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Updated: 5 hours 12 min ago

Fever Knocks Thunder Snow Out of Whitney

Sat, 2019-08-03 09:57

Godolphin’s globe-trotting $16.5-million earner and two-time G1 Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) will be forced to miss Saturday’s GI Whitney H. at Saratoga. “We took him to the track this morning and he came back to the barn and coughed a few times,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “We took his temperature and he’s running a little bit of a fever. In the best interests of the horse, we will be passing on the Whitney today.”

The post Fever Knocks Thunder Snow Out of Whitney appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

TDN Q & A: Taylor Made’s Travis White on Mshawish & Not This Time

Fri, 2019-08-02 19:03

Taylor Made had three rookies in their stallion barn in 2017 with the fruits of those labors heading to the yearling sales this summer and fall. Multiple Grade I winner Mshawish (Medaglia d’Oro) has one yearling in next week’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale, as well as three in Fasig-Tipton’s New York-Bred Sale, as does GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Not This Time (Giant’s Causeway). Travis White, stallion nominations manager for Taylor Made, discusses with why these two young first-crop yearling sires are such standouts.

TDN: Mshawish had an interesting career. He was a stakes winner at three in France, a Group II winner at four in Dubai, and a Grade I winner at five in the U.S., all on turf. Then he switches to dirt at the end of his 5-year-old season and what happens?

TW: We took notice of [him] when he ran fourth in the GI Cigar Mile H. on his first try on the dirt. He just got beat for the win. And he actually put his head in the lead there toward the end of the stretch. So that’s kind of when he got on our radar. And then obviously, he followed that up with a very impressive win in the GIII Hal’s Hope S. and then went on to win the GI Donn H. which really put him on our radar screen.

TDN: The Donn was particularly an eye-catching race. He was already a Grade I winner on the turf; what made him such an exciting prospect on the dirt?

TW: If you go back and watch his races, he could really be anywhere in the race. He didn’t have to be on the lead. He could sit mid-pack and be covered up. But he had a very good turn of foot, kind of push button. And when he turned for home, he just really accelerated and put away a pretty good bunch of horses there at the end.

TDN: Was it a real selling point to breeders to have a horse as accomplished as he was on different surfaces?

TW: For us, as a stallion operation, it was a very important factor to have. A Grade I winner on the dirt and turf, plus the fact that he was by Medaglia d’Oro, played a huge impact on us as far as how much we wanted to try to get this horse.

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TDN: Physically, how is he built?

TW: His best attribute is probably his balance. He’s a very, very well-balanced, proportioned horse, and I think that’s probably why he was as good as he was on the racetrack. He’s about 15.3 hands. He has a very pretty head, he’s a great mover on the end of a shank. But overall, I think his balance is the key thing there.

TDN: What did you see in his weanlings last year?

TW: They were a lot like him. I mean, just very well balanced, square behind, great movers. Most of them were very, very dead correct and with good bone to them, good substance. Overall, I think they’re just a lot like him, and they’re not complicated horses at all.

TDN: Have they improved even more as yearlings?

TW: From what I’ve seen so far, the same traits have carried over as weanlings to yearlings now. They’re still just very good movers, very balanced horses, very pretty heads, good neck, good shoulders, square behind, just the stuff you like to see in a very quality yearling.

TDN: What type of buyers do you think will be gravitating toward his yearlings?

TW: I think that you’ll see a combination of a lot of different buyers gravitate toward him. I think trainers will like him because they look like good, solid, just sound horses. And I think they’ll be very precocious as well.

TDN: Mshawish’s race career was kind of a slow burn that exploded at the end, but Not This Time was a star from the start. He was raised here on the farm?

TW: Yes, we’ve had his mother, [graded winner] Miss Macy Sue (Trippi), since retirement. She has been probably one of the better mares on the market currently. [Her son] Liam’s Map (Unbridled’s Song) is an absolute very, very good-looking horse and a beast of a racehorse. His performance in the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile was unbelievable. That carried on with Not This Time being such a standout racehorse as well.

TDN: Not This Time’s career was brief due to a soft tissue injury, but he made it count.

TW: Second time out at Ellis Park he just romped by ten lengths. It was completely dominating the field. He just kept getting better and better as time went on. [In his next start, the GIII Iroquois S.], he beat a very, very good field and just completely put them away down the stretch, [winning by 8 3/4 lengths]. He beat [the next year’s GI Kentucky Derby runner-up] Lookin At Lee (Lookin At Lucky) and [future graded stakes winner] Recruiting Ready (Algorithms) in that race. It was a highly regarded 2-year-old field as a Breeders’ Cup prep race.

TDN: His final start was the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. What made it such a stellar performance in spite of the neck defeat?

TW: He just relaxed early on, was kind of covered up on the backstretch, but then that move he made around the final turn and into the stretch was just so impressive. He was wide the whole way and just ran out of space there at the very end. A fantastic race.

TDN: How has he been received by breeders?

TW: He was probably the easiest sell that I have had here since Unbridled’s Song. He is very imposing. He is big. Dark bay, almost black. Big, leggy, scopey, two-turn horse, has a great, long, thin neck and well-defined shoulder. Breeders just absolutely loved the horse from day one.

TDN: Not This Time had yearlings sell for up to $200,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s July sale. What do you expect going forward?

TW: We’re very optimistic going into the sales. He’s a horse that just got better with time and age, and I see his yearlings are kind of [going down] the same path. They’re big, they’re two-turn, scopey horses that I think a lot of buyers will like.

The post TDN Q & A: Taylor Made’s Travis White on Mshawish & Not This Time appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Concrete Rose Wires the Saratoga Oaks

Fri, 2019-08-02 18:01

Concrete Rose made easy work of the inaugural $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Friday, taking the field from gate-to-wire for a dominant score in the second leg of the new Turf Tiara series. Seizing the early advantage, the $61,000 EASMAY buy walked the dog through opening splits of :25.58 and :51.41. Continuing along comfortably with ears pricked, the dark bay readily responded when popped the question by Julien Leparoux in the lane, gliding clear to win for fun. European invader Happen was second.

“They gave me the race in the first part of it,” Leparoux said. “We ran very slow, but she finished very strong. She’s a very special filly and I’m very excited to be riding her. I was very confident the whole way around, and I knew she was going to kick home. I’m very happy for the connections, there’s a lot of people here that love her.”

“It was a nice year for me to come up with a nice horse,” said winning trainer Rusty Arnold. “We’re excited. She’s so easy. I’m just on for the ride. I was happy when they hung up a half-mile in :51 and three-quarters in [1:15.93]. She’s a fast horse, and they turned it into a sprint home. She had done nothing when they hit the half-mile pole, so we were in a good spot.”

As for future plans, the conditioner said, “She’ll get one more 3-year-old race before it’s over. We’ll see what it’s going to be. We feel good. She handled the month turnaround really well. The [GI QEII Challenge Cup Oct. 12 at Keeneland] has always intrigued me a lot. That was the plan at the beginning of the year. However, it is going to be tough not to try to win these three races [of the Turf Tiara] the first year they have it. To win all three, that would be awful special, so there will be a lot of talking going on.”

