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Bradley Makes Racing A Numbers Game

Tue, 2018-02-06 10:21

Attempting to make an impact in the bloodstock industry without any form of early equine education would surely be considered a disadvantage. Fortunately for Nick Bradley, he appears to have been blessed with the sort of restless and analytical mind which would be the envy of most dyed-in-the-wool horse folk.

A former primary school teacher, and a professional gambler for 15 years, the 40-year-old has not only established the burgeoning Nick Bradley Racing syndicate but has investors in 30 broodmares under the banner of Glebe Farm in Lincolnshire.

His racing branch began after a parting of the ways with Middleham Park, for whom he bought the likes of G1 Sprint Cup winner G Force (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) and the dependable Penitent (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}).

An early Royal Ascot winner in the Queen Alexandra S. with Commissioned (Ire) (Authorized {Ire}) arrived before the white and black silks were carried to victory 41 times in their second season. There were several more near-misses with Raising Sand (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), who is likely to be kept on ice for the Royal Hunt Cup.

“I’m a bit overwhelmed by how much backing I’ve received from people,” he said. “I think I spent north of £2-million at the sales last year and we’ve got less than 10% of the stock left to sell. The nature of the sales system is you spend it all in one go, then you’ve got three or four months to sell all the shares as the yearlings turn two. We jumped in both feet first, started off with about a dozen yearlings that ran at two; this year we’re up to about 40. The supporters are really investors, not people wanting a day out and I couldn’t be happier, to be honest.”

The string is split between 17 trainers in Britain and Ireland, including such wise heads as Roger Charlton, Gordon Elliott, David O’Meara and Joseph O’Brien. However, it is transparent that Bradley’s input is part of the deal.

“I was always gifted at maths and that sort of helped me select and manage horses; I think it gives me an edge,” he explained. “When the hammer goes down, 99 times out of 100 I own that horse so I have to make sure I’m happy owning it at that price. I have to make sure I’ve made zero errors–if you buy the wrong horse it could sink a company like mine.”

“With every horse of interest, I watch all its races so when I get to the sales I’ve not got a list of two horses, I’ve probably got 5% of the catalogue at the right price,” he continued. “I’ll place them with the trainer I think will get the best out of them and place them where I think they’ll do their best, so when they line up they’re not 33-1, 50-1 chances. We had a 14% strike-rate last year, I think that’s pretty good considering the amount we spend on the horses.”

Bradley uses a similar train of thought when it comes to recruiting yearlings, which invariably remain in the five-figure bracket.

“If I’m keen to buy a horse, I try to find a trainer who was also keen on it,” he explained. “I don’t have to bid against them in the sales ring, and that strategy adds up in the long run.”

“I bought an Iffraaj (GB) (Zafonic) filly at Book 1 for 67,000gns but Richard Fahey probably had 80,000 to get her. By teaming up, we saved the man in the street money straight away and improved my odds in getting a return on what I spent,” he said. “I’m not from a horse background at all but I find that the best judge of a horse is the person that goes around and looks at the most. After comparing hundreds and hundreds, your eye improves. People like Richard Fahey, Robin and Mouse O’Ryan and David O’Meara kind of guided me at the beginning and I’ve learned and gone and done my own thing.”

Sometimes, though, Bradley’s processes seem to belong to a different intellectual plane altogether, as he bandies around a few more examples.

“Tattersalls Book 1 fillies only need to win a Class 5 race to win the £25,000 bonus whereas a colt would need to win a Class 4 race. So if I bought a filly in Book 1 I’d try to send that to a trainer in the north because there are a lot more Class 5 maidens or novices now in the north. For a colt, Class 4 races tend to be in the south, so I’d position it there.”

“Lots goes through my head,” he added. “We have a filly called Bungee Jump (Ire) (Canford Cliffs {Ire}), who won at Kempton the other night. I’d have probably been telling the owners to move her on at the end of her 2-year-old career but I’ve noticed through the last couple of winters that 3-year-old races on the all-weather are very lowly subscribed. It’s very fixture book oriented, and whenever I place horses, I try to find weak races.”

Even the best laid plans go awry. Bradley bought Line House (GB) (Kheleyf) for 27,000gns in November specifically to send to Dubai for what he considered winnable 3-year-old fillies’ events. Unfortunately, she was in season after a disappointing effort behind Winter Lightning (Ire) (Shamardal) in the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial and may go on the recovery trail in the main event on Thursday.

“I thought she ticked every box, hopefully she’ll do better this week,” he rued.

Bradley also has mixed emotions about Thunderbolt Rocks (GB), a Hugo Palmer-trained son of Farhh (GB) who is tackling the colts’ division.

“I actually bought (G3 Acomb S. winner) Wells Farhh Go (Ire) as a foal and sold him as a yearling, and at the same time bought this one, so I kind of got it half right,” he explained. “Thunderbolt Rocks ran very green first time and then won easily at Wolverhampton. Unfortunately there are loads of 3-year-old colts in Dubai and ideally we’d run in the Guineas if we don’t get balloted out, or there’s another turf race. Sometimes when you take them back from Dubai they have an edge on the ones who have wintered over here, particularly if we have a harsh winter, so hopefully we can take him somewhere like the Craven meeting.”

The stud is expecting 20 foals this season, from the likes of Kodiac (GB), Exceed And Excel (Aus), Belardo (Ire) and The Gurkha (Ire), taking a commercial stance with a view to sell, but one of the wisest decisions taken so far was to keep the homebred Cribbs Causeway (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) to race. She won five times through the campaign and was listed placed at Lingfield.

“She was out of a Dansili mare, Bristol Fashion, the first mare I’ve ever bought, and the best pedigree I’ve ever bought. Cribbs Causeway was her first foal and I’d be surprised if she didn’t win a group race this year. We resisted a couple of offers through the winter and she’s likely to start in a new race at York for older fillies at the May meeting.”

Despite showing an ability to adapt, Bradley is clearly not immune to frustrations with the industry.

“Everyone is going to say prize money but I do think trainers are taking advantage of the situation a little bit,” he said. “This year nearly all of mine put their training fees up, a lot of them blamed rises in wages but when I go to the yards a lot seem to be understaffed and are having problems recruiting. It just annoys me a bit because the margins they operate at appear to be excessive, for me. I can understand it, a lot of them are successful, but it does make it difficult for people like me and my investors to get involved.”

“The paperwork I find excessive as well,” he added. “You get charged £350 to set up an account to race a horse, then there’s the running costs. I won a listed race in France last year and when I checked the statement I’d been credited prize-money on one exchange rate and debited jockey and trainers’ percentages on a different one, and both were against the owner’s interest. There’s no need for that in my eye.”

“Some of the race planning is a bit ambiguous and poorly thought out, too,” Bradley said. “When I hear all the trainers complaining about the same thing, I think they should pay a bit more notice and apply a bit of common sense.”

If a few others in authority shared the cerebral capacity of this particular individual, then one imagines that creative solutions would quickly be found.

Status Quo at FTKFEB Day One

Mon, 2018-02-05 20:36

LEXINGTON, Ky – Monday’s opening session of the Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale, topped by the broodmare prospect Bling on the Music (Too Much Bling) (hip 68), set figures largely on par with its 2017 edition and in line with recent market trends.

Out of 300 horses catalogued for Monday’s session, 246 went through the ring and 181 sold for a gross of $4,143,200. With 65 horses reported not sold, the buy-back rate was 26.4%, down from 31.1% a year ago. The average dipped 20.3% to $22,841, while the median ticked up 2.6% to $10,000. Nine horses sold for six figures Monday, down from 12 a year ago.

“I think it is the same marketplace that we have seen,” Fasig-Tipton President Boyd Browning said. “There is a significant demand for quality. There was a lot of competitive bidding for those horses that jumped through the hoops. The market is still very, very, very difficult for a segment of the population. If a mare has a little age on her or is not covered by a marketable stallion, it’s tough. There were no significant surprises. I think the assessment is status quo.”

Browning added, “The numbers can be really misleading, especially at this range in the marketplace. I think we continue to see polarization. I don’t honestly think there is much change in the middle market, particularly in the broodmare section.”

The 4-year-old broodmare prospect Bling on the Music brought the day’s top price when selling for $260,000 to Oussama Aboughazale’s Sumaya US. The gray was consigned by Chris Baccari’s Baccari Bloodstock. Baccari made similar comments about the demand for quality in the market.

“I think it is like anything else. You have to show up with what they want,” Baccari said. “If you have what they want, they will fight over it. You just have to have that product.”

Machmer Hall and Select Sales’ Carrie Brogden was active as both a buyer and seller Monday, including purchasing the day’s top yearling, a Distorted Humor filly (Hip 189). She expressed similar sentiments to Browning and Baccari on the marketplace.

“I think it is all about the above-average,” Brogden said. “There is plenty of money for the above-average and below that, it is a free fall. We only had one RNA so far today. I think you have to be reasonable with reserves. If you have something in the market people no longer want, I think the only way to trade it is to walk in here with no reserve. Whether you are boarding Songbird or a $3,000 mare, they are still the same price to carry, expenses are still the same. The market is strong for the good stuff and the rest is the rest.”

The second session of the two-day sale gets underway Tuesday at 10 a.m. and includes a 57-horse supplemental catalogue, highlighted by a pair of mares in foal to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“The catalogue looks like it has some significantly better horses [Tuesday],” Browning said. “It should start with some sparklers and end fairly well, as well.”

Sumaya Takes Home the ‘Bling’

Oussama Aboughazale’s Sumaya US was the leading buyer at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Winter Mixed Sale and the operation did not take long to make its presence known at this year’s renewal, going to $260,000 for the broodmare prospect Bling on the Music (Too Much Bling). Sumaya US bought eight mares overall during Monday’s session for a total of $476,000.

