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Updated: 9 hours 55 min ago

Munnings Filly Wires Beaumont to Remain Unbeaten

Sun, 2019-04-07 16:38

Fancy Dress Party, unbeaten but also largely untested through three starts, got the stiffest challenge of her racing career Sunday at Keeneland and responded gamely to turn back ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mother Mother for a narrow score in the GIII Beaumont S.

Debuting on this track in an off-the-turfer Oct. 26, the $280,000 Keeneland September graduate rated comfortably and ran away in the stretch. Racking up similar open-lengths scores in a Churchill allowance Nov. 24 and the restricted Glitter Woman S. Jan. 5 at Gulfstream, the dark bay was made the third choice in this scratched down field of five and surprisingly found herself on the lead under Luis Saez. Showing the way comfortably through splits of :22.57 and :45.55, she remained in hand midway around the turn while odds-on ‘Rising Star’ Feedback was put to a drive. Turning that foe away past the three-sixteenths pole, she soon encountered a challenge from rail-running Mother Mother, who appeared to have winning momentum at several instances in the final furlong. Fancy Dress Party would not be denied, however, and edged her rival on the wire. Feedback had to settle for third.

“The horses you expected to be the speed didn’t really break well and looked like they might have been fighting the racetrack,” trainer Ben Colebrook said. “She was going so smooth and within herself that I was happy we were on the lead. I thought ‘well, she’s doing it’ and looks to be running them off their feet. It wasn’t the game plan, but credit to Luis for going with Plan B. I think if he takes her back, we don’t win the race. It was an amazing ride.”

“I thought No. 2 [Mother Mother] was the speed,” Saez concurred. “But [Fancy Dress Party] broke so clean and so well, we stayed there [on the lead] and we took it. She was very comfortable. I felt like I had a lot of horse, and when we got to the stretch, she just kept going.”

Pedigree Notes:

Fancy Dress Party is the first graded stakes winner and second black-type winner out of The Schvagen, a $2,900 Fasig-Tipton October purchase in 2004 who won twice from four starts. Also responsible for the winner’s full-brother SW Will Munnings, her most recent foal is a juvenile colt by Conveyance. Third dam Mea was a three-time graded stakes winner who produced Harper N Abbey, the unraced dam of Canadian champion Madman Diaries (Bring the Heat).

Sunday, Keeneland
BEAUMONT S. PRESENTED BY KEENELAND SELECT-GIII, $147,000, Keeneland, 4-7, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:28.18, sy.
1–FANCY DRESS PARTY, 118, f, 3, by Munnings
1st Dam: The Schvagen, by Matty G
2nd Dam: Mea, by Dayjur
3rd Dam: Meafara, by Meadowlake
Foxwoods; B-Douglas S Arnold (KY); T-Ben Colebrook; J-Luis
Saez. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 4-4-0-0, $222,405. *Full to Will
Munnings, SW, $255,009. Werk Nick Rating: A++.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Mother Mother, 118, f, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Mother, by LionHearted. TDN Rising Star($450,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP).
O-George Bolton, Barry Hall, Barry Lipman, Mark Mathiesen &
Andrew Molasky; B-T F Van Meter (KY); T-Bob Baffert.
3–Feedback, 118, f, 3, Violence–Honest Answer, by Tale of theCat. TDN Rising Star ($85,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV). O-Klaravich
Stables, Inc.; B-Wolverton Mountain Farm LLC & Cameron
Wheeler (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $15,000.
Margins: HD, 1 1/4, 10 1/4. Odds: 2.70, 2.10, 0.90.
Also Ran: Another Time, Iva. Scratched: Queen of Beas, Shanghai Rain, Power Gal (Jpn). Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Four Fillies Share Bullet at TTA Sale

Sun, 2019-04-07 16:34

Four fillies clocked an eighth of a mile in :10 2/5 Sunday at Lone Star Park during the under tack show for the Texas 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The auction, originally scheduled for Tuesday, will be held this Wednesday at noon. The sale is sponsored by the Texas Thoroughbred Association and Lone Star Park.

“We saw some great times considering the track was a bit heavy from some significant rain last night, and early on during the under tack there was a pretty stiff headwind,” said Tim Boyce, sales manager.

The horses sharing the bullet were hip 35, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Constitution, hip 58, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Flat Out, hip 72, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Guilt Trip and hip 133, a Texas-bred daughter of Twirling Candy. Replays of the under tack show will posted at

Sunday Roundup: Vekoma, Tacitus Well; Jaywalk Remains On Oaks Path

Sun, 2019-04-07 15:31

In the aftermath of his win in Saturday’s GII Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland, R.A. Hill and Gatsas Stables’ Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}) was out to graze Sunday morning and trainer George Weaver reported that the colt was in good shape. The chestnut punched his ticket to the GI Kentucky Derby with a convincing 3 1/2-length score on Saturday’s blockbuster card in Lexington.

“He is well and happy,” Weaver said before making the same assessment of himself and adding, “I had no trouble getting up this morning.”

Vekoma will be the second Derby starter for Louisville native Weaver, following Tencendur (Warrior’s Reward), who was 17th in 2015.

“We were excited with [Tencendur] coming into the [Derby] off a second place in the Wood Memorial,” Weaver said. “But they are two different horses. Tencendur was more of a stayer, and this horse has a lot of gears.”

Weaver added that Vekoma will walk for the next three days before the connections formulate a more complete plan to get the colt to Derby day.

Live Oak Plantation’s Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}) closed with a rush and just got up for second in the Blue Grass, narrowly securing enough points for his own spot in the Churchill starting gate. The homebred will return to his home base of Fair Hill Monday.

“That was kind of important, wasn’t it,” trainer Mike Trombetta said of his charge securing the Blue Grass runner-up spot. “At the quarter pole, I thought I was going to the Preakness … He got stopped on the turn pretty significantly. He had nice momentum, but that’s one of the hazards with a big field. Without that, he probably could have made it more interesting [for the winner], but all in all it is probably the happiest I have ever been with a second.”

Third finisher Signalman (General Quarters) now sits 18th on the Derby points leaderboard with 38 points and will likely be on the bubble to get in after next week’s final prep races.

“If he can’t make the Derby on points then we will go to the Preakness,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “It is a high-level problem to have.”

Over at Aqueduct, Juddmonte Farms’ Tacitus (Tapit) also came out of his big Saturday win, in the GII Wood Memorial, in good order, trainer Bill Mott’s assistant Leana Willaford reported.

“He came out of it very well,” said Willaford. “He was a little tired, but that’s to be expected. It’s nice to see him overcome [an unfavorable trip]. He’ll go back to the track here in three days and we’ll train him lightly and send him over there when Bill gets to Churchill.”

Wood runner-up Tax (Arch) is also pointing for the Derby after earning 40 points for his 1 1/4-length defeat Saturday to put him squarely in the field for the Run for the Roses.

“Everything was good this morning,” trainer Danny Gargan said. “I thought he ran a tremendous race and can move forward off that effort. His last three races, he’s improved tremendously … I think we’re set to move forward off this now. The goal all along was the Derby.”

Third finisher Haikal (Daaher) remains on track for the Derby, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin confirmed. “He came out of the race in good shape,” McLaughlin said. “I still have to talk to [Shadwell Farms’ Racing Manager] Rick Nichols. I think [we’ll point to the Derby], we’ve been texting back and forth, but I just want to talk to him and make sure. I would assume we’re pointing that way. He ran very well, he finished the fastest last quarter and we just needed another furlong.”

In other post-Saturday news:

John Servis reported that champion Jaywalk (Cross Traffic), who ran third at even-money in the GI Central Bank Ashland S., remains on target for the GI Kentucky Oaks. The gray, winner of last fall’s GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, was previously fourth at 1-5 in the GII Davona Dale S. at Gulfstream.

