racing world turns its eyes toward Belmont Park for an action-packed weekend in New York, Bradshaw still saw plenty of familiar faces watching the works from the OBS grandstand Friday.

“A lot of the agents are up in New York with the Belmont and all of the big races this weekend, but looking at the grandstand, it’s the same group that’s always up there clocking horses,” he said. “The word gets around if you have a decent horse. I only have two, so hopefully we’ll get them both sold.”

During Friday’s under-tack show, a colt by Fed Biz (hip 402) worked the fastest quarter-mile of :20 3/5. Consigned by Potrero Stables, the chestnut colt is out of You Laughin (Sharp Humor), a half-sister to multiple Grade I winner Sweet Reason (Street Sense) and graded stakes winner Don’t Forget Gil (Kafwain). He was purchased by South Legacy Stables for $7,500 at last year’s Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Sexyama (hip 407), a once-raced daughter of Cairo Prince, turned in the day’s fastest three-furlong work of :32 3/5. Purchased by Hal Hatch for $55,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale, the youngster is consigned by Hatch’s Halcyon Hammock Farm. A half-sister to multiple stakes placed Cowboy Cool (Divine Park), she was fifth behind Thursday’s Astoria S. winner Athens Queen (Majestic Warrior) in her 4 1/2-furlong debut at Keeneland Apr. 19.

The June under-tack show continues through Sunday with sessions beginning daily at 7:30 a.m. The sale will be held Wednesday through Friday, with bidding starting each day at 10 a.m.




Ahmed Zayat, Racing Fan, Pulling for Another Triple Crown

Fri, 2018-06-08 16:57

Nearly 1100 days have passed since American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) led every step of the way to end a streak of 37 years of near misses (and not-so-near misses) to become racing’s first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed. That was 1978 and was the third sweep of the series in six years, following on from Secretariat in 1973 and Seattle Slew in 1977. Should ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy) succeed in Saturday’s 150th running of the GI Belmont S. to become the 13th to accomplish the feat–and first undefeated Triple Crown winner since Seattle Slew–you can count American Pharoah’s owner and breeder Ahmed Zayat among those that will be rooting him home, even if that notion is counter-intuitive to some.

“It’s funny. You’re posing this question as if the fact that you have been blessed and chosen to be one of 12 [Triple Crown winners] before exclusively means that you would be rooting against somebody else,” Zayat said with a laugh. “I love horses and I want to see stars, I want to see special stars.”

He added, “Winning the Belmont is incredible on its own. Winning the Kentucky Derby or any of these elite races or any Classic is an unbelievable privilege for any owner, let alone if you’re able to put it together and win a Triple Crown. It’s something where if I care about the sport–which I do–and about stars, you want to see it happen more often than not.”

Given the futility over the course of the previous four decades and within the context of gut-wrenching losses by the Baffert-trained Silver Charm and Real Quiet and Smarty Jones with the Triple Crown literally yards away, the horse racing universe was mobilized in near unanimous support of American Pharoah. And the colt did not let his worldwide fan base down, galloping his rivals into the ground to become ‘the one.’ But Zayat eschews the notion that there is less buzz or electricity surrounding this Triple Crown attempt.

“I think people are really overthinking this,” he commented. “I don’t see any less buzz about it. I think the media are excited about it, people who follow racing are excited and so is the general public–just look at the ratings NBC got for the Preakness. Therefore I don’t think that trying to pass this off as not as exciting as Pharoah is legitimate. Just because you waited 37 years and now it’s happening again after just three years, I don’t really buy that, I don’t feel it.

He continued, “We owned and bred American Pharoah and honestly, people loved his persona, even before he won the Triple Crown. If anything, maybe that is what’s missing–getting to know the athlete the way they got to know American Pharoah. I do believe it might be a bit different because we were only six, my family and I, who were the direct owners of American Pharoah. If you look at the ownership of Justify, it’s much broader. Maybe because there is no one face to the horse, but it was never about the Zayats or the Bafferts, it was always about American Pharoah. For those reasons, maybe the vibes are different. I don’t really buy it, but I don’t know.”

Nor does Zayat believe that another Triple Crown in relatively rapid succession would in any way diminish or otherwise tarnish what his colt achieved three years ago.

“Honestly, what I think American Pharoah did was restore hope,” he offered. “We had lost hope, it had been 37 years that people had been chasing the dream and then the dream became reality. I think that resonated with people. It becomes something of ‘America’s’ horse and I think having another one like that would be good–good for the fans, good for the sport, good for everyone. For me, actually, I thought it would be hard for me to have another Triple Crown winner, but it makes me believe that I can do it again myself! It keeps the dream alive and well.”

