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Updated: 11 hours 19 min ago

Under the Radar: Algorithms

Sun, 2019-01-20 16:39

Shawn Collins, Mare Solutions

ALGORITHMS, Claiborne Farm, $5,000

As we know, the breeding component is essential to the overall investment of our clients, and I have found that booking mares early is the key in the competitive race to winning coveted breeding nominations.

One sire I’m particularly high on this year is Algorithms. Few horses have the distinction of retiring both a graded stakes winner and undefeated. Added to that accolade is the fact he is by classic winner and emerging broodmare sire Bernardini.

I remember watching Algorithms defeat champion Hansen by five lengths in the GIII Holy Bull S. I believe he can add both speed and precocity to mares.

A fourth crop sire standing at Claiborne Farm for a bargain $5,000, he is represented by 77% winners and 11% stakes horses from lifetime starters. Algorithms is the sire for people who like to win! His winning percentage is on par or better than the nation’s most elite sires. That’s pretty impressive considering his value-sire status.

In 2018, Algorithms sired 10 stakes horses, including three-time 2-year-old stakes winner Taylor’s Spirit. His other lifetime stakes winners include Rich Mommy, winner of the 2017 GIII Sugar Swirl S., and multiple stakes winner Recruiting Ready.

Algorithms could be poised for a profitable year in 2019. His son Value Play, a $300,000 2-year-old owned by Kaleem Shah, broke his maiden impressively when going 5 1/2 furlongs on a sloppy track Los Alamitos in December. Trainer Simon Callaghan remarked at the close of 2018 that he was one of the best 2-year-olds in his barn.

With Algorithms’s notable winners-from-starters and stakes horses percentages, I wouldn’t be surprised if he soon sails north in the stallion ranks.


Wolfendale Turns Lifelong Passion into a Career

Sun, 2019-01-20 13:39

As a third-generation horse woman with a degree in broadcasting, the position of paddock analyst for the New York Racing Association was a perfect fit for Maggie Wolfendale. She started the job in 2010 and has since become the face of the New York racetracks, or at least their paddocks.

“I grew up at the barn, barn 18 at Laurel Park [where her father Howard Wolfendale trained],” Wolfendale said on a blustery winter day at Aqueduct. “I had ponies and retired racehorses before really starting my life at the track. I started galloping when I was 16 for my dad. Everything progressed from there. I really fell in love with it more once I graduated high school and immersed myself in the racetrack culture. I loved working with the horses in the morning and went to school for broadcasting, so I got to marry the two. I kinda feel like the luckiest girl in the world that I got to do that.”

After graduating college, Wolfendale sent out her resume and tape to every racetrack in the country and was thrilled when NYRA came calling.

“I found myself very fortunate that NYRA were the ones calling me back with a serious offer,” said Wolfendale. “I obviously jumped on it because, most of the time, this is the best racing in the country. I feel very blessed.”

While Wolfendale’s main focus is analyzing the horse flesh presented in the paddock, she does do her share of prep work. In addition to some light handicapping to see how the race may be run, she keeps detailed notes on all the horses she has seen before and checks pedigrees and sales workouts on first time starters.

“I do this research for a basic understanding of how the race may play out, who might be the speed and who might be closing, changing surfaces, etc,” Wolfendale said. “But obviously, my main focus is when I step into the paddock. I only have 10 minutes to look at these horses, so having as many notes and things to go back on and relate to helps. But, a lot of my work is just done in those 10 minutes before I go on.”

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What Wolfendale looks for in the horses is dependent on the condition of race, but, generally speaking, she is searching for horses with good muscling and shiny, healthy coats.

“A lot of it depends on the conditions of the race,” the 33-year-old said. “Do they have the proverbial turf hoof? Do they have that frame, kind of angular hind end of a turf horse? When looking at horses coming back off layoffs, I look for whether they are muscled enough, strong and fit enough to come back, and maybe get the job done at first asking if they’re a short price on the board. It’s an overall kind of thing I look for in horses, but also specific to the race conditions.”

Working on what is arguably the best racing circuit in America, Wolfendale gets to study some of the top horseflesh in the country, such as Triple Crown winners Justify (Scat Daddy) and American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile).