“I thought she was a very attractive mare,” Sumaya US farm manager Jody Alexander said after signing the ticket out back as International Equities Holdings. “We are looking for more mares to take to California Chrome on Southern Hemisphere and a few more mares to support him in the Northern Hemisphere. Plus, we are trying to get a few more mares for our stallion Protonico. She’s a pretty mare. They prepped her too well.”

As for his thoughts on the price, Alexander said, “I think everybody will be on all the better-looking mares. Somebody else liked her, too, or I wouldn’t have had to pay that much.”

Bred in Texas by W.S. Farish, Bling on the Music is out of the Action This Day mare Soft Music and is from the family of stakes winner Super Marina (Warrior’s Reward).

Purchased by Keene Thoroughbreds for $95,000 out of the 2016 Texas Thoroughbred Association 2-year-old sale, Bling on the Music (hip 68) won three of six starts and $153,167 for that operation and trainer Allen Milligan.

She had two stakes wins and was third in the 2016

GIII Pocahontas S. Claimed for $20,000 out of her final start in November, the 4-year-old mare was consigned Monday by Baccari Bloodstock.

“I know she is by the sire she is by, but she is a very good physical and has a good race record,” consignor Chris Baccari said. “I probably should have kept her myself to breed her, but I have too many horses in training right now. She is a very good filly.”

Glen Hill Picks Up a ‘Great Soul’

Bloodstock agent Donato Lanni signed the $220,000 ticket for multiple stakes winner Great Soul (Great Notion) on behalf of Glen Hill Farm Monday afternoon.

A $20,000 EASSEP RNA, the big bay mare was campaigned by breeders Steven and Jane Long and trainer Tom Proctor. Her record currently stands at 11-5-4-1 with earnings of $259,220 and is highlighted by wins in the 2016 Wide Country S. and 2017 Mrs. Penny S.

“She is huge and she can run, which is what carried her,” said Indian Creek’s Shack Parrish, who consigned the mare as hip 211. “She is going to race again. I thought it was an exceptional price, given the market.”

The 5-year-old mare is out of What Am I Gonna Do (Partner’s Hero), who is a half-sister to MSW Doing Great (Great Notion) and SW Heaven Knows What (Holy Bull).

“Tom Proctor trained her last year, so I watched her a bit,” said Glen Hill’s Craig Bernick, who will send the mare back to Proctor. “I was surprised to see her in the sale. She has a nice pedigree and can run in the Midlantic for us, being PA-bred and Maryland Million eligible. She will race again in 2018 and we have a lot of stallions we can send her to in 2019.”

Brogden Gets the ‘Gold’

Machmer Hall and Select Sales’ Carrie Brogden would not be denied on Hip 189, stretching to $105,000 to take home the filly by top sire Distorted Humor, who was the highest-priced yearling of the session.

“I think it is at her value. If she was perfect in front, we wouldn’t have been able to buy her,” Brogden said. “I think if she stays where she is, she is fine. With this kind of filly, we have more options. That’s what really appealed. She has plenty of page to be appealing no matter what she does in the future. Everybody wants a young, well-bred Distorted Humor filly in their broodmare band that has a body and a walk like that.”

Bred by Colts Neck Stables and Barry Weisbord, hip 189 is out of MSW Gilded Gold (Gilded Time), making her a half-sister to stakes winner Thieves Guild (Medaglia d’Oro). Thieves Guild sold for $310,000 carrying a foal by Speightstown at the 2016 Keeneland November sale and Gilded Gold hammered for $15,000 in foal to Kantharos at the 2017 Keeneland November sale. This is also the family of Canadian champion Hope For a Breeze (Briartic) and SW Pancake (Corinthian).

WinStar stalwart Distorted Humor cemented his status as a top broodmare sire in 2017 thanks to the exploits of Grade I winners Arrogate, New Money Honey, Elate and Practical Joke, to name a few.

“The reason we bought this horse is because my husband said no, but he didn’t stay here to hold my hand down,” Brogden said with a laugh. “So, since he left and wasn’t paying attention, my mom and I bought her! We figured she is out of a stakes winner and stakes-producing mare, so we can either go to the yearling sale or the 2-year-old sale or put her in the Machmer Hall broodmare band. Distorted Humor is becoming such an unbelievable broodmare sire, so we figured, with what we do at our farm, she could be a very versatile purchase.”

Brogden added, “She wasn’t perfect in the front end, but I was really happy with her. That was our last bid. I am just a huge fan of the sire. He is 25 now and is an unbelievable broodmare sire. She’s got a great bottom side of her pedigree, plus my mom and I are horse addicts.”

The Valentine’s Day foal  was consigned to the sale by Craig and Holly Bandoroff’s Denali Stud.

Kumin Goes In On Catholic Boy

Mon, 2018-02-05 16:47

Prominent owner Sol Kumin now has a minority interest in multiple graded stakes winning 3-year-old Catholic Boy (More Than Ready), TDN confirmed Monday following an initial report by Daily Racing Form. Kumin, who races under a variety of partnership names, joined majority owner Robert LaPenta with his Madaket Stable.

The bay captured the GIII With Anticipation S. over turf last summer at Saratoga and, after a fourth-place run in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, showed his versatility by dominating the GII Remsen S. Dec. 2 at Aqueduct in his dirt debut. That effort established Catholic Boy as a potential Classic contender and enticed Kumin to get involved with LaPenta. The colt, who RNA’ed for $170,000 as a Keeneland January short yearling, is scheduled to make his sophomore debut as the favorite in Saturday’s GIII Sam F. Davis S. at Tampa Bay Downs. He will continue to run in LaPenta’s recognizable maroon and gold silks.

“I bought in a while ago, right after the Remsen,” Kumin said. “I saw the horse win the With Anticipation and was interested in him, but the speed figure in that race wasn’t fast enough for me to make an offer before the Breeders’ Cup, so I waited and continued to watch him. His race in the Remsen was impressive and I made an offer right after the race. I love the sire and I think he’s going to continue to get better.”

Kumin and LaPenta previously partnered on graded stakes winners Coal Front (Stay Thirsty), Uni (GB) (More Than Ready) and Whitmore (Pleasantly Perfect) in 2017.

“I love partnering with Bob and have a close relationship with his racing manager John Panicot, who I think is great,” Kumin said. “We have had a lot of luck together and I enjoy spending time with Bob and his family at the races.”

Kumin also had praise for Catholic Boy’s trainer, Jonathan Thomas, the former assistant to Todd Pletcher who handles much of Bridlewood Farm’s racing stock and is rapidly emerging as one of the sharpest young trainers in racing.

“I have been using Bridlewood for the last three years or so for a combination of breaking babies and rehabs and have gotten to know Jonathan quite well,” he said. “He’s a terrific guy and extremely talented and his experience from working with Todd has served him well, as he’s been around many quality horses throughout his career. It’s exciting to be part of a top quality horse with him and I have a great deal of confidence that he and Bob will manage Catholic Boy’s career the right way. I get to come along for the ride and try and bring some good luck.”

Controversial Vote on Charles Town Classic Reversed

Mon, 2018-02-05 15:37

The imperiled GII Charles Town Classic is back on for Apr. 21 after a West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) vote on Monday reversed a controversial decision the WVRC made two weeks ago not to approve a fully funded version of the signature $1.2 million stakes event at Charles Town Races.

But commissioners at the Feb. 5 meeting–which was called on short notice and featured just this one agenda item–made it clear that the commission-versus-racetrack debate over using contracted purse money for carding big stakes races isn’t over yet.

On Monday, prior to repealing the Jan. 23 vote that stipulated an unorthodox “matching” purse scheme for the Classic, and then voting 3-0 for the approval of Charles Town’s entire 2018 open stakes schedule, WVRC chairman Jack Rossi vowed to appoint a focus group this spring after the Classic is run to look at the “allocation of purse resources” to see if a marquee graded stakes race is truly in the best interest of racing in the state.

Rossi also introduced a new twist to the conflict prior to the vote when he said that the Charles Town’s decision to seek approval for its 2018 stakes races at the December 2017 meeting was akin to “slipping something through at the last minute”–even though Charles Town had only been following years of WVRC protocol by asking for seemingly perfunctory approval of its slate of stakes races.

“I think you should be planning three years in advance instead of planning 30 days in advance, and I think we need to look at it and go forward, and that’s why I’m going to appoint a focus group,” Rossi said.

Ken Lowe Jr., the WVRC commissioner and former Charles Town Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) president who seven years ago had been barred from Charles Town for distributing political flyers (and subsequently said he won an undisclosed court judgment from track management when he challenged the ejection), was the commission member who in December first threatened not to approve funding for the Classic.

Lowe had argued that the purse for the race was too high, and could be better spent doled out in a series of smaller races. After the issue got tabled in December, on Jan. 23 Lowe proposed allowing funding for up to 50% of the Classic out of the horsemen’s purse account, but only if the track matched the other half out of its own corporate pocket. Such a funding structure is not known to be in effect for any other major stakes race anywhere in the country, and track executives had testified that Charles Town would not race the Classic in 2018 under those terms.

Lowe had led the charge for the matching purse structure even though Charles Town’s current HBPA executives said they had no problem with a $1.2 million Classic. Track management had produced a valid purse account contract with the HBPA that allowed for up to 8% of purse account money to be used for open stakes.

On Monday, Lowe said he would back off and vote for fully funding the Classic only if Rossi’s idea for a focus group to study the race got acted upon.

Even so, Lowe reiterated his belief that big-money races aren’t in the best interest of West Virginia. He veered backwards in time to speak about president George Washington’s racing of horses in the state during colonial times, later tying the historical past into a much more recent mandate that West Virginia’s video lottery terminal revenues be used for bolstering racing in the state.