If there is a shred of jealousy in Zayat, it isn’t readily apparent.

“I am absolutely elated for Justify to get this done, just as a fan and as a member of this industry,” he said. “But also for selfish reasons. WinStar is a farm that has been very good to me and is very dear and close to my heart. Bob [Baffert] has been my trainer since day one, he has won me 21 Grade Is and a Triple Crown.

” I love him and I love his family, so I am really rooting for these great connections and from the bottom of my heart, I really want to see it happen.”

Dark Angel Colt Closes Quickly at Belmont

Fri, 2018-06-08 16:27

7th-Belmont, $90,000, Alw (NW1$X)/Opt. Clm ($80,000), 6-8, 3yo, 1mT, 1:33.31, fm.
RAGING BULL (FR) (c, 3, Dark Angel {Ire}–Rosa Bonheur {SP-Fr}, by Mr. Greeley) earned a solid 87 Beyer Speed Figure for a first-up success over several next-out graduates at Keeneland Apr. 19, and was 6-5 to clear his next condition against a lightly raced bunch. Away towards the back behind a swift :22.94 opening quarter set by Morrison (The Factor), the bay started to rev up out wide behind a more sensible :47.15 half. Slingshotting widest into the lane, Raging Bull picked off foes in hand and blew past Morrison to get the job done by 3/4 of a while providing trainer Chad Brown with his third win of four on the card and the hot-riding Joel Rosario his second. According to Trakus data, Raging Bull covered 35 ft. more than the runner-up and came home in a snappy :22.19. A €90,000 Goffs Orby yearling, he is a grandson of MGSW and Italian highweight Rolly Polly (Ire) (Mukaddamah). He has an unraced 2-year-old half-sister named Rapture (Fr) (Pivotal {GB}) and a weanling half-sister named Siyoubaby (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}). Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $88,500. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Peter M. Brant; B-Dayton Investments Limited (FR); T-Chad C. Brown.


Freud Colt Up Late in ‘Smart’ Tremont Score

Fri, 2018-06-08 15:10

Off the mark at first asking sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs at Laurel May 3, Our Braintrust became the 58th black-type winner for his sire in Friday’s Tremont S. The second highest price on the board, the bay settled perfectly against the fence behind splits of :22.38 and :45.73. Sneaking through a gap at the rail inside the final 50 yards, the juvenile pipped longtime leader Mae Never No a few strides from the wire and the closing Sombeyay, who stole second.

“He’s a nice horse,” said Charlie Lynch, son and assistant of winning trainer Cal Lynch. “His first race he proved that he can rate and he could come from behind horses and do everything right. He broke sharp and Javier [Castellano] gave him a great ride. They just sat off the pace and the rail opened up for him and he went right up there without being bothered at all. I talked to dad and he’s so happy right now, he’s crying. He’s [by] a New York stallion so he’s probably going to be coming up here for the New York series.”

Three-time winner Caller Trust has a yearling colt by Super Ninety Nine as her last known produce. Under the MSP third dam is Canadian champion grass horse and GSW & GISP Hasten to Add (Cozzene), as well as GI Selene S. heroine See How She Runs (Maria’s Mon) and MGSW Don’t Leave Me (Lemon Drop Kid). Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

TREMONT S., $150,000, Belmont, 6-8, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:04.41, ft.
1–OUR BRAINTRUST, 121, c, 2, by Freud
                1st Dam: Caller Trust, by Trust N Luck
                2nd Dam: Call Your Beau, by Caller I. D.
                3rd Dam: Beau Cougar, by Cougar II
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN.($27,000 RNA Ylg ’17 FTKJUL; $25,000
Ylg ’17 EASOCT). O-Cathal A Lynch & Stanton J. Smith; B-Barak
Farm (MD); T-Cathal A. Lynch; J-Javier Castellano. $87,000.
Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $116,640.2–Sombeyay, 121, c, 2, Into Mischief–Teroda, by Limehouse.
($125,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $230,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP).
O-Starlight Racing; B-J D Stuart & Mueller Farms, Inc. (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher. $30,000.3–Mae Never No (Ire), 118, f, 2, No Nay Never–Sweet Shirley
Mae, by Broken Vow. O/B-Ice Wine Stable (IRE); T-Wesley A.
Ward. $15,000.
Margins: 3/4, 3/4, HF. Odds: 10.70, 7.50, 2.15.
Also Ran: Sir Truebadour, Outshine, Girls Love Me, Social Fan.