When asked if analyzing those types of horses comes with more pressure of preparation, Wolfendale said, “Of course it’s more preparation, but it also makes my job a little bit easier in the paddock because I’m looking at very good horses. With good horses, what you see is generally what you get out on the track. They’re genuine. That’s why they’ve made it to the upper echelon of racing. If I see a horse that maybe is a tick below what I’ve seen from them in the past, they generally don’t run as well. Or, if they look that much better, then they improve their effort.”

The lifelong equestrian’s job has also been expanded to include horseback interviews after some of NYRA’s stakes races. Those interviews are performed aboard Wolfendale’s trusty off-the-track Thoroughbred Yeager (Medaglia d’Oro), who is one of many former racehorses she has retrained for a second career as a show horse or, in this case, track pony.

“I love it,” Wolfendale said about her new role. “It’s such a thrill to come back and be right there with the winning rider and horse after a big performance, after these big stake races. Just being next to those horses too, because you become a fan. You’re always a fan, at the end of the day. Being next to them and their riders, it’s very special and it’s probably the part of my job I love most.”

She continued, “For instance, my husband, [trainer] Tom [Morley], won a race up at Saratoga, a stake, and being next to our mare after that was really cool for me. Also, when Imperial Hint (Imperialism) won the [GI Alfred G.] Vanderbilt, he was the only horse who wouldn’t let me interview. He was scared of me and kept backing away. Javier [Castellano] almost fell off a couple times, so I was like, ‘All right little man, you go ahead.'”

In addition to being around some of the best racehorses in the world, Wolfendale also gets to interview some of racing’s top trainers, owners, breeders, riders, etc. While she found it impossible to name a favorite interview, she did recall a few recent highlights.

“I interviewed Jaime Roth of LNJ Foxwoods, and she was very touching,” Wolfendale recalled. “Unfortunately, they had a horse get hurt the week before and then Dogtag (War Front) won the P.G. Johnson up there. She was very emotional, but she was very succinct in her words and just chose her words very carefully. It just came off very nicely. She allowed me to ask her some questions that might make her a little vulnerable. That was a great one.”

She added, “Also, any time I get to interview Mike Smith after he wins a big stake. He’s so much fun. He won a stake at Saratoga and I actually wasn’t on the horse, but it was afterwards and people just cheer for him up there. He just relishes in it. Any time I get to interview Mike, it’s always a good interview.”

When not at the track, Wolfendale can be found caring for her young daughter Grace, lending a hand in her husband’s barn or working with one of her OTTBs. Her life is truly dedicated to Thoroughbreds and she has been lucky enough to marry that passion with her career and family. Wolfendale’s extensive knowledge and understanding of racehorses and her keen eye make her an important part of NYRA racing for fans, handicappers and horsemen alike.


Roy H Romps in Return

Sat, 2019-01-19 19:30

Roy H (More Than Ready), a back-to-back winner of the GI Breeders’ Cup Sprint and a heavy favorite to become the first horse to earn consecutive champion sprinter honors since Housebuster (1990-91) in Hallandale later next week, ran to his 1-5 odds to successfully defend his Palos Verdes title here.

He sat a tracking third as they blazed the way through an opening quarter in :21.44. The 7-year-old set his sights on the leader as jockey Paco Lopez took a look in rearview mirror on the far turn, gained command without being asked as they straightened for home and was on cruise control down the lane to win for fun.

A close third in last year’s G1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, the Peter Miller trainee is expected to return to Meydan this March. His 2018 campaign also included a second-place finish in the GI Bing Crosby S. in late July and a win in the GI Santa Anita Sprint Championship S. in October.

Pedigree Notes:

Roy H is out of a mare who did her best work at sprint distances, winning the GIII Las Cienegas H. and GIII Railbird S. while finishing third in the GI La Brea S. Elusive Diva is a half-sister to Tropics (Speightstown), a Group 3 winner and twice runner-up in the prestigious G1 Darley July Cup. Second dam Taj Aire is also responsible for MSW R. Baggio (Chimes Band) and SW Handyman Bill (Skywalker). A $110,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $310,000 Keeneland April 2-Year-Old, Roy H is kin to the unraced 3-year-old filly Vinca (Oxbow) and a 2-year-old colt by English Channel. Elusive Diva, who was purchased for $75,000 by Calumet Farm in foal to Algorithms at Keeneland November in 2013, was most recently bred to Mr. Z.