“She’s good this morning,” Servis said. “She got pressured by that horse on the outside [eventual winner Out for a Spin], and Javier [Castellano] said she dug in and fought back. She stayed on pretty good … I told my son Tyler after the race that at least this takes some of the pressure off.”

Imprimis (Broken Vow), winner of the GII Shakertown S. Saturday at Keeneland, is likely to ship overseas to take a shot in the G1 King’s Stand S. June 18 at Royal Ascot, trainer Joe Orseno reported.

“We had discussed running this race or the one at Churchill Downs [GII Twin Spires Turf Sprint S.],” Orseno said. “We are passing on the Churchill race as that would only give us 45 days instead of 10 weeks to train up to Royal Ascot, which is kind of perfect for him.”

Wicked Strong Gets Early First Winner at Keeneland

Sun, 2019-04-07 13:23

1st-Keeneland, $60,000, Msw, 4-7, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f, :54.05, sy.
SECRETLY WICKED (f, 2, Wicked Strong–Secret Congrats, by Congrats) provided her first-crop sire (by Hard Spun) with an early first winner Sunday in the Keeneland slop. The chestnut had done much of her early work at Riverside Downs, and shipped into Keeneland to breeze a half-mile from the gate Apr. 2 in :47 2/5. Off at 4-1 with a late jockey switch to hot-handed Paco Lopez after named rider Jose Ortiz’s flight into Lexington was delayed, she showed good early speed to press Competitive Queen (Competitive Edge). That pair was joined by odds-on Wesley Ward newcomer Palace Duchess (Palace) in upper stretch, and despite Secretly Wicked looking like the third-likeliest winner at that point, she dug in gamely while struggling with her lead changes to prevail by 3/4 of a length over Competitive Queen. Palace Duchess flattened out to be third. The winner’s unraced dam produced a Strong Mandate colt in 2018 and a colt by Competitive Edge Mar. 10. Wicked Strong, the 2014 GI Wood Memorial winner and Spendthrift Farm resident, has been reasonably well received at the 2-year-old sales so far this year, and had a $425,000 filly sell at OBS March. Sales history: $1,300 RNA Ylg ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,000. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O/T-Jack L. Hancock; B-Nancy C. Shuford (KY).


Twirling Candy’s Gift Box Bests McKinzie in Too Close to Call Big ‘Cap

Sat, 2019-04-06 20:41

‘TDN Rising Star’ Gift Box provided his connections with back-to-back wins in the GI Santa Anita H., besting favored fellow ‘Rising Star’ McKinzie in a very tight photo finish. Hronis Racing and John Sadler won last year’s renewal with champion Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky).

Sent off as the 2-1 second-choice behind 2-5 chalk McKinzie, Gift Box stalked from second with McKinzie to his outside in third as Prime Attraction (Unbridled Song) walked the dog through soft opening splits of :24.24 and :49.23. Overtaking the pacesetter on the far turn, the gray was immediately confronted by McKinzie to his outside as Prime Attraction called it a day. The top two betting choice locked horns, battling stride-for-stride down the lane, and hit the wire almost in unison with Gift Box declared the winner of a very tight photo.

Third in the 2015 GII Remsen S. and second in the 2016 Curlin S., Gift Box made just two starts last term, finishing a second by a nose in an Aqueduct optional claimer last February and coming back to romp by 8 3/4 lengths in that same condition at the Big A that March. Privately purchased from W.S. Farish following that effort, he was transferred from Chad Brown to Hronis Racing’s sole trainer Sadler. Making his first start for these connections in the GII San Antonio S. Dec. 26, the gray bested the ill-fated GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Battle of Midway (Smart Strike) by a half-length. That win was further flattered when Battle of Midway beat McKinzie by a half-length next out in a sloppy renewal of the GII San Pasqual S. Feb. 2.

Pedigree Notes:

Gift Box is just the second Grade I winner for Twirling Candy and one of six graded stakes winners and 16 black-type winners for the Lane’s End stallion. Machmer Hall purchased his dam Special Me for just $6,000 at the 2009 Keeneland January Sale. Her second foal Stonetastic (Mizzen Mast) summoned just $77,000 at Keeneland September, but went on to win the GII Prioress S. and GII Inside Information and finished second in the GI Humana Distaff for earnings of $856,062. Her now-3-year-old filly Wamathaat (Speightstown) summoned $550,000 from Shadwell at KEESEP and is still unraced. Special Me is also responsible for the juvenile filly Special Honor (Honor Code), a $260,000 KEESEP buy; and a yearling filly by Medaglia d’Oro, who brought $500,000 from Larry Best’s OXO Equine at Fasig-Tipton November. The 13-year-old mare, who is a half-sister to UAE Highweight and G1SW Our New Recruit (Alphabet Soup), foaled an Into Mischief filly Mar. 23 of this year and will be bred back to Quality Road, according to Machmer Hall’s Carrie Brodgden.

Saturday, Santa Anita
SANTA ANITA H. PRESENTED BY SAN MANUEL INDIAN BINGO AND CASINO-GI, $600,000, Santa Anita, 4-6, 4yo/up, 1 1/4m, 2:03.02, ft.
1–GIFT BOX, 122, h, 6, by Twirling Candy
1st Dam: Special Me, by Unbridled’s Song
2nd Dam: Delta Danielle, by Lord Avie
3rd Dam: Domasco Danielle, by Same Direction
1ST GRADE I WIN. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($135,000 Wlg ’13
FTKNOV). O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-Machmer Hall, Carrie & Craig
Brogden (KY); T-John W. Sadler; J-Joel Rosario. $355,000.
Lifetime Record: 15-5-5-2, $879,160. *1/2 to Stonetastic
(Mizzen Mast), MGSW & GISP, $856,062. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++
*Triple Plus*.
2–McKinzie, 123, c, 4, Street Sense–Runway Model, by
Petionville. ($170,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Watson, Karl,
Pegram, Michael E. and Weitman, Paul; B-Summer Wind Farm
(KY); T-Bob Baffert. $117,000. ‘TDN Rising Star’
3–Mongolian Groom, 116, g, 4, Hightail–Bourbonesque, by
Dynaformer. ($11,000 Ylg ’16 FTKOCT; $12,000 2yo ’17
OBSAPR). O-Mongolian Stable; B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-Enebish
Ganbat. $70,000.
Margins: NO, 3 3/4, 1 3/4. Odds: 2.10, 0.40, 53.50.
Also Ran: Campaign, Prime Attraction, Prince of Arabia. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Roadster Runs Down Game Winner in Battle of the Bafferts

Sat, 2019-04-06 19:35

Speedway Stable’s highly regarded Roadster (Quality Road) kicked home from far back to lead to reel in stablemate and champion juvenile Game Winner (Candy Ride {Arg}) and cap a one-two finish for Bob Baffert-trained TDN Rising Starsin Saturday’s GI Santa Anita Derby. Running to an already lofty reputation when he graduated at first asking at Del Mar last July, the $525,000 Keeneland September grad could only manage third at odds-on behind Game Winner in the GI Del Mar Futurity in September. He was forced to miss the Breeders’ Cup himself when requiring minor throat surgery after reportedly displacing in the Futurity, but Game Runner had no trouble continuing to carry the Baffert torch and dominate the GI American Pharoah S. and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile en route to Eclipse honors. Roadster had made a smooth return to the races when annexing a local one-mile optional claimer Mar. 1 over re-opposing Nolo Contesto (Pioneerof the Nile), while Game Winner was looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat in a division of the GII Rebel S. at Oaklawn Mar. 16. Game Winner came down in the wagering all the way to 1-2 at the off, while Roadster drifted up to 31-10, just a couple ticks ahead of last year’s flashy GII Best Pal S. romper Instagrand (Into Mischief), who was looking to bounce back himself after dueling into third in the GIII Gotham S. Mar. 9.