“I can say the right thing at the wrong time, or sometimes the wrong thing at the right time,” Lowe said, underscoring that his “yes” vote would also be predicated on the fact that he expects “additional monies will be put in the purse fund.” He did not elaborate about how he expected that to be accomplished.

When reached by phone after the meeting, Erich Zimny, Charles Town’s vice president of racing operations, said he was not entirely sure what Lowe meant by money needing to be put back into the purse fund. Zimny explained that his operations team right now is just concerned about carding a strong field for the Classic after nearly two months of uncertainty that delayed recruitment.

“We’re incredibly happy that they decided to revisit the issue,” Zimny said. “Right now we’re just focused on putting on the best event that we can in April, and that’s going to take up the bulk of our time from now until then.”

The WVRC’s Jan. 23 vote not to fund the Classic had not only placed the commission in the uncomfortable glare of the national racing spotlight, but it also elicited the threat of political repercussions within West Virginia. Within hours of the vote two weeks ago, the state’s governor vowed to have the Classic decision reversed, and a state senator filed legislation to drastically alter the makeup of the WVRC itself.

After the vote, Rossi would not directly answer a reporter’s question about what specifically led to Monday’s about-face on the Jan. 23 vote.

“The vote is there,” Rossi said. “We’re looking to the future. We’re not looking in the past.”

 

TDN Derby Top 12, Presented by WinStar Farm: February 5

Mon, 2018-02-05 14:56

This past weekend’s stakes action was anchored by three Road to the GI Kentucky Derby points races, including one already at nine furlongs this early in the year. But the top-ranked Triple Crown hopefuls in the rankings are still largely biding their time, with three of the first four on this week’s list still awaiting 2018 debuts. Expect the plot to thicken as the pace quickens later this month.

1) CATHOLIC BOY (c, More Than ReadySong of Bernadette, by Bernardini)

O-Robert V. LaPenta. B-Fred W. Hertrich III & John D. Fielding (KY). T-Jonathan Thomas. Sales History: $170,000 RNA yrl KEEJAN ’16. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 4-3-0-0, $314,000.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 1
Last Start: 1st, GII Remsen S., AQU, Dec. 2.
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GIII With Anticipation S., SAR, Aug. 30.
Next Start: GIII Sam F. Davis S., TAM, Feb. 10
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 10

Catholic Boy now has two Tampa Bay Downs workouts under his belt in preparation for this Saturday’s 2018 debut there in the GIII Sam F. Davis S. His Sunday half-mile breeze in :49.20 (19/66) saw him parked outside of an unraced workmate, and the bay son of More Than Ready (Southern Halo) clearly wanted to break away on the far turn but was ridden with restraint until allowed to edge away in hand nearing the wire before galloping out in 1:02 20 for five furlongs. In this era of light seasoning for Triple Crown candidates, a subsequent start in the GI Florida Derby on Mar. 31 could be part of a concise two-race game plan leading up to the GI Kentucky Derby. It’s worth noting that even though his connections have obviously aimed to familiarize Catholic Boy with the sandy Tampa surface by working and stabling him there this week, the track often plays differently (i.e., souped up) on big stakes days (last year track records for 1 1/16 miles were established on both the Davis and GII Tampa Bay Derby cards). This colt’s stock got a sizable boost this past weekend when Avery Island (Street Sense), the beaten fave who ran second behind Catholic Boy in the GII Remsen S., methodically dismantled the GIII Withers S. field at Aqueduct. But who-beat-whom comparisons can only carry a Derby candidate so far, and the truer test of advancement from age two to three will be Catholic Boy’s ability to build off an already-demonstrated willingness to fight through adversity while reeling in A-level rivals over expanding distances of ground.

2) GOOD MAGIC (c, CurlinGlinda the Good, by Hard Spun)
O-e Five Thoroughbreds & Stonestreet Stables. B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings (KY). T-Chad Brown. Sales History: $1,000,000 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GISW, 3-1-2-0, $1,216,600.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 2
Last Start: 1st, GI Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, SA, Nov. 4.
Accomplishments Include: 2nd, GI Champagne S., BEL, Oct. 7.
Next Start: Aiming for GII Fountain of Youth S., GP, Mar. 3
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 24

The newly crowned 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner is edging closer to his 2018 debut after breezing five-eighths in 1:01.10 (3/28) at Palm Meadows Training Center on Saturday, his third timed morning move of the season. Trainer Chad Brown is targeting the Mar. 3 GII Fountain of Youth S. for the million-dollar KEESEP colt’s first sophomore start, and it is a question mark how the competition for that next Gulfstream stakes will shake out considering the winner of Saturday’s GII Holy Bull S. isn’t a lock to run back in the Fountain of Youth and the horses who ran 2-3-4 in the Holy Bull all looked like they needed the race from a seasoning perspective. Good Magic’s mystique as a one-win champion is only going to deepen in the coming weeks thanks to his planned late arrival on the 3-yer-old scene. His four-month gap between starts will rank as one of the longest layoffs we’ll see this year among Top 12 contenders, with only Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) attempting a prep schedule with similar spacing. A responsive, keen stalker when last seen drubbing the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile field, it will be intriguing to see how this son of Curlin (Smart Strike)’s running style develops as he matures, especially if his prep races will be at Gulfstream, where a premium is often placed on early speed.

3) MCKINZIE (c, Street SenseRunway Model, by Petionville)

‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Karl Watson, Michael Pegram & Paul Weitman. B-Summer Wind Farm (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $170,000 yrl KEESEP ’16. Lifetime Record: GISW, 3-3-0-0, $270,000.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 3
Last Start: 1st, GIII Sham S., SA, Jan. 6
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec. 9
Next Start: Possible for either GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 10 or GII Rebel S., OP, Mar. 17
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on McKinzie.
KY Derby Points: 20

This $170,000 KEESEP Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}) colt is maintaining fitness while awaiting a next start that has yet to be decided by trainer Bob Baffert (“I’ve got a lot of options. I won’t know until I get closer.”) The odds-on guesses are that the ‘TDN Rising Star’ goes in either the GII San Felipe S. at Santa Anita Mar. 10 or the GII Rebel S. at Oaklawn Park one week after that. On Saturday he worked a :49.40 half (38/65), wearing down a maiden 4-year-old workmate after spotting that sparring partner 1 1/2 lengths. McKinzie right now has a tenuous hold atop the SoCal division of sophomores, and that ranking is described as “tenuous” only because of the deep crush of Santa Anita-based competition lining up behind him. Although the progression of Derby-caliber colts is rarely as linear as their connections wish it would be, each one of McKinzie’s three races so far has been demonstrated capable, measured advancement. His GI Los Alamitos Futurity company line is the one that stands out based on the three-way stretch fight with Instilled Regard (Arch) and Solomini (Curlin). But on the minus side, his Jan. 6 GIII Sham S. score produced a next-out beaten stakes favorite, Shivermetimbers (Shanghai Bobby), who ran a lackluster seventh in Saturday’s underwhelming renewal of the GIII Lewis S.

4) BOLT D’ORO (c, Medaglia d’OroGlobe Trot, by A.P. Indy)
O-Ruis Racing. B-WinStar Farm (KY). T-Mick Ruis. Sales History: $630,000 yrl FTSAUG ’16. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 4-3-0-1, $576,000.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 4
Last Start: 3rd, GI Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, SA, Nov. 4
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Del Mar Futurity, DMR, Sept. 4; 1st GI FrontRunner S., SA, Sept. 30.
Next Start: Aiming for GII San Felipe S., SA, Mar. 10
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Bolt d’Oro.
KY Derby Points: 14

Sophomore plans are starting to crystallize for the runner-up (some might say “beaten favorite”) in the juvenile male Eclipse Award voting. Since the last installment of the Derby Top 12, Bolt d’ Oro has posted his first two published morning moves of the year, breezing solo and without being asked over three furlongs Jan. 27, then stretching to four furlongs for another solo tour of the track Feb. 2. “He did it easy,” owner/trainer Mick Ruis said after Friday’s :48.40 (7/45) half mile, after which “Bolt” galloped out five furlongs in 1:01. The jockey for his next start has been solidified, with Javier Castellano committing to the mount in the GII San Felipe S. on Mar. 10, replacing Corey Nakatani. This $630,000 son of Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado {Ire}) had a stranglehold on the SoCal 2-year-old division until he was upended by a poor start and a six wide trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. But in the last three months the West Coast-based 3-year-olds have progressed more as a group than those in any other geographic region, so it’s likely that Bolt will face a stern test for his comeback in five weeks. That 1 1/16 miles start in the San Felipe, plus the nine-furlong GI Santa Anita Derby Apr. 7, could serve as his only two springboard races leading up to a start in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.

5) INSTILLED REGARD (c, Arch--Enhancing, by Foresty)
O-OXO Equine LLC. B-KatieRich Farms (KY). T-Jerry Hollendorfer. Sales history: $110,000 RNA yrl KEESEP ’16, $1,050,000 2yo OBSMAR ’17. Lifetime Record: GSW & GISP, 5-2-2-1, $228,000.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 5
Last Start: 1st , GIII LeComte S., FG, Jan. 13
Accomplishments: 2nd, GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec. 9
Next Start: Probable for GII Risen Star S., FG, Feb. 17
Equineline PPs. Caulfield on Instilled Regard.
KY Derby Points: 14

It was never any secret that this $1.05 million OBSMAR Arch (Kris S.) colt is a sharp-looking physical specimen with a deep pedigree. But we needed to see his tactical early prowess and commanding late turn of foot in his 3 3/4-length GIII Lecomte S. score to establish that Instilled Regard belongs with the upper crust of the division at this juncture of the season. It appears as if he’ll make a return trip to New Orleans for the Feb. 17 GII Risen Star S., which could scare away some outliers from other circuits whose connections might also be considering a ship to the Fair Grounds. There are different ways to assess Derby hopefuls on this list (especially at this time of year), but among the ranked contenders in this week’s Top 12 version, I’d have to rate this colt highest in terms of the horse I think has the most upside potential once his fitness level is acutely honed. Instilled Regard has that “scary good” presence about him, and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer will aim to fully develop and unleash it.