Saturday, Santa Anita
PALOS VERDES S.-GII, $200,351, Santa Anita, 1-19, 4yo/up, 6f, 1:08.89, gd.
1–ROY H, 124, g, 7, by More Than Ready
1st Dam: Elusive Diva (MGSW & GISP, $484,510), by
Elusive Quality
2nd Dam: Taj Aire, by Taj Alriyadh
3rd Dam: Whimsical Aire, by Messenger of Song
($115,000 Ylg ’13 KEESEP; $310,000 2yo ’14 KEEAPR).
O-Rockingham Ranch & David A Bernsen LLC; B-Ramona S.
Bass, LLC (KY); T-Peter Miller; J-Paco Lopez. $120,000. Lifetime
Record: Ch. Male Sprinter & MGISW & G1SP-UAE, 23-10-5-2,
$3,139,765. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Kanthaka, 122, c, 4, Jimmy Creed–Sliced Bread, by
Noonmark. ($38,000 RNA Ylg ’16 FTKJUL; $140,000 2yo ’17
BARMAR). O-West Point Thoroughbreds; B-Spendthrift Farm
LLC (KY); T-Jerry Hollendorfer. $40,000.
3–Conquest Tsunami, 120, g, 7, Stormy Atlantic–Classic Neel,
by El Corredor. ($190,000 Ylg ’13 KEESEP; $140,000 4yo ’16
KEENOV). O-Gary Barber; B-Josham Farms Limited & Yvonne
Schwabe Thoroughbreds (ON); T-Peter Miller. $24,000.
Margins: 4, 1HF, 1 1/4. Odds: 0.30, 6.10, 14.00.
Also Ran: Awesome Anywhere, St. Joe Bay, Touched by Autism. Scratched: Distinctive B.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

War Front Colt Runs to the Money in Lecomte

Sat, 2019-01-19 19:15

By War Front, out of a mare by Sadler’s Wells and bred by the Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Holdings Ltd., War of Will is–on paper, at a minimum–meant to be a turf horse. With turf Grade I/Group 1 winners such as Spinning World (Nureyev), Good Journey (Nureyev), Chimes of Freedom (Private Account) and Denon (Pleasant Colony) in his immediate family, who would really argue otherwise? Runner-up in the GI Summer S. and a competitive fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, all as a maiden, the bay colt was switched to the main track and dismantled a Churchill maiden special weight group by five lengths Nov. 24, albeit over sloppy underfoot conditions many turf horses adapt to. Confronted with a dry strip while making his sophomore debut in Saturday’s GIII Lecomte S. in the ‘Breezy’ Easy, War of Will stamped himself as one to keep an eye on over the coming months with a thoroughly dominating performance.

Well-backed into 8-5 off his morning line of 6-1, War of Will looked to bobble ever so slightly leaving gate seven, but he quickly had his feet back underneath him and was on the back of Sugar Bowl S. runner-up Manny Wah (Will Take Charge) at the first corner before checking off that one’s heels and pulling into the three path for clear sailing passing the seven-furlong pole. Tugging for his head beneath Tyler Gaffalione, War of Will was almost a reluctant third punching the breeze through the middle stages, though he did appear to settle slightly better as the field hit the second turn with 3 1/2 panels yet to traverse. Allowed to creep quietly closer on the bend, War of Will drew alongside Manny Wah under a hold at the five-sixteenths, showed sharp acceleration to lead into the final furlong and a half and was punched out under hands-and-heels urging from Gaffalione through the wire. Hog Creek Hustle (Overanalyze) closed decent ground on a day where horses near the front excelled and lost no admirers in second, while Manny Wah held for third.

War of Will rounded out the trifecta on his seven-furlong grass debut at Woodbine Aug. 24 after showing good early speed, then completed a War Front exacta behind Fog of War (out of a Galileo {Ire} mare) in the Summer. He made the majority of the running before weakening to third in Keeneland’s GIII Bourbon S. Oct. 7 and was an even fifth in that deep ground on Breeders’ Cup day. The move to the dirt, suggested by Barber, did the trick and War of Will prepped for the Lecomte by outworking 142 horses Jan. 12, going a half-mile in :48 flat.

Barber enjoyed a particularly productive Saturday from coast to coast. His co-owned Needs Supervision (Paynter) took the Silverbulletday S. one race before the Lecomte, and his hot pink silks had already been carried to victory at Aqueduct earlier in the day by GIII Toboggan S. winner Solid Wager (Birdonthewire). Barber’s Conquest Tsunami (Stormy Atlantic) finished off the day with a third-place run in the GII Palos Verdes S. for good measure.

Pedigree Notes:

Offered at the 2017 Keeneland September sale, War of Will was led out unsold on a bid of $175,000, but was knocked down to Justin Casse for €250,000 (breeze video). He is one of six winners from eight to race for his stakes-winning dam, a half-sister to Flaxman’s aforementioned four-time G1/GISW Spinning World (including the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Mile). War of Will’s Group 1-winning third dam produced G1SW Chimes of Freedom, the dam of Eclipse Award winner Aldebaran (Mr. Prospector), Good Journey, SW Tomisue’s Indy (A.P. Indy), Denon and Sea of Showers (Seattle Slew), victorious in the GIII Jenny Wiley S. for Bobby Frankel. The 79th black-type winner and 43rd graded winner for War Front, War of Will is kin to a 2-year-old colt by Tapit. Visions of Clarity, barren to Honor Code for 2018, was most recently bred to American Pharoah.

Saturday, Fair Grounds
LECOMTE S.-GIII, $200,000, Fair Grounds, 1-19, 3yo, 1m 70y, 1:43.44, ft.
1–WAR OF WILL, 122, c, 3, by War Front
1st Dam: Visions of Clarity (Ire) (SW-Fr), by Sadler’s Wells
2nd Dam: Imperfect Circle, by Riverman
3rd Dam: Aviance (Ire), by Northfields
RNA Ylg ’17 KEESEP; €250,000 2yo ’18 ARQMAY). O-Gary
Barber; B-Flaxman Holdings Limited (KY); T-Mark E. Casse;
J-Tyler Gaffalione. $120,000. Lifetime Record: 6-2-1-1,
$251,569. *1/2 to Pathfork (Distorted Humor), Hwt. Colt Irish
Free Hand & G1SW-Ire, $237,521; and Tacticus (A.P. Indy),
MSW, $184,250. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click
for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Hog Creek Hustle, 122, c, 3, Overanalyze–Candy Fortune, by
Candy Ride (Arg). ($150,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Something
Special Racing, LLC; B-Hargus Sexton, Sandra Sexton & Silver
Fern Farm, LLC (KY); T-Vickie L. Foley. $40,000.
3–Manny Wah, 122, c, 3, Will Take Charge–Battlefield Angel, by Proud Citizen. ($175,000 Ylg ’17 FTKJUL). O-Susan Moulton; B-Martha Jane Mulholland & Modo Tesio Equine, LLC (KY); T-Wayne M. Catalano. $20,000.
Margins: 4, 2, HF. Odds: 1.60, 13.40, 9.90.
Also Ran: Wicked Indeed, Plus Que Parfait, Chase the Ghost, Roiland, Night Ops, Tackett, Tight Ten, Malpais, Mo Speed. Scratched: Admire, Mr. Money, West Texas. Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree.

Paynter Filly Passes Class Test in Silverbulletday

Sat, 2019-01-19 18:45

Needs Supervision proved her big-figure Churchill optional claiming score last out in the slop was far from a fluke as she passed the class test with aplomb in Saturday’s Silverbulletday S. A second-out graduate at Laurel Nov. 2 after a runner-up debut at Penn National, she shipped down from trainer Jerry O’Dwyer’s Maryland base to air by five lengths and earn an 83 Beyer under the Twin Spires going a mile Nov. 24. