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Updated: 11 hours 8 min ago

Mott Taking Wait-and-See Approach With Hidden Scroll

Sun, 2019-01-27 15:43

When you think of trainers and brilliantly fast, precocious young horses, Bill Mott is not someone who normally comes to mind. But on Saturday at Gulfstream, Mott unleashed a first time starter named Hidden Scroll (Hard Spun), who not only won the one-mile maiden special weight race by 14 lengths, but registered a 104 Beyer Figure that is higher than any member of his crop has run to date.

His running time for the one-mile race run in the slop was 1:34.82. Five races later, older horses covered the same distance in 1:36.22 in the GIII Fred W. Hooper S.

“I am very excited about him,” Mott said. “I think he is a very nice colt. The more I watched him and the more I was around him, the more I liked him.”

It used to be that when a 3-year-old colt makes his debut in late January, the connections would normally rule out a start in the GI Kentucky Derby, believing it was asking too much of a horse in too little an amount of time. But the rules changed last year when Justify (Scat Daddy), who didn’t make his first start until Feb. 18, not only won the Kentucky Derby but swept the Triple Crown. While Mott is not normally as aggressive with his young horses as Justify’s trainer Bob Baffert, he wouldn’t rule out a Derby appearance by Hidden Scroll.

“We made the nomination for the Triple Crown before he ran, so its not something we just came up with after the race,” Mott said. “Even if we don’t make the Derby, you want to be eligible for the Preakness and Belmont and, for a horse like this, it may turn out that he’s better suited for the Preakness than the Derby.”

Mott said his immediate focus will be on where to start Hidden Scroll next. He would normally prefer to go into an allowance race, but says there are none in the Gulfstream condition book that fit what would be a practical schedule. For that reason Hidden Scroll’s next race will likely come in stakes company.

“We’ve looked at the schedule and know when all the stakes races are,” he said. “New Orleans, Hot Springs, Tampa, Gulfstream, we know when they are available. We’ll see when the horse is ready and go from there.”

Mott admitted the next race will be a big test and give him a better indication of whether not it would be prudent to try to make the Kentucky Derby.

Owned by Juddmonte Farms, Hidden Scroll was a late arrival to the Mott barn, showing up at Churchill in the summer. Mott had hoped to run him there during the short September meet, but a freak accident kept him sidelined. He said the horse was spooked by a truck while walking the shedrow, reared up and kicked a fuse box in the barn. He injured a hock and needed time.

Mott said he was confident going into Saturday’s race, but even he was surprised by how impressive Hidden Scroll was.

“We liked him and I’m not surprised that he won,” he said. “But you never know when you’re going to see a performance like that. Winning by 14 and being eased up, and it looked like that there were a couple of horses in behind him that were okay. It didn’t look like a bad race by any means.”

At the same time, Mott is realistic. He knows that what Justify did last year, becoming the first horse since 1882 to win the Derby without having a start as a 2-year-old, was a rare and exceptional feat. This would not only be a case of lightning striking twice, but striking twice within a very short period of time.

“I hate to be naysayer, but the likelihood of that happening two years in a row is probably pretty remote,” he said.

The Hall of Fame trainer has never won the Derby and has had only a handful of candidates for the race over the years. He tends to excel in other areas. But this year he could be as big a player on the road to Churchill Downs as a Bob Baffert or a Todd Pletcher.

“I have no doubt that Hidden Scroll is a really nice horse. But I am also fortunate enough to have another really nice colt for Juddmonte, a Tapit colt named Tacitus (Tapit),” he said. “He’s coming back and will be ready to run pretty soon. Last November, he was our Derby hope.”

Tacitus broke his maiden in his second career start at Aqueduct in November. Mott also said that Mucho (Blame), who has not run since finishing second in the GI Hopeful S., is doing well and will make his 3-year-old debut shortly. He also has a horse he is high on in Country House (Lookin at Lucky), who won a Jan. 17 maiden race at Gulfstream.

This is something new for Mott, having to juggle schedules and find spots for a number of potential Derby starters. He has prospects and he has what may be a super prospect in Hidden Scroll. For the Mott stable, it should be an interesting and exciting next few months.


McCarthy Sends City of Light Off to Stud After Pegasus Triumph

Sun, 2019-01-27 15:00

It was a bittersweet Sunday morning for trainer Mike McCarthy, who spent much of the 2 1/2 hours he was at Gulfstream Park in the stall with William and Suzanne Warren’s City of Light (Quality Road), a dominant winner of Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational over a sloppy track. While expressing his gratitude to City of Light for giving him the greatest win of his training career, McCarthy savored the final few moments with the horse before he boarded a horse van bound for Lane’s End Farm, where he will enter stud this year.

“I try to spend as much time as I can with him, to sit around,” McCarthy said before departing Gulfstream Park for a flight back to Southern California. “I’m sure by the end of the week, he’s sick of me sitting here staring at him all day long.”

McCarthy had City of Light walk for about a half-hour around the shedrow, then get a bath, followed by another lengthy walk, much of the time spent with the trainer on the shank.

“He’s the horse of a lifetime,” McCarthy said. “I don’t know what else I can say. Unfortunately he got beat a couple of times late in the spring and in the summer, in the Forego, I thought he did everything right [when second]. He’s redeemed himself.”

Champion Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky), third in the Pegasus, received a brief visit from trainer John Sadler Sunday morning before boarding the same van with City of Light headed for Lane’s End. Sadler had the five-time Grade I winner take a brief jog before pronouncing him sound.

“It’s like sending your kid off to college,” Sadler said. “We’ll see him in Kentucky, so it’s not like he’s going far. Hopefully we’ll be back there and see him soon.”

Sadler also reported that GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational fourth-place finisher Catapult (Kitten’s Joy) came out of the race well but experienced a minor bout of bleeding.

“We’ll go home, give him a little rest in California and regroup,” Sadler said.

Meanwhile, WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners’s Audible (Into Mischief), who was fourth in the main-track edition of the Pegasus, emerged from his effort in good order and is considered possible for the G1 Dubai World Cup Mar. 30, according to trainer Todd Pletcher.


City of Light Outran Everybody and Everything, Including Expectations

Sat, 2019-01-26 20:36

After Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) polished off the field in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, the debate began. Who was 2018’s best horse, and what criteria should be used to come to that conclusion? Was it speed, ability, accomplishment, number of Grade I wins, the length or brevity of their campaigns? No matter what traits we focused on, the debate always came down to just two horses, Accelerate and Justify (Scat Daddy).

Just two days before the running of the GI Pegasus World Cup, the decision of Eclipse Award voters was announced. By virtue of his being named Horse of the Year, Justify was deemed the best horse. The voters got it right. I can’t begin to think of a scenario where a Triple Crown winner should be denied Horse of the Year. Accelerate got his consolation prize, the older male championship.

Now, after watching what happened yesterday on an absolutely miserable day at Gulfstream Park in the Pegasus, I’m wondering if everyone got it wrong. That’s how good City of Light (Quality Road) in winning the Pegasus.

