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Updated: 11 hours 59 min ago

Options Aplenty for World of Trouble

Wed, 2019-01-30 15:28

While Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup capped the brilliant careers of City of Light (Quality Road) and recently crowned champion Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky), a runaway winner on the undercard could potentially help fill some of that void in the sprint division in 2019.

The extremely talented World of Trouble (Kantharos), a painful second as the 2-1 choice with an off-the-charts 118 Beyer Speed Figure in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs last fall, made it two straight dominating scores over sloppy tracks with a facile win in the rained-off Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.

The ball is in owner Michael Dubb’s court to map out a campaign for the versatile 4-year-old, trainer Jason Servis revealed in the Gulfstream Park winner’s circle this past weekend.

“This is a classic case of finger pointing, because I’m leaving everything to him,” Dubb said with a laugh.

Races like the seven-furlong GI Carter H. at Aqueduct Apr. 6 and the GII Shakertown S. going 5 1/2 furlongs on the Keeneland grass the same day are on the table, per Dubb, who campaigns the bay in partnership with Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables and Michael Caruso’s Bethlehem Stables.

“It’s a great problem to have,” Dubb said. “If we elect to stay on dirt, we probably point for the Carter next. If we elect to stay on grass, we probably go to Keeneland. It’s very hard for me to quantify which surface he’s better on. Maybe he’s a tad better on grass, but there’s so much more money in dirt racing that it’s pause for cause. Obviously, he’s very adept at both surfaces.”

World of Trouble’s name also appeared on the nominations released earlier this week for the $2.5-million G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen and $2-million G1 Al Quoz Sprint on grass. Any chance he chases the money and instead makes the trip to the desert Mar. 30?

“We’ll have discussions about it,” Dubb said. “I’m a racing guy and I’m very concerned. Some horses go to Dubai, handle it great and come back and continue racing. But it could also knock them out for months. I really want to try to be able to enjoy this horse in the spring and summer with my partners. While the financial reward up front appears great, it doesn’t come without a degree of risk.”

World of Trouble–produced by the 0-for-3 Valid Expectations mare Meets Expectations and just a $10,000 RNA as an OBSAUG yearling–was purchased privately by Dubb from his breeder Darsan Inc. after airing by 14 lengths first out as a 2-year-old in a $25,000 seller at Gulfstream in August 2017. He’s gone favored in nine of 10 career starts and has earned triple-digit Beyers in his last four attempts.

“The horse was presented to me for what seemed like a lot of money at the time by Kim Valerio,” Dubb said. “I watched the race about 20 times and decided to pull the trigger. In this case, it worked out. I’ve gotten friendly with the breeder and I’m thrilled for him. He was able to sell the full-brother for $285,000 at Keeneland September and he still has the mare. This is really win-win for everybody because and we’ve got a special horse, too.”

FOX Sports ‘Saturday At The Races’ Returns This Weekend

Wed, 2019-01-30 14:01

FOX Sports’s “Saturday At The Races,” the live racing broadcast launched in 2018, returns this Saturday, Feb. 2, The New York Racing Association, FOX Sports and The Stronach Group announced Wednesday. Airing on FS2 and produced by NYRA, the telecast will be a 2 1/2-hour long show offering live coverage of the GIII Withers S. from Aqueduct, the GII Holy Bull S. from Gulfstream and the GIII Robert B. Lewis S. from Santa Anita. This is the first of 12 editions of Saturday At The Races, focused on the Triple Crown prep season, running through Apr. 20. The full schedule can be viewed here.

“FOX Sports Saturday At The Races kicks off year one of our expanded coverage of the very best in horse racing,” said Michael Mulvihill, FOX Sports Executive Vice President, Research, League Operations & Strategy. “The races we are showcasing this Spring have produced five of the last six Kentucky Derby champions, including the immortal American Pharoah. As a horseplayer, you simply can’t be prepared for the Triple Crown without seeing these races. We are very excited to present these key stops on the road to the Triple Crown.”

Extreme Cold Forces Cancellations at Several Tracks

Wed, 2019-01-30 13:53

The bitter chill blowing across much of the country this week has forced a number of tracks to cancel racing cards, headlined by The New York Racing Association’s announcement that Aqueduct will not run its scheduled Thursday card. In addition, training at both Belmont and Aqueduct and the Belmont Café simulcasting center will be closed Thursday. Charles Town, which had already canceled Wednesday’s races, is also postponing Thursday’s card, as is Laurel Park. Penn National previously announced the cancellation of its live racing from Wednesday through Saturday.

NYTHA Honors Violette With New Vocations Stall Sponsorship

Wed, 2019-01-30 13:28

The New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) is sponsoring a stall at the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program’s Lexington facility named in honor of the late Rick Violette, Jr. An accomplished trainer and former president of NYTHA, Violette was a steadfast supporter of New York’s horsemen and backstretch workers. He also believed passionately in aftercare for retiring Thoroughbred racehorses, creating the TAKE2 Second Career Thoroughbred Program and NYTHA’s TAKE THE LEAD Thoroughbred Retirement Program, and serving as founding Board member of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA).

“We are deeply thankful to NYTHA for naming a stall at our Mereworth Farm location in honor of Rick,” said Anna Ford, New Vocations Thoroughbred Program Director. “Rick was an avid supporter of Thoroughbred aftercare and he became a wonderful friend as well as advocate for our program; he was always excited to hear how we were growing and expanding. I know he would be extremely pleased with this generous tribute from NYTHA–hundreds of retiring racehorses will be housed in this stall over the coming years as they begin transitional training for second careers. I know in my heart he would be profoundly happy to know the impact of his legacy.”

Snow, Sales Descend On Newmarket

Wed, 2019-01-30 12:10

Newmarket, UK–It seems unlikely that there will be a repeat of last year’s excitement at the Tattersalls February Sale when Willie John (GB) (Dansili {GB}) smashed the European record for a colt in training sold at auction.

The winter gathering in Newmarket, which lay under a light carpet of snow on the eve of the event on Wednesday, is something of a mixed bag for the two-day sale. The majority going through the ring are colts and fillies both in and out of training, but some useful broodmares as well as 2-year-olds and yearlings are included.

Willie John’s contribution of 1,900,000gns by moving to Roger Varian’s stable helped the sale’s turnover to reach 8,037,150gns last year, an improvement for the fourth year in a row despite impressive gains in 2017. The average of 26,880gns was also a record. The first event of the year in Park Paddocks might be one of the lowest-key, but could yet give some pointers to the financial climate ahead.

Godolphin has already made a strong early impression to 2019 at the Dubai World Cup Carnival and several of the members set to leave the team could add a little lustre.

Its consignment now numbers 36, predominately consisting of those who have raced, and much the best-known name is that of Atty Persse (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) (lot 375). He had looked a Classic prospect after an impressive juvenile success and struck for trainer Roger Charlton in the King George V H. at Royal Ascot in 2017 before his fortunes dwindled.

Ambassadorial (Elusive Quality) (lot 315) had a similarly attractive profile for Michael Halford after taking the Listed Star Appeal S. at Dundalk, but he too has failed to build on that promise.

In terms of finding a younger horse with potential close to that of Willie John, the credentials of Patrick Sarsfield (Fr) (Australia {GB}) (lot 188) are sure to be scrutinised. He was trained in Ireland by Eddie Lynam last term and was unlucky to run into G2 Champions Juvenile S. scorer Madhmoon (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) and Group 1 runner-up Sydney Opera House (GB) (Australia {GB}) on his only two starts.

John Gosden is responsible for several of the more recently in-form offerings with War Eagle (Ire) (Australia {GB}) (lot 353) and recent Lingfield scorer St Peters Basilica (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) (lot 352), a half-brother to the far speedier pair Caspian Prince (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}) and Spirit Quartz (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), having some reasonable form on the board.

Harvey Dent (GB) (Mayson {GB}), (lot 180) did himself no harm in winning in impressive fashion on only his third start at Lingfield a few days ago and is being offered on behalf of trainer Archie Watson by The Castlebridge Consignment. John Murphy’s Confrontational (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}) (lot 333) has also been in terrific heart of late, scoring at successive meetings at Dundalk, as has the William Haggas-trained Deputise (GB) (Kodiak {GB}) (lot 369).

Green Room (Theatrical {Ire}), who ended up being the dam of last year’s G1 Oaks scorer Forever Together (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), changed hands at this sale a few years ago and there are certainly options for those with breeding or another season of racing in mind.

Several likely types are being offered through Baroda and Colbinstown Studs on Thursday. Among their six are Kalandara (Ire) (Rainbow Quest), whose dual Group 3-winning daughter Luminate (Ire) (Lawman {Fr} sold for 900,000gns at the 2018 Tattersalls December Sale. Although the mare is now 16, she is believed to be carrying a filly foal by Lope De Vega (Ire) and is one of the best of the earlier lots as lot 69. One lot before her (lot 68) is Art Of Dance (GB) (Medicean {GB}), a Bloomsbury Stud-bred mare who is in foal to the much in-demand young buck No Nay Never.

This could be a busy few minutes as another in-foal to No Nay Never is the useful race-mare Hestia (Fr) (High Chaparral {Ire}), an eye-catching entry by the National Stud as lot 66, whilst lot 67, the unraced All I Need (Ire) (Peintre Celebre) has an attractive Wildenstein pedigree.

Ellery Lane (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}) (lot 163) has not yet become a broodmare after leaving Brian Lynch in Canada but was stakes-placed in both Ireland and America. Highclere Stud’s Snazzy (Ire) (Kodiak {GB}) (lot 159) ought to have similar credentials as she was listed-placed for Charlie Fellowes and hails from the illustrious extended family of the likes of Cassandra Go (Ire), Magical (Ire) and Rhododendron (Ire).

Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said, “The Tattersalls February Sale has firmly established itself as Europe’s premier midwinter sale and there is no shortage of high-class breeding stock in this year’s catalogue, as well as horses in training, 2-year-olds and yearlings to appeal to the usual diverse mix of domestic and international buyers who descend on Park Paddocks each year.”

At 11am, prior to the sale commencing half an hour later, will be the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Flat stallion parade. Ten stallions who are about to embark upon their first and second seasons at stud in Great Britain will feature. They include Whitsbury Manor Stud’s acquisition Havana Grey (GB) (Havana Gold {Ire}), the G1 Flying Five S. hero, and G1 St Leger scorer Harbour Law (GB) (Lawman {Fr}, who is to stand at Batsford Stud.

A pair of ex-Aidan O’Brien performers are also on show in top sprinter Washington DC (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), now moving to Bearstone Stud, and the National Stud’s Lancaster Bomber (War Front), who signed off winning the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup S. Sophomore stallions Ardad (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) and Time Test (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) are also on parade with a handful of other more established stallions on hand for viewing afterwards in the Left and Right Yards.

In this period of calm before the storm during which breeders and buyers will be in town, some of the leading local studs are also holding an ‘open house’ over the next couple of days and there is the opportunity to visit both Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor and Darley’s Dalham Hall headquarters, among others.

Keeneland Expands April Sale to Include Horses of Racing Age

Wed, 2019-01-30 11:11

Keeneland has expanded the 2019 April Sale, which traditionally features 2-year-olds in training, to include horses of racing age, the sales company announced Wednesday.

The April Sale is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 9, immediately following the Spring Meet opening weekend, which begins Thursday, Apr. 4.

“Keeneland’s Spring Meet is a convergence of horsemen heading home from their winter bases,” Keeneland Vice President of Racing and Sales Bob Elliston said. “The addition of a horses of racing age component to the April Sale complements our racing program and offers variety to buyers in town for opening weekend.”

The entry deadline for the online horses of racing age catalog is Friday, Mar. 15. Supplemental entries will be accepted after that deadline. Entries for the 2-year-olds in training catalog close Saturday, Feb. 1.

Keeneland conducted the April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale from 1993-2014. The sale has been on hiatus since 2015. At the 2014 April Sale, future champions Lady Eli (Divine Park) and Roy H (More Than Ready) were sold.


Goldencents Colt Tops OBS Opener

Tue, 2019-01-29 19:03

An unraced 3-year-old colt by Goldencents (hip 251) topped Tuesday’s opening session of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s Winter Mixed Sale when bringing a final bid of $200,000 from Susan Montanye’s S B M Training and Sales, as agent. Montanye, who signed the ticket on behalf of two undisclosed partners, said the sophomore will head to the Oaklawn Park stable of trainer Brad Cox.

“I think he’s a beautiful horse,” Montanye said. “I watched him breeze at the breeze show and he did it right. I looked at the horse afterwards for them just to make sure he was sound and I passed my information along, since I was there and they could not be at the sale. So, I wish them all the best of luck with him. He seems to be the real deal.”

The bay colt, who worked four furlongs in a bullet :44 flat during Monday’s under-tack preview, was consigned by Woodside Ranch. He is out of multiple stakes placed Angels Trace (Bellamy Road).

Woodside’s Bryan Rice purchased the colt for $10,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky October Yearling Sale and re-offered him at last year’s OBS April sale.

“I thought he had a really good frame and I really liked the way he moved,” Rice said of the colt’s appeal as a yearling. “And I was pretty encouraged about the sire–a freshman sire at the time–so there were a handful of things, both physical and pedigree that caught my eye.”

The colt sold for $100,000 after working a furlong in :10 1/5 at the April sale, but eventually made his way back to Rice’s care.

“We had him sold last year,” Rice explained. “But the horse got pretty sore in his shin and the people that bought him came to me and said, ‘This horse is struggling a little bit. What do we want to do?’ I told them I wanted them to be happy. We took him back and did right by him. We gave him the summer and started getting him fit again and he’s done very well. The horse has grown and improved in the course of those six months.”

Of the opportunity to offer a ready-to-run horse at the January sale, Rice said, “My first priority is to sell these horses; to do right by them and sell them. And the January sale was the only one that was really available to me in the time frame. The horse is pretty much ready to run right now. I either needed to run him and sell him privately or present him at sale.”

Multiple stakes winner Noble Commander (Forestry) (hip 198) also topped the six-figure mark in Ocala Tuesday, selling for $135,000 to Agave Racing Stable. The 4-year-old won last month’s Woodchopper S. at Fair Grounds for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse. He was consigned by Moonshadow Farm.

During the horses of racing age section of the Winter sale, 62 horses sold for $1,204,000. The average was $19,419 and the median was $8,500.

A trio of yearlings shared the top price of $75,000 during Tuesday’s short select session of the OBS Winter Mixed Sale. A colt by Distorted Humor (hip 28) was first to hit the mark when selling to Tami Bobo’s First Finds. From the Select Sales consignment, the chestnut is out of Inspeight of Us (Speightstown), a half-sister to Grade I winners Daddys Lil Darling (Scat Daddy) and Mongolian Saturday (Any Given Saturday). Also from the Select Sales consignment, a colt by Bernardini (hip 70) brought a final bid of $75,000 from Calumet Farm. The bay, who RNA’d for $37,000 at last year’s Keeneland November sale, is out of graded stakes winner Palanka City (Carson City). Completing the trio of yearlings was a colt by Bayern (hip 31). Consigned by Stuart Morris as agent for Highclere, the dark bay is out of Jera (Jeblar) and is a half-brother to multiple Grade I winner Jeranimo (Congaree).

Tuesday’s session missed out on a six-figure yearling when a filly by American Pharoah (hip 86) was led out unsold at $240,000.

In all, 103 horses sold during the select section for a gross of $1,749,100. The average was $16,982 and the median was $12,500. During last year’s select session, 147 horses sold for $3,452,700 for an average of $23,488 and a median of $10,000.

The OBS Winter Mixed sale concludes with an open session Wednesday. Bidding commences at 11 a.m.

New York’s OTBs May Stop Taking Bets on Racing

Tue, 2019-01-29 18:21

Under the 2019-2020 state budget proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the state’s OTBs would have the option to drop betting on horse racing entirely or merge with another OTB district.

There are five distinct OTB districts in New York, which cover the entire state with the exception of New York City. New York City OTB ceased operations in 2010.

It appears that the primary reason Cuomo would allow the OTBs to stop taking bets on horses is because most of the districts have been losing money on racing and some have branched out into the slots business. Nassau OTB is the recipient of revenue from 500 slot machines at the Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct Racetrack, money that goes neither to NYRA nor purses. Suffolk OTB operates 1,000 machines at a casino in Suffolk County, Long Island. Western OTB also operates the Batavia harness track, which has slots.

The OTBs are also candidates to take sports betting once laws on that are formulated in the state.

New York’s OTB network was established in the 1970s, when horse racing and the lottery were the only legal forms of gambling in the state. But the landscape has changed dramatically over the last 40 odds years, and the OTBs have found it harder and harder to make a profit on racing as casinos began to proliferate in the state and racing’s popularity has declined.

According to Newsday, Suffolk OTB went bankrupt in 2011 and has about $41 million in debt. The paper also reported that Nassau OTB is about $8.8 million in debt.

“The agencies have not turned a profit on horse betting in over a decade as racing has become a losing proposition throughout the country,” Nassau OTB president Joe Cairo told Newsday.

According to multiple sources, Cuomo put the OTB language into his budget proposal as a way not only to free some OTBs of a financial drain, but to benefit Capital OTB, which covers the Saratoga-Albany area. Unlike Nassau and Suffolk, Capital has no connection to slot machines and is also widely viewed as the most successful OTB in the state. Should Cuomo’s budget pass as is, Capital would be in position to take over the racing portion of the business from any of the other OTBs who want out of the horse business.

It was not immediately clear if Capital or any other OTB district could re-open OTBs in New York City.

“It depends on what other OTBs decide,” Capital OTB President and CEO John Signor said when asked if his company would look to take over other OTB districts. “Other OTBs have VLTs and Western has VLTs and a racetrack. At Capital, we have just come off a profitable year. I think one of the reasons is horse racing is the only product we have, so we really focus on it and try hard to make it profitable for us. If any opportunities come about to branch out and expand our OTB operation, we’d certainly be interested in talking to people about it, analyzing it and reviewing it. There is no doubt about it that we support what the Governor has put in his budget.”

Should Capital take over more of the off-track betting in the state, the prize would be the customers who have ADW accounts with the other regions. However, Signor said that with any merger of OTB districts, the new operator can keep the bricks-and-mortar facilities open if they chose to do so.

“We do that all the time,” he said. “We look at all our branches to make sure they are as profitable as can be. We look at handle, expenses, the rent. The ones that are profitable obviously stay open. If an individual branch is not making money we have to look to see if it makes sense to keep it open.”

The fact that New York is not only the only state that has more than one OTB operator but has five has been a controversial subject for years and many believe the system was set up that way to provide as many patronage jobs as a possible. For that reason, a consolidation of OTB operations will likely be welcomed in many corners of the industry.

If OTBs handle does not significantly decline if and when changes are made, NYRA’s purse account should not be affected. However, one person close to the situation wondered why Cuomo did not open the doors to allowing NYRA and its NYRA Bets ADW the option to take over some of the OTB districts.

“Really, that’s what would be best for racing,” the source said. “NYRA is good at what they do, especially with NYRA Bets and they should have been given the chance to throw their hat in the ring. That’s what would have been best for New York racing.”

TAA Elects New President Meuser

Tue, 2019-01-29 14:58

The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance Board of Directors elected Mike Meuser as its new president and elected nine new board members.

“The 2019 TAA board is an incredibly talented group of individuals from all areas of the Thoroughbred industry,” Meuser said. “I will make every effort to utilize my years of non-profit experience to lead the transition between the original founding TAA board and these worthy successors. To serve the TAA on behalf of our retired athletes is an honor”

Meuser, who previously served as the TAA vice president and secretary, is a managing director of Miller, Griffin & Marks, P.S.C. in Lexington, KY, where he has practiced law for more than 35 years. He also chairs the National Equine Law Conference.

“In order for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to protect our sport by protecting our retiring athletes, it takes a tremendous amount of time and dedication by staff and a board of directors,” outgoing TAA President John Phillips said. “I am thrilled to welcome a new class of board of directors to the TAA.”

The TAA rotates its board of directors to have each member serve a total of three years, it also rotates its executive officers.

The new board members beginning service in 2019 are: Craig Bandoroff, owner of Denali Stud; Jeff Bloom, managing director of Bloom Racing; Simon Bray, analyst for TVG; Donna Brothers, chief operating officer of Starlight Racing and analyst for NBC Sports; Boyd Browning, president and CEO of Fasig-Tipton; Case Clay, chief commercial officer of Three Chimneys Farm; Brian Graves, director of public sales at Gainesway; Chip McGaughey, sales associate at Keeneland; and Tom Ventura, president of Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company.

They join current TAA board members: Dora Delgado, Mike Ernst, Sue Finley, Jim Gagliano, Susie Hart, David O’Farrell, Martin Panza, John Phillips, Walt Robertson, Yvonne Schwabe, Jen Shah, and Nicole Walker.


Pedigree Insights: Bricks and Mortar

Tue, 2019-01-29 13:17

After an early childhood when the radio was the prime source of entertainment, I have plenty of vintage songs imprinted on my memory, including Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters urging me to ac-cent-u-ate the positive, e-lim-in-ate the negative and latch on to the affirmative.

I wish I could do so following the inaugural running of the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational S., but unfortunately it left me feeling rather underwhelmed. Perhaps I would have felt differently had the finish been fought out by the four previous Grade I winners in the ten-horse field, but none of them made the first four. Instead, the bulk of the nearly $7 million in prize money went to a 5-year-old, a 4-year-old and two 6-year-olds, none of which had previously won anything better than a Grade II. In other words, the prize money seemed to be out of proportion to the talent on show.

Let’s hope that future editions attract more strength in depth, but to do so, the race probably needs to attract some top-class colts from Europe and Japan (this year’s only overseas challengers were an Irish filly and a Japanese mare). I wonder whether it will be able to do so in its current position in the calendar. It is surely too close to the breeding season for any European colt whose stallion debut is imminent. And colts which are set to continue racing have the carrot of the Dubai World Cup Festival dangling before them, with the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic and the $4 million Dubai Turf among the possible targets.

I would like to be proved wrong, and it is going to be interesting to see whether the decisive inaugural winner Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) can develop into another turf champion for Chad Brown. It’s far from impossible that he will. Although he recently turned five, the son of Giant’s Causeway has raced only eight times and he has the proud record of having won six of them. He appeared poised to reach the big time when he defeated Yoshida (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) in the GIII National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame S. in August 2017, to gain his fourth win from as many starts, but that win was followed by two defeats and an injury-induced absence from the track of more than 14 months.

Incidentally, I suppose that I shouldn’t be too surprised that the connections of Bricks and Mortar and his fellow Grade I winners Yoshida and Next Shares were among those who turned down Gulfstream’s admirable offer of a 7lb allowance for horses running without Lasix.

Bricks and Mortar’s latest success makes him the 28th Grade I winner by Giant’s Causeway. It will be interesting to see whether this former champion sire can add many more Grade I winners to his tally, despite a recent lack of ammunition. Although he is credited with 91 live foals in 2015 and 77 in 2016, the son of Storm Cat had only 38 live foals in 2017 and 15 in 2018. He covered just nine mares last year before dying at the age of 21 in April.

Bricks and Mortar is inbred 3 x 3 to the champion European 2-year-old Storm Bird through his sons Storm Cat and Ocean Crest. While Storm Cat is a household name, the same cannot be said of Bricks and Mortar’s broodmare sire Ocean Crest. His finest moment during his ten-race career came when he landed the GII Del Mar Derby Invitational on turf in 1994.

After failing to make it to the races as a 4-year-old, Ocean Crest began his stallion career at Prestonwood Farm in 1996, at a fee of only $5,000. He wasn’t a great success, but his first crop contained Bricks and Mortar’s dam Beyond The Waves, who proved to be a very consistent stakes performer in France. She won the Listed Prix des Tourelles over a mile and a half and was runner-up in the G2 Prix de Royallieu and in a couple of Group 3s. She was also second in the GIII Bewitch S. when returned to the U.S.

Only a handful of Ocean Crest’s broodmare daughters enjoyed graded success, but two of them did very well. One of them, Surf Club, produced the Grade I winner Emcee and Grade II scorer Surfer. Beyond The Waves was the other good broodmare. In addition to Bricks and Mortar, she has produced the Grade III winner Emerald Beech to Maria’s Mon, the Listed winner Beyond Smart to Smart Strike and the Group 3-placed Sir Ector to Dynaformer. One of Beyond The Waves’s half-sisters, Miss Excitement, also enjoyed Grade I success as a broodmare thanks to her son Bordonaro, winner of the Ancient Title S. over six furlongs.

Bricks and Mortar is by no means the first high-class performer closely inbred to Storm Bird. Summer Bird, a Grade I winner of the Belmont S., Travers S. and Jockey Club Gold Cup, was another inbred 3 x 3, while the three-time Australian Group 1 winner Trapeze Artist, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Tamarkuz and the Australasian Oaks winner Maybe Discreet are all inbred 4 x 3. Then there’s Mind Control, last year’s winner of the GI Hopeful S., who is inbred 3 x 4.

Mention of Storm Bird reminds me that he clearly wasn’t a favourite of my esteemed colleague Tony Morris. In his book, Thoroughbred Stallions, Morris commented that “Storm Bird’s name will always be closely identified with the 1980s madness in the Thoroughbred business.”

He illustrated this claim, saying that “in January, fit and well and hot favourite for both the 2000 Guineas and the Derby, he was worth $15 million. In July, having not turned out for either classic–or any other race that year–and obviously not exactly in the pink of condition, he was worth $30 million.”

Morris also mentioned that some of Storm Bird’s stock had wind problems, but there is no getting away from the fact that Storm Bird hit the heights both as a racehorse and a stallion. Unbeaten in five juvenile starts, including the National S. and the Dewhurst S., the son of Northern Dancer earned the lofty Timeform rating of 134.

His greatest achievement as a stallion was surely the dual champion sire Storm Cat, but he also gave us the Preakness winner Summer Squall, the outstanding European mare Indian Skimmer and the Oaks winner Balanchine, who was good enough to beat the colts in the Irish Derby.


Juvenile Champion Raises a Toast to Glass

Tue, 2019-01-29 12:51

It is the length of the road that makes you truly appreciate the view from the summit. Strictly, yes, you would get exactly the same panorama if you just got yourself dropped up there by helicopter. Conceivably you could win an Eclipse Award with the first 2-year-old you ever bought, and feel due excitement about maybe going on to the GI Kentucky Derby. But it just means so much more if, like Ben Glass and his patrons Gary and Mary West, you have been on this journey together for four decades. They have shared other wonderful moments on the way–but it’s actually the countless tougher days, in between, that permit them such satisfaction in their newly anointed champion Game Winner (Candy Ride).

For the past 25 years, Glass has served the Wests as racing manager; for 13 years before that, he was their trainer.

“When we first started, we were claiming horses for $2,500 in places like Grand Island, Nebraska,” he remembers. “And you know what, there’s nobody better for the racing game than Gary and Mary West. They are the best. Gary’s like a brother to me. You’re not going to surprise him with anything. If it can happen, it’s happened to them. I’m telling you, they’ve had some bad luck and some good luck, and they take it all on the chin.”

In 2002 they had the second favorite for the Derby in Buddha (Unbridled’s Song), who had beaten Medaglia d’Oro (El Prado {Ire}) in the GI Wood Memorial S.

“We got to the barn at five in the morning, to watch him gallop, and they said he was hurt,” Glass recalls. “And Gary just said, ‘Well, I’m going back to bed.’ I could tell you so many heartaches they’ve had, and they’re just good people. When it says West behind a horse, that horse is in good hands, believe me. We had a horse in New York one time who had a double compound fracture. They were told to put him down, but Gary said, ‘Well, can he be saved?’ I said, ‘Let me find out.’ And they did save him, they spent all that money so that they could give him away to some guy in Washington.”

Glass and the Wests have literally seen it all. When Mongoose (Broad Brush) won the GI Donn H., also in 2002, they were having their picture taken in the winner’s circle when Glass looked down the track to see what had happened to their other runner.

“And he’s lying down on the turn, he’s had heat stroke,” Glass recalls. “So we stood smiling for the win picture, and then I took off running. The game is full of ups and downs but that was the most up-to-down I’ve ever had. One horse taking the picture in the Grade I, other horse laying on the track. He did get up. But I mean, it’s a crazy business we live in.”

As the Wests became able to invest more and more in their stable–alongside, that is, over $200 million committed to a charitable foundation–Glass discovered a fresh frustration to the racing of Thoroughbreds.

“When Gary started buying the better horses I thought, man, these are beautiful horses, we can’t lose,” he reflects. “But Gary kept telling me, ‘Ben,’ he said, ‘if you get one graded stakes winner among all these horses, you’re beating the odds.’ And I finally realized he was right, that for some reason most of them won’t be runners–and that just breaks my heart. Such big, beautiful horses! It’s so tough to figure out. I guess they can’t all run, but it really bothered me for a long time, knowing you’re spending all that money and that most of them won’t make it. But I’ve learned to take it now.”

In naming Dollar Bill (Peaks And Valleys) as his favorite to date–quite an accolade, considering that the Wests have just retired a previous Eclipse champion in West Coast (Flatter) to Lane’s End–Glass discloses both what he most admires in a horse, and also what potentially sets Game Winner on another plane.

“Yes, Dollar Bill was kind of a hard-luck horse,” Glass says. “But he had a heart of gold. I mean, West Coast was a racehorse and a half, just wasn’t quite the same when he came back from Dubai. But Dollar Bill always was a trier. It was just that when he got in trouble or got bumped, he couldn’t quite get going again.”

So while his trainer Bob Baffert rewrote the Triple Crown rulebook with the overnight sensation that was Justify (Scat Daddy), Glass likes the way Game Winner satisfies the conventional criteria of race seasoning. Because when backed into a corner, unlike Dollar Bill, he has shown the class to get back into top gear.

“You know, in the Breeders’ Cup I thought he was going to get beat down the backside,” Glass confesses. “I didn’t think he had any prayer, as wide as he was; and then when he got bumped coming down there, I thought: ‘Oh man, everything in the world’s against us.’ But it didn’t bother him: he just shrugged his shoulders, kept on running. So we found out he can take a beating and keep on ticking.

“And the fact he lost a lot of ground is good for us, because he looks like the farther they go, the happier he is. He’s a big, powerful, strong-built horse, and I think he’s got a big heart–which is what you need most in this game. That desire to win is half the battle. Seeing him bounced around in a rough trip like that, and keeping on going, I think he has the heart it takes to be a champion.”

Certainly Game Winner was tailor-made for the Wests, who send Glass and his team to the yearling sales with a very specific brief. The two races they most covet are the Kentucky Derby and the GI Travers S., so they only want two-turn prospects with Classic dirt pedigrees. Various elements go into that mix: a heavy emphasis on dosage, for instance; and an aversion to mares who fail to produce a stakes winner in her first five foals, or to older mares period. Nor do they have any need for fillies, with enough already coming through the breeding program. West doesn’t want turf blood, either, albeit Glass contends that it can bring with it the required stamina.

“We take all that into consideration before we buy a horse,” he says. “So really it eliminates a lot of horses I don’t even have to look at. Makes my job a lot easier. I know exactly what Gary wants, and there’s no sense looking at anything else because he’s going to nix it. He’s the boss! But I know he’s right. We’ve been doing this for a long time. We’ve bought a lot of horses and, with those that didn’t turn out, we went back and looked and tried to figure out why. You put that in the memory bank, and you end up with a program that works for you. For a long time, for instance, we tried to buy freshman sires. And boy, we were getting burned so bad. If only one out of 25 sires can stay in Kentucky, that tells you right there how lucky you got to be with those.”

In the case of Game Winner, Glass was astonished to learn from his consignors that not one other person had scoped the horse. Sure enough, he was able to pick him up for $110,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

“Evidently he had something other people couldn’t live with,” he says with a shrug. “I have no clue what that might have been. But that’s the way it works. Everybody looks at a horse differently. Unless you get the spectacular standout everybody’s found, and you’re going to have to give a million.”

After passing the first sieve of the Wests’ paper prescription, yearlings have to pass muster with their inspection team. Glass is accompanied by Des Ryan, who manages the Wests’ broodmares at Dell Ridge Farm; Ocala breaker and pre-trainer Jeff Kirk; and veterinarian Dr Doug Brunk, who like Glass hails from Nebraska. And then they have to pass Dr. Craig Van Balen, who scopes them and reads the X-rays.

“So it’s a team effort,” Glass stresses. “We all work good together, there’s no ego trips here. Most times we’re all on board. They lead the horse out and we’ll all be looking at each other like, oh boy. So if somebody is worried about a funny-looking tendon or something, we’ll have that ultra-sounded to make sure nobody’s making a mistake, and we’re glad that one person on the team saw it. Then we come back and all go through it together, and try to put a number to a horse; and then Mr. West will put the final number to it.

“But the truth is that I have to really, really love a horse before I want to buy him. Because when they’re selling 5,000 head [at one sale], you can buy what you love. Of course a vet can say no, or you can be outbid by Sheikh Mohammed. But we don’t ever try to talk ourselves into one. Because I found that’s the surest way to buy a bad horse. I hear that stuff all the time: ‘Oh, he can live with that, it’s just baby bone or whatever.’ When I was young I probably thought I can do this, I can conquer the world. But now it’s there we take them off the list. We’re pretty critical.”

Glass loves the way Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas know whether or not they like a horse the moment it is led from the barn, and similarly heeds his own gut instinct. Specifically, he likes a deep chest and stifle; a bit of length; and a big overstep. All lore he absorbed in youth, when issued his first licence aged just 16 at Arlington Park.

By then he had absorbed a great deal from his uncle in California–a gifted horseman, never quite able to fulfil his talent in his own name, but valued by several big trainers–while his father always had a string of horses as a sideline. Yet Glass was immersed as a psychology major at college, intending to become a youth counsellor, when the call came. “I had two trimesters left when my dad’s trainer messed up,” he remembers. “So I told my wife, ‘I’ll just run down to Hot Springs and help my dad out with these horses and then I’ll come back and finish college.’ But when I came back I got my wife, loaded her up, we went to the racetrack and never went back.”

Then one day Gary West, who had recently cashed in one of his first big businesses, was told by a friend about a nice filly Glass was breaking. And when West came to see her, he liked the filly–but loved the horseman. Soon West established that Glass was as skilled as he was honest: he claimed a horse named Joe Blow for $13,500 and, training at Ak-Sar-Ben, Glass kept him going for another five seasons and 23 wins.

A few years later he saddled the Wests’ first graded stakes winner, Rockamundo (Key To The Mint), in the GII Arkansas Derby at 108-1. It was only when his sons were approaching the age to leave home that Glass, eager to spend time with them while he could, resolved to quit training. He was going to raise cattle, but West asked him to come back aboard as racing manager.

“Training horses, I loved that life: couldn’t wait for that alarm to go off at four in the morning,” Glass admits. “But family’s got to come first. And I’m too old now. A trainer’s life is rough. Seven days a week, they don’t know if it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving.”

As it is, he enjoys the privilege of seeing how a man like Baffert operates. “All good trainers develop their horses,” Glass says. “For Bob, there’s no [adequate] superlatives. He can just watch horses train and know what they need. But every trainer has his own theory, trains his own way. Some work them fast, some don’t; some work close to the race, some don’t. There’s no set-in-stone way to train a horse.

“You can’t talk to horses. You got to know how to read them, how to listen when they’re telling you something. I used to have horses I’d take out and gallop the morning of the race; I had others, you did that they wouldn’t run a jump. It’s crazy. Each horse is different. There’s no manual. So it’s quite a humbling experience to get one to the winner’s circle, knowing you helped develop that horse.

“And like I was saying with Game Winner, I really believe that the good ones, down the lane, they want to beat those other horses. I had horses, they didn’t win, they’d sulk. And when they won, they thought they were king of the world. Horses are a lot smarter than most people allow. Pigs are supposed to be smart, but I don’t know if a pig would know if he won a race or not. But horses, they have great personalities. I know they’re happy when they get into that winner’s circle.”


One Canadian Upgrade in 2019

Mon, 2019-01-28 16:14

A total of 46 graded races will be held in Canada in 2019 after a listed race was upgraded to a Grade III event following the annual review by The Jockey Club of Canada’s Graded Stakes Committee. The Jacques Cartier S., previously run as a listed race, will have Grade III status this year. Included in the changes, the Monashee S. and the Lieutenant Governors’ H. were downgraded from listed status to black-type for 2019.

The Graded Stakes Committee meeting was conducted by Committee Chair Ross McKague and accompanied by all Committee Members: Jim Bannon, Tom Cosgrove, Mark Frostad and Jockey Club of Canada’s Chief Steward R. Glenn Sikura. The attending racetrack representatives included Julie Bell, Matt Jukich, Nichelle Milner and Paul Ryneveld.

For a complete listing of 2019 graded races, click here.

OBS Winter Mixed Sale Opens Tuesday

Mon, 2019-01-28 16:02

The Ocala Breeders Sales Company opens its 2019 calendar with a two-session Winter Mixed Sale which gets underway Tuesday at 11 a.m. The auction begins with 186 catalogued head in the consignor preferred section and is followed by a selection of horses of racing age. The sale concludes Wednesday with an open session.

“I think we’ll see a lot of what we’ve seen at other mixed sales,” said OBS Director of Sales Tod Wojciechowski. “I think people will be rewarded for perceived quality. There will be money here for the right horses.”

The Winter sale’s horses of racing age section, which includes 117 catalogued offerings, features 35 older horses, 62 3-year-olds and 20 2-year-olds.

“It has been a work in progress,” Wojciechowski said of the racing age portion of the sale. “I think people are starting to recognize it as a spot that you can buy some good, useful horses.”

OBS held an under-tack show for the racing age horses Monday, which adds to the section’s appeal, according to Wojciechowski.

“It’s a unique aspect of our racing age sale that we have them perform on the track and have a video of them breezing,” he said.

Grand Royale (Cairo Prince), an unraced 3-year-old, turned in the fastest three-furlong breeze Monday, covering the distance in :32 1/5. The Oklahoma-bred colt, hip 194, is consigned by James Layden. An unraced 3-year-old by Goldencents (hip 251) had the day’s fastest four-furlong breeze of :44 flat. The bay colt is consigned by Woodside Ranch.

“The track played pretty quick with the weather we had here Sunday, it was cold and rainy, and it was cold again this morning,” Wojciechowski said. “But there were some nice horses who sure looked good moving over the track. It was a good, safe breeze show.”

The OBS sales complex has been undergoing an extensive renovation in recent years and buyers will see plenty new since the company held its most recent sale last October.

“From October to January, there has been a pretty dramatic change,” Wojciechowski said. “The auditorium is, for all intents and purposes, complete. We have totally revamped the auditorium with new seats, new flooring, new ceiling, new everything. There are still some public areas that are not quite finished yet, but we are certainly on the downhill side of it. And I think people will even see an improvement from now to March. We’ve had a lot of positive comments. People are pretty excited to see what we’ve done and they are appreciative of it.”

A yearling filly by Violence brought the top price of $200,000 at last year’s OBS Winter sale. The filly was one of nine to bring six figures at the auction. In all, 409 head grossed $5,969,600. The average was $14,596–up 62% from the 2017 figure–and the median was up 38% to $6,000.

New Jersey Purse Supplement Bill Clears Assembly Committee

Mon, 2019-01-28 15:22

The New Jersey state Assembly Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bill that would provide a $10 million annual purse supplement to Monmouth Park over five years by a vote of 9-0 Monday. The vote came over one month after the state Senate passed Bill 2992 by a 40-0 vote Dec. 17. With this latest clearance, the bill will now travel to the state’s Assembly floor, where the next session is scheduled for Thursday. Should the bill pass the Assembly, Governor Phil Murphy would need to approve it before it becomes law.

Bill 2992 would distribute $20 million between the state’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred industries annually. The subsidy would presumably provide a much-needed boost to the racing industry in the state, which has struggled to stay afloat in the years since Governor Chris Christie eliminated a $17-million annual purse supplement funded by Atlantic City casinos in 2011.


ARCI and RTIP to Offer Investigator Training

Mon, 2019-01-28 14:09

The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) and the University of Arizona’s Racetrack Industry Program (RTIP) will launch an educational program for horse racing investigators employed by racing commissions and tracks beginning in the third quarter of 2019. The course is modeled after the ROAP accreditation program.

“The RTIP welcomes the opportunity to partner with the ARCI in ensuring that those seeking employment as racing investigators have the necessary educational foundation to perform effectively,” said Wendy Davis, Director of the Racetrack Industry Program.

Ed Martin, ARCI President, added, “As one who recruited and built a staff of effective racing investigators, I can attest that a good investigator not only must have investigatory and interrogation skills, but also have a keen understanding of how racing works, as well as a feel for the backstretch community and what to take notice of.”

The program’s steering committee consists of Davis and RCI Board Members Tom Sage and John Wayne, both seasoned investigators. The date for the first certificate program has yet to be finalized.

City of Light, Accelerate Arrive at Lane’s End

Mon, 2019-01-28 13:59

   The GI Pegasus World Cup hero City of Light (Quality Road) and newly crowned champion older male Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) arrived together at Lane’s End Farm Monday, where both retire for the 2019 breeding season. It was still dark when the pair, who had an entire Sallee van to themselves, rolled in after a roughly 20-hour trip from Gulfstream Park (Thorostride video).

   “They left there about 11 a.m. yesterday and got in a little before 7 a.m. this morning,” said Lane’s End’s Bill Farish. “They shipped in great and they look terrific. They’re a little cold, and they’re going to get colder, but we got blankets on them right away and their coats will grow in fast.”

   Temperatures were in the high 20s Monday morning in Lexington, but are set to dip into the single digits by midweek. Both horses unloaded without issue and were calm being led to their new stalls. City of Light now resides in the stall directly across from his sire Quality Road.

   “They’re probably pretty tired from the van ride, but they settled in really nice,” added Farish.

   City of Light will stand his first season for a fee of $35,000. Accelerate will stand for $20,000.

   “It’s a first time for us having one, let alone two, come in just two weeks before the breeding season,” said Farish. “But I think they’ll adjust quickly and things will go smooth.”


Midnight Bisou Overcomes Adversity in Houston Ladies Classic

Sun, 2019-01-27 19:09

Midnight Bisou, an Eclipse Award finalist for champion 3-year-old filly last term thanks to a five-win season that included scores in the GI Santa Anita Oaks and GI Cotillion S., kicked off her 2019 campaign on a winning note–but she really had to work for it. Missing the break, the prohibitive chalk rushed up and was hung extremely wide into the first turn before tucking in at the back. The Steve Asmussen trainee appeared loaded when tipped out wide again for clear sailing into the second bend, but was scrubbed on entering the straight and wasn’t quite responding in earnest. Seemingly in deep water when third at the top of the lane, the dark bay leveled off late in the game and rallied down the center of the strip to catch the leading pair. Moonlit Garden was second, and pace-setting Heavenhasmynikki held on to be third.

“I certainly didn’t mean to cut it quite that close, but I got forced out into the first turn,” said Hall of Fame pilot Mike Smith. “The two fillies in front of her really ran today.”

“She’s a very special filly,” said Asmussen, who added that Midnight Bisou would likely make one more start before a likely engagement in the GI Apple Blossom H. at Oaklawn Park Apr. 14.

Midnight Bisou’s sparkling 2018 season, which began under the care of Southern California-based trainer Bill Spawr, also included victories in the GII Mother Goose S., GII Santa Ynez S. and GIII Santa Ysabel S. She was last seen finishing a closing third behind champion Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) in the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

Pedigree Notes:

Midnight Bisou is a daughter of GIII Florida Oaks winner Diva Delite (Repent), who is also responsible for last year’s Sapling S. third-place finisher Stage Left (Congrats). Diva Delite produced a colt by Warrior’s Reward in 2017 and a filly by Wicked Strong in 2018. She was bred back to Pioneerof the Nile.

Sunday, Sam Houston
HOUSTON LADIES CLASSIC S.-GIII, $300,000, Sam Houston Race, 1-27, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:44.52, ft.
1–MIDNIGHT BISOU, 123, f, 4, by Midnight Lute
                1st Dam: Diva Delite (GSW, $300,067), by Repent
                2nd Dam: Tour Hostess, by Tour d’Or
                3rd Dam: Counsel’s Gal, by High Counsel
($19,000 RNA Ylg ’16 KEESEP; $80,000 2yo ’17 OBSAPR).
O-Bloom Racing Stable, LLC, Madaket Stables LLC and Allen
Racing LLC.; B-Woodford Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Steven M.
Asmussen; J-Mike E. Smith. $180,000. Lifetime Record:
MGISW, 12-6-3-3, $1,745,000. Werk Nick Rating: D. Click for
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Moonlit Garden, 118, m, 5, Malibu Moon–Winter Garden, by
Roy. ($120,000 RNA Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Town and Country
Racing, LLC; B-Town & Country Farms Corp. (KY); T-Christopher
Davis. $60,000.
3–Heavenhasmynikki, 118, f, 4, Majestic Warrior–Floral Park,
by Forest Wildcat. ($150,000 Ylg ’16 FTKOCT). O-Ron Paolucci
Racing, LLC; B-Langsem Farm, Inc (OH); T-Robert B. Hess, Jr.
Margins: 3/4, NK, 3 1/4. Odds: 0.20, 19.80, 31.80.
Also Ran: Remedy, Prado’s Sweet Ride, Viva Forever. Scratched: Song From Above.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree.



Ujjayi a First Stakes Winner for Wise

Sun, 2019-01-27 18:11

T.L. Wise was still celebrating his first stakes win despite battling the traffic en route from Aqueduct–where he and his family watched Ujjayi (Smarty Jones) battle to victory in the Ruthless S.–to Newark airport Sunday evening.

“First stakes win and it was so exciting,” Wise said while keeping an eye on his GPS. “I was so fortunate to have my grandsons and my daughters and my future son-in-law there with me. It was my first trip to Aqueduct and it was fantastic.”

Asked what it was like watching the filly he bred battle down the Aqueduct stretch, Wise said, “We were up in the clubhouse and it was surreal. I’ve watched a lot of races and usually the outside horse wears them down, but she was on the inside and when that horse came to her, she still had something in the tank. It was great.”

Wise, a Lexington-based real estate broker, purchased Ujjayi’s dam Ocean Road (War Front) for $4,500 as a yearling at the 2009 Keeneland September sale. From War Front’s first crop, she earned $111,000 racing in Wise’s colors from 2010 through 2013, hitting the board in 13 of 31 races and winning three times.

Ocean Road is Wise’s only broodmare. Of the decision to breed her, he explained, “[Trainer] Brad Cox had her for me and he did a great job at the end. She had two wins at Oaklawn. Then we tried her a couple more times in allowance races when she was five and he wanted to drop her into a claiming race. But War Front was starting to take off, so I thought I didn’t want to chance it, I’ll bring her home and retire her. She was always a game filly with a great attitude. She is well-bred, out of a Pulpit mare and War Front on the top, and she was a runner.”

Ocean Road’s first two foals, 5-year-old Appellee (Smarty Jones) and 4-year-old Tremblant (Jump Start), were both winners for Wise. Ujjayi is the mare’s third foal. She produced a colt by Fast Anna last year and was bred back to Get Stormy.

“Ocean Road has given me four babies and three have been winners,” Wise said. “I have a yearling at home and she is expecting again. I’m very proud of her and her offspring have all been runners.”

Wise’s first experience with race horse ownership came some three decades ago.

“I had a horse when my daughters were babies, 35 years ago, and I think I won $100 finishing fifth at River Downs,” Wise said. “Then I didn’t have horses for 20 years.”

But he couldn’t stay away from the game forever.

“I always loved it,” Wise said of racing. “I’ve always been a handicapper, but with my daughters and college and everything, I had to pay bills, so I couldn’t afford it. I got my daughters educated and then I got back in the business.”

His first purchase back was Aloha Love (Malabar Gold), purchased for $6,200 at the 2006 Keeneland September sale.

“Aloha Love won a half-dozen races, mostly nickel claimers, and he won a maiden special at Indiana Downs for our first win,” Wise said. “I used to buy two at the sales each year, but then I got to the point I couldn’t afford the horses that I needed to win. So I decided to try breeding and this is the result of my four or five year breeding program with my one mare.”

Asked if he was contemplating adding to his select broodmare band, Wise said, “I’m happy with one mare. I’m getting into the golden years, so I can afford to do a little more. And it’s the biggest temptation in the world to have a dozen, but I’m also a real estate guy and I’ve got to watch my Ps and Qs.”

After a brief pause, he added, “But I may get one more mare.”

RUTHLESS S., $101,400, Aqueduct, 1-27, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:25.18, ft.
1–UJJAYI, 120, f, 3, by Smarty Jones
                1st Dam: Ocean Road, by War Front
                2nd Dam: Salally Bella, by Pulpit
                3rd Dam: Sandy’s Storm, by Storm Cat
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O/B-T. L. Wise (PA); T-Erin C. McClellan;
J-Tyler Conner. $55,000. Lifetime Record: 4-2-2-0, $127,360.
2–Miss Imperial, 120, f, 3, Maclean’s Music–Miss Cappy, by
Skip Trial. ($13,000 Ylg ’17 FTKOCT). O-Michael Dubb, Madaket
Stables LLC, David Simon, Bethlehem Stables LLC & Susan
Montanye; B-Bob Lewis & Flying H Stables, LLC (KY); T-Jason
Servis. $20,000.
3–Dovey Lovey, 120, f, 3, Include–Mary At the Cove, by Brother
Derek. ($20,000 RNA Ylg ’17 KEEJAN; $55,000 Ylg ’17 FTKJUL;
$95,000 2yo ’18 OBSAPR). O-Lee Pokoik; B-Brereton C. Jones
(KY); T-Gary C. Contessa. $12,900.
Margins: 1 3/4, 4HF, 2 3/4. Odds: 5.50, 0.85, 8.80.
Also Ran: Takecharge Mirella, Enliven, Sheza Diva, She’s a Black Belt.
Ujjayi romped by 7 3/4 lengths in her off-turf debut at Laurel Aug. 3 and resurfaced with runner-up efforts behind Please Flatter Me (Munnings) in the Nov. 21 Blue Mountain Juvenile Fillies S. and Dec. 29 Gin Talking S. The dark bay filly contested the pace from the rail, battled Miss Imperial down the lane and drew away in the final strides.

“She was incredible,” trainer Erin McClellan said of the winner. “I thought the trip was good. I was a little worried about her at the top of the stretch, I thought she was getting a little leg weary. But she has a ton of heart and just didn’t want to give it up.”

Owner/breeder Thomas Lamarr Wise added, “Turning for home, I was watching [jockey] Tyler [Conner] and it seemed like he was sitting chilly and I felt we had a pretty good chance. We went seven furlongs last race, so she knew what that was and that makes a little difference. I think she improved off of that race. We’ve got a nice filly.”

McClellan said a return trip to Aqueduct could be in the cards for Ujjayi.

“I know T.L. would like to see her go two turns, so if we’re invited back here in March for the [Mar. 9] Busher, we might take a shot at that. We’ll give her a couple days and see how she comes out of it before coming up with a game plan.” Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Espinoza Cleared to Resume Race Riding

Sun, 2019-01-27 16:20

Doctors have cleared Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza to resume his riding career, the 46-year-old rider said Sunday morning. Espinoza suffered a fractured vertebra in his neck and a stinger to his left shoulder and arm in a training accident at Del Mar July 22 and has been sidelined since then, but returned to take part in morning workouts Jan. 5.

“Everything is good,” Espinoza said this morning. “You see different doctors and they have different opinions, but at the end of the day, I probably feel stronger than before. Doctors said I could go back to riding and see how I feel, and if I feel good, I’m good to go.”

According to Espinoza’s agent, Brian Beach, Espinoza could return to race action in the middle of February.


Trainer Shirley Greene Passes Away

Sun, 2019-01-27 16:09

Trainer Shirley Allen Greene, a regular on the Midwest racing circuit, passed away Thursday at the age of 80. In addition to his training career, which spanned from 1976 to 2014, Greene served in the United States Army. Greene’s greatest achievements in racing came with the mare Silent Stream, an 11-time winner while competing at Kentucky tracks in the early 2000s.

Services are scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 29 at Boultinghouse Funeral Home in Rockport, Indiana, beginning at 10 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association: (INHBPA) P.O. Box 228, Fairland, IN 46126.