The final leg of the Triple Tiara is the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks at Belmont Sept. 7.

A debut winner at the Spa some 50 weeks ago, Concrete Rose followed suit with a decisive score in Keeneland’s GII Jessamine S. when stretching out to turns for the first time last October. Eighth behind a sensational performance from Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Nov. 2, she kicked off her sophomore season with a win in Tampa’s GIII Florida Oaks Mar. 9. Following suit with a 3 3/4-length defeat of Newspaperofrecord in the GIII Edgewood S. at Churchill Downs May 3, the dark bay took her 2019 record to three-for-three with a decisive score in the GI Belmont Oaks July 6, the first leg of NYRA’s new Turf Tiara series.

Bought back for $19,000 at the 2016 KEENOV sale, Concrete Rose brought $20,000 at Keeneland September 10 months later. Led from the ring unsold at last term’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale, she was purchased privately post-sale for $61,000.


SARATOGA OAKS INVITATIONAL S., $695,000, Saratoga, 8-2, 3yo, f, 1 3/16mT, 1:55.34, fm.
1–CONCRETE ROSE, 121, f, 3, by Twirling Candy
   1st Dam: Solerina, by Powerscourt (GB)
                2nd Dam: Sky Blue Girl (GB), by Sabrehill
                3rd Dam: Nemea, by The Minstrel
($19,000 RNA Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $20,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP;
$61,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY). O-Ashbrook Farm & BBN Racing,
LLC; B-Ron Patterson (KY); T-George R. Arnold, II; J-Julien R.
Leparoux. $400,000. Lifetime Record: GISW, 7-6-0-0,
2–Happen, 121, f, 3, War Front–Alexandrova (Ire), by Sadler’s
Wells. O-Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier & Derrick Smith;
B-Orpendale/Chelston/Wynatt (KY); T-Aidan P. O’Brien.
3–Kelsey’s Cross, 121, f, 3, Anthony’s Cross–Amy’s Allie, by
Trippi. O-Bacon Barn & Patrick L. Biancone; B-T. Wynn & Mary
Jolley (FL); T-Patrick L. Biancone. $75,000.
Margins: 4 3/4, NO, HD. Odds: 0.30, 6.00, 21.50.
Also Ran: Coral Beach (Ire), Olendon (Fr). Scratched: Her Royal Highness.
Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

The post Concrete Rose Wires the Saratoga Oaks appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Callaghan Shooting For Back-To-Back Scores in Sorrento

Fri, 2019-08-02 12:00

Trainer Simon Callaghan will be at Saratoga Saturday to saddle Bellafina (Quality Road) in the GI Longines Test S., and a short time later, the conditioner will be glued to the nearest television set to watch TDN Rising Star‘ Amalfi Sunrise (Constitution) give the barn consecutive victories in the GII Sorrento S. at Del Mar.

A $40,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $185,000 OBS April purchase, the racy-looking dark bay was pounded into 11-10 favoritism for her June 23 debut at Santa Anita, and although she was beaten for speed by Save the Story (Will Take Charge), Amalfi Sunrise settled kindly off that one’s flank, dueled into upper stretch and pulled clear to score by 6 1/4 authoritative lengths despite having a couple of looks at the grandstand. She has logged no fewer than four works since, including a five-furlong drill in 1:01.20 at the seaside oval July 19.

Trainer Doug O’Neill is a two-time winner of the Sorrento and in the form of Comical (Into Mischief), he’ll have solid claims to add to that total. Herself a dominating six-length Santa Anita graduate May 26 in a time fractionally faster than Amalfi Sunrise, the bay made the trans-continental trip to Saratoga and fought her way to a narrow victory in the GIII Schuylerville S. July 11. Comical tuned up for the Sorrento with a half-mile drill at Del Mar in :48.20 July 27.

In addition to Constitution, another pair of freshman sires are represented in the Sorrento. The Callaghan-trained Shedaresthedevil (Daredevil) employed stalking tactics en route to a 3 1/4-length success for Glencrest Farm and Norm Casse at Churchill June 13. An interest has since been sold to Qatar Racing. Arkansas-bred Powerfulattraction (Commissioner) finished up running to break her maiden by 1 1/4 lengths at first asking at Los Alamitos June 29 and adds Lasix for this far taller task.


The post Callaghan Shooting For Back-To-Back Scores in Sorrento appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Competitive Field Set For Whitney

Fri, 2019-08-02 10:30

Saturday’s prestigious GI Whitney S. at Saratoga has drawn top-class runners from around the world for what is sure to be a memorable renewal. MGISW and ‘TDN Rising Star’ McKinzie (Street Sense) ships in from the West Coast for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. Winner of the GI Pennsylvania Derby and GI Malibu S. last term, the bay came up just a half-length short of the late Breeders’ Cup winner Battle of Midway (Smart Strike) in the GII San Pasqual S. Feb. 2 and was just a nose shy of MGISW Gift Box (Twirling Candy) after a gritty stretch battle in the GI Santa Anita H. Apr. 6. Returning to winning ways with a dominant score in the GII Alysheba S. on the GI Kentucky Derby undercard, he was a close second after a tough trip in the GI Met Mile at Belmont last time June 8.

The globetrotting two-time G1 Dubai World Cup victor Thunder Snow (Ire) (Helmet {Aus}) also makes the trip in to attempt further glory at the Spa. Runner-up in last term’s GI Jockey Club Gold Cup S. at Belmont, he was a good third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs Nov. 3. Kicking off this term with a second in the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 at Meydan Mar. 9, the Godolphin runner successfully defended hit title in the Dubai World Cup Mar. 30, becoming the first repeat winner, and was third last time on these shore in the Met Mile.

“I think the two turns will be helpful and I think what you saw was that he was able to hang on in a very contentious field in the Met Mile,” said Godolphin’s Jimmy Bell. “A mile and a quarter is right up his alley, but I think he’ll be very competitive going a mile and an eighth.”

Representing the Empire State are a pair of Grade I winners in Vino Rosso (Curlin) and Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}). Successful in last term’s GII Wood Memorial S., Vino Rosso opened his 2019 account with a win in Aqueduct’s Stymie S. Mar. 9 and was fourth next out in that venue’s GI Carter H. Apr. 6. The chestnut broke through at the highest level last time in the May 27 GI Santa Anita H.

“I think the nine-furlong distance is ideal for him if there’s an honest pace,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “He’s a very versatile horse. He’s been training great. I think he’s a much better 4-year-old than he was a 3-year-old.”

Securing his first win at the Grade I level  on turf in the Old Forester Turf Classic S. at Churchill last year, Yoshida secured a top-level victory on dirt over the Saratoga main track last summer in the GI Woodward S. in September. Fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the blaze-faced bay returned to turf in the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf S. Jan. 26, finishing sixth. He filled the same spot in both the Dubai World Cup and the GII Stephen Foster S. on the Churchill main June 15.