This was a major star, yet he was so overshadowed by Justify and Accelerate that the hype for him couldn’t have filled a thimble. Yes, the biggest accomplishment of City of Light’s career came in 2019, but what I saw Saturday made me wonder if he wasn’t the best horse who ran in 2018, or at least that he developed into the best horse by the end of the year when he won the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile? If nothing else, he was obviously 2018’s most underappreciated race horse.

You can talk all you want about how the speed-favoring nature of Gulfstream’s sloppy surface gave City of Light an advantage over Accelerate yesterday or that the very talented McKinzie (Street Sense) stayed back in California or even, if you wish, wonder what Justify would have done to the field? None of that takes away from what was one of the most powerful performances we’ll likely see all year on the racetrack.

Under a snug hold by Javier Castellano, City of Light was second early, right off the flank of Patternrecognition (Adios Charlie). With that horse about to hit the wall entering the far turn, City of Light inherited the lead, but Accelerate would make his presence felt. Accelerate made his bid and drew within a half-length of City of Light nearing the top of the stretch. For a moment, it looked like this Pegasus would turn into a scintillating two-horse race to the wire. Instead, City of Light switched gears and drew off from a very talented horse with frightening ease.

He won by 5 3/4 lengths in a performance that was as every bit as impressive as those put in by the two previous Pegasus winners, superstars Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) and Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}).

“This horse is a gift,” said an emotional winning trainer Michael McCarthy. “Amazing.”

He continued: “It’s the fashion he did it. That’s why I’m so emotional. It seemed like this was effortless today.”

The folks over at Lane’s End were probably pretty emotional, too. A sire that dominated in the Pegasus World Cup, won a Breeders’ Cup race, is fast enough to have won the GI Malibu at seven furlongs and also has the stamina to have won both the GII Oaklawn H. and the Pegasus Wolrd Cup at nine furlongs, is about to show up on their doorstep. He entered the day a nice stallion prospect. He exited the day a super stallion prospect.

This was also the last career race for Accelerate, who finished third. He will also stand at Lane’s End. Such a good, honest horse, he lost nothing in defeat. He ran well and the track conditions didn’t suit him. But City of Light beat him in two of the three times they met and everything that we saw in the Pegasus suggested that City of Light is simply the better horse. That’s not a knock on Accelerate; it’s recognition of the fact that City of Light is that good.

Snoop was a Dogg, and Other Thoughts…

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. (a.k.a Snoop Dogg) was the featured post-race entertainment and was given the privilege of announcing “Rider’s Up” in the paddock before the race. It would have been impossible for him to have come across as less enthusiastic. For a guy who has made millions in the entertainment business, he showed all the charisma of a door knob. C’mon, Dogg, for all the money they must have paid you could have at least pretended you cared.

One of the backdrops to the race was the on-going feud between Frank and Belinda Stronach, who have sued one another in efforts to control the Stronach Group. We don’t know where this story will end, but Belinda left no doubt yesterday that, at least right now, she is very much the boss. She was interviewed prior to the races on NBC and presented the trophies for both the Pegasus World Cup and the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. Frank did not get a second of air time.

You could pay for your kids’ college educations betting on Dallas Stewart-trained horses to place in big races. He did it again in the World Cup as Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}) finished second at odds of 34-1 and paid $19.20 to place. He was also second behind City of Light in the Dirt Mile at 10-1.

What more can you say about Chad Brown? His Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) was injured, laid off for 14 months, had one prep and then wins the $7-million Pegasus Turf. Another amazing training job.

At 26-1, Mexican hero Kukulkan (Point Determined) might have been the biggest underlay in the history of the sport. But, surprisingly, he was not last. He was 11th, finishing 15 lengths ahead of an exhausted pacesetter, Patternrecogniton (Adios Charlie).

City of Light Shines in Pegasus

Sat, 2019-01-26 18:07

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL.–It was dark, dreary and getting wetter by the minute as the rain that plagued Hallandale Beach on and off all day picked up as the field for the $9 million GI Pegasus World Cup approached the gate. However, the dreary conditions did not stop City of Light (Quality Road) from shining brightly in his career finale Saturday as he charged home a dominant winner of America’s richest race. The GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner will now join the stallion roster at Lane’s End Farm to stand alongside his red hot sire Quality Road.

Dispatched as the second-choice at 9-5 behind newly crowned champion Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky), City of Light broke sharply from post three and was sent right for the front by Javier Castellano, but was beat to the punch by GI Cigar Mile hero Patternrecognition (Adios Charlie), who was gunned hard from the outside stall by Jose Ortiz. Pressing from a close second outside of Bravazo (Awesome Again) through an opening quarter in :23.23, the bay overtook the pacesetter just after the half went up in :46.84. Patternrecognition plummeted to the back of the field, but Bravazo hung tough on the fence and GI Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Accelerate ranged up on the outside as they approached the turn and the stage appeared set for the battle many expected. That match-up never came to fruition, however, as City of Light proved to be in a league of his own in the stretch, cruising clear with ease to win as he pleased by 5 3/4 lengths. Grade I winner Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}) rallied strongly for second and Accelerate held third. The hard-knocking Bravazo was fourth and GI Florida Derby hero Audible (Lookin at Lucky) checked in fifth.

William and Suzanne Warren keep a small stable, but are no strangers to racetrack success. The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based businessman and his wife’s colors have been carried by the likes of Horse of the Year Saint Liam (Saint Ballado) and MGSWs Mrs. McDougal (Medaglia d’Oro) and Carolyn’s Cat (Forestry).

“Explosive and impactive, just so thrilled,” William Warren said at the post-race conference at the Adena Grill. “I was so worried when we came down here on the Monday. I didn’t get a wink of sleep on Monday night or Tuesday night because my great trainer over there, Michael McCarthy, and I have a relationship that I tell him I’m the coach and he’s the quarterback, and really, he changes the play every day. But I was just plotting the race in my own mind, and I had not anticipated this very wet weather and we didn’t know whether or not City of Light could run in this mud.”

He continued, “And it was just so thrilling to watch Javier [Castellano] ride a masterful race. And we talked about it before he got on the horse, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do, and he executed the plan beautifully. I’m just filled with emotion for my trainer, Michael McCarthy, and for Javier. They got us here and I love them both.”

An emotional McCarthy, whose got a reassuring hug from his 8-year-old daughter Stella as he began to tear up, said, “I was quietly confident all week the horse would run well. We had followed the same routine we did at Churchill Downs when he won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Drawing down in the three-hole, drawing down in the side hole, goes inside, his speed–Javier was able to get up to speed and was able to get him outside going to the mile-pole and turn up the back side; whether he ran first or last, we had no excuses from there. He was in perfect position.”

He continued, “Can’t thank Javier enough for having the confidence to take [off] Audible to ride this horse. Says a lot about the kind of person he is, and can’t thank him enough. And I’d also like to thank the family sitting to the right of me. They have done a lot for me personally. They have done a lot for my family. To come here for a day like today, I thought the Breeders’ Cup was, as I said, almost like out of body. Today was, I don’t know — I’m very grateful.”

“I think the horse, he did everything today,” said Castellano. “I think I enjoyed the ride. I’ll be honest with you. I think anybody could have rode the horse. I give all the credit to Mike McCarthy to try to put everything together for this race, and especially the opportunity, Mr. Warren and Mrs. Warren they give me to pick the jockey and to perform in the Breeders’ Cup and now in the Pegasus World Cup. I think I’m very fortunate to be in this spot and I think I’m very grateful.”