Saturday, Santa Anita
SANTA ANITA DERBY-GI, $1,000,351, Santa Anita, 4-6, 3yo,
1 1/8m, 1:51.28, ft.
1–ROADSTER, 124, c, 3, by Quality Road
1st Dam: Ghost Dancing, by Silver Ghost
2nd Dam: Ransom Dance, by Red Ransom
3rd Dam: Dance Teacher, by Smarten
WIN, 1ST GRADE I WIN. ($525,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP).
O-Speedway Stable LLC; B-Stone Farm (KY); T-Bob Baffert;
J-Mike E. Smith. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-1, $706,200.
*1/2 to Ascend (Candy Ride {Arg}), GISW, $859,980; and Moro
Tap (Tapit), GSP, $161,816. Werk Nick Rating: C. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Game Winner, 124, c, 3, Candy Ride (Arg)–Indyan Giving, by
A.P. Indy. ($110,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Gary & Mary West;
B-Summer Wind Equine LLC (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $200,000.
‘TDN Rising Star’
3–Instagrand, 124, c, 3, Into Mischief–Assets of War, by Lawyer
Ron. ($190,000 Ylg ’17 FTKJUL; $1,200,000 2yo ’18 FTFMAR).
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-OXO Equine LLC; B-Stoneway Farm (KY);
T-Jerry Hollendorfer. $120,000.
Margins: HF, 1 3/4, 5 1/4. Odds: 3.10, 0.50, 3.30.
Also Ran: Nolo Contesto, Synthesis, More Ice. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Instagrand went right to the lead, with Game Winner slightly awkward into stride and Roadster unhurried from the fence. Game winner was hung out four deep pretty much throughout, while Roadster drafted along the fence before dropping fairly far back through six panels in 1:12.20. Roadster picked the bit back up when Mike Smith asked him for more, however, and he quickly advanced on the first flight as Game Winner grinded his way up to challenge. Still left with some work to do in upper stretch, Roadster seemed to have his stablemate’s measure by midstretch and kicked past late under what appeared to be fairly confident handling.

“We knew before he and Game Winner started running that they both had ability,” Smith said. “They were breezing by the competition like this and putting them away. We weren’t sure which one was better. The first time he ran for me he showed he had all the gears. The second time he had the problem with his wind. We fixed that and he’s doing all the right things. We got a good break and then we dropped back. He took a breather, while the others were going out there quick. When I asked him again, he was gone.”

Baffert, who will seek his sixth Kentucky Derby next month and who still has fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip) for next Saturday’s GI Arkansas Derby, said, “They’re two good horses. Game Winner was out there by himself and when he gets by himself… he needs company. It was a good, hard race for both of them and, coming in, that’s what you want to see. This track is deep and slow, but it’s safe, and that’s what we wanted. I couldn’t be happier. We knew that Roadster needed to win or run second [for Kentucky Derby qualifying points, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up].”

Co-owner Peter Fluor of Speedway Stables said, “I thought he would’ve been closer to the lead frankly, but it was cool to see him run a different kind of race. He’s been running second and then accelerating. Today, I’m proud of him for coming from off the pace like that. I wasn’t too thrilled about things halfway through the race, but Mike said he’s got gears and he showed it today. Hopefully, he comes out of it well and we can go on to the Derby.”

Pedigree Notes:

Roadster is his sire’s 22nd graded winner and 10th at the highest level, and is the third Grade I winner by Quality Road to be conditioned by Baffert (Abel Tasman, Klimt). He was also the second Grade I winner on Saturday’s card for Quality Road after Bellafina’s impressive score–over two Baffert trainees–in the GI Santa Anita Oaks. Roadster, whose family was developed by the late, great Ned Evans–who also bred and campaigned Quality Road himself–counts Grade I winner Dance Teacher as his third dam. He has a yearling half-brother by Twirling Candy, sire of Saturday’s GI Santa Anita H. hero Gift Box, and his dam was bred back to Candy Ride (Arg).


Candy Ride’s Vekoma Runs to the Money in the Blue Grass

Sat, 2019-04-06 18:48

Barely 15 minutes after Tax (Arch) finished a bang-up second in the GII Wood Memorial S. and in so doing locked up a berth in the GI Kentucky Derby, part-owner Randy Hill was front and center at Keeneland after Vekoma (Candy Ride {Arg}), campaigned in partnership with Gatsas Stable, stamped his authority on the GII Toyota Blue Grass S.

A market-firmer, Vekoma was dead on the board and was available at odds of 9-2 inside of 10 minutes to post, but he jumped the 7-5 chalk and the money proved shrewd. Given a positive ride by Javier Castellano, Vekoma was in the mix early on and raced in the two path rounding the first turn, allowing GIII Spiral S. hero Somelikeithotbrown (Big Brown) to slide through at the fence and take up the running with about seven furlongs to race. Asked for a bit of acceleration and to take closer order at the five-eighths pole, Vekoma raced alongside Somelikeithotbrown as they reached the entrance to the second bend. Ridden along at the midway point on the turn, Vekoma poked a head in front, hit another gear to put some separation between him and the weakening pacesetter entering the final furlong and edged clear. Win Win Win (Hat Trick {Jpn}) raced in the latter third of the field for the opening six furlongs and was making good headway inside on the turn when he looked to have his momentum stopped for a stride or two. The Live Oak homebred re-rallied once into the clear and hit the line well for second, just ahead of Signalman (General Quarters), who was given every chance from the box seat, but could not capitalize.

“I like the way he broke out of the gate,” said jockey Javier Castellano, winning the Blue Grass for the first time. “In the first turn, I realized I didn’t want to dictate the pace. I tried to ride a smart race. I didn’t want to be too aggressive early; you have to save something for the end. So we tracked it. I liked the way he rated the first quarter mile, and I liked the way he finished. Every time I asked him, he kicked on a little bit.”

A debut winner at Belmont Sept. 23, defeating–among others–future SW & ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mihos (Cairo Prince), Vekoma stepped into graded company for the first time and posted a solid victory in the one-mile GIII Nashua S. Nov. 4. Brought along slowly into his sophomore season, he returned as a 16-5 chance in the GII Xpressbet Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 2, racing further off the pace than he had previously before closing decently to round out the trifecta.

Pedigree Notes:

A May 22 foal, Vekoma is one of two winners to race from his dam, who relished sloppy underfoot conditions to upset the 2010 GI Humana Distaff S. at Churchill Downs. Put in foal to Malibu Moon the following breeding season, Mona de Momma fetched $1.55 million from Jon Clay’s Alpha Delta Stables at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton November sale. Vekoma’s third dam Long Legend was the dam of MGSW & GISP Mr. Greeley, whose half-sister Majestic Legend (His Majesty) is the second dam of GI Kentucky Derby hero Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}). Vekoma is the last listed produce for Mona de Momma.

Saturday, Keeneland
TOYOTA BLUE GRASS S.-GII, $1,000,000, Keeneland, 4-6, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:50.93, ft.
1–VEKOMA, 123, c, 3, by Candy Ride (Arg)
1st Dam: Mona de Momma (GISW, $384,399), by Speightstown
2nd Dam: Society Gal, by Linkage
3rd Dam: Long Legend, by Reviewer
($135,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas
Stables; B-Alpha Delta Stables, LLC (KY); T-George Weaver;
J-Javier Castellano. $600,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-1,
$788,850. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Werk Nick Rating: B+.
2–Win Win Win, 123, c, 3, Hat Trick (Jpn)–Miss Smarty Pants,
by Smarty Jones. O-Live Oak Plantation; B-Live Oak Stud (FL);
T-Michael J. Trombetta. $200,000.
3–Signalman, 123, c, 3, General Quarters–Trip South, by Trippi.
($32,000 Ylg ’17 FTKOCT). O-Lewis, Tommie M., Crabtree,
Steve, Demaree, Dean, Bernsen, David, Chambers, Jim and
Magdalena Racing; B-Monticule (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.
Margins: 3HF, NO, 3/4. Odds: 1.40, 3.30, 6.50.
Also Ran: Somelikeithotbrown, Chess Chief, So Alive, Sir Winston, Admire, Moonster, Lucky Lee, Market King, Aquadini, Dream Maker, Parsimony. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Son of Close Hatches Scores Narrow Victory in Wood Memorial

Sat, 2019-04-06 18:24

It certainly wasn’t the most smoothly run race ever, and the stewards required a lengthy inquiry to figure out exactly what happened going into the first turn, but the regally bred Tacitus emerged from the Wood Memorial scrum with the victory to give his high-profile owner and trainer a legitimate chance to take home a first GI Kentucky Derby.

Fourth on debut in a fairly salty maiden affair going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Oct. 4, the grey broke through going a mile here over good ground Nov. 10. He resurfaced to belie nearly 9-1 odds in the GII Tampa Bay Derby Mar. 9, and was looking to follow in his dam’s hoofsteps with a win on the Big A’s big day–Close Hatches annexed the 2013 GII Gazelle S. by open lengths.

Tacitus was nearly knocked sideways soon after the start after longshot Joevia (Shanghai Bobby) cut across the field on the way to the lead and caused a chain reaction. He had to bowl his way out of a tough spit entering the first turn, but settled in from there to stalk in fourth in a strung-out field. Called on to quicken heading for home behind six panels in 1:11.64, the grey shadowed Tax into the lane and pounced on him in midstretch. Tacitus seemed to come in some on that foe once he had the race won, and Tax had to tap on the brakes but it didn’t seem to alter the order of finish.

After many views of the incident going into the first turn, Joevia was placed last by the stewards.

“I thought it was a very good effort,” said Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who had never before won the Wood. “It was very rough on the first turn, but fortunately he came out of it in good order. When he got down the backside, I thought he had a nice, clear run by himself. He kind of got his feet back under him and regrouped a little bit. When it was time to run he started to wear them down.”

Mott said Tacitus would likely spend another week in New York before heading down to Louisville to prepare for the Derby.

“He does take after his dam [Close Hatches],” Mott noted. “She was ready from the word ‘go’. She was one that was very aggressive and very fast. He’s a little different type of horse. She was good up to a mile, a mile and an eighth. This horse, with the Tapit genes, seems like he’s willing to go on, but he also seems to have enough speed to get him up and involved early in a race. He’s certainly not a speed horse, but he has tactical speed and we know he’s got talent and we know he’s willing to overcome a little adversity.”

While at one point speedy ‘TDN Rising Star’ Hidden Scroll (Hard Spun) seemed like the best hope for Mott and Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte to get their first Derbies, Tacitus will be their sole hope come the first Saturday in May after his stablemate settle for sixth in last Saturday’s GI Xpressbet Florida Derby.

“We’ve been there [to the Kentucky Derby] five times now and came out of them all with our tail between our legs,” said Juddmonte’s Garrett O’Rourke. “We had two good runs, a huge disappointment with Empire Maker (second, 2003), because he was the horse that I felt was the best horse in the field and should have won. But it’s not easy and we know that, so were going to go into it again knowing that it’s not easy… We have a legitimate contender now that’s bred to be a Derby horse and he’s now proving that, hopefully, he is up to that standard.”

Saturday, Aqueduct
WOOD MEMORIAL S. PRESENTED BY NYRA BETS-GII, $750,000, Aqueduct, 4-6, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:51.23, ft.
1–TACITUS, 123, c, 3, by Tapit
1st Dam: Close Hatches (Ch. Older Mare & MGISW, $2,707,300), by First Defence
2nd Dam: Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat
3rd Dam: Silver Star (GB), by Zafonic
O/B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-William I. Mott; J-Jose L.
Ortiz. $400,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $653,000.
Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus* Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Tax, 123, g, 3, Arch–Toll, by Giant’s Causeway. O-R. A. Hill
Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch & Corms
Racing Stable; B-Claiborne Farm & Adele B. Dilschneider (KY);
T-Danny Gargan. $140,000.
3–Haikal, 123, c, 3, Daaher–Sablah, by Distorted Humor.
O-Shadwell Stable; B-Shadwell Farm, LLC. (KY); T-Kiaran P.
McLaughlin. $75,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 2 3/4, HF. Odds: 2.60, 5.50, 3.45.
Also Ran: Math Wizard, Not That Brady, Final Jeopardy, Hoffa’s Union, Grumps Little Tots, Outshine, Overdeliver, Joevia.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Hard Spun Filly Upsets Ashland at 52-1; Jaywalk Third

Sat, 2019-04-06 18:03

Saturday, Keeneland
CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND S.-GI, $500,000, Keeneland, 4-6, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:44.95, ft.
1–OUT FOR A SPIN, 121, f, 3, by Hard Spun
1st Dam: My Mammy (SP), by Came Home
2nd Dam: Divine Dixie, by Dixieland Band
3rd Dam: Hail Atlantis, by Seattle Slew
WIN. ($75,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $50,000 RNA 2yo ’18 OBSAPR).
O-Commonwealth Stable; B-William M. Backer Revocable
Trust (VA); T-Dallas Stewart; J-Paco Lopez. $300,000.
Lifetime Record: 5-3-0-1, $354,903. *1/2 to Sweet Victory
(Blame), SW, $208,065; Ferdinanda (Giant’s Causeway), SP,
$147,000. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Restless Rider, 121, f, 3, by Distorted Humor
1st Dam: Silky Serenade, by Unbridled’s Song
2nd Dam: Smooth as Silk, by Deputy Minister
3rd Dam: Sacque (GB), by Elegant Air (GB)
($150,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Fern Circle Stables and Three
Chimneys Farm, LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings
LLC (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek. $100,000.
3–Jaywalk, 121, f, 3, by Cross Traffic
1st Dam: Lady Pewitt, by Orientate
2nd Dam: Spin Room, by Spinning World
3rd Dam: La Paz, by Hold Your Peace
($190,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-D. J. Stable LLC and Cash is King
LLC; B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. (KY); T-John C. Servis.
Margins: NK, 1 3/4, 4 1/4. Odds: 52.10, 2.60, 1.00.
Also Ran: Bizwhacks, Lady Kate, Chocolate Kisses, Bell’s the One. Scratched: Feedback.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
Seemingly with a tall order to fill in Keeneland’s marquee race for sophomore fillies, Out for a Spin overcame her mammoth odds to best champion Jaywalk and Grade I winner Restless Rider in Saturday’s GI Ashland S. Let go at 52-1 behind last season’s Juvenile Champion Filly Jaywalk and GI Alcibiades S. scorer Restless Rider, Out for a Spin hit the board in three of four prior starts, including the most recent a 3 3/4-length win in optional claiming company going 8 1/2 furlongs in a muddy off-turf test at the Fair Grounds May 16. Granted the services of Paco Lopez for the first time for this graded stakes debut, the chestnut broke alertly and rushed up from the outside to shadow Jaywalk, who carved out an initial quarter in :23.19. Not letting the roan out of her sights through a half in :46.46, the pair was joined by Restless Rider, who pressed the issue from the outside as the trio raced through three quarters in 1:11.60. Battling with that rival through the stretch, Out for a Spin found more late to post the narrow score, collecting her first Grade I victory in the process.
“She hasn’t done much wrong,” said winning trainer Dallas Stewart. “She’s won her last two out of three, and she did it impressively. She trains great.”
Stewart, who faced a lowest of lows one race earlier when Cathedral Reader (Shackleford) was vanned off the track and later euthanized following the GI Madison S., was philosophical about the big win.
“In this great game that we have, there are ups and downs, and this an up,” he said. “Great to have a win today with this big, beautiful filly. She took it [almost] wire-to-wire, and Paco [Lopez] gave her a great ride. We’re going take it to the [May 3 GI] Kentucky Oaks from here.”

Pedigree Note:
Out for a Spin, a half sister to stakes winner Sweet Victory and stakes placed Ferdinanda, is out of My Mammy, a daughter of Divine Dixie. Th 14-year-old mare is a half sibling to stakes winner and sire Stormy Atlantic. Dam of GI Blue Grass S. winner Bandini (Fusaichi Pegasus), Divine Dixie is out of GI Santa Anita Oaks heroine Hail Atlantis (Seattle Slew). Responsible for a juvenile colt by Blame, Divine Dixie foaled a filly by Uncle Mo this term and was bred back to Malibu Moon.

Kantharos’s World of Trouble Takes the Carter

Sat, 2019-04-06 17:36

World of Trouble (Kantharos) has made a name for himself with some very fast performances on turf and on dirt, having set or attended very fast paces. It was a dramatically different race shape in Saturday’s GI Carter H., but the cream ultimately rose to the top and the odds-on favorite prevailed.

Only fairly into stride from the outside stall in the field of eight, World of Trouble was actually beaten for speed and did the chasing from second as Skyler’s Scramjet (Creative Cause) set whatever pace there was while racing four or five paths off the rail. Relegated to a stalking third after a half-mile in an almost inconceivable :46.71, World of Trouble was nonetheless content to race in the clear and out of harm’s way before being asked to win his race at the quarter pole. Roused to the front with about a furlong and a half to travel, the favorite was more workmanlike than he was brilliant in the final eighth of a mile, but got the job done to give both his sire and trainer Jason Servis their second top-level winners in two weeks.

“Jason told me to break out of there and see how it developed, because we knew [Skyler’s Scramjet] was going to go,” said winning jockey Manny Franco. “We wanted to sit right off and it worked out great. He can be sensitive so I didn’t want to get on him, and I think that was the key. I let him relax, and when I asked him to go, he was there for me.”

Dangled for a $25,000 tag on debut, a race he won by 14 lengths, World of Trouble was secured by these connections and caught everyone’s attention when winning the Pasco S. by nearly 14 lengths last January. Following a pair of defeats at the graded level, he took to the turf sprinting game with aplomb, taking a pair of age-restricted stakes before finishing a neck second to Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic) as the 2-1 favorite in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. A 13 3/4-length winner of the FTBOA Marian County Florida Sire S. at Tampa Dec. 15, he was last seen winning a rained-off Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint S. on the Pegasus World Cup undercard Jan. 26.

Pedigree Notes:

As previously stated, World of Trouble is the second Group 1/Grade I winner in as many weeks for the Hill ‘n’ Dale-based Kantharos and the sire’s fifth graded winner overall. One of five winners from as many to race from his dam, World of Trouble is out of a half-sister to Kantharos’s two-time GII Woodford S. winner Bucchero, who is covering a book in excess of 100 mares in his first year at stud at Pleasant Acres Stallions in Florida. World of Trouble’s as-yet-unnamed 2-year-old full-brother, a $285,000 acquisition at Keeneland September, is in training at Keeneland with Wesley Ward and worked three-eighths of a mile in :37.20 Apr. 4. Meets Expectations is also the dam of a yearling filly by The Big Beast and was most recently bred to Frosted.

Saturday, Aqueduct
CARTER H.-GI, $400,000, Aqueduct, 4-6, 4yo/up, 7f, 1:23.28, ft.
1–WORLD OF TROUBLE, 121, c, 4, by Kantharos
1st Dam: Meets Expectations, by Valid Expectations
2nd Dam: Meetmeontime, by General Meeting
3rd Dam: Parlay, by Mt. Livermore
Ylg ’16 OBSAUG). O-Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC &
Bethlehem Stables LLC; B-Darsan Inc. (FL); T-Jason Servis;
J-Manuel Franco. $220,000. Lifetime Record: 11-7-2-1,
$891,400. *1/2 to Money Or Love (J Be K), SW, $211,840.
Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Skyler’s Scramjet, 117, g, 5, Creative Cause–Abundantly
Blessed, by Phone Trick. ($25,000 Ylg ’15 FTKOCT; $70,000 2yo
’16 EASMAY). O-SJB Stable & Marcello Micozzi; B-Tommy G
Ligon (KY); T-Michelle Nevin. $80,000.
3–Honor Up, 116, c, 4, To Honor and Serve–Unobstructed View,
by Yes It’s True. ($65,000 Ylg ’16 SARAUG). O-Saratoga Seven
Racing Partners, LLC; B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. (NY);
T-Michelle Nevin. $48,000.
Margins: HF, 1 1/4, HF. Odds: 0.85, 13.70, 7.50.
Also Ran: Vino Rosso, Life in Shambles, Sir Ballantine, Identity Politics. Scratched: Timber Ghost. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Awesome Again Filly Scores in Gazelle for Pletcher & Repole

Sat, 2019-04-06 17:01

Needing some time to get her sea legs, Always Shopping debuted with a flat fifth going six panels at Saratoga last July before finishing a distant second in her route debut at Belmont Oct. 25. Despite an awkward start at the Big A Dec. 14, the well bred filly closed to finish a close-up second before breaking through with a victory in the nine-panel Busanda S. Feb. 3. Installed the 7-2 third choice for this graded debut, she settled behind graded-winner Positive Spirit, who carved out a poky opening quarter mile in :24.92, while Busher S. winner Espresso Shot raced in fifth. Putting the screws to the second choice following am equally lethargic half in :50.09, she was head-to-head with that rival turning for home, pulled ahead down the lane and proved best over her more fancied rival by 1 3/4 lengths. Off Topic was third, while favored Espresso Shot was fifth.

“There wasn’t really any pace looking at the race on paper,” opined winner trainer Todd Pletcher. “It was one of those races where you had no really good idea of who would be on the lead. We decided to just let [jockey] Manny [Franco] do his thing and he put her in a good spot. He said he felt like he had a lot of horse the whole way.”

Asked if he thought the filly might now target the GI Kentucky Oaks, Pletcher added, “I think the key is if she can continue moving forward. I think she’s proven that two turns, a mile and an eighth, is her thing. I actually think she’d be better off in a race with some pace where she could settle and make one run. I’m proud of her.”

Saturday, Aqueduct
GAZELLE S.-GII, $300,000, Aqueduct, 4-6, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:52.91, ft.
1–ALWAYS SHOPPING, 120, f, 3, by Awesome Again
1st Dam: Stopshoppingmaria (SW & GISP, $394,631), by More Than Ready
2nd Dam: Skybox, by Spend a Buck
3rd Dam: A Status Symbol, by Exclusive Native
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O-Repole Stable; B-Repole Stable
Inc (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Manuel Franco. $165,000.
Lifetime Record: 5-2-2-0, $252,000. *1/2 to Mo Shopping
(Uncle Mo), SW & GSP, $131,250. Werk Nick Rating: D+.
 Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Positive Spirit, 122, f, 3, Pioneerof the Nile–Above
Perfection, by In Excess (Ire). O-Michael J. Ryan; B-Santa Rosa
Partners (KY); T-Rodolphe Brisset. $60,000.
3–Off Topic, 118, f, 3, Street Sense–Off Limits, by Include.
($160,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Paul P. Pompa, Jr.; B-WinStar
Farm, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $36,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, NK, 1 1/4. Odds: 3.95, 2.35, 5.80.
Also Ran: Proud Emma, Espresso Shot, Afleet Destiny.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Another ‘Quality’ Performance from Bellafina in SA Oaks

Sat, 2019-04-06 16:16

Despite a less-than-perfect trip, the extremely talented Bellafina kept her unblemished sophomore season intact Saturday while setting up her date with redemption in next month’s GI Kentucky Oaks. Second at 1-2 when unveiled at Los Alamitos last July 4, the pricey Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream buy ran away with the GII Sorrento S., GI Del Mar Debutante S. and GI Chandelier S. before a disappointing fourth as the favorite in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies under the Twin Spires Nov. 2. It was subsequently revealed that she had been in season during the Breeders’ Cup, but she’s been nothing but business this term, romping in the seven-panel GII Santa Ynez S. here Jan. 6 and digging in after taking heat in the GII Las Virgenes S. over an additional furlong Feb. 9.

An overwhelming favorite in this short field despite the presence of a pair of formidable Bob Baffert-trained ‘TDN Rising Stars’ in Flor De La Mar and Chasing Yesterday, Bellafina was hung very wide outside of her three foes into the first turn, forcing Flavien Prat to throttle her back rather than use too much horse early. She advanced into a joint second down the backside as American Pharoah’s half-sister Chasing Yesterday showed the way and Flor de La Mar sat in the pocket. Flor de La Mar went for an early run to take over from her stablemate after a :47.88 half, and Prat soon gave the favorite her cue. She glided past her main rivals at the head of the lane, and poured it on from there to assert her superiority under mostly just hands and heels.

“We were a little wide on the first turn. I didn’t want to get in any trouble, so I got her to be comfortable and relax,” Prat said. “At the 3/8ths pole, she ducked out a little and the others got away from us. We regrouped and when we made our move and got the lead, I was quite confident. I’m looking forward to the Kentucky Oaks. I’m confident that she will run better than she did in the Breeders. Cup.”

Trainer Simon Callaghan confirmed that the Oaks would be next for Bellafina should she exit Saturday’s effort in good order.

“This is a very humbling sport, so I’m always hoping for the best but anticipating anything could happen in a race,” said owner Kaleem Shah. “At the top of the stretch she switched leads and went on her way. I was thrilled to see her performance today. Last time in Louisville I think the team was disappointed; we were hoping for a win obviously but that didn’t happen, but let’s see what happens this time. If everything goes well, I think Churchill Downs is the next stop. I definitely wish that race in Kentucky was run here in Arcadia.”

Saturday, Santa Anita
SANTA ANITA OAKS-GI, $392,000, Santa Anita, 4-6, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.47, ft.
1–BELLAFINA, 124, f, 3, by Quality Road
1st Dam: Akron Moon (SP), by Malibu Moon
2nd Dam: Akronism, by Not For Love
3rd Dam: Jerry Bomb, by Explosive Bid
($220,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $800,000 2yo ’18 FTFMAR).
O-Kaleem Shah, Inc.; B-JSM Equine LLC (KY); T-Simon
Callaghan; J-Flavien Prat. $240,000. Lifetime Record: 8-6-1-0,
$1,068,000. *Full to Diamond King, MSW & MGSP, $368,600.
Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Flor de La Mar, 121, f, 3, by Tiznow
1st Dam: Sacristy, by Pulpit
2nd Dam: Christies Treasure, by Belong to Me
3rd Dam: Roses At Sunset, by Valid Appeal
($500,000 Ylg ’17 FTSAUG). ‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Godolphin, LLC;
B-Don Alberto Corporation (KY); T-Bob Baffert. $80,000.
3–Chasing Yesterday, 124, f, 3, by Tapit
1st Dam: Littleprincessemma, by Yankee Gentleman
2nd Dam: Exclusive Rosette, by Ecliptical
3rd Dam: Zetta Jet, by Tri Jet
‘TDN Rising Star’ O/B-Summer Wind Equine LLC (KY); T-Bob
Baffert. $48,000.
Margins: 5 1/4, 3HF, 19. Odds: 0.30, 6.70, 2.80.
Also Ran: Slewgoodtobetrue. Scratched: Stirred.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Pedigree Notes:
Bellafina is the second foal out of stakes-placed Akron Moon. The mare’s first foal is multiple stakes winner and multiple graded stakes-placed Diamond King (Quality Road), who made a successful 4-year-old debut in a Gulfstream optional claimer Mar. 22. Akron Moon produced a filly by Verrazano in 2017 and, barren in 2018, produced a colt by Quality Road earlier this term. Akron Moon is a half-sister to 4-year-old graded stakes winner Have at It (Kitten’s Joy). Joe Minor’s JSM Equine purchased Akron Moon for $175,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale. The mare RNA’d for $2.7 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale.

Into Mischief Colt Romps to Rising Stardom at Keeneland

Sat, 2019-04-06 13:53

Honest Mischief (Into Mischief) ran to the money with an impressive graduation at Keeneland Saturday, becoming the newest ‘TDN Rising Star’. The Juddmonte homebred was second as the favorite behind a good-looking debut win from Soldado (Verrazano) in his career bow going six panels at Gulfstream Feb. 2 and was hammered down to 3-5 favoritism to go one better this time. Running five wide in mid-pack through a :22.48 opening quarter, the bay ranged up outside the leaders through a half in :45.39. Taking command while still four-wide exiting the bend, Honest Mischief powered clear in the lane to win for fun by eight lengths. Twelfth Labour (Quality Road) was best of the rest in second.

The winner is a half to First Defence (Unbridled’s Song), GISW, $580,534; and Phantom Rose (Danzig), SW-Fr. His Grade I-winning dam Honest Lady has only had one foal since Honest Mischief, a 2-year-old filly named Annual (Noble Mission {GB}), and she was not bred back. Out of GISW Toussaud (El Gran Senor), Honest Lady is a half-sister to top sire and MGISW millionaire Empire Maker (Unbridled); GISW millionaire Chester House (Mr. Prospector); GISW Chiselling (Woodman); and MGSW Decarchy (Distant View).

2nd-Keeneland, $78,960, Msw, 4-6, 3yo, 7f, 1:22.43, ft.
HONEST MISCHIEF, c, 3, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Honest Lady (GISW, $894,168), by Seattle Slew
2nd Dam: Toussaud, by El Gran Senor
3rd Dam: Image of Reality, by In Reality
Lifetime Record: 2-1-1-0, $56,000. O/B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. Click for the chart or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Santa Anita To Experiment With Whip-Free Racing

Fri, 2019-04-05 19:43

Next Friday, Apr. 12, jockeys riding at Santa Anita will do so without a whip, according to a letter the Jockeys’ Guild sent Friday to the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), Santa Anita management, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), and the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT).

Current CHRB law doesn’t require jockeys to carry a riding crop, and as such, “individual jockeys who regularly ride at Santa Anita have elected not to carry the cushioned riding crop during the entire race day card on Friday, Apr. 12,” the letter states.

The decision by the Jockeys’ Guild and the Santa Anita jockey colony follows a proposed rule change approved by the CHRB at its last scheduled meeting, which restricts riders to using riding crops only “to control the horse for the safety of the horse or rider.” The proposed rule change was subsequently put out for a 45-day public comment period, and could be amended before the board votes on it again.

Currently, jockeys are permitted to use the crop three times in succession before putting it down to give a horse time to respond.

“I hope they’re doing it for the right reasons,” said Jim Cassidy, president of the CTT, about the jockey’s decision to forego the whip Apr. 12.

