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Updated: 5 hours 22 min ago

Her Emmynency Hammers at $1.5m to Shadai

Tue, 2017-11-07 12:30

Shadai Farm paid $1.5 million for Successful Appeal mare Her Emmynency at Keeneland November Tuesday and she is off to Japan. Consigned by Bedouin Bloodstock, Agent as hip 56, the GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. heroine is in foal to Pioneerof the Nile. Her dam is GIII Modesty H. victress Chic Dancer (Joyeux Danseur).

Oaks Heroine Goes to Bridlewood/Don Alberto for $2.3m

Tue, 2017-11-07 11:52

Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss) took an early lead at Keeneland November Tuesday, selling for $2.3 million to Bridlewood Farm and Don Alberto. Consigned as hip 30 by Bedouin Bloodstock, Agent, the GI Kentucky Oaks heroine is in foal to Pioneerof the Nile. Her second dam is GII Golden Rod S. victress Belterra (Unbridled), who also placed third in the GI Ashland S.

Summer Wind Goes to $1.4 million for ‘Whim’ at Keeneland

Tue, 2017-11-07 11:19

Hip 1, Weekend Whim (Distorted Humor), consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, Agent in foal to red-hot sire Medaglia d’Oro, brought a bid of $1.4 million from Jane Lyon of Summer Wind Farm to kick the first session of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale off with a bang. A full-sister to GI Haskell S. winner and sire Any Given Saturday and a half to GSW Bohemian Lady (Carson City), the chestnut is the dam of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine New Money Honey (Medaglia d’Oro). Bred by WinStar Farm, she has also produced MSP Coconut Shrimp to the cover of Giant’s Causeway.

KEENOV Kicks Off Tuesday

Mon, 2017-11-06 22:46

LEXINGTON, KY–Keeneland’s marathon November Breeding Stock sale kicks off Tuesday at 11 a.m. A total of 4147 weanlings, broodmare/broodmare prospects, horses of racing age and stallion/stallion prospects are catalogued for the 12-day event. KEENOV begins with a pair of select Book 1 sessions consisting of hips 1-179 and 180-366A, respectively.

Among the many high-profile young broodmare or broodmare prospects on offer will be 2015’s champion 3-year-old filly Stellar Wind (Curlin) (hip 153); 2016 GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss) (hip 30) in foal to Pioneerof the Nile; 2016 GI Test S. heroine Paola Queen (Flatter) (hip 297), who cost $1.7 million here 12 months ago; and the regally bred Twirl (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (366A). Five-time Grade I winner Lady Eli (Divine Park) was forced to be scratched from the sale after enduring lacerations and a puncture wound during the running of Saturday’s GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Turf.

As many as 41 horses from the complete dispersal of Ben and Elaine Walden’s Pauls Mill also figure to feature prominently in the auction results.

Last year’s top broodmare was Unrivaled Belle (Unbridled’s Song), the 2010 GI Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner who brought $3.8 million from Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm. Unrivaled Belle was represented this year by standout sophomore filly and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Unique Bella (Tapit).

High demand for top-end weanlings has been a noted trend at the breeding stock sales in recent years, and KEENOV’s weanling offerings were given an endorsement on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup undercard when 2015’s $2.6-million second-priciest youngster Declarationofpeace (War Front) annexed the Juvenile Turf Sprint S. for the Coolmore partners.

As many as five weanlings by Tapit, six by War Front, four by Medaglia d’Oro, 12 from the first crop of his son and Grand Slam winner American Pharoah–plus the same number by that one’s popular sire Pioneerof the Nile–will go through the ring.

“It’s going to be good for the good ones,” said Carrie Brogden of Select Sales and Machmer Hall Farm. “I think weanling buyers are going to be bullish, but not crazy. At the yearling sales, it’s not the days of $8-million, $10-million, $14-million yearlings anymore. So I think it will be strong, but not crazy.”

Taylor Made’s Mark Taylor said, “I think the pinhookers had a great year for the most part, so I think they are going to be strong [buying weanlings]. And I am seeing a trend of more end-users stepping in to buy weanlings, trying to get ahead of the curve and trying to find some value. So I think the weanlings are going to be really strong for the good ones. But people are very picky still. And I think they are overly picky on the vetting.”

He continued, “One issue that I don’t think is talked about is that technology is moving so fast with these X-ray machines, that every year they are seeing new things that nobody has ever seen before. And all of a sudden it creates a panic ripple and it’s probably things that have been there all along, but now we’re just seeing it. And there will be a three- or four-year curve before people figure out, ‘Oh that’s no big deal, we’ll go on with it.’ In the meantime, it’s really painful for breeders because your horse is like a guinea pig. I can’t tell you how many graded stakes winners we’ve seen that we look back at their X-ray results and they got absolutely killed at the sales and it was just people not understanding. The horsemanship hasn’t caught up with the X-rays. If people are willing to go with their gut instinct and go buy a horse that looks sound and if they are able to live with what I consider are little imperfections, don’t be scared. Buy the athlete.”