Trainer Dallas Stewart was proud of Seeking the Soul’s runner-up effort, saying, “He ran great. Nice horse, a great horse that beat us. He said he got stopped on the turn; that might have cost us a little bit. It would have been great to have been first, but our horse ran great. I’m very proud of him.”

As for the beaten favorite Accelerate, trainer John Sadler said, “We thought he ran a really good race. It was tough conditions out there today. You saw most of the winners on the dirt all day were in front so he’s not really a speed horse per say. The winner ran a beautiful race, you have to give him credit. He was the better horse today. But our horse certainly didn’t disgrace himself. We’re headed out to dinner with our heads high.”

Sadler heads back to California without his champion, who will head to Lane’s End along with City of Light. When asked what he has meant to the barn, the conditioner said, “He’s been a tremendous horse. He’s a champion, an Eclipse Award winner. We’re just thrilled with the whole package. Today wasn’t our day to get the last one but he ran well and we’re really proud of him.”

City of Light did not make his racetrack debut until the September of his 3-year-old year in 2017, but proved worth the wait with a 7 1/2-length triumph at Del Mar. Second in his next two outings, the $710,000 KEESEP purchase captured the 2017 GI Malibu S. and kicked off 2018 with a neck victory over Accelerate in the GII Oaklawn H. last April. Third behind Accelerate in the 10-panel GI Gold Cup at Santa Anita May 26, he was second in the GI Forego S. Aug. 25 and closed out last term with a sparkling success in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Pedigree Notes:

City of Light is the most recent produce out of Paris Notion, who is also responsible for SP Pointsman (Mt. Livermore) and Exotic Notion (Lemon Drop Kid). The winner’s second dam is Grade I winner Fabulous Notion (Something Fabulous), who produced GISW Fabulously Fast (Deputy Minister).

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
PEGASUS WORLD CUP INVITATIONAL S.-GI, $9,000,000, Gulfstream, 1-26, 3yo/up, 1 1/8m, 1:47.71, sy.
1–CITY OF LIGHT, 124, h, 5, by Quality Road
                1st Dam: Paris Notion, by Dehere
                2nd Dam: Fabulous Notion, by Somethingfabulous
                3rd Dam: Careless Notion, by Jester
($710,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Mr & Mrs William K Warren, Jr.;
B-Ann Marie Farm (KY); T-Michael W. McCarthy; J-Javier
Castellano. $4,000,000. Lifetime Record: 11-6-4-1, $5,662,600.
*1/2 to Pointsman (Mt. Livermore), SP, $212,417. Click for
   eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++
   *Triple Plus*.
2–Seeking the Soul, 124, h, 6, Perfect Soul (Ire)–Seeking the
Title, by Seeking the Gold. ($37,000 RNA 2yo ’15 OBSOPN).
O/B-Charles Fipke (KY); T-Dallas Stewart. $1,250,000.
3–Accelerate, 124, h, 6, Lookin At Lucky–Issues, by Awesome
Again. ($380,000 Ylg ’14 KEESEP). O-Hronis Racing LLC; B-Mike
Abraham (KY); T-John W. Sadler. $900,000.
Margins: 5 3/4, 1HF, 4 3/4. Odds: 1.90, 34.10, 1.50.
Also Ran: Bravazo, Audible, Gunnevera, True Timber, Imperative, Tom’s d’Etat, Something Awesome, Kukulkan (Mex), Patternrecognition. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Bricks and Mortar Constructs Winning Move in Pegasus Turf

Sat, 2019-01-26 17:22

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL.–Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway) proved he is truly a force to be reckoned with in the older male turf division this year, unleashing a powerful late turn of foot to conquer the inaugural $7 million GI Pegasus World Cup Turf S. over a rain-soaked Gulfstream turf course Saturday.

Away well from the stalls, Bricks and Mortar settled on the fence in fifth, keeping a close eye on pacesetter Fahan Mura (English Channel), who was pushed along by Japanese invader Aerolithe (Jpn) (Kurofane) through opening splits of :22.94 and :47.93. Shuffled back to seventh as a pair of rivals made early moves up the outside, Bricks and Mortar held steady beneath a patient ride from Irad Ortiz, Jr. Popped the question as three-quarters went up in 1:11.60, the Chad Brown trainee tipped out two-wide, steadily picking off rivals with race favorite Yoshida

(Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) close behind. Moving out another path in the lane, Bricks and Mortar kicked it into high gear, charging home to a decisive 2 1/2-length victory.

European invader Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) split horses in the final sixteenth to be second and Delta Prince (Street Cry {Ire}) rounded out the trifecta. Yoshida couldn’t seem to get a hold of the wet course in the stretch and could only manage sixth.

“Irad rode him beautiful,” Brown said. “The horse came ready and handled the course. Everything worked out perfectly. For a little while there, I didn’t think I’d have a horse for the race. I had been resting a lot of them. Bricks and Mortar came in fresh when I was resting other ones. Thanks to Seth [Klarman] and Bill [Lawrence], they were game enough to put up a big entry fee and give it a shot. The horse just performed beautifully.”

He continued, “Ian Brennan at Stonestreet Farm did a terrific job rehabbing this horse,” Brown said. “Dr. Larry Bramlage worked on this horse about 16 months ago when it looked like he might have a career-ending injury. He fixed him. There was a lot of teamwork, a lot of patience. When you go into a race this big take a big gamble–it paid off today.”

“I got a perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “My horse put me in a good position and just held it together, saving ground. When I got kicked him out, he exploded. The horse is good, but the trainer we have to get him credit. He gave him some time off and brought him back, give him one race in the allowance race and bring him back ready for this race. That’s a lot of work. Not too many trainers can do that. He’s got good horses, but he knows what he’s doing, and he’s really good, too.”

As for the beaten favorite Yoshida, trainer Bill Mott, who also conditions fifth-place finisher Channel Maker (English Channel), said, “The bottom line is [Yoshida] wasn’t making up much ground on them from the eighth pole to the wire. I’m not going to give him a huge excuse. As it turns out, maybe Yoshida is going to be better on the dirt.”

The Hall of Famer continued, “[Channel Maker is] a little hard to handle sometimes and sometimes he’ll try and run up on heels. But it looks like eventually he got him out and he had the clear length of the stretch to run them down and just couldn’t do it.”

Winning owners Seth Klarman of Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence also campaign GI Cigar Mile victor Patternrecognition (Adios Charlie). Klarman is also the owner of undefeated GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Newspaperofrecord (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}), GI Test S. victress Separationofpowers (Candy Ride {Arg}) and GI Champagne S. winner Complexity (Maclean’s Music).

Bricks and Mortar opened his account with four straight wins, starting with a debut graduation over the Gulfstream lawn in February 2017. Shelved for a bit following that effort, he returned a winner at Belmont that June and captured the Manila S. a month later. Defeating Yoshida by 3/4 of a length in Saratoga’s GII Hall of Fame S. in August of 2017, the $200,000 KEESEP buy checked in third behind Grade I winner Voodoo Song (English Channel) and Yoshida next out in the GIII Saranac S. that September and filled the same spot in that term’s GIII Hill Prince S. Sidelined for 14 months following that effort, Bricks and Mortar came back to winning form with a half-length optional claimer score going a mile here last time Dec. 22.

Pedigree Notes:

Bricks and Mortar is the 33rd Grade I/Group 1 winner for the late Coolmore stalwart Giant’s Causeway. The winner is out of French stakes winner Beyond the Waves, who is graded/group stakes-placed in both France and America. She also produced MSW Beyond Smart (Smart Strike), GSW Emerald Beech (Maria’s Mon), GSP Sir Ector (Dynaformer) and SP Water View (Petionville). Beyond the Waves is a half-sister to the dam of GISW Bordonaro (Memo {Chi}) and MSW & GISP Miss Empire (Empire Maker). The 22-year-old mare’s youngest produce is a 3-year-old filly named Davida (Animal Kingdom) and she was bred to both Kitten’s Joy and Runhappy last spring.

Saturday, Gulfstream Park
PEGASUS WORLD CUP TURF INVITATIONAL S.-GI, $6,708,329, Gulfstream, 1-26, 4yo/up, 1 3/16mT, 1:54.59, yl.
1–BRICKS AND MORTAR, 124, h, 5, by Giant’s Causeway
                1st Dam: Beyond the Waves (SW & MGSP-Fr, GSP-US,
                                $187,752), by Ocean Crest
                2nd Dam: Excedent, by Exceller
                3rd Dam: Broadway Lullaby, by Stage Door Johnny
1ST GRADE I WIN. ($200,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Klaravich
Stables, Inc. & William Lawrence; B-George Strawbridge (KY);
T-Chad C. Brown; J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $2,656,250. Lifetime Record:
8-6-0-2, $3,018,250. *1/2 to Emerald Beech (Maria’s Mon),
GSW, $269,338; Sir Ector (Dynaformer), GSP-Ire, $345,311;
Beyond Smart (Smart Strike), MSW, $332,019. Werk Nick
   Rating: D. Click for eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Magic Wand (Ire), 112, f, 4, Galileo (Ire)–Prudenzia (Ire), by
Dansili (GB). (€1,400,000 Ylg ’16 ARAUG). O-Michael Tabor,
Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Markus Jooste; B-Ecurie Des
Monceaux & Skymarc Farm Inc (IRE); T-Aidan P. O’Brien.
3–Delta Prince, 124, h, 6, Street Cry (Ire)–Delta Princess, by A.P.
Indy. ‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Stronach Stables; B-Adena Springs
(KY); T-James A. Jerkens. $575,521.
Margins: 2HF, NK, 1 3/4. Odds: 2.80, 9.40, 9.30.
Also Ran: Catapult, Channel Maker, Yoshida (Jpn), Next Shares, Dubby Dubbie, Aerolithe (Jpn), Fahan Mura. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

No Hiding This One: Juddmonte Homebred a Rising Star at Gulfstream

Sat, 2019-01-26 13:28

Juddmonte Farms homebred Hidden Scroll (c, 3, Hard Spun–Sheba Queen, by Empire Maker) romped home a resounding debut winner at Gulfstream Park Saturday to become the newest ‘TDN Rising Star.’ Sent off at 8-1, the bay colt broke alertly and quickly moved to the early lead through a quarter in :22.53. Clearly in front after a half in :44.75, Hidden Scroll extended his advantage turning for home and took a six-length lead into the stretch. He continued to pad his lead down the lane and strolled under the wire geared down and in front by 14 lengths, completing the one mile over the sloppy track in 1:34.82. High Amplitude (Bernardini) was second and Ranger Up (First Samurai) was third.

The Rising Star debut came two years after Juddmonte’s colors were carried to victory by Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song) in Gulfstream Park’s inaugural GI Pegasus World Cup.

The unraced Sheba Queen is a daughter of Group 1 winner Etoile Montante (Miswaki) and she is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Starformer (Dynaformer). In foal to Flintshire (GB), the mare sold for $7,500 at the 2017 Keeneland November sale. Click for the chart or catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

4th-Gulfstream, $52,730, Msw, 1-26, 3yo, 1m, 1:34.82, sy.
HIDDEN SCROLL, c, 3, by Hard Spun
                1st Dam: Sheba Queen, by Empire Maker
                2nd Dam: Etoile Montante, by Miswaki
                3rd Dam: Willstar, by Nureyev
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $31,800. O-Juddmonte Farms, Inc.; B-Juddmonte Farms Inc (KY); T-William I. Mott.


Jan. 27 Insights: US-Bred Galileo Filly Premieres at Gulfstream

Sat, 2019-01-26 09:58

9th-GP, $50K, Msw, 3yo, f, 1 1/16mT
A rare progeny of European super-sire Galileo (Ire) makes her debut for Summer Wind Equine in SHADOW PLAY going two turns on the Gulfstream lawn. The dark bay is a half-sister to 2014 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf hero Hootenanny (Quality Road), while her dam, a $1.5-million purchase by Jane Lyon’s Summer Wind at Fasig-Tipton November in 2015, is a half to GISW Cat Moves (Tale of the Cat). Third dam Dance Teacher (Smarten) was a GISW as well. The Bill Mott pupil boasts a strong series of breezes at Payson Park, highlighted by a stamina-building seven-furlong turf work in 1:29 (1/6) Jan. 5 and a half-mile from the gate over the main track in :49 flat (2/31) Jan. 12. TJCIS PPs

Bravazo: A True Throwback

Fri, 2019-01-25 16:27

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL.–For the most part, the days where a horse showed up to every marquee racing event are gone and it is even rarer to see one who not only runs in each of those major events, but also performs consistently well. D. Wayne Lukas was known for turning out many of those types of horses in his heyday in the 90s, such as Thunder Gulch, Serena’s Song and Tabasco Cat. The Hall of Famer has a modern-day version of those hearty racehorses in MGISP Bravazo (Awesome Again), who will, of course, be in the gate for Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup.

“He is a little bit like Thunder Gulch,” Lukas said as he stood against a fence supervising Bravazo as he grazed outside of Barn 5 at Gulfstream. “Thunder Gulch made all of the dances. Even after the Belmont, when most people would put them away, he went out to Hollywood Park and won the Swaps S. out there and came back to run in the [GI] Travers [S.]. You don’t see many of them like that, but we had two of them for sure. This one and Thunder Gulch are very similar.”

Victor of the GII Risen Star S. 11 months ago, Bravazo has been winless in nine starts since, but has hit the board five times. The dark bay was the only horse besides Justify (Scat Daddy) to compete in all three legs of the Triple Crown and ran in the Haskell, Travers, GI Pennsylvania Derby and GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, where he finished a respectable third behind a powerhouse performance from the re-opposing City of Light (Quality Road). He concluded his sophomore campaign last term with a runner-up effort against his elders in the GI Clark H. Nov. 23.

“He always makes sure we have enough money to get home even if we don’t win,” Lukas said, looking towards his charge with a fond smile. “He shows up every time and you always wonder if there is going to be a crack in the armor a little bit, but I think he has a toughness about him that you don’t see in many horses. There is one out there with his name on it.”

The Hall of Famer added, “He has had a little break from the Clark, but he has had more recency than most of the field. We are looking for a good effort. He seems to have adapted well here.”

Bravazo has drawn the rail for Saturday’s $9-million event in which he will face 11 opponents, including new champion Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky), the aforementioned City of Light and GI Florida Derby hero Audible (Into Mischief).

“At first blush, I thought the post was not a good deal,” Lukas said. “But, the more I looked at it with the big sweeping turns and the configuration of the racetrack, I’m not too sure that it isn’t okay. You could win from this one. If you were in the Preakness or the Derby or something, I would say, ‘Well, I don’t want the one hole.’ But here, when it first came out, I thought, ‘oh boy,’ but now that I looked at it and analyzed it a little bit, I think it might be alright. We were going to let him run early anyhow.”

Gulfstream’s leading rider Luis Saez climbs back aboard Bravazo Saturday. The red hot jockey piloted the colt to runner-up efforts in both the GI Preakness S. and GI Haskell Invitational S.

“The thing about it is we have got the rider that is just unbelievably hot here,” Lukas said. “Luis Saez just owns the place. Everyday he keeps coming with one win right after another. He has a good feel for it and the horse has good speed, so I think we will just turn the two of them loose.”

When asked what might be next on the well-traveled Bravazo’s schedule, the Coach said, “I know Mr. [Brad] Kelley would like to go to Dubai, but I think we need to make a good showing here.”


Friday’s Pegasus Trackside Report

Fri, 2019-01-25 16:07

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL.–With the two Pegasus races just around the corner, the Gulfstream backstretch was busier than usual with owners, trainers and plenty of media from around the world on site to get their final looks at the GI Pegasus World Cup and GI Pegasus World Cup Turf contenders on a cloudy and cool Friday morning.

The gloomy sky and temperatures hovering in the low 60s had many wondering if we were in for rain. While trainer Marcus Vitali’s request to Siri for a weather report rendered news of a rain-free, but cloudy Friday, it also announced a 70% chance of rain for the big day Saturday. This forecast will have some connections doing a happy dance–or rain dance–and others in a mood that mirrors the weather report.

Just like Thursday morning, Audible (Into Mischief), who is already a winner over this track and trip in last term’s GI Florida Derby, was first to hit the track as it opened for business with Turf runner Catapult (Kitten’s Joy) not far behind. Audible put in a good run to be third in a muddy renewal of the GI Kentucky Derby, so a wet surface for the Pegasus should not faze him or trainer Todd Pletcher.

The newly crowned champion older male Accelerate (Lookin at Lucky) was also up and at ’em early despite what was surely a late night of celebrating for his trainer John Sadler and the Hronis family, who were named owner of the year at Thursday night’s Eclipse Awards. Gunnevera (Dialed In) and Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}) followed soon after.

City of Light (Quality Road) kept to his consistent 6 a.m. training slot, as did the Chad Brown-trained pair of Patternrecognition (Adios Charlie) and Bricks and Mortar (Giant’s Causeway), whose conditioner took home the hardware for top trainer for the third straight year.

In keeping with the previous day’s schedule, D. Wayne Lukas led Bravazo (Awesome Again) onto the track as soon as the tractors cleared out following the first break at 7:40 a.m. The Hall of Famer was all business aboard his buckskin Quarter Horse Starbuck as he supervised his equally professional-looking charge. While not an imposing or eye-catching animal, Bravazo has his head in the game every time he steps hoof on the racetrack–whether it be the morning or afternoon–and continues to show up in each of his races no matter the competition or track conditions.

Stronach representative Something Awesome (Awesome Again) cantered by a few moments later. He also did not turn a hair at the flurry of activity, moving gracefully over the track with his neck arched, ears up and eyes bright and alert.

‘TDN Rising Star’ Delta Prince (Street Cry {Ire}), the final offspring of blue-hen Delta Princess (A.P. Indy), jogged counter-clockwise alongside a pony just before 8a.m. The muscular dark bay galloped by on his own a few minutes later, looking more than ready to go.

Mexican sensation Kukulkan (Mex) (Point Determined) was also out during the Pegasus frenzy. Easy to spot with a big white blaze, he is on the smaller side, but he glides easily over the Gulfstream surface and gives the impression he is both quick and agile.

Aidan O’Brien’s Pegasus Turf contender Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was joined by stablemate and GIII William L. McKnight S. contender Hunting Horn (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). The pair jogged the wrong way in unison before turning around and galloping individually in the correct direction. Magic Wand has been one of the physical standouts of the week, which is no surprise given the barn she hails from.

Recent GII San Gabriel S. victor Next Shares (Archarcharch) was on the muscle, galloping by strongly, and he fought his rider as he turned the dark bay around and attempted to pull him up. The gelding reluctantly broke to a jog, but continued to tug at his pilot as they exited the track.

True Timber (Mineshaft) continued to give off good vibes as he came by minutes later. He was followed by the Bill Mott-trained pair of Turf runners Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}) and Channel Maker (English Channel), who were escorted by their Hall of Fame conditioner and his assistant aboard their ponies. While they both looked in fine form, Channel Maker was a bit wide-eyed, looking around somewhat nervously, while Yoshida was calm, cool and collected with and without his red roan pony.

There was plenty of activity off of the Hallandale Beach main track with the Gulfstream Park team putting in the final preparations for the big day. The LIV Stretch Stage is set, which will play host to Snoop Dogg and Mark Ronson after racing concludes and everywhere you look Pegasus barriers are set up. With nine stakes on the card, featuring three of racing’s newly crowned champions and headlined by a pair of multi-million-dollar Grade Is, Saturday promises to be an exciting day of racing, rain or shine.


Starlight Buys Into Yoshida

Fri, 2019-01-25 15:35

Starlight Racing has acquired an interest in Yoshida (Jpn) (Heart’s Cry {Jpn}), the 5-2 favorite for Saturday’s GI Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, from WinStar Farm, which campaigns the versatile MGISW along with China Horse Club and Head of Plains Racing. Starlight co-owned 2018 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Justify (Scat Daddy) with the same powerful ownership group, and is also partners on GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational contender Audible (Into Mischief).

Starlight had a lease-for-racing deal with SF Bloodstock for both Justify and Audible, and will also take no ownership in Yoshida’s breeding rights.

Starlight campaigned Yoshida’s speedy dam Hilda’s Passion (Canadian Frontier). Just a $4200 weanling RNA, she’d go on to win eight of 14, including the 2011 GI Ballerina S., before selling to Katsumi Yoshida for $1,225,000 at Fasig-Tipton November that fall.

“She was one of the most brilliant horses I’ve ever been around,” Starlight principal Jack Wolf said of the dam. “[WinStar President and CEO] Elliott [Walden] offered us a piece of [Yoshida] right after he bought him in Japan [for approximately $765,000 as weanling. At the time, I thought it was a bit too much to pay for the horse. Obviously I was wrong.”


Horse Health: Alert – Baby on the way!