Friday’s Trackside Belmont Stakes Report

Fri, 2018-06-08 15:08

ELMONT, NY – With a WPIX 11 helicopter providing on-the-scene aerial television coverage, Belmont Park was buzzing on the morning before unbeaten Triple Crown hopeful Justify (Scat Daddy)’s date with destiny.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert walked with China Horse Club’s Teo Ah Khing through the sun-splashed backstretch during the track renovation break as the big crowd-by far the largest of the week–began vying for position by the clubhouse turn gap at 8:30 a.m.

Just as American Pharoah had signaled in the mornings leading up to his Triple Crown sweep three years ago, Justify also seems to be thriving and getting even stronger throughout the grueling series. The mighty chestnut, favored at 4-5 on the morning-line for the 150th renewal of the GI Belmont S., galloped another 1 3/8 miles beneath Humberto Gomez with fantastic energy as Baffert watched through the binoculars alongside his wife Jill.

Justify’s high-powered ownership group was out in full force to watch the ‘TDN Rising Star’s’ final gallop ahead of the Belmont, including WinStar’s Elliott Walden and David Hanley; China Horse Club’s Eden Harrington, Michael Wallace and Mick Flanagan; SF Bloodstock’s Gavin Murphy and Tom Ryan; and Sol Kumin of Head of Plains Partners. Popular sportscaster Mike Tirico, who delivered a live report from Belmont’s paddock during Thursday evening’s Stanley Cup final on NBC, was also spotted taking in the action.

“This is what a trainer hopes to see the day before his horse runs,” Baffert said during his daily press briefing. “Coming off the track, he was just full of himself. He seems like he’s still improving. I know he’s going to show up and run his race. He looks no different than American Pharoah did coming in here.”

Justify will attempt to become racing’s 13th Triple Crown winner at 6:46 p.m. Saturday. Only Seattle Slew has completed the sweep with an unblemished record.

“If he’s truly that great horse we think he is, he can do it,” Baffert concluded.

Distorted Humor Filly Successful in Eventful Unveiling

Fri, 2018-06-08 14:56

4th-Churchill Downs, $49,932, Msw, 6-8, 2yo, f, 5 1/2f, 1:04.78, ft.
RESTLESS RIDER (f, 2, Distorted Humor–Silky Serenade, by Unbridled’s Song) was let go at 8-1 off an unassuming worktab, and might have left the backers she did have ripping up their tickets prematurely after she dropped pilot Brian Hernandez, Jr. and fell behind the gate. Apparently no worse for wear, however, the $150,000 KEESEP yearling broke towards the back of the pace before inching forward out into the clear to vie three deep into the turn. She kept on despite some obvious greenness in the stretch, and kicked away late to get the job done by a convincing 2 3/4 lengths. Seranitsa (Dialed In) completed the exacta. The winner’s dam, a half to MGSW juvenile Private Vow (Broken Vow), has a yearling colt by Into Mischief and a foal colt by Kantharos–she sold for $75,000 in foal to the latter at KEENOV ’17. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $30,600. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Fern Circle Stables & Three Chimneys Farm, LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.

NJ Legislature Passes Sports Betting Bill

Thu, 2018-06-07 20:58

According to published reports, the New Jersey State Legislature voted as expected Thursday to legalize sports betting in the Garden State. The development comes after last month’s landmark Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal law banning wagering on sports teams, and days after Delaware became the first state other than Nevada to start offering Las Vegas-style wagering.

It was unclear Thursday evening when facilities in New Jersey, including Monmouth Park, would begin taking bets. Governor Phil Murphy had not yet signed the bill, but a last-minute provision was made to allow wagers to be placed before Murphy officially signed off, as he is expected to.

Dennis Drazin, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association advisor and attorney at the forefront of the push for legalized sports betting, told The New York Times he would wait for Governor Murphy’s go-ahead before Monmouth took any sports wagers. “If it comes down to the governor telling me no, I’m going to do what the governor says,” he said of taking bets Friday.

The bill sets the legal age to place a sports wager at 21 (compared to 18 for horse bets), and an 8.5% tax on in-person wagers compared to 13% for bets made online or via mobile devices–online wagering will not be allowed until 30 days after the new law is signed by Murphy. The bill also specifically stipulates that no money will be paid to sports leagues, and bans the wagering on collegiate contests taking place within the state or involving New Jersey schools.


Siyouni Filly Upsets the Wonder Again in Front-Running Fashion

Thu, 2018-06-07 18:05

Making her graded stakes debut, La Signare capped a French-bred double at Belmont as she showed the way and held off heavy favorite Significant Form in this springboard to the July 7 GI Belmont Oaks. Her victory came one race after the similarly named La Sardane (Fr) (Kingsalsa) annexed the GIII Intercontinental S.