For more information on Keeneland November, including live video, visit

Catch a Glimpse Off To Japan

Mon, 2017-11-06 20:52

Catch a Glimpse (City Zip–Halo River, by Irish River {Fr}), Canada’s horse of the year in 2015 on the strength of her victory in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, is off to Japan after being knocked down to K I Farm for $3 million as the Fasig-Tipton November Sale rolled on into Monday evening in Lexington. The blaze-faced chestnut, consigned to the sale by Meg Levy’s Bluewater Sales agency as hip 157, won her first eight races once switched to the turf by trainer Mark Casse, including a tough, front-running success in the GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. A $75,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Catch a Glimpse, also the Sovereign Award-winning juvenile filly and grass female in Canada in 2015, has racked up eight wins from 14 starts to date for $1,850,627. K I Farm also purchased Canadian Horse of the Year Lexie Lou (Sligo Bay {Ire}) from the Bluewater Sales consignment at KEENOV last fall.

Coolmore Collects Tepin For $8M

Mon, 2017-11-06 19:56

The tote at FTKNOV hadn’t really had a chance to cool off following the sale of Songbird before another of the sale’s gems, Tepin (Bernstein–Life Happened, by Stravinsky) got her turn on center stage. When all was said and done, the Eclipse Award winner was knocked down to Coolmore’s M.V. Magnier for $8 million. A $140,000 FTSAUG yearling purchase by Robert Masterson, Tepin was trained throughout her career by Mark Casse and came to hand at four, with a breakthrough Grade I success in the Just a Game S. before a slashing seven-length win in the GI First Lady S. and a comprehensive defeat of an international bunch in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile. Hard though it was to believe that the best was yet to come, that it was, as Tepin made the trans-Atlantic journey to Royal Ascot, and despite racing on a severely rain-affected track, gutted it out to become the first American winner of the G1 Queen Anne S. She added the GI Woodbine Mile at her trainer’s home base and was a gallant runner-up off a wide trip in defense of her title in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Cataloged as hip 130 and consigned to the sale by Elite Sales, Tepin, offered in foal to Curlin, won 13 of 23 starts for earnings of $4,437,918.

Pope Buys Songbird for $9.5M at FTKNOV

Mon, 2017-11-06 19:35

Mandy Pope went to 9.5 million to acquire the services of two-time Eclipse Award winner Songbird (Medaglia d’Oro–Ivanavinalot, by West Acre), one of the prized offerings at Monday’s Fasig-Tipton November Sale. A $400,000 graduate of this auction house’s 2014 Saratoga Yearling Sale, Songbird was campaigned by Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm and won her four juvenile starts by a combined 22 lengths, capped by the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Though she was forced to pass the 2016 GI Kentucky Oaks owing to minor illness, Songbird ran her winning streak to 11 with victories in the GI CCA Oaks, GI Alabama S. and GI Cotillion S. before dropping a nose decision to Beholder (Henny Hughes) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but had done enough to secure a second Eclipse. Kept in training this year at four, she won the GI Ogden Phipps S. and the GI Delaware H. before missing by a neck to future GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled (Unbridled’s Song) in the GI Personal Ensign S. in August. Porter transparently announced that Songbird was to be retired earlier this summer with 13 wins from 15 runs and earnings of $4,692,000. Mandy Pope also purchased Horse of the Year Havre de Grace (Saint Liam) from Porter, going to $10 million at this sale in 2012. Songbird was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency, agent, as hip 120.

Radcliffe Jumps Into Action at FTKNOV

Mon, 2017-11-06 19:00

Kerri Radcliffe splashed onto the scene during this year’s juvenile and later yearling sales and made her presence known Monday at FTKNOV, going to an even $3 million for 2015 GI Frizette S. winner Nickname (Scat Daddy-Nina Fever, by Borrego). Cataloged as hip 102, the dark bay carried the silks of LNJ Foxwoods to two wins and seven other placings from 11 career starts and bankrolled $557,710. The 4-year-old Nickname was consigned as a broodmare prospect only by Claiborne Farm.

Young Snags Miss Temple City for $2.5M

Mon, 2017-11-06 18:52

Miss Temple City (Temple City-Glittering Tax, by Artax), who was bought back on a bid of $10,000 at the 2013 Keeneland January Sale, fared slightly better Monday evening at Fasig-Tipton November, where she was purchased by Steve Young, agent, for $2.5 million to take the lead at the sale’s midway point. The 5-year-old was consigned as hip 99 by Select Sales as agent for The Club Racing LLC and partners, for whom she made history in 2016, beating the boys in both the GI Maker’s 46 Mile and the GI Shadwell Turf Mile. Winner of the GIII Kentucky Downs Ladies’ Turf earlier this year, Miss Temple City heads off to the breeding shed with seven wins from 20 starts and earnings of $1,680,091.

Rekindling Takes The Melbourne Cup

Mon, 2017-11-06 18:51

The Joseph O’Brien-trained Rekindling (GB) (High Chaparral {Ire}) led home an Irish-trained trifecta in the 157th running of the A$6.2 million G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup, beating Johannes Vermeer (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), representing the trainer’s father Aidan O’Brien, by half a length.