6) AVERY ISLAND (c, Street Sense-Kinda Spicy, by A.P. Indy)
O-Godolphin Racing. B-Godolphin (KY). T-Kiaran McLaughlin. Lifetime Record: GSW, 5-3-1-0, $365,332.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 12
Last Start: 1st, GIII Withers S., AQU, Feb. 3.
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GII Nashua S., AQU, Nov. 5.
Next Start: Uncommited
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

After six years as a 1 1/16 miles winter Derby prep and decades elsewhere on the New York calendar as a mile fixture, the Withers S. offered Classics hopefuls a rare nine-furlong graded stakes opportunity in early February this past Saturday, and Avery Island made the most of it. His two-length score was not flashy, but it exuded a sense of accomplishment that might be likened to the rumbling of thunder that signals a powerful storm is in the pipeline. This strapping son of Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}) broke running, willingly allowed a 34-1 speedster to dart around him and secure the lead, and looked comfortable on the backstretch coasting several paths off the rail while another rival edged up to his inside. The Godolphin homebred was asked for a measured move to seize the lead three-eighths out, responded to rousing at the head of the lane, then kept chugging along to widen the gap in methodical, responsive fashion. “He’s just learning to enjoy himself out there,” said jockey Joe Bravo. “He just relaxed. He just got better and stronger going down the lane. I opened up early around the turn. The quicker he goes, the better he is, but I didn’t want to turn it into a sprint.” Added trainer Kiaran McLaughlin: “It looked like he was push-button, so it was great that he switched off that quick and then switch back on.”

7) MOURINHO (c, Super Saver-Sandi’s Ready, by More Than Ready)
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Phoenix Thoroughbred III. B-WinStar Farm (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $30,000 yrl KEESEP ’16; $625,000 2yo OBSMAR ’17. Lifetime Record: 4-2-2-0, $154,360.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 7
Last Start: 1st, Smarty Jones S., OP, Jan. 15
Next Start: Uncommited
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 10

Trainer Bob Baffert is well aware that ‘TDN Rising Star’ Mourinho isn’t going to be freewheeling on the front end cutting fast fractions as the distances get longer and the competition gets tougher. This $625,000 OBSMAR (pinhooked for $30,000 KEESEP) colt won as he pleased against four overmatched rivals in the Jan. 15 Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn. The only time in that race that Mourinho faced a tactical challenge (getting position into the first turn), he was easily able to out-hoof that sent-for-the-lead rival. In two Santa Anita workouts since, Baffert has trained Mourinho without blinkers going a non-taxing three-eighths, then last Thursday with blinkers back on he tracked $400,000 OBSAPR maiden stablemate Show Time Rocket (Into Mischief) from several lengths behind for five-eighths before pulsing past at the wire and continuing solo for another furlong to register a bullet 1:12.60 (1/4) for six furlongs. The son of Super Saver (Maria’s Mon) could return to Hot Springs for the GIII Southwest S. Feb. 19, but considering Baffert’s affinity for biding his time with stakes decisions, that’s only an educated guess at this point.

8) AUDIBLE (c, Into MischiefBlue Devil Bel, by Gilded Time)
O-WinStar, China Horse Club & SF Racing. B-Oak Bluff Stables LLC (NY). T-Todd Pletcher. Sales histroy: $175,000 FTNSAR yrl; $500,000 FTFMAR 2yo. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-1, $287,720
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A
Last Start: 1st, GII Holy Bull S., GP, Feb. 3.
Next Start: Possible for Florida Derby, GP, Mar. 31
Equineline PPs.
Kentucky Derby Points: 10

Audible debuts on the Derby Top 12 off a 5 1/2-length shellacking (99 Beyer) of the Holy Bull S. Saturday at Gulfstream Park. He broke alertly, dueled between rivals into the first turn, edged back behind those pacemakers to stalk confidently, commenced a solid bid midway around the far bend, then clicked into a nice overdrive gear when confronted on even terms by Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) at the quarter pole. Jockey Javier Castellano kept the $500,000 FTFMAR New York-bred to task when the colt started looking around a bit and saw the tire marks on the damp track, but this son of Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) seemed to have no problem stretching out from three one-turn races. The lack of serious, prolonged confrontation from the three well-regarded entrants who ran 2-3-4 behind Audible (plus the fact that the speedsters who set the pace meekly retreated to last and next-to-last) means we have to regard the race as a whole with a touch of skepticism, but trainer Todd Pletcher definitely has a base to build upon moving forward. “I love the way he came over here and handled everything,” he said. “He was perfect in the paddock, post parade, gate–all those little intangibles that really help with horses that are pointing for big days.”

9) PRINCIPE GUILHERME (c, Tapit–Aubby K, by Street Sense)
‘TDN Rising Star’ O/B-Three Chimneys Farm (KY). T-Steve Asmussen. Sales History: $600,000 wlg FTKNOV ’15. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0, $101,800.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 8
Last Start: 2nd, GIII Lecomte S., FG, Jan. 13
Next Start: Possible for GII Risen Star S., FG, Feb. 17.
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 4

At this early stage of the Triple Crown season, every Derby Top 12 list needs at least one horse whose raw potential exceeds his on-track accomplishment in stakes races. This $600,000 FTKNOV Tapit (Pulpit) colt owns a monster maiden win over the Churchill Downs strip and a near-effortless shredding of a two-turn Fair Grounds allowance field at 2-5 odds (18 lengths combined margins of victory). Principe Guilherme chased a powerhouse winner in Instilled Regard when 3 3/4 lengths behind that rival in the Lecomte S. But the effort likely represented more of a positive learning experience than it might appear on paper, because it was an attempt to balance this colt’s natural quickness and high-torque acceleration with a dose of rateable patience, which could be a potent combination when blended with his distance-centric pedigree. This ‘TDN Rising Star’ worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 (8/37) at the Fair Grounds Monday morning.

10) SOLOMINI (c, Curlin-Surf Song, by Storm Cat)
O-Zayat Stables LLC. B-Glenna R. Salyer (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales history: $270,000 KEESEP yrl. Lifetime Record: MGISP, 4-1-2-1, $472,000
Jan 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A
Last Start: 3rd, GI Los Alamitos Futurity, LRC, Dec.9.
Accomplishments Include: 2nd, GI Frontrunner S., SA, Sept. 30; 2nd, GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, DMR, Nov. 4
Next Start: Uncommitted
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

Solomini slipped off the last Top 12 list when he was leapfrogged by several January stakes winners while simultaneously spiking a temperature that briefly knocked him off his training schedule. But considering that his star-crossed company lines include a pair of seconds to the top two juvenile Eclipse Award vote-getters and the fact that he finished three-quarters of a length ahead of (but was disqualified behind) McKinzie and Instilled Regard, he belongs inside the Top 12. Trainer Bob Baffert is attempting to nudge him toward maturity and a yet-to-be-determined next start, and a :48.60 half-mile workout at Santa Anita on Saturday (19/65) put him back on the path to afternoon engagement. He needs to overcome the greenness he displayed when he hit the front and couldn’t sustain his lead in the stretch of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and expected seasoning from age two to three will go a long way toward rectifying a similar loss of focus that contributed to his disqualification in the Los Alamitos Futurity.

11) FIRENZE FIRE (c, Poseidon’s Warrior–My Every Wish, by Langfuhr)
O/B-Mr. Amore Stables (FL). T-Jason Servis. Lifetime Record: GISW, 7-4-1-0, $589,100.
Jan. 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: 10
Last Start: 2nd, GIII Withers S., AQU, Feb. 3
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Champagne S., BEL, Oct. 7; 1st, GIII Sanford S., SAR, July 22; 1st, Jerome S., AQU, Jan. 13.
Next Start: Possible for GIII Gotham S., AQU, Mar. 10
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 24

I can’t state with confidence that Firenze Fire looks cut out to be a 10-furlong horse, but you have to give him credit for shouldering tough assignments square-on and putting up a fight against some of the heavier hitters in the division. The ace in his past performance cut, of course, is his GI Champagne S. score last autumn over eventual 2-year-old champ Good Magic, and his connections have previously stated that the only two poor races in his six-race career coincided with the colt not feeling right (cough before the GI Hopeful S. fourth; fever prior to Breeders’ Cup seventh). He closed into a dawdling pace to eke out a win in the Jan. 13 Jerome S., and in Saturday’s nine-furlong Withers he was an all-out second behind the up-and-coming (and more physically imposing) Avery Island. Firenze Fire’s connections have indicated a desire to remain on the New York prep path to Louisville, and that will mean a decision about whether or not to cut back to a mile for the GIII Gotham S. Mar. 10 prior to considering the nine-furlong GII Wood Memorial four weeks later.