Straight to the front in an event that had no obvious pacesetter on paper, the bay faced no resistance as she cruised through fractions of :26.36 and :50.95. Significant Form began to ratchet up the pressure after a six-furlong split of 1:14.54, and though her pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. gave off confident vibes, Joel Rosario asked La Signare for more and she stiff-armed the chalk to post the mild upset.

“This one had some speed, that’s for sure,” Rosario said. “She ran very good. She ran nice early, and ran very good after that. She relaxed very nicely and had a long, slow gallop early, and before turning for home, I said, ‘Well it’s great,’ because I knew we were going slow, and she handled it really well. Good run. I like her. It’s always good when they run like that.”

Trained by Didier Guillemin to kick off her career in her native country, La Signare was a close fourth first up at Toulouse Oct. 17 before breaking through at that venue Nov. 4 and being picked up privately. The bay rallied for a half-length second in a Keeneland allowance Apr. 11 won by Toinette (Scat Daddy), who returned to annex the GIII Edgewood S. at Churchill May 4 over a field that included Significant Form’s star stablemate Rushing Fall (More Than Ready) and Daddy Is a Legend (Scat Daddy).

“I didn’t really think there was a lot of speed in the race, so it was going to be a bit of a cat and mouse game,” said trainer Brian Lynch, who successfully teamed up with Rosario one race later to take a maiden special weight with the well-bred Emmy Performance (Point of Entry). “I’m always a big believer that pace makes the race, so we put her where she was comfortable and evidently that’s where she was comfortable. She had been doing so well coming into the race, so it didn’t surprise me that that’s where she ended up.”

Pedigree Notes:

La Signare is the first U.S. graded stakes winner for highly regarded Aga Khan stallion Siyouni, whose Stateside-based representatives have included MGSP ‘TDN Rising Star’ Hayabusa One (Fr), last month’s GIII Gallorette S. runner-up Blessed Silence (Fr) and fellow Madaket Stables-co-owned Wonder Again competitor Altea (Fr), who missed by a head when third in the GIII Florida Oaks in March. La Signare is half to an unraced 2-year-old colt by Orpen.

Saturday, Belmont Park
WONDER AGAIN S.-GIII, $200,000, Belmont, 6-7, 3yo, f, 1 1/8mT, 1:48.84, fm.
1–LA SIGNARE (FR), 118, f, 3, by Siyouni (Fr)
                1st Dam: La Teranga (Fr), by Beat Hollow (GB)
                2nd Dam: Adrastea (Ire), by Monsun (Ger)
                3rd Dam: Akasma (Ger), by Windwurf (Ger)
Stables LLC, Cambron, Tim, Cambron, Anna and Bradley
Thoroughbreds; B-Moussa Mbacke (FR); T-Brian A. Lynch;
J-Joel Rosario. $120,000. Lifetime Record: 4-2-1-0, $144,413.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: B+.2–Significant Form, 121, f, 3, Creative Cause–Church by the Sea,
by Harlan’s Holiday. ($75,000 Ylg ’16 FTKJUL; $575,000 2yo ’17
OBSAPR). O-Stephanie Seymour Brant; B-Brereton C. Jones
(KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $40,000.3–Mighty Scarlett, 115, f, 3, Scat Daddy–Thundering Emilia, by
Thunder Gulch. ($100,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $260,000 2yo ’17
OBSMAR). O-Coleman, T., Doheny, M., Head of Plains Partners
LLC and Long Lake Stable LLC; B-Teneri Farm Inc. & Bernardo
Alvarez Calderon (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $20,000. Margins: 1, NK, NK. Odds: 6.30, 0.80, 7.70.
Also Ran: Daddy Is a Legend, Altea (Fr), Andina Del Sur, Camila Princess, Armoricaine (GB), Spinning Top. Scratched: Animosity.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Talented Sophomore Montauk Injured in Breeze, Euthanized

Thu, 2018-06-07 17:51

Montauk (Medaglia d’Oro–Indian Vale, by A.P. Indy), who turned heads with an 11 1/4-length debut romp at Belmont last October, was euthanized Thursday after fracturing his shoulder during a breeze over the Belmont training track. The news was first reported by Daily Racing Form. Acquired for $850,000 at OBS April, the sophomore colt was owned by Bob LaPenta, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Twin Creeks Racing and Bridlewood Farm and conditioned by Todd Pletcher. The TDN Rising Starhad only made one start, and was knocked off the Derby trail earlier this year with a throat issue. “We are all heartbroken,” Eclipse’s Aron Wellman said when asked to confirm the news Thursday.