With three kilos in hand over the runner-up, Rekindling became the first 3-year-old winner of the Cup since 1941. The first two home both raced in the colours of Lloyd Williams to give the owner a sixth win in the Cup and second in a row following last year’s triumph Of Almandin (Ger) (Monsun {Ger}), who finished twelfth. It was also a second win in the Melbourne Cup for Rekindling’s jockey Corey Brown.

A momentous result for Ireland was completed when Max Dynamite (Fr) (Great Journey {JPN}), who was second in the race two years ago, finished three lengths back from the leading duo in third under Zac Purton.

Big Duke (Ire) (Raven’s Pass) finished best of the local challengers for Victoria’s champion trainer Darren Weir, while the first Scottish-trained runner in the Cup, Nakeeta (GB) (Sixties Icon {GB}), was fifth. Six of the first seven horses to finish are trained in Europe.

Claiborne Announces 2018 Stud Fees

Mon, 2017-11-06 17:41

Claiborne Farm has set the stud fees for its 2018 stallion roster, led once again by international super sire War Front, who will remain at $250,000, the second-highest fee in North America. War Front is currently the second-ranked sire by Grade I winners in North America.

A new face at Claiborne is Mastery, a multiple Grade I winner by Candy Ride (Arg)–sire of GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Gun Runner–who was the early favorite for the GI Kentucky Derby before being forced to retire due to injury. The bay will debut with a $25,000 fee in 2018.

Flatter will see a slight increase in his fee from $35,000 to $40,000. He sired one of the likely favorites for Champion 3-year-old Male in West Coast, who followed up wins in the GI Travers S. and GI Pennsylvania Derby with a third-place finish in Saturday’s Classic.

The rest of the roster, with fees, are as follows: Algorithms ($7,500), Blame ($12,500), Data Link ($5,000), First Samurai ($15,000), Ironicus ($5,000), Lea ($7,500), Orb ($25,000), Runhappy ($25,000) and Trappe Shot ($7,500).

Well-Related American Pharoah Foal Fetches a Million

Mon, 2017-11-06 17:30

Hip 46, the third foal from the initial crop of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) to go under the hammer Monday afternoon at Fasig-Tipton November, became the sale’s second seven-figure seller when hammering to Emmanuel de Seroux’s Narvick International for $1 million. Consigned by Reiley McDonald’s Eaton Sales and bred by Eaton, the Jan. 15 foal is the latest produce of GSW & GISP Untouched Talent (Storm Cat), the dam of GISW and successful young WinStar stallion Bodemeister (Empire Maker) and to MGISP Fascinating (Smart Strike). Untouched Talent, winner of the GII Sorrento S. in 2006, was purchased by M. V. Magnier for $5 million in foal to Unbridled’s Song at this sale in 2012. The mare’s foal of 2015, a filly by Galileo (Ire), fetched $1.5 million at KEENOV two years ago.

Street Sense Filly Makes Early Waves at FTKNOV

Mon, 2017-11-06 16:58

The foal section of Monday’s Fasig-Tipton November sale was off to a flying start when hip 21, a filly by Street Sense-Quickest, by Forest Wildcat, was hammered down for an even $1 million to Reynolds Bell on behalf of Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables. Consigned by Paramount Sales, Agent I, the March-foaled bay is a full-sister to GI Las Virgenes S. winner Callback and to SW Defy Gravity (Bandini). The dam of hip 21 is an unraced half-sister to GI Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, while the further female family includes Grade I winners Rhythm, Girolamo, Imagining and Got Lucky. The price far exceeded last year’s foal topper, a Galileo (Ire) filly that fetched $550,000.

Lane’s End Releases Fees for Candy Ride, Quality Road, Union Rags

Mon, 2017-11-06 15:34

On the heels of tremendous Breeders’ Cup weekend results, officials at Lane’s End have finalized stud fees for Candy Ride (Arg), Quality Road and Union Rags.

Candy Ride, the leading active sire in North America in 2017 with seven graded winners and better than $14.3 million in progeny earnings, will stand the 2018 breeding season for a fee of $80,000. The 18-year-old sire was responsible for Gun Runner, who closed out what will in all likelihood be a championship and horse of the year season with a dominating, front-running victory in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar. Candy Ride has also been responsible for GI Frizette S. winner and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Separationofpowers, GISW Ascend and other graded winners Paid Up Subscriber and Crewman. Candy Ride’s son and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Unified, second in this year’s GI Carter H., joins his sire at Lane’s End for 2018.

Quality Road was represented by his second Breeders’ Cup winner in the form of Caledonia Road, the sire’s fifth Grade I winner, and will command a fee of $70,000 for the upcoming breeding season. He also had an outstanding season at the sales, with 36 yearlings selling at the Keeneland September sale for an average of $197,833, including a top price of $1 million for a son of Storm Minstrel (Storm Cat), making him a full brother to MGSW Blofeld. GI Kentucky Oaks winner Abel Tasman did her part to help her sire’s profile with a runner-up effort in Saturday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Union Rags’s daughter ‘TDN Rising Star’ Paradise Woods was third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and the sire will stand for $60,000 in 2018. From his first two crops to race, Union Rags is the sire of four Grade I winners and is the second-leading second-crop sire.