12) FREE DROP BILLY (c, Union RagsTrensa, by Giant’s Causeway)
O-Albaugh Family Stables LLC. B-Helen K. Groves Revokable Trust (KY). T-Dale Romans. Sales history: $200,000 KEESEP yrl. Lifetime Record: GISW, 6-2-3-0, $495,220.
Jan 22 TDN Top 12 Rank: N/A
Last Start: 2nd, GII Holy Bull S., GP, Feb. 3.
Accomplishments Include: 1st, GI Breeders’ Futurity, KEE, Oct.7; 2nd, GI Hopeful S. Sept. 4.
Next Start: Uncommited
Equineline PPs.
KY Derby Points: 14

Free Drop Billy latches onto the Derby Top 12 rankings this week with a long list of hopefuls nipping at his heels for placement on the main body of this list. His 2018 debut on Saturday was capable enough–this $200,000 KEESEP colt fought to attain a contending position in the Holy Bull S. and was on even terms with winner Audible at the quarter pole–but it reads more of a “work in progress” effort than a powerful, breakthrough try. “He ran hard. He tried hard. The winner was tough,” said jockey Luis Saez. “Maybe after the layoff he got a little tired, but he tried. I think he’ll be ready for his next start.” His juvenile past performances signal that Free Drop Billy is a player at the graded stakes level, because if you forgive his inexplicable ninth (beaten 29 1/4 lengths) in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he owns two wins and a pair of close seconds against solid competition, including a four-length triumph in the GI Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

On the Bubble (in alphabetical order)
Ax Man (Misremembered): Half to champ Indian Blessing aims for GII San Vicente.
Choo Choo (English Channel): Won Cal Derby as fave; back working at GGF.
Combatant (Scat Daddy): Back working at OP for Asmussen.
Copper Bullet (More Than Ready): ‘TDN Rising Star’ idle since Spa with five FG works.
Enticed (Medaglia d’Oro): Beaten fave, no punch in Holy Bull.
Exclamation Point (Concord Point): Classic Empire half won OP 6f MSW debut.
High North (Midnight Lute): Cox says “90% sure” for Southwest.
Hollywood Star (Malibu Moon): Soph debut on Sat. in Davis at Tampa.
Lombo (Graydar): Wired GIII Lewis S. on Saturday.
Marconi (Tapit): ‘TDN Rising Star’ started slow, closed OK in Withers.
Mask (Tapit): Undisclosed setback to cost this ‘TDN Rising Star’ two weeks training.
Montauk (Medaglia d’Oro): ‘TDN Rising Star’ back working at PBD.
Nero (Pioneerof the Nile): Bullet on Fri. in prep for San Vicente.
Noble Indy (Take Charge Indy): 2-for-2 ‘TDN Rising Star’ likely for stakes next.
Restoring Hope (Giant’s Causeway): MSW winner at 4-5 for Baffert on Fri
Retirement Fund (Eskendereya): 2-for-2 ‘TDN Rising Star’ could try Risen Star.
Sporting Chance (Tiznow): GI Hopeful S.-winning ‘TDN Rising Star’ goes next in Southwest.
Strike Power (Speightstown): 2-for-2 ‘TDN Rising Star’ could stretch out in GP stakes.
Tiz Mischief (Into Mischief): Third, but no big kick in Holy Bull.
Untamed Domain (Animal Kingdom): Might try dirt in Tampa Derby.
Vouch (Yes It’s True): Decent third behind Catholic Boy, Avery Island.
World of Trouble (Kantharos): Recent romp by 13 3/4 lengths in Pasco at Tam.
Zulfikhar (Bodemeister): ‘TDN Rising Star’ to make stakes debut in San Vicente.

Juvenile Turf Sprint Added to Breeders’ Cup Line Up; Sprint Purse Raised

Mon, 2018-02-05 14:33

The Juvenile Turf Sprint, previously run on the undercard of the Breeders’ Cup championships, has been promoted and will be run as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs this coming November, the organization announced Monday. Carrying a $1-million purse, the race will be run at about 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf and will be open to all 2-year-olds.

“The upgrade of the Juvenile Turf Sprint is in response to the increasing popularity of turf racing in North America and will fill a need for international turf sprint sires,” said Dora Delgado, Breeders’ Cup Senior Vice President of Racing and Nominations. “Each year, the Juvenile Turf and the Juvenile Fillies Turf are oversubscribed at the championships. We feel that the Juvenile Turf Sprint will also be a popular draw among horsemen from North America and overseas stables and will generate interest among North American racetracks to card races in this division.”

The addition of the Juvenile Turf Sprint brings the total number of championship races to 14, five of which are juvenile races. Three of the juvenile races will be run on the turf. The GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf was added in 2007 and the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf was added in 2008.

The Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint, run on the undercard of last year’s Breeders’ Cup races at Del Mar, was won by Declarationofpeace (War Front), a day after his Coolmore stablemate Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) won the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

In addition, the purse of the GI Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint has been increased to $2 million, up from $1.5 million in 2017. This year’s championships will also include an additional $1 million in undercard purses. Total purses and awards for the 2018 event will now exceed $30 million.

Aqueduct’s Struggles to Fill Races Continue

Sun, 2018-02-04 18:24

Thursday’s card at Aqueduct was not drawn until 3 p.m. Saturday, some 24 hours after the deadline for trainers to enter their horses had come and gone. At least they put together a card, something that looked to be in jeopardy a few hours earlier. But it’s not much of a card. There will be only eight races with 49 total horses entered, or an average of 6.125 horses per race.

It has never been easy to fill races in New York during the winter, but the last few weeks have been particularly difficult for the NYRA racing office. With the racing week that concluded yesterday, there were 34 races run at Aqueduct and 18 of them had six starters or fewer.

“The last two weekends we held the entry box open to Sunday [for the Thursday programs] to try to bolster the card a little bit,” said NYRA Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Martin Panza. “This week, however, it was a particular struggle, for whatever reason. We’ve struggled the last week, week and a half.”

Due to severe weather, NYRA did not complete a full card from Dec. 29 to Jan. 13. Had there not been that gap in the racing schedule, the current problem of filling races could be that much worse.

Like all racing organizations, NYRA is having to deal with what has become the modern theory on training a race horse–run them as little as possible–which makes it hard to fill races everywhere. But Panza says NYRA has problems that are unique to its circuit, in particular the high cost of workmen’s compensation in New York.

“We were over at Oaklawn trying to hustle some guys to come from Oaklawn for the Belmont meet,” Panza said. “We need dirt horses. So we went down there and that seemed to be the universal theme when you go from barn to barn, people say that they’d love to come to New York, but with workmen’s comp the expenses are just too high. The purses are what they are here but that only helps you if you win. The costs are set. A guy looks at the costs, thinks I have to pay this much for workmen’s comp and this much for my housing, I can find some place cheaper to race. [New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President] Joe Applebaum is a good guy. If he can get the governor’s office to cooperate with us, hopefully, we can get some things done this year.”

Panza said another problem is the way purses are structured at NYRA, particularly for the lower level races. When there was a rash of breakdowns during the winter of 2012, a panel put in new rules that forbid NYRA from having a purse that is more than double the claiming price. The theory was that if the purses were too big for cheap horses, trainers might run an unsound animal in hopes that it would hold together and get a part of the pot.

“Our $10,000 claimer runs for $20,000 and the $10,000 claimer at Parx runs for $28,000,” Panza said. “Our day rate is $100-a-day and the day rate down there is $65. We’re at a disadvantage on the cheaper end of our claiming races. That’s another thing we have to get the state to allow us to change.”

Panza would also like to see NYRA based horsemen more loyal to the NYRA product. With Laurel and Parx also having big purses, it’s not uncommon to see New York horses head down the highway to run at the competing racetracks. On Saturday, there were six NYRA-based horses that ran at Parx and two at Laurel. One in particular stands out. Trained by Gary Sciacca, the New York-bred Hit It Once More (Hard Spun) has made three straight starts at Parx and ran there in four of his last five starts.

“It certainly doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Panza said of seeing New York horse race out of town. “On one hand they say NYRA is trying to kill winter racing and on the other hand they’re all running some place else. It is very frustrating, especially when we have to run five- and six-horse fields.”

Panza is frustrated to the point that he isn’t afraid to say that NYRA might need to further cut back on its winter dates.

“We probably need to run just three days a week in the winter, like they do at Laurel and Parx,” he said.

After the Keeneland spring meet ends, NYRA has a much easier time filling races as the major outfits have made it back to New York by then. In the meantime, it looks like it’s going to be a rough winter.

 

Homebred Success for Hartley/DeRenzo

Sun, 2018-02-04 16:46

Randy Hartley and Dean DeRenzo, who have made a name for themselves in the pinhooking game, have been steadily improving their broodmare band in partnership with Breeze Easy, but it was a holdover from their Florida breeding operation that led to homebred Mobeautiful (Uncle Mo)’s debut win at Gulfstream Sunday.

“We loved this filly all along,” Hartley said of Mobeautiful. “She’s been a superstar. [Trainer] Joe Orseno just loves her. He has been ranting and raving about this filly. He called and told me he wasn’t letting me take her home.”

Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds purchased Mobeautiful’s dam Switchboard (Bernardini) for $160,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September Yearling Sale with the intention of reoffering her the following spring.

“I bought the mare to pinhook her,” Hartley said. “We don’t know how, but she somehow fractured her coffin bone in her foot and we ended up just having to keep her. We bred her and this is her first baby.”

Mobeautiful herself was entered in the 2016 Keeneland September sale and in the 2017 OBS April sale, but was withdrawn from both.

“She just got really big as a 2-year-old and we took our time with her,” Hartley said. “Then she pulled a muscle about three months ago, so we had to give her some more time.”

Switchboard produced fillies by Rattlesnake Bridge in 2016 and 2017 and went through the ring at Keeneland last November while in foal to Bodemeister. She RNA’d for $37,000, but was subsequently sold privately.

“At the time we were selling some mares and trying to regroup with a different group of mares with Breeze Easy,” Hartley said. “We were kind of just cleaning up everything. I wish I hadn’t sold her now, but it’s one of those things that I was trying to move everything to make room for our new partnership to start over fresh.”

Hartley/DeRenzo has had a broodmare band of as many as 30 head based in Florida, but market conditions have led to a change of direction.