The day of whip-less races at Santa Anita is described in the letter as a fact-finding mission. After each race on Apr. 12, “data will be gathered from input from the jockeys,” the letter states. “Each ride will be evaluated for safety, how horses respond in passing other horses, react when going through an opening, or any other situation that may develop during the running of the race.”

The information collected during the trial experiment will be submitted for consideration during the public comment period.

“We believe it is necessary to get real time data and feedback in order to fully appreciate the implications of the proposed rule change,” wrote Darrell Haire, a member representative with the Jockeys Guild, in a statement to the TDN.

“We believe there are unforeseen consequences that will impact not only the horse and rider safety, but all facets of the racing industry, including the betting public, owners, trainers, racetracks, as well as the breeding industry. We will be presenting the information gathered to the CHRB,” Haire added.

According to Friday’s letter, “an announcement shall be made over the public address system” that the jockeys will not be carrying a riding crop during the Apr. 12 races, and asks the CHRB, TOC, CTT and Santa Anita management to “notify your staff and respective members, the trainers, the betting public, and all other interested parties prior to entries.”

“Please be assured that the jockeys will do everything within their ability and power to achieve best possible placing for their horses, with the safety for the horse and rider being paramount,” the letter states.

A day of whip-less races at Santa Anita on Apr. 12 “is progressive in a positive way,” said Hall of Fame former jockey Chris McCarron, before adding, “I don’t know if I wholeheartedly agree with them taking the crop away altogether.”

McCarron said that he also agrees with rule changes that limit the number of strikes, to mirror the international model. “You’re on a horse that doesn’t want to go between horses, and you can feel them trying to suck back, and you can push and shove with all your might, but you sometimes just can’t get your horse to get up in there,” he said, explaining why he thinks the whip might be necessary in some circumstances.

According to Friday’s letter, “jockeys risk their lives every day and are an integral part of racing. The voice of the Jockeys’ Guild and its members must be heard and included in all conversations to find the best possible outcome for all industry stakeholders. We hope we can work together, with all interested racing parties, during the rule-making process to evaluate the results and agree upon a rule that will be in the best interest of racing in California.”


Avie’s Flatter Scores in Transylvania

Fri, 2019-04-05 18:36

Avie’s Flatter continued to display the good form he had as a juvenile with a winning effort in his sophomore bow in the GIII Trasylvania S. at Keeneland Friday. The Ivan Dalos homebred raced between rivals in mid-pack as Onthewaytonevrland (Ire) (No Nay Never) clocked early fractions :23.59 and :48.23 with longshot Weekly Call (Will Take Charge) glued to his outside hip. Tipped out for a two-wide bid turning for home, the bay powered past the leaders in the lane and held off a late charge from Henley’s Joy to score. European import The Black Album held third. Owner/breeder Ivan Dalos and trainer Josie Carroll successfully teamed up with a son of Flatter in the past at Keeneland, winning the 2016 GIII Commonwealth S. with Ami’s Flatter.

“We had some pretty solid works at Palm Meadows,” Carroll said. “I thought he was in good order, but I did say to Javier [Castellano], ‘Keep him covered up a little bit and make sure you have some horse to finish because it has been a while since he ran.’ Mr. Dalos breeds a really good horse, and we thought this horse was special from the very beginning.”

“I really liked the way he did it today,” Castellano said. “I’ve been studying the horse since last year. [I] rode against [him]. I like the way he does everything. He can be on the lead. He can cover up. Today he broke a little slow. I didn’t rush it. [Considering] the layoff and the way he performed today–very amazing.”

A debut winner sprinting over the Woodbine synthetic Aug. 12, Avie’s Flatter did not disgrace himself when closing to be fourth in the GI Summer S. on the grass there Sept. 16. Scoring by 5 1/4 lengths in the restricted Cup and Saucer S. going 1 1/16 miles on the Woodbine turf Oct. 7, he concluded his juvenile campaigned with a victory in the nine-panel Coronation Futurity S. on that venue’s synthetic track Nov. 18.

Pedigree Notes:

Avi’s Flatter is the 18th graded stakes winner for his sire and one of 52 black-type victors. He is a half-brother to Wonder Where S. victress Avie’s Mineshaft (Mineshaft). They are out of the unraced Dalos homebred, Avie’s Empire, whose only foal since is a juvenile filly named Avie’s Spun (Hard Spun). The 11-year-old mare visited Shanghai Bobby last spring.

Friday, Keeneland
KENTUCKY UTILITIES TRANSYLVANIA S.-GIII, $150,000, Keeneland, 4-5, 3yo, 1 1/16mT, 1:42.86, fm.
1–AVIE’S FLATTER, 120, c, 3, by Flatter
1st Dam: Avie’s Empire, by Empire Maker
2nd Dam: Fly for Avie, by Lord Avie
3rd Dam: Fly for Baby, by Arctic Tern
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O-Ivan Dalos; B-Tall Oaks Farm
(ON); T-Josie Carroll; J-Javier Castellano. $90,000. Lifetime
Record: 5-4-0-0, $341,834. *1/2 to Avie’s Mineshaft
(Mineshaft), SW, $264,904. Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Henley’s Joy, 120, c, 3, Kitten’s Joy–Blue Grass Music, by
Bluegrass Cat. ($20,000 Ylg ’17 EASOCT; $50,000 2yo ’18
OBSAPR). O-Bloom Racing Stable LLC; B-Kenneth L. Ramsey &
Sarah K. Ramsey (KY); T-Michael J. Maker. $30,000.
3–The Black Album (Fr), 120, c, 3, Wootton Bassett (GB)-
Model Black (Ire), by Trade Fair (GB). O-Team Valor
International and Barber, Gary; B-Didier Bouquil (FR);
T-Rodolphe Brisset. $15,000.
Margins: HF, HF, NK. Odds: 4.00, 2.70, 6.80.
Also Ran: War Film, Onthewaytonevrland (Ire), Louder Than Bombs, Weekly Call, Dunph. Scratched: Go Away, Life Mission, Hawaiian Noises.

Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Tapit ‘Rising Star’ Digs Deep to Remain Unbeaten at Keeneland

Fri, 2019-04-05 17:24

8th-Keeneland, $80,857, Alw (NW1X)/Opt. Clm ($75,000), 4-5, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.39, ft.
INTREPID HEART (c, 3, Tapit–Flaming Heart {MSW & GSP, $245,961}, by Touch Gold), favored at 3-2 to build on a 7 3/4-length debut romp at Oaklawn Feb. 18 that garnered him the TDN Rising Starnod, gutted out a narrow victory in this particularly salty first-level allowance Friday. Perched three deep in third early, but always seemingly under a ride as speedy GIII Swale S. fourth High Crime (Violence) showed the way, the grey appeared to be in deep water spinning for home furthest out on the track. Hall of Fame pilot John Velazquez continued to implore Intrepid Heart in the run to the line, and he responded late to reel in High Crime in the shadow of the wire by a half-length. The fourth-priciest lot at $750,000 at last year’s OBS April sale off a :10 2/5 breeze, Intrepid Heart’s MSW/GSP dam Flaming Heart (Touch Gold) is also responsible for Commissioner (A.P. Indy), MGSW & GISP, $962,237; Laugh Track (Distorted Humor), GSW & GISP, $598,014; and the dam of last year’s GII Wood Memorial S. winner Vino Rosso (Curlin)–entered in Saturday’s GI Carter H.–and his sophomore half-brother and ‘Rising Star’ So eAlive (Super Saver), who will contest the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. Saturday in Lexington. Vino Rosso and So Alive are fellow Pletcher trainees. Flaming Heart, who was bred and campaigned by Frank Stronach’s operation, was purchased by WinStar Farm for $1.5 million in foal to Street Cry (Ire) at the 2007 Keeneland November sale. She produced a Carpe Diem colt in 2018 but was subsequently barren to Curlin. Sales history: $750,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $104,400. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Lawana L. & Robert E. Low; B-WinStar Farm, LLC & Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.


Munnings Half to Lady Aurelia Runs to the Hype; Named ‘TDN Rising Star’

Fri, 2019-04-05 13:52

Lady Pauline (Munnings), a half-sister to none other than these connections’ superstar Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy), Hwt. 2yo Filly-Eng & Fr, G1SW-Eng & Fr, SW-US, $834,945, followed in that one’s hoofsteps Friday with a practically pre-ordained first-out success worthy of the ‘TDN Rising Star’ distinction. Pounded at the windows and off at 1-5 with an unassuming worktab on display and while facing mostly colts, the Stonestreet homebred beat the gate like a typical Wesley Ward-trained baby and barreled along on the engine under stout John Velazquez restraint. Giving a glimmer of hope to a challenging rival in upper stretch as she was a bit late with her lead change, she soon switched over and showed a very impressive turn of foot to blow away her competition by 9 3/4 lengths, stopping the clock in :51.71. Two Dot (Soldat) completed the exacta. Stonestreet paid $1 million for the winner’s dam at the 2005 Keeneland November sale, and Barbara Banke’s operation bought back globe-trotting Lady Aurelia for $7.5 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton November sale (see Banke Bringing Home Lady Aurelia). D’ Wildcat Speed was not bred back in 2017 after foaling Lady Pauline on May 5, 2017, but produced a Medaglia d’Oro filly this Feb. 13.

2nd-Keeneland, $57,440, Msw, 4-5, 2yo, 4 1/2f, :51.71, gd.
LADY PAULINE, f, 2, Munnings
1st Dam: D’ Wildcat Speed (Horse of the Year & Ch. Imported 3yo Filly-PR, GSW-US, MSW-PR, $530,755), by Forest Wildcat
2nd Dam: Velvet Panther, by Pentaquod
3rd Dam: Blue Eyed Cat, by Great Above
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $36,000. Click for the chart, free catalogue-style pedigree or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Stonestreet Stables LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward.

Jack Entertainment Agrees to Sell Turfway Park

Fri, 2019-04-05 12:42

Jack Entertainment LLC has entered into multiple contracts to sell Jack Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park to Hard Rock International and Vici Properties for $780 million, pending regulatory approval.

“We viewed the gaming industry as a catalyst for economic development in our local communities,” said Matt Cullen, Chief Executive Officer of Jack Entertainment. “After 10 years, hundreds of millions of dollars of investment developing Jack Cincinnati Casino from the ground up, and establishing a strong customer focused culture, we have successfully positioned Jack Cincinnati Casino for further future success. We are confident that Hard Rock and its world-renowned brand will be a great addition to the Queen City and the right choice to take Jack Cincinnati Casino and Turfway Park to the next level of growth.”

The transaction, which is expected to be finalized sometime in late 2019, requires regulatory approval, both at the federal and state levels.

Bulletin Stays Unbeaten With Sharp Score in Palisades Turf Sprint

Thu, 2019-04-04 18:31

Bulletin, winner of the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, scored in another new stake Thursday at Keeneland when going wire to wire in the Palisades Turf Sprint S. Dominating the Hollywood Beach S. on debut last September at Gulfstream, the chestnut was not for catching on the yielding Churchill grass and was respected as the even-money favorite here in his seasonal debut. Away sharply under Javier Castellano, the $250,000 Keeneland September buy took up his customary spot at the head of affairs and showed the way through a :22.10 quarter. Kept after by Castellano on the turn, he showed an impressive turn of foot to blow the race open by the eighth pole. Real News put in a valiant late close, the only runner to make up significant ground, but Bulletin hit the wire comfortably clear of that rival.

“He’s a special horse,” Castellano said. “You don’t see too many horses like that. He’s got so much talent. I just enjoyed the ride … You have to encourage him a little bit because he’s the kind of horse who looks around a little bit. But this time he put it together. I like the way he did it today.”

WinStar Farm’s Elliott Walden added that a start at Royal Ascot may be in the cards for Bulletin, saying, “That’s kind of what we’re looking at. We’ll huddle up with Todd [Pletcher], let him do his job. He did a great job getting [Bulletin] ready for today. The horse was three [lengths] in front at the eighth pole, and I knew he wasn’t going to get beat then. He’s a very talented horse. We’d be honored to go to Royal Ascot.”

The victor’s graded stakes-winning dam, a half to MSW/MGSP Easyfromthegitgo (Dehere), has a juvenile Uncle Mo colt named Newscaster and was bred to Violence last spring. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

PALISADES TURF SPRINT S., $100,000, Keeneland, 4-4, 3yo,
5 1/2fT, 1:02.92, fm.
1–BULLETIN, 123, c, 3, by City Zip
1st Dam: Sue’s Good News (GSW, $218,078), by Woodman
2nd Dam: Montera, by Easy Goer
3rd Dam: Mochila, by In Reality
($250,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse
Club & SF Racing LLC; B-CresRan LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher;
J-Javier Castellano. $60,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0,
$655,570. *1/2 to Tiz Miz Sue (Tiznow), GISE, $1,129,709.
2–Real News, 118, c, 3, The Factor–Missy’s Advantage, by
Tactical Advantage. ($85,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Town and
Country Racing, LLC & Gary Broad; B-Georgia Farms Inc (KY);
T-Albert M. Stall, Jr. $20,000.
3–Abyssinian, 113, f, 3, Cairo Prince–Shesakitty, by Tapit.
($70,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Hat Creek Racing; B-Dede
McGehee (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward. $10,000.
Margins: 1HF, 2 1/4, NK. Odds: 1.00, 6.70, 3.30.
Also Ran: Vivid Verse, Uncapped, Tobacco Road, Yes I Am Free, Vogt, Mick’s Star, Dom Carlos (Ire), Strike Silver, Joyful Heart. Scratched: Front Office, Gladiator King, Hawaiian Noises, Chelsea Cloisters.

U.S. Rep. Barr to Tour Santa Anita This Weekend

Thu, 2019-04-04 17:19

United States Representative Andy Barr (R-KY), who co-chairs the Congressional Horse Caucus and is a co-sponsor of the Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019, will reportedly tour Santa Anita Park this weekend in an effort to learn more about the circumstances surrounding 23 equine deaths at the track since the start of the meet on Dec. 26.

The Washington D.C. news bureau of on Thursday first reported news of Barr’s Santa Anita visit, noting that it was added on to the Congressman’s previously scheduled trip to take part in a fundraiser at the Beverly Hills Peninsula hotel hosted by a political action committee that benefits Barr called Building America’s Republican Representation (AKA “Barr-PAC”).

A Thursday email sent by TDN to Barr’s communications director requesting confirmation and details about the Santa Anita visit did not yield a reply in time for deadline for this story.

McClatchy reported that Barr’s visit will include a meeting with officials from The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita. The story also reported that Barr “agrees with” Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) that there needs to be a Congressional review about the deaths.

“We’re going to do some fact finding and learn a little bit more about the perspectives of what happened out there and what they’re doing to take remedial action,” Barr told McClatchy. “A lot of our constituents in Kentucky race their horses out there and there are a lot of ties.”

McClatchy reported that “Barr stopped short of joining Chu and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), who have called for the suspension of horse racing at the park until investigators determine the cause of the deaths.”

Referencing the Horseracing Integrity Act bill that was introduced Mar. 14, Barr told McClatchy that “Anything we can do to make the sport safer and eliminate doping, we need to do that, because doping is unsafe for the equine athlete and the human athlete. The industry obviously has a challenge right now and we want the perception of the sport and the reality of the sport to be safe and we want to eliminate any factors that could contribute to more deaths.”