“Our stallions have enjoyed gratifying success across the board this year,” said Lane’s End’s Bill Farish. “Competing at the highest level on the world stage is what we have always strived to achieve here at Lane’s End. We are grateful for our wonderful partners and breeders and look forward to sharing in continued success for many years to come.”


Arqana December Catalogue Released

Mon, 2017-11-06 12:20

The catalogue for the four-day Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale, slated for Dec. 9-12, is now available. From a total of 953 lots catalogued, 455 mares, 174 filles, 319 weanlings and four stallions will go under the hammer. The dam of G1 Irish Derby and G1 St Leger hero Capri (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Dialafara (Fr) (Anabaa), was purchased for €175,000 out of this catalogue in 2010, while Morning Light (Fr) (Literato {Fr}), the dam of dual French Classic hero Brametot (Ire) (Rajsaman {Fr}), brought just €12,000 in 2013. The latter was reoffered at this sale in 2014 and cost just €26,000.

Among the choicest lots is Zakia (Fr) (lot 197), a New Approach (Ire) half-sister to unbeaten G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar) from the 41-strong Aga Khan Studs consignment. Zarkava is already the dam of G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud hero Zarak (Fr) (Dubawi {Ire}).

Two Group 1 winners will be offered by Ecurie des Monceaux in December, one, G1 Premio Lydia Tesio heroine Sortilege (Ire) (Tiger Hill {Ire}) (lot 184) is in foal to top miler Kingman (GB). Lot 163, Molly Malone (Fr) (Lomitas {GB}) also hails from the Monceaux draft. A winner of the G1 Qatar Prix du Cadran, she is from the extended family of stellar German sire Monsun (Ger), dual Classic hero Brametot (Ire) and MGSW & MG1SP Wekeela (Fr) and carries a foal by Golden Horn (GB).

Monceaux’s Desiree Clary (Ger) (Sholokhov {Ire}) (lot 200), MGSP and fourth in the G1 Prix de Diane, is the lone mare in foal to Triple Crown hero and Horse of the Year American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) to grace a sales ring in Europe this season. She also ran third in the GIII Long Island H. Stateside.

Morning Mist (Ger) (Peintre Celebre {Nureyev}), a half-sister to the aforementioned Brametot, is lot 24. From the consignment of Ronald Rauscher, she is in foal to Group 1 sire Adlerflug (Ger).

Wertheimer et Frere brings a string of 21 fillies and mares to Arqana. Their Siligreen (GB) (Dansili {GB}) is entered as lot 178. She is a half-sister to G3 Prix du Calvados victress Polydream (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}) and out of French SW Polygreen (Fr) (Green Tune), who also placed third in the GIII Monrovia H. They also offer lot 159, Gravitee (Fr) (Galileo {Ire}), a full-sister to G1 Prix du Jockey Club hero Intello (Ger), carrying her first foal by Maxios (GB).

Group 3 runner-up Interesting (Ire) (Raven’s Pass) lot 105 is one of 16 from the Godolphin consignment. The daughter of GSW & MG1SP With Fascination (Dayjur) is in foal to Iffraaj (GB), who is enjoying a top notch season in both hemispheres this year, represented by the likes of champion miler Ribchester (Ire) in Europe and Group 1 winners Gingernuts (NZ) and Jon Snow (NZ) Down Under.

Foals of interest include Sam Stone (Fr) (lot 53), a Dabirsim (Fr) half-brother to SW Stone Roses (Fr) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) and SW & MGSP Straight Right (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) consigned by Haras du Petit Tellier; and a Frankel (GB) half-brother to MGSW & G1SP Goken (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}), consigned by Haras de Colleville, is lot 218.

There are also 10 wildcard slots available for fillies with fresh form or mares and weanlings with updates. The sale begins at 11 a.m. local time each day barring Dec. 10, which starts at 10 a.m.

Week in Review: Intriguing Plot Twists Anchor Rousing Breeders’ Cup

Sun, 2017-11-05 18:29

If this year’s Breeders’ Cup was a theatrical production, you’d have to give its cast of characters high marks for intrepid off-script improvisation. Many of the anticipated stars of the World Thoroughbred Championships flubbed their big-stage performances, yet budding understudies rose to the occasion, stealing the show with aplomb by incorporating new plot twists that now spin the sport’s chief story lines in intriguing new directions.

Would you have thought that the Friday and Saturday races would have unfolded as appealingly and competitively as they did if you knew ahead of time that pari-mutuel favorites would tank and only manage two wins from 13 races, with nine of those chalky no-shows failing to even hit the board?