Trappe Shot Filly Proves Best in Santa Anita Debut

Thu, 2018-06-07 17:19

4th-Santa Anita, $60,380, Msw, 6-7, 2yo, f, 5f, :59.47, ft.

REFLECT (f, 2, Trappe Shot–Scat Patty, by Scat Daddy), sent off at 4-1 in this unveiling, raced in mid-pack in the early stages and closed the gap a bit as they hit the first quarter in :22.10. Ranging up three wide entering the far turn, the bay took control in early stretch and rolled clear to win as she pleased by 5 3/4 lengths. Katieleigh (Midnight Lute) was second, finishing 6 1/4 lengths clear of the third-place horse. The winner’s dam produced an Overanalyze colt this year. Sales history: $70,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $35,400. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-Impact Thoroughbreds LLC and Madaket Stables LLC; B-T/C Stable, LLC (KY); T-J. Keith Desormeaux.

Tapit Colt a Dream in ‘Rising Star’ Debut

Thu, 2018-06-07 17:17

John Oxley’s homebred Dream Maker (Tapit), a full-brother to last year’s GI Del Mar Oaks winner Dream Dancing (GISW, $462,510), strode effortlessly from last to first to win his debut by a widening three lengths at Churchill Downs Thursday to become the newest ‘TDN Rising Star.’ Sent off the even-money favorite, the gray colt was outfooted early and trailed the field as Ready and Rich (Super Saver) was on the lead through fractions of :22.43 and :45.75. Angled to the center of the track in upper stretch, Dream Maker kicked into gear and reeled in the pacesetter before gliding clear to the wire. Ready and Rich was second and Fluminense (More Than Ready) was third.     Dream Maker is out of the unraced To Dream About, a daughter of Oxley’s GI Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos and his champion mare Beautiful Pleasure (Maudlin). In addition to Dream Dancing, Dream Maker is also a half-brother to Sky Dreamer (Sky Mesa, GSP, $176,065); and Awesome Sky (Sky Mesa, GSP, $143,166). Dream Maker is the most recent reported foal out of To Dream About, who aborted an Empire Maker last year and had a dead foal by Frosted this year.

1st-Churchill Downs, $48,654, Msw, 6-7, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:04.65, ft.
DREAM MAKER, c 2, by Tapit
                1st Dam: To Dream About, by Monarchos
                2nd Dam: Beautiful Pleasure, by Maudlin
                3rd Dam: Beautiful Bid, by Baldski
Click for the chart, the free catalogue-style pedigree or the VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $30,600.
O/B-John C. Oxley (KY); T-Mark E. Casse.

Majestic Warrior Filly Springs the Upset in the Astoria

Thu, 2018-06-07 17:05

ASTORIA S., $147,000, Belmont, 6-7, 2yo, f, 5 1/2f, 1:05.37, ft.
1–ATHENS QUEEN, 120, f, 2, by Majestic Warrior
1st Dam: Mine All Mine (SP), by Belong to Me
2nd Dam: Pulcinella, by Unbridled
3rd Dam: Seattle Kitty, by Seattle Slew
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-James Reiley McDonald; B-Athens
Woods, LLC (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward; J-Albin Jimenez. $87,000.
Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $123,000.
2–Lady Apple, 116, f, 2, Curlin–Miss Mary Apples, by Clever
Trick. ($100,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Phoenix
Thoroughbred III & KatieRich Stables; B-KatieRich Farms (KY);
T-Steven M. Asmussen. $30,000.
3–Eyeinthesky, 120, f, 2, Sky Mesa–Ruliontome, by Lion Heart.
($22,000 Ylg ’17 OBSOCT). O-Gary Barber; B-Rusty Kindratiw
(FL); T-Mark E. Casse. $15,000.
Margins: NK, HF, 3/4. Odds: 11.20, 6.00, 3.35.
Also Ran: Tijori, Wonder Stone, Six Pack Gal. Scratched: Gallanor, Gorgeouswitha G.
Athens Queen was one of several debut-winning juveniles for 2-year-old king Wesley Ward at Keeneland, wiring an Apr. 19 test to graduate by a neck. Sent off at 11-1 in this black-type bow, the bay ran two wide near the back of the tightly bunched group through an opening quarter in :22.06. Ranging up four wide turning for home, Athens Queen forged clear of a her three rivals left in contention to win by a neck. Lady Apple was the runner-up, as heavily favored ‘TDN Rising Star’ Tijori (Will Take Charge) battled early only to fade to fourth late.

“She was always a nice filly from day one, we started breezing her over at Turfway in March, and she showed a lot of talent,” Ward said of the winner. “She wasn’t at this level like she was today so it looks like she’s getting better.”

Reiley McDonald claimed stakes-placed Mine All Mine for $8,000 in 2010. The mare produced a colt by Stay Thirsty in 2017 and was bred back to Maclean’s Music. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

TDN Belmont Preview Presented by WinStar

Thu, 2018-06-07 16:27

This week’s TDN GI Belmont S. Preview ranks the entrants in order of estimated win probability:

1) JUSTIFY (c, Scat DaddyStage Magic, by Ghostzapper)
TDN Rising StarO-China Horse Club, Head of Plains PartnersLLC, Starlight Racing & WinStar Farm. B- John D. Gunther (Ky).
T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $500,000 yrl ’16 KEESEP. Lifetime
Record: MGISW, 5-5-0-0, $2,998,000.

Justify is the likeliest winner of the Belmont S., but that’s not the same as saying he’s a smart bet at or below his 4-5 morning line ranking. This undefeated $500,000 KEESEP Scat Daddy (Johannesburg) colt is going to have to defend multiple attacks over an unproven distance after an intense, five-week Classics campaign that is in itself part of a super-brief, pressure-packed career arc spanning only 156 days.

Jockey Mike Smith might as well be chasing history with a bullseye on his back considering how rival riders will be targeting his ‘TDN Rising Star’ on Saturday, and in particular, the second and third choices in the Belmont betting both loom as credible threats because they hail from A-list stables after having been freshened since exiting the GI Kentucky Derby with legit excuses.

But still, having laid out those potential stumbling blocks, the fact remains that Justify simply delivers what is expected of him–and often exceeds those expectations–every time he’s presented with a new challenge.

In the Derby, this long-striding colt was still hand-ridden through the far turn while repulsing a two-pronged attack from a pair of relentless rivals, and when set down straightening for home the brawny chestnut’s response was fluid and not at all nearing the limitations of his stamina depth. Justify’s Preakness win was a bit more of a scrappy showdown than expected, but he only lost style points and not the race, and he’s since had three weeks of rest followed by reportedly thriving in training.

The been-there-done-that aura of confidence that resonates around conditioner Bob Baffert and his 2015 Triple Crown-winning team no doubt only helps Justify’s chances, because his handlers are keenly aware of what to expect in terms of pressure and nerves when race day arrives.

2) VINO ROSSO (c, CurlinMythical Bride, by Street Cry {Ire})
O-Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable. B-John D. Gunther (Ky). T-Todd A. Pletcher. Sales history: $410,000 yrl ’16 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW, 6-3-0-1, $620,500.

Sure, plenty of horses couldn’t handle the slop in this year’s Derby. But Vino Rosso appeared more out of his comfort zone than most of the also-rans, and trainer Todd Pletcher said after this $410,000 KEESEP Curlin colt’s ninth-place try that “I don’t ever remember flushing more mud out of a horse’s eyes than we did with him.”

Now, with the benefit of five weeks to recuperate and a return to training that included a recent bullet breeze, Vino Rosso is percolating as very live upsetter based on a similar skip-the-Preakness strategy that Pletcher utilized last year when he captured the Belmont S. with Tapwrit (Tapit).

If you are willing to completely toss out Vino Rosso’s Derby and focus on his aggressively won GII Wood Memorial S. as an example of a stepping-stone race that could get him a Classic, this distance-pedigreed closer could have the Belmont unfold in a fashion that suits him best (i.e., tag-team pace pressure on Justify early before Vino Rosso winds up for a prolonged stretch kick). Earlier in the spring, when jockey John Velazquez presumably had the option to choose among several of Pletcher’s Derby-bound horses, Vino Rosso became his hand-picked horse despite several uninspiring tries at Tampa Bay Downs. After a nice fighting-spirit win in the Wood, the colt’s development arc stalled in the Derby. But Vino Rosso now appears poised to pounce as the main danger in the third leg of the Triple Crown.

3) HOFBURG (c, TapitSoothing Touch, by Touch Gold) O/B-Juddmonte Farms, Inc. (Ky). T-William I. Mott. Lifetime Record: GISP, 4-1-1-0, $227,950.

Hofburg has been a “wise guy” pick to win the Belmont ever since he galloped out past everybody else after the finish of the Kentucky Derby and trainer Bill Mott declared that this Tapit (Pulpit) homebred would bypass the Preakness to lie in wait for the third jewel of the Triple Crown. In the five weeks since, the Hofburg bandwagon has become crowded with supporters, and while he makes sense as a realistic win threat considering his stamina-centric bloodlines, it might be a bit of a reach to back Hofburg as a 9-2 second choice in a Classic race considering he’s never won beyond the maiden ranks.

Yet since his initial score back on Mar. 3 at Gulfstream, Hofburg has posted back-to-back “much better than they look on paper” efforts: First when closing determinedly to grab second in the GI Florida Derby, and again in Louisville on the first Saturday in May when he was committed to an inside bid but got shuffled back in traffic before tipping widest for the stretch run and steaming home with admirable late-race momentum. Upsetting Tripe Crown bids by Bob Baffert trainees just might run in Hofburg’s family, as damsire Touch Gold denied Silver Charm the 1997 Belmont S. by three-quarters of a length.

4) TENFOLD (c, CurlinTemptress, by Tapit)
O/B-Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC. T-Steven M. Asmussen.
Lifetime Record: GISP, 4-2-0-1, $289,200.

Your opinion of Tenfold probably hinges on whether or not you think his third-place, three-quarter length finish behind Justify in the Preakness is the real deal or not. I think that’s the wrong measuring stick. Instead, focus on this colt’s entire four-race body of work, which although brief, gives a better illustration that this homebred is headed in the right direction.

Tenfold’s Beyer Speed Figures have gone up in every start even though he’s taken on tougher competition and increased distances at every step. He’s overcome adversity (bumped and wide in the Preakness), and this colt’s pace-pressing running style means he’s unlikely to be slugging it out on the lead, yet should still be able to snag a contending stalking spot not too far off the early action. If Tenfold is able to remain in the hunt to the top of the stretch, the bet will essentially be whether his distance-oriented pedigree (by Curlin out of a Tapit mare) is enough to put him over the top at 12 furlongs.

5) RESTORING HOPE (c, Giant’s CausewaySymbol of Freedom, by Tapit) O-Gary & Mary West. B-Gary & Mary West Stables Inc (Ky). T-Bob Baffert. Lifetime Record: GSP, 5-1-1-2, $149,880.

Trainer Bob Baffert’s “other” horse in the Belmont S. is not as far-fetched a proposition as he might seem. In fact, if you go back in time prior to Justify’s February debut, Restoring Hope was getting his own share of ink in many pre-Derby prognostications before this Giant’s Causeway homebred missed the GII San Felipe with minor foot issue, then failed to make the earnings cut to enter GIII Sunland Derby.

Subsequent shuffling among Baffert’s Derby hopefuls in early April caused Restoring Hope to get re-routed to New York for the Wood Memorial, where he was a one-paced third, yet only 5 1/4 lengths behind the well-regarded Vino Rosso. He next showed up in the undercard GIII Pat Day Mile on Derby Day at Churchill, which was run in a relentless, pelting rain that was worse than the abysmally muddy conditions of the Derby itself two hours later. Because of the adverse weather, I’m inclined to give Restoring Hope a free pass regarding his six-wide 12th-place try in a one-turn mile that produced an aberrational finish (top three horses 39-1, 31-1 and 21-1, respectively).

So the Belmont just might be Restoring Hope’s first chance in months to run a race under comparatively favorable preparation and course-condition terms, making a substantial turnaround a realistic possibility for this vastly overlooked long shot.

6) NOBLE INDY (c, Take Charge Indy–Noble Maz, by Storm Boot) TDN Rising Star O-WinStar Farm LLC & Repole Stable. B-WinStar Farm LLC (Ky). T-Todd A Pletcher. Sales history: $45,000 RNA yrl ’16 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW, 5-3-0-1, $691,600.

Noble Indy will have blinkers removed for the Belmont, perhaps suggesting that he’ll be out of the pace equation in terms of duking it out with Justify in the early going. To me, this ‘TDN Rising Star’ represents a true wild card in the third leg of the Triple Crown, and I’m not entirely sure what to expect of him coming off a five-week freshening since his slop-diminished 17th-place Derby performance. This $45,000 KEESEP RNA was forwardly placed in the early stages of the Derby, got fanned seven wide into the chaotic first turn, then was unable to assert himself with any spark before backing off. When you consider that this lightly raced, still-developing Todd Pletcher trainee also had a six-week gap between his Louisiana Derby win and his Kentucky Derby try, he should be a fairly fresh horse. His grandsire, A.P. Indy, won the 1992 edition of the Belmont, and while Noble Indy doesn’t rate as a top choice to wear a blanket of white carnations on Saturday, a win wouldn’t exactly be a shocker, either.