Fri, 2019-01-25 13:44

As we embark on a new year full of hope and promise, ’tis the season for early mornings, sleepless nights and seemingly endless anticipation for those in the breeding industry. Those tasked with helping the next generation of equine athletes enter this world go to great lengths to be on-hand when each foal is born and do everything they can to ensure a successful delivery, or to call a veterinarian if any problems arise.

The foaling process is broken down into three stages. Stage 1 being early signs of labor; stage 2 is when the water breaks and the actual delivery of the foal; and stage 3 is the expulsion of the placenta.

Once a mare progresses to stage 2, it is imperative the foal be delivered within 30 minutes or less to avoid hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), which can lead to brain damage or death of the foal. While regularly checking mares throughout the day and night is recommended as they near their due date, it is often a game of minutes versus hours.

Horses have evolved from foaling in the wild and needing to deliver a foal and stand in quick succession to protect themselves and their newborn. By nature, stage 2 of equine labor (water breaks and foal is delivered) happens rapidly and can be explosive. That explosive nature also means that when things go wrong, they go wrong quickly.

“I’d say 80 to 85% of deliveries go routinely, but those 10 to 15% that don’t are why it’s so important for someone knowledgeable to be present.” said Dr. Bob Schwartz, a veterinarian with Midland Acres in Bloomingburg, Ohio. Schwartz and his team foal out more than 200 mares a year. “An experienced attendant will know issues they can deal with themselves, when they need to call a vet and when it’s bad enough that a mare needs to go immediately to the clinic.”

While there are numerous brands and makers of foal alarms on the market today, they can generally be organized into two main categories: externally worn sensors and perineal monitoring systems.

Systems with Externally Worn Sensors

There are several devices on the market that utilize sensors affixed to the head or body of a mare to react to classic presentations in a mare that typically signal birth.

EquiFone/EquiPage, Birth Alarm and Breeders Alert systems, for example, utilize a device affixed to a mare’s halter or to a monitor connected to a girth strap that senses when the mare is in the prone position (i.e. lying flat out on her side–the typical position for labor). The device transmits a signal to either a phone or a pager to alert the person(s) on call that the mare is in foaling position.

Michele Graves of Hickory Hill Farm Thoroughbreds in Fort Edward, New York near Saratoga Springs uses the EquiPage system for her farm, which foals out 25 to 35 mares each year.

“With the EquiPage [system], we know the mare is going into labor before the water breaks [due to being alerted to her movements]. We also use it on the mares in the weeks after they give birth because so much can go wrong then as well,” said Graves. “We use it for other scenarios too, such as horses that have just shipped long distances or those that showed signs of colic during the day because they offer the same presentations when they are colicking that a mare would–the looking at their belly, getting up and down, yawning. You do get some false alarms, but those are worth it to know when a horse is in distress.”

Nightwatch takes this one step further, monitoring a horse’s vital signs and behaviors via sensors embedded in the padded leather crown piece of the halter. Real-time data can be accessed via a Smartphone, tablet or computer and an alert is sent when the system signals a horse in distress due to foaling, colic or being cast.

Perineal Monitoring Systems

Another group of foaling alert systems involve affixing the sensor to the mare’s perineal area or within the vagina.

One popular model is Foalert, in which a transmitter containing a magnet is sutured into the vulva lips one to two weeks prior to a mare’s due date. When the vulva lips are opened due to the foal’s front hooves protruding as delivery begins, the magnet dislodges from the transmitter, activating a signal to alert foaling attendants, either via telephone/pager or by sounding an alarm within close proximity to the transmitter.

“I’ve used the Foalert for years, both on my own mares and on client mares, and I find them very reliable. You don’t get the false alarms you can get with some other system that attach to the halter or girth area when a mare lays down or turns to itch,” said Dr. Joan Tennant, DVM, an equine practitioner based in Ocala, Florida. “I find the alarm goes off when the amniotic fluid bubble is expelled, so you get the alert even in the case of a dystocia that prevents the foal from protruding.”

The Birth Alert system uses a tampon-like sponge that is inserted into the mare’s vagina in the weeks leading up to her due date. When the mare’s water breaks, the device is expelled and the change in temperature activates the device to send a signal to the foaling attendant that the mare is in labor.

The only disadvantage, according to Schwartz, is the possibility of the sponge and sensor being dispelled unintentionally and offering a false-positive.

“I think these systems have a lot of merit for those who don’t have full time attendants through the night,” said Schwartz. “There is less chance of false alarms with these types of systems, but if the foal is breech or otherwise malpositioned, you may not get an alarm.”

For these and similarly invasive systems, a sterile application is key. It is recommended that a veterinarian apply/insert the device to prevent infection or irritation.

Video Monitoring

Closed-circuit video feeds can also play an important role in monitoring mares as they near their due date, especially when used on conjunction with foaling alert systems.

“We’ve used NightWatch for the last six years or so and we also have cameras on all of the mares. The key for us is the audio that goes along with it,” said Braxton Lynch of Royal Oak Farm in Paris, Kentucky. “In my opinion, you can’t beat eyes and ears on a mare prior to foaling.”

There are also smartphone apps available, such as Foal App, which allow users to monitor your mare via video and movement and will alert those whose phones are connected to the app if the mare lays down for a prolonged period.

While technology has afforded the luxury of many types of birth alarms, no device is 100% effective. All birth alarms should be used in conjunction with good horsemanship and monitoring practices, including regularly checking each mare every 30 to 60 minutes when foaling is imminent.

“What works for a large farm probably wouldn’t work well for a small one and vice versa. If a farm with a large number of mares had monitors on each, they’d be getting false positives constantly, but they can afford to have staff on-hand around the clock,” said Graves. “For a smaller operation that can’t afford night staff, foaling alarms are a good solution.”

Added Schwartz, “You can’t watch them 24 hours a day–you have to sleep too–so for smaller operations, foaling alerts can be an important tool to help keep mares and newborn foals out of trouble.”


Legendary Sports Reporter McIlvanney Dies

Fri, 2019-01-25 13:35

Sporting press rooms around the world have lost a bit of both joie de vivre and gravitas with the passing of Hugh McIlvanney OBE at the age of 84.

McIlvanney, who retired in March 2016, was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, in February 1934 and started his working life with the Kilmarnock Standard before moving to the Scottish Daily Express. He is, though, most synonymous with two of Britain’s most respected Sunday newspapers, The Observer and The Sunday Times. He was the principal sports writer for the former for 30 years before occupying the same role with the latter for 23 years. The only sports journalist ever to have been voted Journalist of the Year in Great Britain, McIlvanney was an authority and a passionate devotee of all sports, and published critically acclaimed books on three: McIlvanney on Boxing (1982), McIlvanney on Football (1994) and McIlvanney on Horseracing (1995, co-written with Sir Peter O’Sullevan). Of all the sports, though, one got the impression that racing was his first love.

To sum up the magic of McIlvanney’s writing, one could pick from any one of several hundred articles. One, though, springs particularly to mind. ‘QIPCO British Champions’ Day’ is actually British racing’s second attempt at holding a showpiece autumn fixture at Ascot, following the Ascot September Meeting becoming ‘The Festival of British Racing’ in 1989. At the time this was a very big deal, and a commemorative booklet, Sport Of Kings, was published to mark the occasion. The best racing writers contributed, including Peter Willett, Joe Hirsch, Ivor Herbert, Ian Wooldridge, Paul Haigh and Howard Wright, but McIlvanney’s piece was the icing on the cake.

Under the headline ‘In Pursuit of a Punter’s Paradise’, McIlvanney’s golden prose walked the reader through the author’s lifelong love affair with the turf. He recited a litany of great sporting occasions into which he had been able to insert an unscheduled day at the races, starting with the Moscow Olympics in 1989, during which he managed to sneak away from the business in hand to sample the delights of the Moscow Hippodrome.

“Emptying our pockets seemed to be official policy. The fact that the lady who took our wagers did her reckoning on an abacus was disconcerting enough but it was much more disturbing to discover that selecting winners was almost irrelevant as far as the prospects of profit were concerned. We hit three in a row and were still just marginally in front. We did not investigate the details of the tax applied to our bets in that far-off era before glasnost and perestroika but it had to be on a scale to make the Levy Board drool. Still, even that inconvenience was a tolerable penalty to pay for the pleasures of the afternoon. Next day Seb Coe, Steve Ovett or some of the other great athletes who enabled the Olympics of 1980 to rise above their problems (which, you will recall, included little aggravations like a U.S. boycott) might be enthralling us again. But for the moment we were glad to be away from de Coubertin’s Games and back at the punting game.

“I have made similar defections in many corners of the globe, slipping away from a touring England football team in Australia to scuffle with the bookmakers at the Warwick Farm course in Sydney, interrupting coverage of Super Bowl preparations in San Diego to cross the Mexican border and engage the enemy at Agua Caliente in Tijuana, briefly deserting the World Cup in Argentina to sample the Buenos Aires equivalent of Sandown, using a heavyweight championship fight in Caracas, Venezuela, as an excuse to visit a track which offered breathtaking views but not a glimpse of a winner. And, of course, dozens of assignments in the States have encouraged me to play truant at Aqueduct and Belmont, Santa Anita, Hialeah, Gulfstream, Churchill Downs, Saratoga and those two smaller Maryland battlegrounds, Laurel Park and Bowie.”

The article ends with McIlvanney explaining the greatest sporting omission of his life: he was in New York on Saturday June 9, 1973, the day that Secretariat won the Belmont S., but he was in an office in Manhattan, rather than at Belmont Park, when the race was run. He thus enjoyed the glorious but agonising delight of seeing the greatest racing performance of all time live on television from a spot only a few miles away from the action.

“As a result, I had a direct, contemporaneous experience of watching what Secretariat did that afternoon. Yet, though that in itself was unforgettable, it wasn’t at all the same as being one of the 68,000 who watched the big red horse in the flesh while he surged through what may well have been the greatest mile-and-a-half ever galloped by a Thoroughbred.

“In June of this year I was in the Press Box for the 121st running of the Belmont, and seeing Easy Goer win by eight lengths in the second-fastest time the race has produced was a tremendous thrill, especially as it came only four days after witnessing Nashwan’s pulverising brilliance at Epsom. But to appreciate how miraculous Secretariat’s run was we need only remember that in annihilating his nearest challenger by 31 lengths he covered the 12 furlongs in 2 minutes 24 sec. dead, two full seconds inside Easy Goer’s time, and shattered the world record out of recognition. The official account from 1973 tells us that the wind was against Secretariat in the backstretch. The wind should have known better. For a couple of minutes at least, he was a greater force of nature than it was.

“None of us can ever expect to see the like of that again. But let’s go on climbing up into the stands, just in case.”

Recent generations of readers have been very fortunate that Hugh McIlvanney did indeed go on climbing up into the stands and then sharing his wonder at what he saw. He was a titan of sports reporting, and racing was truly blessed that he loved the sport so dearly.

Justify Steals the Show at the Eclipse Awards

Fri, 2019-01-25 00:19

Hallandale Beach, Fla. – Once again, to little surprise, it was the year’s Triple Crown champion who proved to be Thoroughbred racing’s brightest star.

At Thursday’s 48th annual Eclipse Awards, the retired Justify (Scat Daddy) added Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male laurels to a sterling resume that will be forever topped by his stature as the sport’s 13th Triple Crown champion.

WinStar Farm owner Kenny Troutt, in accepting the Horse of the Year trophy for Justify on behalf of his partners China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing, expressed thanks to everyone involved in the undefeated 3-year-old and was thankful for the joy the sport has brought to his family.

“Horse racing and this farm has been a blessing and has brought my family together,” Troutt said during a rather brief acceptance speech that lasted only about a minute-and-a-half and closed out an amazingly quick program. “My wife and our three kids just love horse racing. It’s been a blessing.”

Surprisingly, Justify did not have the coattails of past Triple Crown/Horse of the Year recipients as the only other members of Team Justify to be honored at the black-tie Gulfstream Park affair were breeder John D. Gunther and Justify’s win in the GI Belmont S., which was voted the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s Moment of the Year.

In accepting his Eclipse Award as the Outstanding Breeder, Gunther voiced sincere thanks to his daughter, Tanya.

“It is such an honor to achieve this award and if not for my daughter, I would not be standing here,” Gunther said.

Fittingly, the NTRA Moment of the Year produced one of the more humorous moments of the night when Master of Ceremonies Jeannine Edwards presented the award to Jack Wolf, managing partner and CEO of Starlight Racing. In handing the trophy to Wolf, she asked him if he knew about the significance of 6:52 on the trophy.

A confused Wolf said, “No.”

Edwards then explained that 6:52 was the time when Justify crossed the finish line in the Belmont, eliciting a laugh from Wolf, whose nickname may now be Jack “6:52” Wolf.

There were several light-hearted moments, highlighted by the speech of longtime Del Mar Thoroughbred Club head Joe Harper in receiving the Eclipse Award of Merit.

Harper started by thanking his parents for imparting some “wisdom” on him.

“After flunking out of college for the third time, I was concerned about what to tell my parents, so I tried the truth. I said to my dad, ‘Sorry, Dad, flunked out again, I think I’m just not that smart,’ and he said, ‘Your mother and I figured that out a long time ago, but you were smart enough to figure that out so here’s some advice for you, always try to surround yourself with people smarter than you.’ That turned out to be fairly easy at first but when I got to Del Mar that became more difficult because I needed some really smart people. I can’t tell you how much this award means to Del Mar.”

In thanking the many people who worked for him at Del Mar, Harper also managed to work in a little dig at another California track.

“It just came to me, half of those people were fired at Santa Anita. All you racetrack managers out there, if you need some good and talented people, just go down to the Arcadia unemployment office. They’re all there. Racing secretaries, race callers.”

While some Eclipse Awards ceremonies have dragged on longer than Justify’s career, the 48th edition was streamlined and completed in about 1:39. Some speeches were limited to a minute, making the night’s busiest people the band members who began playing when some recipients exceeded their time.

The champion in that division was Sol Kumin of Monomoy Stable, who owns Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Monomoy Girl (Tapizar).

In starting his speech, Kumin warned, “There’s no shot at doing this in a minute. Not with this group.”

True to his word, Kumin was able to thank trainer Brad Cox for giving the filly “unbelievable care” and Liz Crow of BSW Bloodstock for signing the $100,000 sale slip for Monomoy Girl at the 2016 Keeneland September sale before the music started.

The music grew louder as Kumin tried to add praise for jockey Florent Geroux and then as he tried to squeeze in kudos for few other folks, the nominations for the Champion 3-Year-Old Male started rolling and he waived the white flag.

“I understand the process of trying to shorten the speeches, but it seemed a little bit short to me. You have all these people who have spent a lot of money and time trying to find a great horse and finally get a chance to be in the spotlight and a minute is a little aggressive. I hope they expand that a little bit to say two minutes.”

As for the thank-yous that could not be heard, Kumin said, “I was going for Florent when I stopped. I wanted to thank Paul Sharp for breaking the filly. Her groom Darwin Agular and exercise rider Mario Garcia, too, and I was going to thank my dad, Steve Kumin. He got cut off. He showed up from Boston. We’ve always had a tight relationship and the last few years we’ve traveled around the world together for races.”

The music started playing for Chad Brown while he was in the midst of his speech after winning a third straight Eclipse Award as the leading trainer, but he tugged at the heartstrings for a few extra moments.

“You’re not going to cut me off while I’m thanking my kids, are you?” Brown said.

Harper had the best way of stopping the clock on his speech.

“I paid off the band,” he said. “Three minutes, okay.”

The quick hook brought back memories for Jonathan Green, who owns 2-Year-Old Champion Filly Jaywalk (Cross Traffic) with his father, Leonard, and his mother, Lois, and Cash is King LLC.

“A long time ago, my mother was the leading owner at Keystone Park and she talked for 15 minutes,” he said. “She won the award the next year and they mailed it to her.”

Perhaps the most priceless moment came when the award for the Outstanding Jockey went to Irad Ortiz, Jr., the brother of 2017’s Eclipse Award-winning jockey, Jose Ortiz. Irad walked on stage with his young daughter Sarai who waved and posed for the crowd as her father talked from the heart.

“I want to thank my family for their support and I want to dedicate this trophy to a very special person, my brother (Jose) who dedicated his (Eclipse Award) to me a year ago,” Irad said. “This is for him. Love you, bro. And I know the happiest person in the room right now is my dad. Thank you, Dad.”

Justify Crowned as 2018 Horse of the Year

Thu, 2019-01-24 21:38

‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy–Stage Magic, by Ghostzapper) was the definition of perfection during his brief, but brilliant career.

There was no question he would win the Eclipse for top sophomore male and, while there was some debate in the Horse of the Year category with GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky), the mighty Justify won out there too after a history-making campaign.

Campaigned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing and bred by John D. Gunther, the 2018 Triple Crown winner was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. He was a $500,000 KEESEP yearling.

Horse of the Year Votes: Justify, 191; Accelerate, 54; Monomoy Girl, 2; Enable, (GB), 1; Voter Abstention, 1.

Outstanding Trainer: Chad Brown

Thu, 2019-01-24 21:34

Chad Brown made it three straight Eclipse Awards as outstanding trainer after posting another spectacular season in 2018. The 40-year-old captured 20 Grade I events throughout the season. Brown’s stable posted 224 wins from 839 starters (27%), good for a nation-leading $27,546,057 in earnings. Both Brown’s win total and earnings were career highs.

Outstanding Owner: Hronis Racing

Thu, 2019-01-24 21:27

Kosta and Pete Hronis, owners of GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky), were recognized as outstanding owner at the Eclipse Awards Thursday night. Also carrying the Hronises’ colors in 2018 was multiple graded stakes winner Catalina Cruiser (Union Rags) and Grade I placed Edwards Going Left (Midnight Lute). They capped a memorable year with new acquisition Gift Box (Twirling Candy)’s win in the Dec. 26 GII San Antonio S.



Outstanding Jockeys: Ortiz Jr. and Hamilton

Thu, 2019-01-24 21:23

In an Eclipse finalist battle of brothers, Irad Ortiz, Jr. beat out younger brother and 2017 outstanding jockey Jose Ortiz to earn the first championship of his career. Ortiz led all North American jockeys by earnings in 2018 won a pair of Breeders’ Cup races on championship weekend.

The 20-year-old Weston Hamilton, who began his riding career in December 2017 and won his first two pro races Dec. 11, 2017 at Laurel, became the 11th Maryland-based rider to earn the Eclipse Award as champion apprentice.

Champion Older Dirt Horses: Accelerate and Unique Bella

Thu, 2019-01-24 21:15

Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky–Issues, by Awesome Again), winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic, has been named champion older dirt male at the Eclipse Award Ceremony at Gulfstream Park. The Hronis Racing colorbearer, bred by Mike Abraham and trained by John Sadler, won five Grade I races in 2018. He was a $380,000 KEESEP yearling graduate. Accelerate is slated to retire to Lane’s End Farm after Saturday’s $9-million GI Pegasus World Cup.

‘TDN Rising Star’ Unique Bella (Tapit-Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled’s Song), the 2017 champion female sprinter, did enough in her four 2018 starts to secure another Eclipse as top older female. Heroine of the 2018 GI Beholder Mile S. and GI Clement L. Hirsch S., the Don Alberto Stable colorbearer is trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer. The $400,000 KEESEP yearling was bred in Pennsylvania by Brushwood Stable.

Champion Turf Horses: Sistercharlie and Stormy Liberal

Thu, 2019-01-24 21:01

Thirty years after accepting the Eclipse Award for champion sprinter Gulch, owner Peter Brant returned to the big stage courtesy of Sistercharlie (Ire) (Myboycharlie {Ire}–Starlet’s Sister {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}), who was named champion female turf horse at Thursday evening’s Eclipse Award Ceremony at Gulfstream Park. The GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare turf heroine, a €12,000 ARQOCT, yearling was bred by Ecurie des Monceaux. She is trained by Chad Brown.

Stormy Liberal (Stormy Atlantic–Vassar, by Royal Academy), a back-to-back winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, earned champion male turf honors. Owned by Rockingham Ranch and David A. Bernsen LLC, the $165,000 FTSAUG yearling RNA and $100,000 OBSMAR juvenile is trained by Peter Miller. He was bred by Dapple Bloodstock & Gryphon Investments LLC.

Champion 3-Year-Olds: Justify and Monomoy Girl

Thu, 2019-01-24 20:52

Unbeaten Triple Crown winner Justify (Scat Daddy–Stage Magic, by Ghostzapper) was named champion 3-year-old male at the Eclipse Award Ceremony at Gulfstream Park. Campaigned by China Horse Club, WinStar Farm, Head of Plains Partners and Starlight Racing and bred by John D. Gunther, the ‘TDN Rising Star’ was trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert. He was a $500,000 KEESEP yearling.

Monomoy Girl (Tapizar-Drumette, by Henny Hughes), the first filly to complete the GI Kentucky Oaks/GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff double since Untapable (Tapit) in 2014, was named champion 3-year-old filly. The $100,000 KEESEP yearling graduate is owned by Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, LLC, The Elkstone Group, LLC (Stuart Grant) and Bethlehem Stables LLC, bred by FPF LLC & Highfield Ranch and trained by Brad Cox.