Or what if I told you in advance that it would be evident just a few jumps out of the gate in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic that the highly hyped showdown between Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) and Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}) was never going to materialize, yet the 2:01.29 of drama in the closing act would still rate the Classic as one of the most captivating races of the year?

Some of those 11 well-beaten Breeders’ Cup favorites could very well qualify to have their photos plastered on milk cartons in an effort to determine why they went “missing” on the most important racing weekend of 2017.

Yet by a similar analogy, you could make a strong case for Gun Runner deserving to get his picture emblazoned on the front of a Wheaties cereal box, because the chestnut colt’s hard-earned victory epitomized the twin virtues of finely honed athleticism and an ability to deliver a dynamic performance under pressure.

When jockey Mike Smith had to shake the reins at a lackluster Arrogate soon after the starter sprung the latch in the Classic, the focal point of the race immediately shifted to Gun Runner, who had jumped away keenly and then confidently secured a ground-saving spot under Florent Geroux just ahead of the projected main speedster, Collected (City Zip).

Those two sparred tenaciously through energetic early splits of :22.50 and :46.31, then came on even terms three-eighths out. At that point it had already been made obvious that Arrogate was not going to be an active participant in the final race of his meteoric career, and it was just starting to sink in that even the determined sophomore West Coast (Flatter) was not going to be able to parlay his gift-trip stalking of the duelers into any meaningful stretch attack against his elders.

The frontrunning slugfest continued until just before the furlong pole, when Gun Runner finally cracked the pesky Collected for good, then clicked into yet another overdrive gear to demonstrate he still had plenty of power in reserve.

So Gun Runner vanquished Arrogate for the first time in their three matchups. Even if his victory was not the result of direct hoof-to-hoof combat against that arch rival, other aspects of the 4-year-old’s scintillating win stand out.

For starters, Gun Runner conquered the perceived slant against inside speed that had been percolating through the first two days of the championships at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. Although the sample size is too small to deem it a true “bias,” Gun Runner was the only wire-to-wire winner from seven main track Breeders’ Cup races (three closers, two stalkers, and one pace-presser accounted for the others).

Gun Runner also attained his first lifetime victory at 10 furlongs, smartly shaking free of his 0-for-3 stigma at that distance, and he’ll enter the winter as the presumed Horse of the Year victor in the Eclipse Awards voting.

Gun Runner has been a three-year study in watching a racehorse methodically mature into a champion, and here’s hoping we see more of him on the track in 2018.

To steal a line from the always-quotable jockey Kent Desormeaux–who seemed to invent a new turn of phrase earlier on Saturday when he waxed glowingly in the aftermath of Roy H (More Than Ready)’s win in the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint–Gun Runner has “gained the ascendancy” to the highest level of the sport.

The buildup to Saturday’s Classic was preceded by several solid lead-in Breeders’ Cup races that stand out on their own: The new-course-record score by Talismanic (GB) (Medaglia d’Oro) in the GI Turf, and the look-what-we-have-here breakout performance by the maiden Good Magic (Curlin) in the GI Juvenile.

With four long, white stockings, a distinctively striking full-face blaze, and an aura of gritty determination, Talismanic in full flight is a treat to watch race, and the deliberate way he punched past top-ranked North American grass specialist Beach Patrol (Lemon Drop Kid) and defending Turf winner Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo{Ire}) was a more impressive effort than it might seem at first viewing.

Talismanic’s authoritative win also underscores the potent precision of legendary French trainer Andre Fabre, who opted to send only one horse to this year’s Breeders’ Cup but made it count at generous 14-1 odds. It’s also worth noting that Talismanic was one of only eight horses not treated with Lasix in the Breeders’ Cup, and the only one to finish better than fifth.

The stylish unveiling of 2-year-old Good Magic exactly six months from the GI Kentucky Derby sets him up as the (very) early favorite for the first leg of the 2018 Triple Crown. Stalking the pacemakers confidently with an inside trip, Good Magic responded willingly to his cue to quicken by jockey Jose Ortiz, and the million-dollar KEESEP yearling inhaled the field in deep stretch with an authority that belies his light (three races to date) seasoning.

Granted, the very-wide-on-both-turns overland journey that beaten favorite Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) endured begs the legitimate question of whether Good Magic really got a stern test from the best horse in his division on the first Saturday in November. But we have the whole winter ahead of us to debate such Derby-related minutiae, and for now it’s fine just to appreciate Good Magic’s coming-out party, which was capped off by a decidedly feel-good moment when the NBC microphones picked up an enthused Ortiz congratulating and praising his mount past the finish wire as Good Magic noticeably pricked his ears in response to the encouraging words and touch of his rider.

Of all the beaten favorites in the Breeders’ Cup, none tugged at the heart so much as Lady Eli (Divine Park) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, both because of her career-long stature as an adversity-overcoming racemare and because she seemed to have the most legitimate excuse of all the chalky no-shows.

Lady Eli was banged around and stepped on from behind heading into the first turn and was tossing her head around like she wanted to savage the competition before settling midpack and finishing an uncharacteristic seventh. After the race, it was revealed that she lost a hind shoe and suffered significant lacerations and puncture wounds to both of her hind legs. The injuries are not life-threatening, but a need for stall rest has forced her withdrawal from this week’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale.

Safety, by and large, was not an issue at the 2017 Breeders’ Cup, as all 159 starters finished their respective 13 races. There was also no need for overt officiating, as no results required prolonged inquiries, objections, or changes in the order of finish by the stewards.

In fact, the only happenstance that could even be remotely called a “controversy” involved the pre-race stewards’ determination that Charles Fipke, the owner of Forever Unbridled (Unbridled’s Song), would have to pay double jockey fees as a penalty for a late rider switch from Joel Rosario to John Velazquez. Forever Unbridled ended up winning the GI Distaff, and trainer Dallas Stewart deserves an award for level- headedness for his emphatic but polite attempts to defuse the situation by repeatedly switching the focus back to his mare, even as numerous media entities kept asking him to explain the situation over and over again, both before and after the race.


Return of an Empire Maker

Sun, 2017-11-05 17:54

The aptly named Empire Maker, whose Triple Crown-winning grandson American Pharoah is represented by his first crop of weanlings this year, has a milestone of his own as the first foals bred since his repatriation from Japan sell at the bloodstock sales in Lexington this week. The 17-year-old stallion, who has stood the last two breeding seasons at Antony Beck’s Gainesway, had a pair of weanling fillies catalogued at Monday’s Fasig-Tipton November sale and an additional six weanlings catalogued at the Keeneland November sale, which starts Tuesday.

The regally bred Empire Maker, a son of GI Kentucky Derby and GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Unbridled and Juddmonte’s broodmare of the year Toussaud (El Gran Senor), won the 2003 GI Belmont S. for Prince Khalid Abdullah’s operation. A half-brother to Grade I winners Chester House (Mr. Prospector), Honest Lady (Seattle Slew) and Chiselling (Woodman), he began his stud career at Juddmonte and sired graded stakes winners Acoma, Acting Happy and Battle Plan before being sold to the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders’ Association and relocating to the JBBA’s Shizunai Stallion Station in 2011.

While in Japan, Empire Maker’s stature in the U.S. continued to rise. The stallion was represented by two-time GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Royal Delta, as well as four-time Grade I winner Emollient and Grade I-winning millionaires Bodemeister–sire of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming–Mushka, Acoma and Grace Hall.

Empire Maker is also the sire of two-time Grade I winner Pioneerof the Nile, who in turn is sire of, not only American Pharoah, but also Airdrie Stud’s red-hot Cairo Prince, whose first-crop yearlings have averaged $150,786 in the sales ring this year. Pioneerof the Nile is also sire of 2016 champion juvenile Classic Empire, who begins his stud career next year at Ashford Stud.

The Solari family’s Chilean-based Don Alberto Corporation, which purchased the former Vinery in 2013 and systematically built up an impressive broodmare band in the following two years, pulled the trigger on returning Empire Maker to the U.S. in 2015 and chose Gainesway to partner with on the stallion.

“I was contacted by George Mundy of Don Alberto,” Gainesway’s Michael Hernon recalled of the origin of the deal. “He called me up out of the blue and asked me where I’d be in 20 minutes and I said, ‘In your office.’ He said, ‘That’s the right answer.’ I had three meetings with them and the identity of the horse wasn’t revealed until the second meeting. I had kept Antony apprized on everything and the meetings went well. And Antony struck a deal with Don Alberto principal Carlos Heller.”

Hernon continued, “Don Alberto was buying the horse and bringing him back, but they don’t want to stand stallions. They were making the investment in the horse and then they were looking for a 50% partner. I think their knowledge of Gainesway’s reputation and history of standing successful stallions had us well-positioned to partner with them.”

In advance of Empire Maker’s arrival in Kentucky, Hernon made a reconnaissance trip to Japan.

“I went to Japan in July of 2015, in the company of Noaya Yoshida, DVM, of Winchester Farm,” Hernon said. “We went to the select sale and then spent a week travelling around Hokaido to see many yearlings and foals by Empire Maker. And we went to the foal sale where I purchased two colts by Empire Maker.”

Empire Maker, who stood the 2017 breeding season for $85,000, has been an in-demand commodity at the Lexington nursery.

“Demand has been excellent,” confirmed Hernon. “Both partners have heavily supported the horse and plan to do so again next year. We do limit his book to 130 mares. He’s very fertile, but we recognize that he’s turning 18 and, by limiting the book, breeders have easy access to the horse when their mares are ready and the numbers help protect the asset, namely Empire Maker. That simultaneously protects the customer base. We try to have a balance within the book of end-users and market sellers, so we don’t have a huge supply of the product on the market, which would dilute the return.”

Gainesway will consign four of the six weanlings by Empire Maker catalogued at the Keeneland November sale.

“Antony has bred many of his best mares to Empire Maker and I’m sure we’ll be selling quite a few nice ones,” Hernon said. “We’ll retain a filly or two for the racing stable, but our general policy is to bring our yearling crop to the auction arena and we’re not sitting back and keeping the best ones in-house.”