“We pretty much now have gotten to breeding just in Kentucky,” Hartley said. “We love breeding in Florida and we’ve done well in years past, but it’s just gotten a little tough right now. Dean and I were feeding about 30 mares and it was just a big feed bill when you’re carrying the whole thing. We used to be able to sell some of our homebreds for decent money, $100,000, and we’ve gotten upwards of $600,000, but in the past few years, it’s like you bring some of your best ones over there and you’re getting $50,000-$60,000. It’s hard to put that much into it and barely break even.”

Over the last two years, Breeze Easy and Hartley/DeRenzo have teamed up in an attempt to put together a top-class broodmare band.

“We have 24 mares that we have now with Breeze Easy and they are all War Front, Tapits,” Hartley said. “That’s the market that is good and you kind of have to be there. It’s not easy, I wouldn’t say, but it seems like that is where the market is right now. It’s all at the upper end and it’s very polarized. You have to play in that market and we have an opportunity to do so. It’s going to be exciting.”

Breeze Easy burst onto the sales scene two years ago with the $1.2-million purchase of a Broken Vow colt at OBS April and has partnered with Hartley/DeRenzo on several pinhooking prospects. The two operations teamed up to purchase a $475,000 sale-topping son of Curlin at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton July Yearling Sale and the colt returned to bring $1.5 million at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Timonium sale. Breeze Easy partnered with John Oxley to purchase the colt, a debut winner at Keeneland now named Curlin’s Honor.

Mobeautiful is currently the only horse Hartley and DeRenzo have in training.

“Dean and I just have her now,” Hartley said. “We sold everything we had at the 2-year-old sales last year. We had a couple little partnerships with Breeze Easy and they took over all of the racing stuff. We don’t want to be in racing–that’s an expensive game. We got lucky breeding this one, we paid maybe $20,000 for the stud fee because Uncle Mo hadn’t quite gotten going like he is now. But we’re going to leave the racing up to Breeze Easy.”

Hartley missed Mobeautiful’s debut as he is busy preparing for the upcoming juvenile sales and, like with the breeding operation, his focus on pinhooking prospects has become all about quality over quantity.

“We don’t have many 2-year-olds,” he said. “I think we have maybe 20 and we’ll look to have four or five at each one of the sales. We spent a lot of money on yearlings to get that appeal of the upper market. I have a couple of superstars–a couple of them the word’s already out around town. We paid $500,000, $475,000, $300,000 to buy the top, the Scat Daddys and the Medaglias, horses that if it does work, you can hit a home run. It’s riskier and it certainly is a little scarier getting them ready, but we’ve always done better with the top-end market.”

Eventually, the commercial breeding operation will overtake Hartley/DeRenzo’s pinhooking ventures.

“We’re going to start having as many homebred babies selling as we’re selling 2-year-olds,” Hartley said. “If it’s a nice-looking War Front baby and we can sell it as a weanling, sometimes they can bring yearling prices. So we are going to try to sell the best, whether it be a weanling or a yearling. We’ve kind of slowly decreased the pinhooks. I have one barn and we’re just focusing on just my top horses and a couple for outside people, but not many. We’ve been trying to slowly trickle down because it’s just getting tougher and tougher. We’re going to have a few nice ones for each sale and not so many numbers, but more quality.”

As for the star of the one-horse racing stable, Hartley is leaving Mobeautiful’s future in the capable hands of her trainer.

“I’m going to let Joe develop her,” Hartley said. “That’s part of the reason that I sent her to him because I knew he wouldn’t rush her. She got really big and he really takes his time with her. I’m sure he’ll come up with a plan.”

From the TDN Weekend: A Long Weekend in Palm Beach

Sun, 2018-02-04 16:31

In search of sunnier climes, legions of travelers make the annual pilgrimage south, among them horse owners and racing industry professionals who head to southern Florida to partake in the racing action at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale. Like many racing participants, I spent several past winters stationed near Gulfstream, however, I have since been introduced to the vibrant scene available to visitors north of Broward and Dade counties. Located about 50 miles north of Hallandale, Palm Beach is very conveniently situated whether you are in town to compete in a weekend stakes at Gulfstream, or to take in morning works at Palm Meadows in Boynton Beach. And for those of you accustomed to staying near Gulfstream yet have grown weary of battling traffic on the way up to see your horses train daily at the Palm Meadows, why not opt to stay in nearby Palm Beach instead? Michelin-rated eateries and 5-Star hotels accompanied by an eclectic atmosphere have long been associated to Miami’s South Beach, however, Palm Beach offers the opulence and luxury demanded by the jet set, and is equally capable of accommodating and entertaining ‘Le haute monde’. Maybe you are also hoping to squeeze in some spa time? Or an extra day of shopping Chanel and Gucci is more your thing? You can do it all in Palm Beach and here are a few tips to get the most out of your long weekend.

Where to Stay …

When looking for accommodation of the highest order in Palm Beach, The Breakers has long been the flagship for 5-star hotels in the area. However, for those looking for a 5-star caliber option to The Breakers traditional splendor, the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa provides its own unique take on luxury. The Eau Palm beach, which covers seven acres of prime real-estate in Manalapan on Palm Beach island, boasts several very well-appointed neighbors, including the famous or, depending on who you ask, the infamous Donald Trump-owned Mar-a-Lago–which serves as the winter residence to the current President of the United States. The Eau Palm Beach–formerly the Ritz-Carlton–was given a sizable renovation two years ago, going from the Ritz’s old-world decadence to a lighter, brighter and infinitely more modern sense of luxury and glamour befitting a beach side resort. To that end, the Eau Palm Beach has not only seen its fair share of the rich and famous walk through its lavish front doors, but also played host to the visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping last winter, a nod to its ability to cater to the most exacting of customers.

In addition to the beauty and splendor of the establishment, the resort offers a 42,000-square-foot world-class spa, lavish beach amenities and fine-dining catering to whatever craving needs satiating. The Eau Spa offers a plethora of packages addressing a multitude of needs; including massages, facials, a full-service salon, a fitness club, which I was surprised to learn boasted several classes per day. Group classes include boot camp, spin, Pilates and, if a more sedate approach is your thing, yoga on the beach is also available. And for those beach bunnies who are looking for a new challenge, private stand-up paddle board yoga is also offered. Whether you plan to stay one, two or several nights, the spa has assembled a handful of spa packages to satisfy every whim, so if you have the dime, they have the time.

Horses of a Different Color…

One of the premiere Thoroughbred training facilities in the country, Palm Meadows–located less than a half hour from the Eau Palm Beach–provides horse owners and industry professionals the opportunity to get a first-hand look at their equine investments in addition to getting some face time with their trainers. Owned by The Stronach Group–the same operation that runs Gulfstream–Palm Meadows covers 304 acres, features a 1 1/8-mile training track and serves as the winter home to approximately 2000 horses housed in 40 permanent barns. With training over by 10:30 a.m. Friday through Tuesday (no turf works Wednesday and Thursday), most will no doubt be seriously contemplating breakfast by the time they hit the front gate, and a stop at the tremendously popular New York-style Jewish deli Flakowitz of Boynton will help round out the perfect morning.

To continue reading in February’s TDN Weekend, click here.

Florida Derby Could Be Next Target for Audible

Sun, 2018-02-04 14:56

WinStar, China Horse Club and SF Racing’s GIII Holy Bull S. winner Audible (Into Mischief)’s next start could come in the $1 million GI Xpressbet.com Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park March 31, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.

“I think you have to leave all the options open and see how he trains,” trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday afternoon. “Talking to [WinStar Farm’s President, CEO and Racing Manager] Elliot [Walden] a little bit after the race back at the barn, we felt like the most likely thing we’d do is just train up to the Florida Derby, but we’ve got plenty of time to sort that out.”

Pletcher reported that he was pleased how the New York-bred exited his 5 1/2-length romp.

“He came out of the race very well. He seemed to be in good order this morning,” Pletcher said.

While making his stakes debut and first start around two turns, Audible stalked the early pace before taking over the lead on the far turn and drawing off to a convincing victory.

“It was very impressive. The (speed) figures obviously came back to support that,” Pletcher said. “I was just very, very pleased with his effort…We felt like we belonged in the race and we felt like he’s been training well,” Pletcher said. “We thought he had a shot to win, but I didn’t think he’d blow everybody away like that. I was happy to see it.”

 

Uncle Mo Filly Holds On For Debut Score At Gulfstream

Sun, 2018-02-04 13:58

 

4th-GP, $43,000, (S), Msw, 2-4, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:12.63, ft.

MOBEAUTIFUL (f, 3, Uncle Mo–Switchboard, by Bernardini) entered Sunday off a local three-furlong bullet work in :36 1/5 (1/6) Feb. 1. Sent off at 3-1, the bay sat comfortably in second through the early stages, three lengths off a pacesetter R Little Secret (Kantharos). Mobeautiful ranged alongside that leader at the quarter pole while in hand and took the lead just outside the eighth pole. She drifted out badly into the center of the stretch at the sixteenth pole, but held on for a length victory. Starship Zodiac (Justin Phillip) finished well for second while R Little Secret faded to third. Mobeautiful’s third dam is GSW Speed Dialer (Phone Trick). This is the first winner out of her maiden dam Switchboard, who recently RNA’d for $37,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale. She has juvenile and yearling fillies by Rattlesnake Bridge and was bred to Bodemeister last season. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $25,800. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

O-Randall Hartley; B-Hartley/DeRenzo Thoroughbreds (FL); T-Joseph F. Orseno.

Into Mischief’s Audible Romps in Holy Bull

Sat, 2018-02-03 18:09

Audible (Into Mischief) stalked and pounced his way to a dominating 5 1/2-length win over Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) in Saturday’s GII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream Park. The $500,000 FTFMAR graduate, owned in partnership by WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing, shipped to South Florida off a pair of late-season 2017 wins at the Big A.