The post Competitive Field Set For Whitney appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Sophomore Fillies Face Tough ‘Test’

Fri, 2019-08-02 10:20

A competitive field of seven sophomore fillies headlined by the GI Kentucky Oaks winner are set to line up for Saratoga’s GI Test S. Saturday. Victorious in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. in February, Serengeti Empress (Alternation) finished off the board after bleeding badly during the GII Fair Grounds Oaks Mar. 23. She rebounded with a front-running victory in the Kentucky Oaks May 3 and was second last out in Belmont’s June 8 GI Acorn S. behind ‘TDN Rising Star’ Guarana (Ghostzapper), who repeated with a win in the GI CCA Oaks.

“She has done very well over the track and the cut back in distance isn’t a concern based on her last performance,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “She was challenged hard early in that race and she was able to sustain that challenge. There is a lot of speed in the race and that’s the way it is, but I’m going to rely on her class and her speed associated with that class, and let her do that job.”

The undefeated Royal Charlotte (Cairo Prince) makes her first attempt in Grade I company here. A debut winner at Gulfstream Mar. 16, the gray followed suit with an optional claimer score at Keeneland Apr. 19 and won Monmouth Park’s Hystericalady S. May 27. She enters off a decisive score in Belmont’s GIII Victory Ride S. July 5.

Covfefe (Into Mischief) has given the impression she could compete at the top level and looks to break through in Grade I company in this spot. Opening this term with an optional claimer score at Keeneland Apr. 6, the flashy bay followed suit with a sizzling score in the GIII Adena Springs Miss Preakness S. May 17. She was third last time behind GISW Mia Mischief (Into Mischief) in Churchill’s Roxelana S. June 22.

Bellafina (Quality Road) dominated the 3-year-old filly division earlier this term, reeling off impressive wins in the Jan. 6 GII Santa Ynez S., Feb. 9 GII Las Virgenes S. and Apr. 6 GI Santa Anita Oaks. Favored heading into the Kentucky Oaks, she made a late bid, but weakened and could only manage fifth. The bay could be a force here with the cutback in trip.

“We made the decision after the Oaks to freshen her up and give her some time off,” conditioner Simon Callaghan said. “We didn’t really want to rush back in the Acorn, and just felt it was the right time to give her a break and hopefully comes back fresh and ready to fire in this race.”

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Hawthorne Won’t Race 2020 Spring Meet to Allow for Racino Construction

Thu, 2019-08-01 17:42

Hawthorne Race Course will not run a spring Thoroughbred meet in 2020 because the afternoon races will conflict with the large-scale reconstruction of the track’s grandstand and clubhouse that will transform the plant into a racino.

Earlier this summer, Illinois legalized slot machines, table games and sports betting at the state’s commercial pari-mutuel tracks.

The Blood-Horse first broke the story on Thursday, but TDN obtained additional details about the project from both Hawthorne and Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (ITHA) officials.

“The beginning of the construction is going to be in January, and there’s too much loud work that has to be done on the outside and the inside in terms of cutting steel and those types of things,” said Tim Carey, Hawthorne’s president and general manager. “It’s a one-off, one-time event, and we have every indication of being up and running [Thoroughbreds] from October through December.

“We have 400,000 square feet under roof, so we are going to gut the whole building,” Carey continued. “There are going to be 1,200 full gaming positions, as well as a poker room, a 10,000 square foot sports book, and we’re going to re-do and re-design the racing [areas].”

Hawthorne’s night harness racing dates during the construction period will not be disturbed, Carey said, because the day’s work will be completed before the evening cards start.

“The horsemen’s perspective is one of recognition that this is what has to be done in order for the sport to get better in Illinois,” said David McCaffrey, the ITHA’s executive director. “So we’re looking at it in a way of short-term pain, long-term gain.

“Make no mistake, this is going to create a hardship for all sorts of trainers, grooms and backstretch workers,” McCaffrey continued. “We’re going to bite the bullet, but it’s the medicine that we have to take to get better.”

McCaffrey said it was “good news” that Hawthorne has offered to keep backstretch housing open to Thoroughbred licensees during the construction period, because Illinois is one of the few states that allows families to live on racetrack backstretches. Being able to stay at Hawthorne now means some families won’t have to take their children out of the local school district in the middle of the year.

And Hawthorne will offer modified stabling to some Thoroughbred outfits.

“Even though we have harness racing at that time, some of [the Thoroughbred outfits] will be able to stay,” Carey said. “We have some bigger barns where they can stay, but [instead of training on the track] they walk or jog their horses a little bit instead of going to a farm or something like that.”

McCaffrey said the ITHA would “encourage Arlington to open their backstretch as soon as possible” for the 2020 meet that is scheduled to start Apr. 27.

“With no [racing] surface here in Chicago essentially from December until May, I’m positive that they’re going to come to the realization to open as soon as possible to protect their meet,” McCaffrey said.

And what about the prospect of Arlington—which has a synthetic racing surface—racing earlier in the year to fill the six-month gap in the Illinois calendar? Did that topic come up in planning discussions?

Carey said it did, but that it won’t happen.

“We have a dates agreement with Arlington and the horsemen, so there’s no chance of that,” Carey said.

McCaffrey said that if those discussions did happen, the ITHA wasn’t in on them.

“Listen, we’re a horsemen’s association, and we’re made to feel like it,” McCaffrey said. “Arlington never called us before the deadline of [Wednesday] and Hawthorne called us [Wednesday]. So we had no input.

“In a perfect world, it would seem to me that racetracks and horsemen’s associations would sit in a room and try to make each other’s lives easier,” McCaffrey continued. “But it doesn’t happen. I’m not saying we had any legal requirements to be included. It would just be idyllic if that happened. [Not being included in advance planning discussions] disappoints me, but it doesn’t surprise me.”

McCaffrey was asked how many outfits he expects will leave to race elsewhere instead of hunkering down to wait it out while Hawthorne rebuilds.

“To the extent that a certain percentage leaves, practically every one of them will intend to come back,” McCaffrey said. “An Illinois trainer who’s waited for this moment for 10 years is not going to move out of the state permanently because of a three-month hardship.”

The post Hawthorne Won’t Race 2020 Spring Meet to Allow for Racino Construction appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Curlin Filly Cruises to Impressive First-Out Tally in Maryland

Thu, 2019-08-01 17:30

7th-Laurel, $46,000, Msw, 8-1, 3yo/up, f/m, 7f, 1:23.95, ft.
ARRIFANA (f, 3, Curlin–Vaulcluse {SW}, by A.P. Indy) entered this unveiling with a very upbeat worktab over the Fair Hill all weather, and was backed down to 17-10 favoritism facing a field of foes who had mostly had their fair share of chances. Breaking a bit outwardly from her wide draw, the bay dropped back to sit second last while always well off the inside. She began to pick off foes into a :46.84 half, briefly seemed to idle, but found another gear while advancing rapidly out wide into the stretch. Nobody could muster any kind of serious response to Arrifana from there, and she galloped home as she pleased to cruise home 10 lengths the best. Hunting Season (Pioneerof the Nile) completed the exacta. “We honestly were [expecting that kind of effort],” winning trainer Kelly Rubley said. “We’ve been waiting a long time to get this filly to the races. We’ve had a few little issues where we’ve had to slow down but we knew she was worth the wait. [It was] nothing major, [she] just needed a little time here and there, and it was definitely the right thing to wait. She was growing a little too fast for what she needed.” The winner is half to Lukes Alley (Flower Alley), Ch. Older Horse-Can, GISW, $795,122, and fillies by Empire Maker born in 2018 and 2019. Dam Vaulcluse, a track record breaker going an extended mile on the Tampa dirt in her third win from as many starts, was purchased for $600,000 at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton November sale in foal to Lookin At Lucky. She was bred to War Front this season. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $22,800. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O/B-Gunpowder Farms LLC (KY); T-Kelly Rubley.