Included in Gainesway’s group slated to sell next week is hip 829, a colt out of stakes-placed Bagatelle Park (Speightstown).

“He is really a chip off the old block, this guy,” Hernon said of the weanling. “He is so like Empire Maker, he’s almost marked identically up around the head. The mare is a good stakes placed daughter of Speightstown and it’s the family of Grade I winner Seattle Smooth.”

Also on offer next week at Keeneland is hip 294, a filly out of stakes winner and graded placed Namaste’s Wish (Pulpit) who is consigned by Burleson Farms.

“I looked at that filly this morning in Versailles,” Hernon said. “She’s an absolute rock star, a knock-out physical. She’s a terrific filly, I was really impressed with her. There is a lot of Unbridled in her. She is big and elegant and she has great quality. If she comes with a good vet report, those guys are going to have a really good sales horse there.”

In addition to the success of his sons at stud, Empire Maker is gaining a reputation as an outstanding broodmare sire and is the covering sire of three Book 1 mares at Keeneland. His daughters have produced the likes of graded stakes winners Takeover Target (Harlan’s Holiday), Polar River (Congrats), Outwork (Uncle Mo), Timeline (Hard Spun) and Arklow (Arch).

That combination will make for a potent force in the sales ring, according to Hernon.

“Empire Maker is influential on the male side through all these horses we’re talking about, like Pioneerof the Nile, Bodemeister, and his colts will appeal to the market to become potential stallions themselves. This is a very vibrant male line, it’s very influential and it’s highly commercial.

“Empire Maker will also be a very significant broodmare sire,” Hernon continued. “It has already begun. His fillies from top U.S. female familes will become collector’s items.”

Empire Maker’s return to Gainesway completes a circle of sorts for the stallion.

“Toussaud was bred by Unbridled to create the mating that resulted in Empire Maker when Unbridled stood here at Gainesway,” Hernon said. “His second dam is Image of Reality, a graded stakes winner by In Reality. In Reality stood here in the later part of his stallion career and is buried 50 feet away from my office.”

Empire Maker is in good company at historic Gainesway, which is also home to leading sire Tapit. The stallions are the latest in a long line of impressive names to grace the farm’s roster.

“You’ve got Blushing Groom, Irish River, Broad Brush, Cozzene, and the list goes on of all the significant successful horses that Mr. John Gaines put together in his time and tenure here at the farm under the guidance of his farm manager Joe Taylor,” Hernon said. “We are trying to carry the baton and keep the place vibrant. Empire Maker was a very big addition and an endorsement of the farm and he added to the perception of Gainesway as being home of great stallions. And of course, led by Tapit, Empire Maker is in good company.”

As Empire Maker’s first crop of foals since his repatriation get set to go through the sales ring this week in Lexington, it’s hard not to be impressed with the prescience Juddmonte showed when naming its future Classic winner.

“It’s remarkable that he turned into this kind of influential stallion on the breed,” Hernon said. “I’m not sure at what stage Juddmonte elected to name him Empire Maker, but they sure hit the target with that. He’s clearly become an ’empire maker’ in his own right.”

Scat Daddy’s Tesora Becomes Newest ‘Rising Star’

Sun, 2017-11-05 17:29

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and TNIP Racing’s Tesora remained perfect when impressively stretching out to two turns at Del Mar Sunday afternoon to become the newest ‘TDN Rising Star’. Debuting going five furlongs on the Gulfstream turf Sept. 17, Tesora flew home to win going away by 1 3/4 lengths over a return winner, getting her final furlong in a scorching :10.78.

Dispatched as the 11-10 favorite in a field of six Sunday, the bay got squeezed going down the stretch for the first time and had to settle in last heading into the first turn behind an opening quarter in :23.15. Unhurried down the backstretch, she began to make progress just past the half-mile pole, but had to check midway on the far turn and was still fifth entering the stretch. Once in the clear, Tesora displayed that devastating closing kick once again, rolling to the lead inside the sixteenth pole, and was wrapped up in hand crossing the wire for the eye-catching victory.

A $130,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, Tesora is the first foal out of Romance is Roman (In Excess {Ire}), a full sister to Romance is Diane, winner of the GI Hollywood Starlet Stakes in 2007, and Romanceishope, the 2001 Del Mar Derby victor. Romance Is Roman was bred to Dialed In this spring. This is Scat Daddy’s seventh ‘TDN Rising Star’.

4th-DMR, $53,345, Alw (NW1$X)/Opt. Clm ($80,000), 11-5, 2yo, f, 1mT, 1:37.21, fm.
TESORA (f, 2, Scat Daddy–Romance Is Roman, by In Excess {Ire})) Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $57,600. Click for the chart, free catalogue-style pedigree or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & TNIP, LLC; B-Siena Farms LLC (KY); T-Jonathan Thomas.

Lady Eli Scratched from Keeneland November Sale

Sun, 2017-11-05 14:04

Sheep Pond Partners’ MGISW Lady Eli (Divine Park) will be withdrawn from Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale consignment due to lacerations and a puncture wound suffered during the running of Saturday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, the farm announced Sunday. Trainer Chad Brown reported that Lady Eli came out of the race with the injuries, which have been treated and are being treated. The injury, though not life-threatening, mandates stall rest for the mare.

In a statement released Sunday, Sheep Pond Partners’ Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin said, “After lengthy discussions with Chad Brown following the BC Filly & Mare Turf, we have decided that we are going to scratch Lady Eli from this week’s Keeneland November Sale. Unfortunately, Lady Eli was banged around and stepped on from behind heading into the first turn. She suffered a number of significant lacerations to both of her hind legs and she lost one of her hind shoes in the incident.  The fact that she raced another mile and finished the race with these injuries and shoeless is amazing, and a further testament to her toughness and courage.  Right now, our efforts are focused squarely on trying to get her well again. Putting her through the trials of a sale in her current condition is simply out of the question. As soon as she can travel, she will go to John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington KY to rest and recover.”

Sikura added, “Though disappointed to scratch one of the greatest turf distaffers of all time, our philosophy at Hill ‘n’ Dale has always been to put the safety, soundness, and well being of our horses first. We trust the advice of the horse’s owner and trainer.”

Widely celebrated for her comeback from a bout with Laminitis midway through her 3-year-old season, Lady Eli put forth a memorable 2017 campaign, capturing the GI Gamely S. at Santa Anita May 27 and the GI Diana S. at Saratoga July 22 before adding the GII Ballston Spa S. at Saratoga Aug. 26. She endured a brutal trip at Saturday’s World Championships and finished seventh.

Avery Island Goes All The Way in Nashua

Sun, 2017-11-05 13:45

Avery Island made it two in a row with a convincing score in Sunday’s GII Nashua S. at the Big A, stamping himself as a 2-year-old to watch going forward. The win was the second in three starts for the bay, who recently captured a 1 1/16-mile maiden heat at Belmont in wire-to-wire fashion Sept. 30.

Away in good order as the second choice, the colt set a measured pace along the inside through a quarter-mile in :23.66, taking moderate pressure to his outside from longshot Under the Graydar (Graydar). Shaking clear from that one on the far turn, he spun into the stretch with heavily favored Avenue Malcainu (Into Mischief) ranging up to mount a menacing bid. Avery Island had plenty in reserve, however, and rebroke to notch a comfortable victory. Super Sermon came back to tag the favorite for place honors.

“It was a great race for only his third start,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who won his fifth Nashua. “[Jockey] Joe Bravo did a great job. He was pressured early and then he kind of drew off late. We’re tickled to death. He’s nice horse. We’ll look at the [GII] Remsen [S.] back in four weeks.”

Avery Island was a dull seventh as the 7-2 favorite sprinting six furlongs in his debut at Saratoga Aug. 19. He caught a sealed track labeled good last out at Belmont, but relished the added ground with an easy score. The form from that race received an added boost when second-place finisher High North (Midnight Lute) returned to annex a Keeneland maiden event Oct. 26.

“It’s encouraging that it wasn’t a wet track or sealed or anything this time,” McLaughlin added. “He’s always trained well and we’ve always liked him and that was a great result today. The longer the better. He’s a big strong horse with a big stride. He wants to run all day.”

Pedigree Notes:

Avery Island’s Second dam Isola Piu Bella (Chi) (Rich Man’s Gold) was Chile’s Horse of the Year in 2004 and was imported to the United States by Sumaya U.S. Stable. Kinda Spicy, who won twice from just two starts in 2011, produced a colt by Street Sense in 2016 and a colt by Ghostzapper in 2017 before visiting Nyquist this spring.


Sunday, Aqueduct
, $200,000, AQU, 11-5, 2yo, 1m, 1:37.58, ft.
1–AVERY ISLAND, 116, c, 2, by Street Sense
1st Dam: Kinda Spicy, by A.P. Indy
2nd Dam: Isola Piu Bella (Chi), by Rich Man’s Gold
3rd Dam: Sweet Music (Chi), by Inchwood
O/B-Godolphin Racing LLC (KY); T-Kiaran P. McLaughlin; J-Joe
Bravo. $120,000. Lifetime Record: GSW, 3-2-0-0, $165,332.
Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Super Sermon, 116, c, 2, Super Saver–Love and Faith, by
Corinthian. O-WinStar Farm LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Todd A. Pletcher. $40,000.
3–Aveenu Malcainu, 122, c, 2, Into Mischief–Island Time, by
Trippi. ($125,000 RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $150,000 2yo ’17
OBSAPR). O-Gold Square LLC; B-Taylor Brothers Properties LLC,
George E. Saufley & Brian B. Kahn (NY); T-Jeremiah C.
Englehart. $20,000.
Margins: 4 3/4, HF, 3HF. Odds: 2.15, 3.15, 0.90.
Also Ran: Crea’s Bklyn Law, Blue Ridge Scout, Under the Graydar. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.