“We actually brought him down a little bit later because we were entered in the New York-bred stake, and then all the bad weather hit in New York and it got delayed and carried over,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Elliott Walden said, ‘Why don’t we just take him down to Florida and see how he trains and go from there.’ Maybe it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The original plan was to run him in the New York-bred stake and then bring him down, but when all the bad weather hit, we came up with a different strategy and it seemed to work out well today.”

Off at odds of 3-1, Audible forced the issue from third through an opening quarter in :23.59 and a half-mile in :47.14. Tipped out three wide entering the far turn, Audible made his run for the lead, but was quickly joined just to his outside by GISW Free Drop Billy. The stage looked set for a stretch battle, but after a couple of quick taps of Javier Castellano’s whip, Audible took off impressively to win for fun.

“He really kicked,” Pletcher said. “Javier said he kept him to task because he was kind of looking around a little bit and saw the tire marks and he didn’t want him to make a mistake. He really accelerated. The final time was quite good.”

Pletcher continued, “I think the question now is do you run him two more times or one more time and we’ll let him tell us kind of how he bounces out of this. He’s a very kind horse to train, very easy on himself in the morning. I love the way he came over here and handled everything. He was perfect in the paddock, post parade, gate–all those little intangibles that really help with horses that are pointing for big days.”

A late-running third from far back on debut sprinting against fellow Empire-breds at Belmont in late September, Audible was along in time to earn his diploma next out going a mile at Aqueduct against native New Yorkers Nov. 15. He was last seen crushing by 9 3/4 lengths in an off-the-turf optional claimer at the Big A Dec. 6. Audible tuned up for this with a five-furlong bullet in 1:01 2/5 (1/10) at Palm Beach Downs Jan. 20.

Pedigree Notes:

Audible is the second son of Into Mischief to win a GI Kentucky Derby prep for these connections, following in the hoofprints of last year’s undefeated GIII Southwest S. winner One Liner. His dam Blue Devil Bel is a half-sister to MSW & GSP Akilina (Langfuhr), who is the dam of breeder Oak Bluff Stables’ SW & MGSP Governor Malibu (Malibu Moon). The 13-year-old mare aborted a foal by Munnings in 2016, produced a Lookin at Lucky filly in 2017 and was bred back to Constitution. Audible also traces his lineage back to MGISW Classy Cathy (Private Account) and GISP Noble Causeway (Giant’s Causeway). Blue Devil Bel RNA’d for $55,000 at the 2017 KEENOV sale.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
HOLY BULL S.-GII, $350,000, GP, 2-3, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:41.92, ft.
1–AUDIBLE, 116, c, 3, by Into Mischief
                1st Dam: Blue Devil Bel, by Gilded Time
                2nd Dam: Fahamore, by Gulch
                3rd Dam: Cathy’s Gal, by Easy Goer
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($175,000
Ylg ’16 SARAUG; $500,000 2yo ’17 FTFMAR). O-WinStar Farm
LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd. and SF Racing LLC;
B-Oak Bluff Stables, LLC (NY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Javier
Castellano. $208,320. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-1, $287,720.
Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating:
   C+.2–Free Drop Billy, 122, c, 3, Union Rags–Trensa, by Giant’s
Causeway. ($200,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Albaugh Family
Stables LLC; B-Helen K. Groves Revocable Trust (KY); T-Dale L.
Romans. $67,200.3–Tiz Mischief, 118, c, 3, Into Mischief–Indivia, by Tiznow.
($55,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Frank L. Jones, Jr.; B-T/C Stable,
LLC (KY); T-Dale L. Romans. $33,600.
Margins: 5HF, 7 3/4, 1HF. Odds: 3.20, 3.30, 3.10.
Also Ran: Enticed, Pony Up, Tip Sheet, Bandito, Master Manipulator, Aequor. Scratched: Mississippi, Hollywood Star.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

Lombo Becomes First Stakes Winner for Graydar in Bob Lewis

Sat, 2018-02-03 17:54

Lombo (Graydar), a sharp maiden winner going 6 1/2 furlongs at Santa Anita Jan. 20, returned on short notice to run this field off their feet.

Let go at 8-1 in this first attempt around two turns, the $75,000 OBSMAR purchase sped out to take early control, clocking an opening quarter in :23.40 and a half-mile in :47.26. Kicking clear of his pursuers entering the far turn, the gray was never seriously threatened in the stretch en route to a facile score.

“He’s definitely a high-octane horse,” winning trainer Mike Pender said. “He’s just a big kid and got a little ADD to him, but he’s starting to figure it out. When he does really figure it out, I think he’ll be really dangerous. We’ve been training since November to get two turns. I knew he was going to break right on the muscle today and take them as far as he could.”

Seventh on debut in a Del Mar turf sprint Nov. 10, Lombo flashed smart speed and reported home a well-beaten third behind the very impressive Ax Man (Misremembered) in a restricted maiden special weight sprinting over this strip Jan. 1. He earned his diploma 19 days later by 3 1/2 lengths.

“Santa Anita’s home, we’re going to do what’s in this horse’s best interest, run him out of his stall for Mr. Stronach and the Santa Anita fans is something I always plan on first and foremost,” Pender concluded.

Pedigree Notes:

Lombo is the first black-type winner from the first crop of Graydar (Unbridled’s Song). The stakes-winning Burg Berg had a colt by Graydar in 2016 and a colt by Constitution in 2017. She was bred back to Street Boss. Burg Berg went through the ring twice, bringing $200,000 from Twin Creeks Farm at the 2012 KEENOV sale and $95,000 from Cove Springs at the 2016 KEENOV sale. Lombo’s second dam Snowberg was a stakes winner at Del Mar and hit the board in a trio of Grade I events.

Saturday, Santa Anita
ROBERT B. LEWIS S.-GIII, $151,380, SA, 2-3, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:45.41, ft.
1–LOMBO, 120, c, 3, by Graydar
1st Dam: Burg Berg (SW & GSP, $266,052), by Johannesburg
2nd Dam: Snowberg, by Seattle Sleet
3rd Dam: Ridan Prospector, by Mr. Prospector
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($110,000
Wlg ’15 KEENOV; $40,000 Ylg ’16 FTKJUL; $75,000 2yo ’17
OBSMAR). O-Michael V. Lombardi; B-Twin Creeks Farm (KY);
T-Michael Pender; J-Flavien Prat. $90,000. Lifetime Record:
4-2-0-1, $129,225. *First black-type winner for sire (by
Unbridled’s Song). Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Ayacara (GB), 120, c, 3, Violence–Pacifica Highway, by Pulpit.
(20,000gns RNA Wlg ’15 TATFOA; $85,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP;
$145,000 RNA 2yo ’17 OBSMAR). O-Charles K. & Cynthia
F. Marquis; B-Overbury Stallions Ltd (GB); T-J. Keith
Desormeaux. $30,000.3–Dark Vader, 120, c, 3, Tale of Ekati–Dark Obsession, by Grand
Slam. ($10,000 RNA Ylg ’16 FTKJUL; $150,000 2yo ’17
OBSMAR). O-S. Alesia, Burns Racing LLC, Ciaglia Racing LLC &
R. Christensen, R.; B-Schleprock Racing LLC (OH); T-Peter
Eurton. $18,000.Margins: 2, 2 1/4, 3HF. Odds: 8.70, 4.90, 36.90.
Also Ran: Regulate, Peace, Pepe Tono, Shivermetimbers, Blame the Rider, Inscom. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

“TDN Rising Star” Trifecta in Dania Beach

Sat, 2018-02-03 17:33

In a race neither horse really deserved to lose, ‘TDN Rising Stars’ Speed Franco (Declaration of War) managed to claw back pacesetting Gidu (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) in the final few jumps to take Saturday’s GIII Dania Beach S. at Gulfstream Park by a head. GSW and GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner-up Untamed Domain (Animal Kingdom) was a further 2 3/4 lengths back in third to complete a ‘Rising Star’ trifecta that returned a hundred dollar bill and some change for a $2 investment.

Speed Franco was perhaps fractionally faster at the break, but Gidu, stretching out to two turns off an impressive maiden victory over five furlongs Dec. 23, was intent on making the front and was allowed to cross and clear before establishing a daylight advantage turning up the backside. Racing freely, but not over-racing by any means, Gidu covered the first couple of furlongs in a sharp :22.66 but managed to conserve some energy through a half in :46.99. The trade-off for that softer sectional was that it allowed Emisael Jaramillo and Speed Franco to creep to within a tight length entering the second turn. There was little quit inside of Gidu, however, who clung on to a narrow advantage into the lane and for every step of the final furlong and a half, bar the one that mattered most. Untamed Domain settled midpack and made a decent run into third prior to the stretch before staying on at one pace for third. Trainer Graham Motion tweeted that he was pleased with the effort and that a dirt try could be in the offing.

“The trainer has run this horse how they thought they needed to, close to the lead,” the winning jockey said. “In the previous race, he ran from behind and that didn’t work so they decided to run him on the lead. The plan was to chase the lead and it worked today.”

Demoted to second behind Channel Cat (English Channel) on course-and-distance debut Sept. 23, Speed Franco resumed with a ‘Rising Star’-worthy, six-length success in the Dec. 9 Pulpit S. Ridden from off the pace in the Jan. 6 Kitten’s Joy S., the bay was sixth, beaten a length in a blanket finish.