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Another Winner for American Pharoah at Laurel

Thu, 2019-08-01 16:29

5th-Laurel, $40,000, Msw, 8-1, 2yo, 5 1/2fT, 1:03.21, fm.
KING OF EGYPT (c, 2, American Pharoah–Prof. McGonagall, by Storm Cat), hailing from a productive turf family and looking to become the seventh winner for his Triple Crown-winning freshman sire (by Pioneerof the Nile), dueled and drew off as a 5-1 shot Thursday. Chasing favored fellow firster Chapalu (Flatter) from the two path with another foe perched to his outside, the bay poked a head in front at the head of the lane and edged clear under confident handling late to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths. King of Egypt is a half to It’s Tea Time (Dynaformer), GSW & GISP, $470,226; and to Ultra Brat (Uncle Mo), MGSW & GISP, $478,299. A daughter of GISW Rootentootenwooten (Diesis {GB}), dam Prof. McGonagall has a yearling colt by Uncle Mo and a foal colt by Munnings. She most recently visited Candy Ride (Arg). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $22,800. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
O-Alex G. Campbell, Jr.; B-Alex G. Campbell, Jr. Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-H. Graham Motion.


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NYRA to Launch Empire 6

Thu, 2019-08-01 16:17

The Empire 6, a jackpot-style multi-race wager replacing the traditional Pick 6, will be launched at Saratoga by The New York Racing Association, Inc. Featuring a $0.20 bet minimum and 20% takeout, the Empire 6 will be added to the wagering menu beginning Wednesday, Aug. 7 and continue through the remainder of the 2019 meet at the Spa.

If one unique ticket exists, then 100% of the net pool, plus the jackpot carryover if applicable, will be paid to the winner. If there is no unique wager selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, then 75% of the day’s net pool will be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races. The remainder will be added into the jackpot and carried to the next day’s Empire 6.

The Empire 6 will offer mandatory payout days Sunday, Aug. 18 and Monday, Sept. 2, closing day at the Spa.

“The Empire 6 provides the potential for large payouts with small bets. That makes it attractive to the everyday horseplayer,” said Tony Allevato, President of NYRA Bets. “Bettors have gravitated to this style of wager and we are pleased to be able to offer it at Saratoga along with the benefit of two mandatory payout days during the meet.”

The existing NYRA Pick 6 wager will conclude with a mandatory payout on Saratoga Derby Day, Sunday, Aug. 4.

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Building a 100-Horse Stable, One Micro-Share at a Time

Thu, 2019-08-01 15:18

Michael Behrens has very suddenly–and a bit unexpectedly, he admits–found himself in a position to be buying a significant amount of bloodstock.

Behrens is the co-founder of MyRacehorse, the micro-shares syndicate that acquires partnership interests in racehorses then slices those assets into far smaller investment opportunities that generally cost below $400 per share and usually equate to one-tenth of one percent of ownership in a race-ready horse, all training costs included.

The firm barely existed a year ago and only bought its first 2-year-old at auction this March. Yet Behrens told TDN a recent strategy switch from building a crowdfunded stable with mid-caliber stock to assembling a more elite equine portfolio with six-figure-valued horses has been so well received by individual investors that MyRacehorse now projects to triple its current roster of 35 micro-partnerships by acquiring interests in 100 total horses over the next year.

“It took awhile to catch on,” Behrens said. “I think people were being cautiously optimistic to see if we could deliver what we promised on the micro-share platform. When we first started, we were buying horses valued on average around $30,000. Then halfway through our pilot, we started increasing it to $100,000, and we got more and more positive feedback. As we kept increasing quality, we saw that our growth and quality were perfectly correlated.

“Consumers said that it was exciting to be part of horses for such a low level. But we heard over and over the idea of potentially having the ‘Big Horse’ is what they really wanted to be a part of,” Behrens continued. “And the fact that we are able to break these types of horse investments down into micro-percentages, it gives people access to what was once inaccessible.

“So we said, ‘Let’s just go big. Let’s really get into the top end and see if that continues.”

At this point in MyRacehorse’s career arc, “top end” equates to the 2-year-old Wayne O (Into Mischief), a $750,000 FTSAUG purchase that the syndicate bought a 60% interest in from Spendthrift Farm earlier this summer. The colt, a half-brother to GISW Restless Rider (Distorted Humor), debuts in a Saturday maiden special weight at Saratoga for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Here’s an example of the demand that is driving MyRacehorse toward more expensive bloodstock: On July 25, when shares of Wayne O first became available for purchase on the MyRacehorse app ($95 for a hundredth of one percent of ownership, which includes a separate $600 per-share bonus if the horse ever wins a Grade I), individual investors purchased $103,000 worth of Wayne O shares in the first 30 minutes. The new investor limit was reached within four days, selling out all of the colt’s micro-shares.

“Even a couple of weeks ago, I had no clue we were going to start getting involved with $700,000 and $800,000 purchases like Wayne O and the next deal I’m working on,” Behrens said. “But we’re now intending to spend about 75% of our budget on higher-end 2-year-olds.”

To get a detailed sense of how MyRacehorse works, check out TDN’s original article on the company from June 2018. There have been a few minor pricing and protocol tweaks, but those changes have been updated on the company’s FAQ page.

Behrens (a marketing executive who’s developed direct-to-consumer strategies for both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies) and co-founder David Kandasamy (a technology specialist who worked as a product development executive at Netscape, AOL, and Yahoo) spent the year before the firm’s launch grinding away at legal due diligence to make sure the offerings on MyRacehorse were in compliance with securities laws.

After operating for the first year as a pilot program in which only California residents could purchase micro-shares, on July 14 MyRacehorse received Securities and Exchange Commission permission to begin accepting investments from 43 states (Texas, Nevada, Arizona, Alabama, Nebraska, Florida and Washington are the holdouts, but the firm expects several of those will be available soon).

“A few weeks ago we exited being available in California only, and this past Saturday alone we had 100 new people become owners in one day,” Behrens said. “Business has just been crazy-phenomenal in terms of word of mouth.

“As new owners enjoy the experience, they’re sharing it with others,” Behrens continued. “How fast people are adopting the micro-shares platform is amazing. It doesn’t take a lot of people. It’s the power of the crowd. People are starting to take notice that we have a lot of purchasing power because we bring people together to do this.”

Behrens said the decision to upgrade horseflesh was overwhelmingly based on customer feedback.

“What we heard [from micro-investors] is we want 2-year-olds and we want the opportunity to participate in big races,” Behrens said. “So we started with a modest budget of like a couple hundred grand, and OBS March was the first time we went to a sale and started looking for partners. We picked up a Jimmy Creed filly that we liked for $65,000 in partnership with Cardinal Hill Racing. It sold phenomenally [on the micro-shares platform]. So we went back in April.”

At OBSAPR, MyRacehorse bought interests in three more juveniles, partnering separately with owners Joey Platts and Slam Dunk Racing to combine for $360,000 worth of purchases. At OBSJUN the firm partnered with Winning Move Stable for another $100,000 colt.

Around the same time, MyRacehorse also started scouting for in-training graded stakes prospects. After Street Band (Istan) won the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, Behrens landed a piece of her for “a hefty valuation.” She subsequently ran sixth in the GI Kentucky Oaks, but became the syndicate’s first graded stakes winner on July 13 when she scored in the GIII Indiana Oaks.

Simultaneously, Behrens began negotiating to acquire partnership interests in two juveniles Spendthrift bought as yearlings. One was Wayne O. The other, Tizamagician (Tiznow), is a $150,000 FTSAUG colt who ran second in his July 27 Del Mar debut. Behrens said 140 of the syndicate’s micro-owners showed up to cheer him on.

“Our trainer, Dick Mandella, told [Spendthrift owner] B. Wayne Hughes, ‘I can’t believe I got a standing ovation for running second,'” Behrens said. “Wayne actually came out to watch the race with us, and customers wanted to meet him to thank him for the opportunity to partner on a really good horse. It was a special day.”

Right now there are five open micro-partnership opportunities available on MyRacehorse (30 others are sold out). All are 2-year-olds valued between $180 and $320 per one-tenth of one percent share.

Behrens said MyRacehorse intends to keep acquiring horses as long as the demand for micro-shares warrants further buying.

“When [potential partners] started seeing us on tickets at the OBS sale, people started calling us,” Behrens said. “So yeah, we’re buying aggressive. The idea of being a major player in buying graded stakes-quality horses of racing age, buying into a percentage of horses that were high-priced yearlings, and going to the 2-year-old sales and hitting the hammer more aggressively, that is where our focus is going to be, and that’s absolutely what you’ll see from us going forward.”

Behrens said that even though eventually acquiring horses as yearlings might have some appeal, the firm isn’t quite prepared to invest in horses that are a year away from being race-ready.

“The yearling sales, we are just not ready for yet,” Behrens said. “But we are starting to consider that because many of our customers understand there’s the possibility to do a little bit better on ROI if we acquire horses earlier, especially if we’re open to [pinhooking] them. But that’s just a little bit premature for us right now. We’d like to focus on getting horses that are closer to racing, and get a few more trips to the winner’s circle under our belt.”

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Phones Temporarily Out at the TDN

Wed, 2019-07-31 19:34

In the wave of violent thunderstorms that passed through the Northeast earlier today, the TDN building was struck by lightning and we have temporarily lost our phone service. We hope to have this rectified as soon as possible, but in the meantime, please contact us via the following methods:

Advertising: email

Editorial: email

If you need to contact us by phone, please call Sue Finley at 732-614-3124.

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Legendary Chicago Trainer Richard Hazelton Dies

Wed, 2019-07-31 16:10

Richard Hazelton, who transitioned from a successful career as a jockey to become a perennial leading trainer on the Chicago circuit, passed away Tuesday. The father of TVG personality Scott Hazelton, Richard Hazelton was 88 years old.

The elder Hazelton was the leading rider at Agua Caliente Racetrack in 1945 in a colony that also included the likes of Johnny Longden, according to a video recently posted on Twitter by TVG.

“He had a fake ID that was supposed to allow him ride that year at Del Mar that said he was 16, but he ultimately didn’t do it,” Scott Hazelton said in the video. “He was doing so good [at Agua Caliente]. It wasn’t like he was riding against stiffs. He was going to be up at Del Mar riding and they decided not to and ultimately it was the best thing that he didn’t.”

According to Equibase statistics, Hazelton sent out the winners of 4,745 races (from 25,479) starters, beginning in 1957, and the earners of better than $40 million. Wintering in Arizona, where he won a record 16 titles at Turf Paradise, Hazelton spent his summers at the Chicago-area racetracks, winning no fewer than 18 champion trainer titles at the old Sportsman’s Park, three at nearby Hawthorne Race Course and eight at Arlington Park. He saddled his final runners in 2011.

“He was Turf Paradise, he was Sportsman’s Park, he was Arlington Park–that was him,” trainer Bob Baffert said in the TVG video. “He’s up here to me,” Baffert added, flattening his hand and raising it over his head. “He’s a better horseman than I’ll ever be.”

Hazelton posted some of his best years statistically in the early 1980s, sending out 21% winners to runners in 1981, including GI American Derby winner Pocket Zipper, the lone top-level winner of his career. Hazelton was perhaps best known for his work with Illinois-breds and particularly those owned by Gail and Dr. Richard Radke’s Asiel Stable. The Radkes campaigned countless state-bred restricted stakes winners with Hazelton, including half-siblings Classic Appeal and Bonita Meadow as well as the latter’s daughter Meadow Drive.

“He lived a life that was insane, the people he crossed paths with, the people he trained for,” Scott Hazelton said in the video. “You would never know it meeting him or talking to him, you would never know what he was as a trainer.”


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Another Into Mischief Filly Romps To Rising Stardom

Wed, 2019-07-31 14:39

Risky Mischief (Into Mischief) lost an opportunity when her would-be debut was one of the casualties of torrential rains that forced the cancellation of racing at Saratoga following race four July 25. But the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton New York-Bred Sale graduate made a booming impression in the rescheduled event Wednesday afternoon at the Spa, validating 3-4 favoritism with a thoroughly dominating victory, good for the ‘TDN Rising Star’ tag.

Drawn pole position, the March foal only beat one out of the stalls, but quickly mustered for speed up the fence to lead after the opening furlong and the race was over, for all intents and purposes. Traveling on the bridle throughout for Jose Ortiz, she turned for home with a commanding advantage and was not fully extended through the final eighth of a mile, scoring by 7 1/2 lengths. Fellow firster Playtone (Tonalist) chased home the winner to finish clearly second best.

Even prior to last week’s race, the word was out on Risky Mischief, as she matched motors with Stillwater S. winner My Italian Rabbi (Competitive Edge) in a four-furlong work over the main track that was timed in :49 4/5 before galloping out well past her company. Bred by Sandy Bacon from the 2012 Union Avenue S. winner, Risky Mischief’s second dam was the classy New York-bred Dancin Renee (Distinctive Pro), a two-time stakes winner in restricted company who also annexed Saratoga’s GIII Honorable Miss S. in 1997.

Dancin Renee’s half-brother was the popular Empire-bred Say Florida Sandy (Personal Flag), a five-time graded winner and earner of better than $2 million. Risky Rachel is the dam of the Tiznow yearling colt Tiz Time For Wine and produced a full-sister to Risky Rachel this season. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.

3rd-Saratoga, $78,000, (S), Msw, 7-31, 2yo, f, 6f, 1:13.05, ft.
RISKY MISCHIEF, f, 2, by Into Mischief
1st Dam: Risky Rachel, by Limehouse
2nd Dam: Dancin Renee, by Distinctive Pro
3rd Dam: Lolli Lucka Lolli, by Sweet Candy (Ven)
Sales history: $350,000 Ylg ’18 SARAUG. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $42,900. *1ST TIME STARTER.
O-Jeff Drown; B-Sanford Bacon (NY); T-Jeremiah C Englehart.

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Medaglia d’Oro Better than Ever at 20

Wed, 2019-07-31 14:07

With eight select yearlings in Fasig-Tipton’s upcoming Saratoga sale–including a full-sister to his GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint winner Bar of Gold; a filly out of a full-sister to the dam of his multiple Grade I-winning star Elate; and a colt out of a half-sister to his two-time champion Songbird–it is not unreasonable to expect fireworks from Medaglia d’Oro this summer. After all, he had eight yearlings bring $1 million or more last year in the sales ring, the year after he had seven individual Grade I winners on the racetrack and, somehow, he only seems to get better each year. Medaglia d’Oro has made a career of making brilliancy seem routine.

“Medaglia d’Oro showed what he can do on the racetrack and also his prowess in the sales ring, which is really the bullseye for an elite stallion. To be able to get you that top runner but also that commercial score just earmarks what a special stallion he is and we’re obviously very lucky that he stands here at Jonabell,” said Darren Fox, sales manager for Darley at Jonabell Farm.

“Obviously a horse of Medaglia d’Oro’s caliber would be the cornerstone of any stud farm,” continued Fox, “and he just continues to go from strength to strength.”

Those of us around racing 20 years ago were awash in the Eclipse campaigns of Charismatic (Summer Squall), Anees (Unbridled), Victory Gallop (Cryptoclearance), and Artax (Marquetry). All were top racehorses who had moments of brilliance on the track, but not necessarily in the breeding shed. No one would have guessed a bay colt born that year by Ireland’s juvenile champion El Prado (Ire) would set first the racing and then the breeding world on fire, leaving reverberations that will surely be felt for generations to come.

El Prado was a very good sire, to be sure, but was one of a very few sons of Sadler’s Wells to find success at stud in North America. There were plenty to be found across the pond–and this was even before the days of Sadler’s Wells greatest gifts to Europe in super sires Galileo (Ire), who is only a year older than Medaglia d’Oro, and Montjeu (Ire), three years his elder–but grass racing wasn’t as popular in the U.S. at the time as it is now. El Prado’s other exceptional sire son, Kitten’s Joy, would not be born for two more years. The smartest minds in the business could not have remotely guessed two decades ago that El Prado, who stood for just $10,000 the year Medaglia d’Oro was conceived, would be the sire of two of the top stallions in North America and certainly could not have predicted Medaglia d’Oro’s prowess on dirt himself, first as a racehorse and then as a sire.

Medaglia d’Oro’s female family was sprinkled with nondescript black-type, but, other than some graded action deep under his third dam, there was nothing to indicate the star he would become. After he broke his maiden at second asking, he was sold privately and transferred to the barn of Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel. Frankel could do little wrong with the horse, immediately winning the GII San Felipe S. and putting him on the Triple Crown trail. Medaglia d’Oro wouldn’t win a Classic, with his best finish a second in the GI Belmont S., but he did take the GI Travers S. and Jim Dandy S. before the year was through. He would eventually add the GI Whitney H., GI Donn H., and several other graded stakes as well as two consecutive runner-up finishes in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic and a second in the G1 Dubai World Cup.

“As a race horse, Medaglia d’Oro was ultra tough, ultra consistent, and just performed at the highest level time and time again,” said Fox. “An elite performer, he did run first or second in 15 over 17 starts, and in 14 of the starts he ran triple-digit Beyers up to a high of 120, so [he was] just an amazing, consistent, high-performing athlete through every year he raced, so he certainly is a rare performer in that regard.”

But the best was yet to come.

Medaglia d’Oro entered stud in 2005. It turned out to be a banner year for new sires, as his fellow first-timers in the breeding shed included what are now legendary names like Tapit (Pulpit), Candy Ride (Arg) (Ride the Rails), and Speightstown (Gone West). All found success right out of the gate, siring a minimum of two Grade/Group I winners with their first crop, but when the dust settled, only one had a Horse of the Year in that first crop. That, of course, was Medaglia d’Oro with the spectacular Rachel Alexandra, Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old filly. Medaglia d’Oro’s other champions to date include Songbird, Vancouver, Passion for Gold, and Wonder Gadot. The striking bay has sired four individual Breeders’ Cup winners, a Classic winner, two Kentucky Oaks winners, and a Golden Slipper winner among his 130 black-type winners. Of his 66 graded stakes winners, 22 are Grade/Group I winners .

“What makes Medaglia d’Oro special is obviously his ability to get elite performances on both surfaces, just his versatility, he’s the only stallion in the world that has sired five Grade I winners on dirt and turf in the last five years, so that just really highlights what [he] can do,” said Fox.

And he’s not done yet.

Medaglia d’Oro has 111 current juveniles, 106 current yearlings, and 102 foals of 2019, many out of mares that would be the envy of any stallion manager’s book. Ditto with mares in foal for 2020. Judging by the way his 2-year-olds were received at auction earlier this year, led by a $1.2 million colt at Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale in March, it would not be a stretch to conjecture that Medaglia d’Oro could still come up with several more stars. Nor would it be a stretch to imagine him as a mainstay in the breeding shed for several years yet.

“At 20 years of age,” said Fox, “he looks absolutely phenomenal. He’s had another great season in the breeding shed, excellent stats and, as you can see by his condition, doesn’t look a color of his age, so we’re really thrilled with how he’s been performing in the shed, and how he looks in his general health and vitality.

“We’re very excited about what the future holds for Medaglia d’Oro and his dynasty as a sire of sires.”

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Major Purse Increases for 2020 Oaklawn Stakes

Wed, 2019-07-31 12:24

Oaklawn Park has announced significant purse increases to a number of its 2020 stakes as the Arkansas oval will for the second year host a meet that stretches into May. Four stakes at meet, which runs from Jan. 24 to May 2, will feature $1-million purses: the Mar 14 GII Rebel S., Apr. 11 GI Arkansas Derby, Apr. 18 GI Oaklawn H. and Apr. 18 GI Apple Blossom H. Both the Oaklawn H. and Apple Blossom have been pushed back on the calendar and given $250,000 purse bumps.

The purse for the Feb. 17 GIII Southwest S. for sophomore males has also been increased by $250,000 to $750,000, and purses its three preps for the GI Kentucky Oaks have been raised as well: by $25 ,000 for the Feb. 1 $150,000 Martha Washington S., and by $100,000 each for the now $300,000 GIII Honeybee S. Mar. 7 and $600,000 GIII Fantasy S. Apr. 10. The second-annual $300,000 Oaklawn Invitational for 3-year-olds will again be run on GI Kentucky Derby day.

“We have so many great things happening now at Oaklawn and it’s reflected in our remarkable stakes program scheduled for the 2020 season,” Oaklawn President Louis Cella said. “We are especially proud of the increases we made to our 3-year-old series for horses on the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks trail.”

The inaugural 1 1/2-mile Temperence Hill S. for older horses will be contested Mar. 13.

With the shift of the Oaklawn H. and Apple Blossom, this will be the first time that the Racing Festival of the South will stretch past the Arkansas Derby.

“My father conceived the idea for the Racing Festival of the South in 1974 and since that time it’s become one of the most prominent events on the national racing calendar,” Cella said. “I think he would be thrilled to see the purses of the Oaklawn Handicap and Apple Blossom at $1 million each.”

Oaklawn’s 2020 stakes schedule features a total of 33 races worth $10,700,000. Overall, 15 of those stakes received purse increases including four Arkansas-bred stakes.


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Keeneland Catalogues 4,644 for September Sale

Wed, 2019-07-31 11:33

Keeneland has released the catalogue for its upcoming September Yearling Sale. A total of 4,644 yearlings have been catalogued for the auction, which will run from Sept. 9-22. The sale begins with a three-session Book 1–190 yearlings have been catalogued for the first two sessions and 189 for the third session–beginning daily at noon. Book 1 will be followed by a dark day Thursday and the auction resumes with a two-session Book 2, with bidding beginning at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

A total of 569 yearlings are cataloged in this year’s Book 1, compared to 989 yearlings in Book 1 in 2018. The Book 2 catalogue is 730 horses, compared to 826 last year.

“Keeneland is in constant communication with our sales clients, and we work with them to determine the best way to structure the September sale each year to produce the strongest market we can–by enabling consignors to best present their yearlings and giving buyers adequate time to inspect these horses,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “We feel the revised format of the 2019 September sale and the other exciting changes at Keeneland will create a successful atmosphere that rewards participants.”

The September catalogue will be available online at beginning Aug. 6 and print catalogues will be received Aug. 19 and 20.

Ahead of the September sale, Keeneland has completed the first phase of its multi-year stable area renovation. Barns 11-19, which are located closest to the sales pavilion, feature new roofs, re-graded walking rings, a new drainage system, upgraded LED lighting, new electrical wiring and new trees.

“The goal of this project is not only to enhance the barn areas, but to bring the walking rings and areas where consignors present horses for inspection on par with the caliber of horses being showcased,” Keeneland Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Vince Gabbert said.

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Pete Pedersen Outstanding Steward Awards Nominations Deadline Extended

Tue, 2019-07-30 17:05

The deadline for the 2019 Pete Pedersen Awards has been extended to Sept. 15, it was announced by the Racing Officials Accreditation Program (ROAP). The Pete Pedersen Award is presented annually to stewards who have made important contributions to the Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing industries. The award is named in honor of the longtime outstanding steward and noted journalist Pete Pedersen.

The recipients will be recognized Tuesday, Dec. 10, at the annual awards luncheon at the University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program’s Global Symposium on Racing and Gaming in Tucson, Ariz.

Click here for more information.

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Murphy’s Success No Exaggeration

Tue, 2019-07-30 16:51

When Joe Murphy purchased the 350-acre Stoneleigh Farm 13 years ago, the Lexington businessman admitted the land was mostly for “relaxation,” but the operation hit the big time as the breeder of multiple Grade I winner Exaggerator (Curlin) and again when selling that star’s half-sister by Medaglia d’Oro for $1.3 million at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale last August. Murphy returns to Saratoga next week with a yearling full-sister to Exaggerator who sells as hip 206 through the Warrendale Sales consignment during Tuesday’s second session of the auction.

Murphy, who owns Buds Gun Shop and Range, credits his father, J.B. Murphy, with his interest in racing and breeding.

“It pretty much all started with my dad,” Murphy said. “He was always around horses and he got involved in the Thoroughbred business in the mid-80s. He bought a mare and bred her and his intention was to sell the offspring, but he got too attached and decided to keep them and started racing them. He did that through the late 80s and early 90’s and then got out of the business.”

Murphy purchased Stoneleigh Farm in Paris in 2006, but racing and breeding wasn’t originally in the plan.

“I bought the farm with the intention of just having the green space,” he explained. “But then I kind of got the bug and decided to buy a few mares.”

The fledgling breeding operation soon became a partnership between Murphy and the man who had first introduced him to the sport.

“I started buying some mares and my dad realized that I probably didn’t know what I was doing, so he said, ‘I’ll tell you what. I’ll split the mares with you.’ So we started going in 50-50 on them and that’s where I am today.”

Murphy and his father partnered to purchase then 3-year-old Dawn Raid (Vindication) for $50,000 at the 2008 Keeneland November sale. The filly raced in their colors just once, finishing a well-beaten seventh in a Turfway optional claimer that December.

“We sent Dawn Raid to Ken McPeek and she really didn’t perform very well,” Murphy said. “We didn’t know if she had a breathing issue or what, so we sent her to Rood and Riddle [Equine Hospital] and they did a treadmill test with her. They said she was the fastest horse that they’d had on a treadmill. My dad was trying to find a treadmill race and he couldn’t find any, so we decided to breed her.”

Exaggerator, who was Dawn Raid’s third foal, sold for $110,000 at the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The dark bay went on to win the 2016 GI Preakness S., GI Haskell Invitational and GI Santa Anita Derby. He was second behind Nyquist (Uncle Mo) in the GI Kentucky Derby.

Asked if there were mixed emotions in watching a horse he had bred have such success on the track, Murphy said pragmatically, “I went up to the Derby and watched him and that was really exciting and we went up to the [GI] Belmont [S.]. It was a really fun experience. But the way I look at it, if we had owned him, he probably wouldn’t have been where he was. That’s just Murphy’s law. I was just glad for the success of the owners.”

The Murphys campaigned Dawn Raid’s Pioneerof the Nile filly Nile Queen, who was claimed away before Exaggerator made headlines.

“My dad was miffed about that,” Murphy said of the claim. “I tried to claim her back–this was when Exaggerator was a 2-year-old and he was starting to get hot. She was entered in a claiming race and I had it set up to try and put a claim on her, but they ended up scratching her and she didn’t race again. They ended up breeding her [to Bernardini] and flipping her for $525,000 [at the 2016 Keeneland November sale].”

The father-son team have maintained one member of the family for their two-horse broodmare band partnership. Dawn Raid’s 3-year-old daughter Mischieviousmaximus (Curlin) will be bred next year.

“She cracked her sesamoid last year,” Murphy said of the unraced filly. “We thought, with the way she was progressing, we could probably race her and there was a chance, but it really wasn’t worth the risk. Dr. [Larry] Bramlage thought there was a good percentage that she would reinjure it, so we just decided to turn her out. I wasn’t in any rush to breed her, so she’s just been enjoying the grass.”

Exaggerator’s six-figure yearling price tag was the most Murphy had ever sold a horse for–until last year’s Saratoga sale when Phoenix Thoroughbreds made the final bid of $1.3 million to acquire the filly now named Morning Dream (Medaglia d’Oro).