7) BRAVAZO (c, Awesome AgainTiz o’ Gold, by Cee’s Tizzy)
O/B-Calumet Farm. T-D. Wayne Lukas. Lifetime Record: GSW & MGISP, 9-3-1-1, $436,528.

Bravazo is a hard-trying overachiever. But the sense here is that while he was a “live” 15-1 shot in the Preakness coming off a sneaky-good, wide-on-both-turns Derby, his Preakness second might represent the upper limits of his ability, and a leveling off or a regression at 12 furlongs might be expected for the Belmont. Other than potential Triple Crowner Justify, this Awesome Again colt will be the only member of the sophomore crop to contest all three legs of the Classics, and that’s an arduous assignment even considering Bravazo got a six-week break between the GII Louisiana Derby and the Kentucky Derby. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas certainly commands respect with 14 victories in Triple Crown races. But only one of those wins—a 15-1 upset by Oxbow (Awesome Again) in the 2013 Preakness—has come since 2000.

8) FREE DROP BILLY (c, Union RagsTrensa, by Giant’s Causeway) O-Albaugh Family Stables LLC. B-Helen K Groves Revokable Trust (Ky). T-Dale Romans. Sales history: $200,000 yrl ’16 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GISW, 9-2-3-2, $625,220.

Free Drop Billy holds the dubious distinction of being the only horse in the Belmont field not to have won a race so far in 2018, and you have to go all the way back to Oct. 7 to find the last time this son of 2012 Belmont winner Union Rags landed in the winner’s circle. In five races since, “Billy” always seems to be on the cusp of breaking through with a big effort, but he has simply failed to fire without obvious excuses.

The Derby seemed to be a spot where his one-strong-run closing style might have thrived, but the race unfolded with Billy being much closer to a solid early pace than expected, and he had no true response when roused for run under sloppy conditions. The 1 1/2-mile distance of the third leg of the Triple Crown is certainly within the scope of his stamina-centric pedigree. But you can also make that argument for about seven other horses in the race, so banking a bet on him based on the breeding angle alone probably won’t cut it in this spot.

9) BLENDED CITIZEN (c, Proud Citizen–Langara Lass, by Langhfuhr) O-Sayjay Racing LLC, Greg Hall & Brooke Hubbard.
B-Ray Hanson (Ky). T-Doug F. O’Neill. Sales history: $57,000 RNA yrl ’16 KEESEP; $85,000 2yo ’17 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 10-3-0-2, $406,854.

This Proud Citizen colt is a new shooter in the Triple Crown series, and while the win over the Belmont surface angle is unique to Blended Citizen (in fact, he’s the only entrant in this race to have even started at Belmont Park), he’s going to have to progress even further to be a major player against this crew. His May 12 GII Peter Pan S. victory was a grind-it-out, off-the-pace performance aided by a four-way speed duel and moderate fractions, and Blended Citizen’s only other stakes score came over the synthetic Turfway surface back in March when he enjoyed a gift-trip rail run into very slow splits.

Perhaps a mild case for him could be made off his fifth-place run in the GII Blue Grass S. two starts back, in which Blended Citizen was beaten only 4 1/4 lengths after encountering a deep-stretch impediment. But otherwise, it’s a handicapping reach to try and come up with plausible scenarios under which this miler-over-sprinter pedigreed sophomore excels at 12 furlongs.

10) GRONKOWSKI (c, Lonhro {Aus}Four Sugars, by Lookin At Lucky) O-Phoenix Thoroughbred III. B-Epic Thoroughbreds LLC (Ky). T-Chad C. Brown. Sales history: $75,000 wlg ’15 KEENOV; 50,000gns yrl ’16 TATOC; 300,000gns 2yo ’17 TATBRE. Lifetime Record: SW, 6-4-1-0, $135,644.

Gronkowski qualified for a Derby berth based on winning the Europe Road to the Kentucky Derby invite, but his shipping Stateside for that race was derailed by a “minor infection” that made his connections aim for the Belmont instead. In the interim, this Lonhro colt has had a trainer switch to Chad Brown (whose first-time imports have won at a 25% clip), and he’ll run Gronkowski on Lasix for the first time (an angle that has produced a 26% win clip among Brown’s last 39 first-time first-Lasix starters). But beyond those positive statistical trends, the fact remains that Gronkowski has still never raced on dirt or beyond a mile, and the 12-furlong Belmont S. is about a difficult spot as you could pick at this stage of the season to find out where/if this colt fits among the top of America’s sophomore crop.