Pedigree Notes:

Speed Franco is the first U.S. graded winner for his sire and second overall–Actress (Ire) won last year’s G3 Anglesey S. and was third in the G1 Keeneland Phoenix S. last year in Ireland for the Coolmore triumvirate. The $170,000 Keeneland September purchase is out of an unplaced half-sister to European champion Aljabr (Storm Cat) and has yearling and 2-year-old full-sisters. The mare was most recently bred to War Front’s champion son Air Force Blue.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
DANIA BEACH S.-GIII, $100,000, GP, 2-3, 3yo, 1mT, 1:36.28, gd.
1–SPEED FRANCO, 120, c, 3, by Declaration of War
                1st Dam: Nabat Seif, by Street Sense
                2nd Dam: Sierra Madre (Fr), by Baillamont
                3rd Dam: Marie d’Irlande (Fr), by Kalamoun (GB)
1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($170,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP).
‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Grupo 7C Racing Stable; B-Ice Wine Stables (KY); T-Gustavo
Delgado; J-Emisael Jaramillo. $59,520. Lifetime Record:
4-2-1-0, $112,830. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
   Werk Nick Rating: A++.2–Gidu (Ire), 116, c, 3, Frankel (GB)–Manerbe, by Unbridled’s
Song. ‘TDN Rising Star’ (€410,000 Ylg ’16 ARAUG). O-Zayat Stables, LLC;
B-Ecurie Des Monceaux (IRE); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $19,200.3–Untamed Domain, 122, c, 3, Animal Kingdom–Ciao, by Lear
Fan. ‘TDN Rising Star’ ($90,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-West Point Thoroughbreds;
B-Clearsky Farms (KY); T-H. Graham Motion. $9,600.
Margins: HD, 2 3/4, 4HF. Odds: 4.40, 2.30, 1.20.
Also Ran: Channel Cat, Renaisance Frolic, Machtree, Cometin, Cuestion de Tiempo, Golden Dragon. Scratched: Wildcat’s Legacy.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

Street Sense’s Avery Island Runs to the Money in Withers

Sat, 2018-02-03 16:47

Avery Island (Street Sense), a decisive winner of Aqueduct’s GII Nashua S. and runner-up behind Catholic Boy (More Than Ready) as the 2-1 favorite in the GII Remsen S. last time Dec. 2, took care of business as the chalk in this scratched-down affair.

The Godolphin homebred tracked from second as 34-1 shot Coltandmississippi (Pioneerof the Nile) sped off through fractions of :23.32 and :47.08. The dark bay drew alongside the pacesetter on the far turn, took command as they straightened for home and kept finding more in the stretch. Firenze Fire, winner of last fall’s GI Champagne S., outgamed the well-bred ‘TDN Rising Star’ Marconi for second.

“It was a great run,” winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Joe Bravo rode him very well, letting the other speed go and sitting second. He did everything right and finished strong. It was a nice win and we’re pleased with Avery Island. We’re not sure what we’re going to do for the next race. I’ll talk to Jimmy Bell with Godolphin and figure it out, but we’re not looking at the Gotham because it goes back to a mile.”

A well-beaten debut seventh as the 3-1 favorite sprinting at Saratoga Aug. 19, Avery Island graduated by 5 1/4 lengths at second asking when stretched to 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Sept. 30.

Pedigree Notes:

Avery Island’s dam, Darley homebred Kinda Spicy, was a perfect two-for-two in her career, headed by a nine-furlong allowance win over subsequent two-time graded winner and GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff third Authenticity (Quiet American) at Saratoga in 2011. Avery Island’s second dam Isola Piu Bella (Chi) (Rich Man’s Gold) was Chile’s Horse of the Year in 2004 and was imported to the United States by Sumaya U.S. Stable. Kinda Spicy produced a colt by Street Sense in 2016 and a colt by Ghostzapper in 2017 before visiting Nyquist last spring.

Saturday, Aqueduct
WITHERS S.-GIII, $245,000, AQU, 2-3, 3yo, 1 1/8m, 1:51.01, ft.
1–AVERY ISLAND, 122, c, 3, by Street Sense
1st Dam: Kinda Spicy, by A.P. Indy
2nd Dam: Isola Piu Bella (Chi), by Rich Man’s Gold
3rd Dam: Sweet Music (Chi), by Inchwood
O-Godolphin Racing LLC; B-Godolphin (KY); T-Kiaran P.
McLaughlin; J-Joe Bravo. $150,000. Lifetime Record: 5-3-1-0,
$365,332. Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Firenze Fire, 122, c, 3, Poseidon’s Warrior–My Every Wish, by
Langfuhr. O/B-Mr Amore Stables (FL); T-Jason Servis. $50,000.3–Marconi, 116, c, 3, Tapit–Ponche de Leona, by Ponche.
TDN Rising Star($2,000,000 Ylg ’16 KEESEP). O-Bridlewood
Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith & Michael B. Tabor;
B-Brushwood Stable (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $25,000.Margins: 2, HF, 18 3/4. Odds: 1.15, 2.90, 2.60.
Also Ran: Coltandmississippi, Bal Harbour. Scratched: California Night. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Classic Empire’s Half-Brother Scores On Debut at Oaklawn

Sat, 2018-02-03 15:49

4th-OP, $75,000, Msw, 2-3, 3yo, 6f, 1:10.56, ft.
EXCLAMATION POINT (c, 3, Concord Point–Sambuca Classica, by Cat Thief), a half-brother to 2016 champion 2-year-old and last year’s local GI Arkansas Derby hero Classic Empire (Pioneerof the Nile), MGISW, $2,520,220, broke sharply at 5-2 and battled for the early lead alongside Augie (Twirling Candy) through the first quarter in :22.21. Those two continued to fight for command turning for home before Exclamation Point found another gear when switching leads inside the eighth pole and kicked clear to a 2 1/2-length graduation. Augie held on for second. Exclamation Point is also a half to Uptown Twirl, MSW, $170,714; and Anytime Magic (Fusaichi Pegasus), MSW, $202,945. Sambuca Classica is responsible for a yearling filly by Candy Ride (Arg) and was bred back to Pioneerof the Nile last season. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $45,000. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton. O/B-Steven & Brandi Nicholson (KY); T-Brad H. Cox.

 

Speightstown Colt ‘Strikes’ Again in Swale

Sat, 2018-02-03 13:49

STRIKE POWER (c, 3, Speightstown–Gold d’Oro, by Medaglia d’Oro) justified the “TDN Rising Star” title he earned for his eight-length romp on debut in Hallandale Dec. 23 with a decisive score in the GIII Swale S. Hammered down to 4-5 favoritism to repeat in this class hike, the chestnut hustled to the front and was shadowed by fellow “TDN Rising Star” Tricks to Doo (Into Mischief) through an opening half-mile in :45.45. Showing the way into the lane, Strike Power proved easily best, skipping home to win as he pleased. Gotta Go (Shanghai Bobby) closed the gap to three lengths at the wire. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0.

O/B-Courtlandt Farms (KY); T-Mark Hennig.

 

OBS March Catalogue Online

Fri, 2018-02-02 18:13

The catalogue for the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training is now available at the company’s website at www.obssales.com.

A total of 573 juveniles have been catalogued for the sale, to be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 13 and 14, in Ocala, with 191 horses set to go under the hammer during the opening session. The company will stage three under-tack previews Thursday, March 8 (hips 1-191), Friday, March 9 (192-382) and Saturday, March 10 (383-573). All three sessions will begin at 8 a.m.

The OBS March sale has produced six champions, 29 millionaires and the winners of seven Breeders’ Cup races. Recent graduates of the sale include GI TVG Pacific Classic hero Collected (City Zip), the late Irap (Tiznow), ‘TDN Rising Star’ El Areeb (Exchange Rate), American Anthem (Bodemeister) and Singapore SW Forever Young (Run Away and Hide).

Last year’s March sale was topped by the $1.7 million Kerri Radcliffe paid for the filly Diamondsandpearls (Congrats), named a ‘Rising Star’ off a 6 1/4-length debut success at Santa Anita last July. Also among the sale’s five seven-figure offerings was Instilled Regard (Arch), a $1.05-million purchase by OXO Equine’s Larry Best and recent winner of the GIII Lecomte S. in New Orleans.

Sporting Chance to Return in Southwest

Fri, 2018-02-02 16:51

The once-beaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ Sporting Chance (Tiznow), last seen winning the GI Hopeful S. by a neck in early September, is scheduled to make his sophomore debut in the GIII Southwest S. Feb. 19, trainer D. Wayne Lukas confirmed to the Oaklawn notes team Friday morning. Luis Saez has been engaged for the ride on the colt, a $275,000 Keeneland November weanling turned $575,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase for longtime Lukas clients William Mack and Robert Baker.

“We didn’t have any target when we first got here because we didn’t know how quick he would come in hand,” Lukas said. “But he’s done so well since he got here, we started getting more optimistic that the Southwest was a doable deal.”

Sporting Chance has been working well over the last month in Hot Springs, recording a best-of-113 half-mile in :47.60 Jan. 15 and most recently five furlongs in 1:01.40 Jan. 29 (4/38). Lukas indicated that Sporting Chance would fit in two more breezes prior to his Presidents’ Day return to action.

“We’re probably not going to be as tight as we need to be or should be with those horses all having an out,” Lukas said. “But, I think we’ve got a very talented horse, so maybe he’ll overcome me.”

 

Distorted Humor Colt Takes Them All The Way On Debut Friday

Fri, 2018-02-02 14:57

King Humor (3,c, Distorted Humor-Taptam, by Pleasant Tap) takes the field gate-to-wire for an easy graduation Friday at Gulfstream Park. Dispatched at 5-1 the bay quickly rushed to take command through an opening quarter in :22.36. He felt the pressure to his outside throughout the turn from Bella Tapisserie (Tapizar) before finding another gear and kicking away in the final furlong to score by 3 1/2 lengths, stopping the clock in 1:03.08 for the five and a half furlongs. King Humor was a $50,000 OBS June juvenile purchase. Taptam was a MSW and was second to Champion Zenyatta in the 2010 GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn Park. She was purchased in foal to Super Saver for $150,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November Sale.

Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0; O- Heczor Investments Corp.; B-SF Bloodstock; T-Victor Barboza Jr.

 

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