“It was really neat,” Murphy said of the experience. “My dad’s health is marginal. So my wife and I went a couple days before and then I flew my dad up the day of the sale. As the numbers kept getting higher, my dad was sitting there saying, ‘We shouldn’t have sold her. We shouldn’t have sold her.’ And my mom was sitting next to him and she was saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ She is a CPA and she’s seen the numbers, from back in the ’80s when he was involved, and she works on my finances–being in this industry can be tough. He was struggling letting go and she was all excited that we’d finally broken even.”

Murphy admitted last year’s success will be difficult to duplicate with Exaggerator’s full-sister this year.

“This filly looks really, really good and I think she’ll do well,” Murphy said of Dawn Raid’s Curlin yearling. “But I’d say it would be hard to top last year.”

Dawn Raid produced a colt by Medaglia d’Oro this year and Murphy has high expectations for the weanling.

“He looks phenomenal,” Murphy said of the foal. “The wise thing would probably be to sell him, depending on my dad’s temperature. He’s 83 years old and, like I said, he doesn’t really like to sell anything. So I don’t know what we’ll do. Chances are we will sell him, but there is still a possibility that we might keep him.”

In addition to the two mares he owns in partnership with his father, Murphy also has two mares of his own with the main goal of breeding to sell.

“Our intent is to sell–that’s why I got into it,” he explained. “It was more for the breeding. I don’t mind racing, but it’s really hard to make money on the racing side. But if we have something we think is quality and we aren’t going to get the right price, we’ll keep and race it and see what happens.”

Murphy downsized Stoneleigh Farm three years ago, selling 300 acres to Archie St. George.

“I’ve got a little over 50 acres,” he said. “It’s more manageable. Even before I sold to Archie, I probably still had the same number of horses and was using almost the same space that I use now. But it’s taken some of the pressure off, I don’t have to worry about mowing or neighbors complaining about fencing or anything like that.”

The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Sale of Selected Yearlings will be held next Monday and Tuesday at the Humphrey S. Finney Pavilion. Each sessions begins at 6:30 p.m.

The post Murphy’s Success No Exaggeration appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Impact Only So Deep Because Broad as Well

Tue, 2019-07-30 16:08

Given that his own sire had overcome a pretty mediocre family to become no less potent, it might seem misplaced to insist on due credit for the other genetic contributors to the legacy of Deep Impact (Jpn). On the face of it, after all, the career of Sunday Silence might suggest that the bull–in his case, Halo–really can be more than half the herd.

For some of us, however, even the most successful sire-line can only ever be one strand in a complex mesh–and, as such, there will always be latent influences that combine to produce a runner and/or stallion. To cling stubbornly only to the sire-line, or a combination of sire-lines, is a lazy conflation of statistical convenience (above all, in this era of such huge books) with statistical fact.

And it would be churlish, as such, to survey the striking balance in Deep Impact’s pedigree–matching influences starkly associated with both turf and dirt–without wondering whether it might contain lessons for an industry so prescriptive, nowadays, in keeping apart the bloodlines perceived to serve those different disciplines.

Deep Impact was out of Wind In Her Hair (Ire), and duly keeps alive the memory of a true gentleman in her late trainer, John Hills. In finishing second in the Oaks, Wind In Her Hair extended the distinctions clustered around her grand-dam Highclere, who won Classics in England and France in the royal silks and also produced an exceptional matriarch in Height Of Fashion, dam of Nashwan, Unfuwain and Nayef among others.

Height Of Fashion was by Bustino, a son of Busted; while Wind In Her Hair’s dam Burghclere was by Busted himself, a slow-burning source of stamina. Highclere’s grand-dam Hypericum, meanwhile, won the 1,000 Guineas in the silks of King George VI, while the next dam was placed in both that Classic and the Oaks. So this is a bottom line saturated not just with quality but with chlorophyll–and it was lined up squarely against a great dirt runner in Sunday Silence.

The first thing that leaps out at you, given that Deep Impact was by a son of Halo out of a mare by a grandson of Northern Dancer, is that here is another stallion of international influence (like Danehill) who doubles up the great Almahmoud–as second dam of both Halo and Northern Dancer.

For what it may be worth, moreover, her sire Mahmoud also recurs, top and bottom, lurking behind the dams of both Sunday Silence and Alzao–whose dam Lady Rebecca was by Sir Ivor, a son of Mahmoud’s grand-daughter Attica.

As an exported Derby winner, Mahmoud is only one of several dynamic European conduits in Lady Rebecca’s background. She carries Princequillo and Sir Gallahad on both sides. Turn-To and the brothers Pharamond and Sickle are also there, while her own sire, Sir Ivor, famously made the reverse trip to win at Epsom. In those days, happily, people didn’t have the same fatuous prejudice that turf is turf, and dirt is dirt, and never the twain shall meet.

At the top of Deep Impact’s pedigree, Halo replicates some of these transatlantic influences, notably as a grandson of Turn-To. Pharamond was grandsire of Halo’s dam, Almahmoud’s daughter Cosmah; while his sire Hail To Reason’s grand-dam was a Sir Gallahad mare.

But it was Sunday Silence’s maternal family, combined with a build that found equal disfavour with purists, that made him a serial reject–both in the sales ring, and also when it came to finding a domestic farm prepared to match the Japanese valuation of a superlative dirt runner.

Wishing Well, his dam, was a grand-daughter of Promised Land, a hard-knocking performer in the 1950s. Himself out of a Mahmoud mare, Promised Land achieved his most immediate celebrity as broodmare sire of Spectacular Bid, so while Wishing Well was a Grade II winner on turf you might say there’s a bit of dirt efficiency in that neighbourhood.

But Sunday Silence’s next several dams were notoriously lacking in accomplishment. True, there was dormant brilliance in his seventh dam, the English Classic winner Cinna. A grand-daughter of a genuine track legend in La Fleche, Cinna was inbred 3×3 to La Fleche’s mother Quiver, who was also second dam of her great sire Polymelus. But nobody can get too carried away by these parchments of scroll.

Perhaps there was more alchemy than could be guessed, however, through Wishing Well’s dam–who was by an Argentinian grandson of Hyperion named Montparnasse. His first four dams were all bred in the Pampas, so who can say what kind of hybrid spark may have been preserved down there, igniting only once restored to the Northern Hemisphere mainstream?

The theory goes that Sunday Silence fortuitously stumbled on a gene pool that gave him a chance he would never have taken in Kentucky. But the fact is that his principal heir brought together genes of a breadth and balance you only get with the kind of adventure largely resisted by American and European breeders in recent times.

Even in creating his own empire, in Japan, Deep Impact himself suffered from the way reputations become self-fulfilling according to environment. His most proficient European runner, Saxon Warrior, had a turf family but a running style tailormade for dirt. Kept to grass, he ended up being viewed as rather an enigma, without an optimum distance. Who knows? Had Saxon Warrior been tried on dirt, he might now be standing at Ashford, instead of in Co Tipperary.

That way, the legacy of his grandsire might yet have found some expression on the surface across which Sunday Silence achieved greatness. As it is, Deep Impact has been taken from us at 17, living only a year longer than his sire. And, with his books dominated by turf mares, you have to doubt whether the versatility and variegation stored in his pedigree will ever be allowed to percolate with the same freedom.

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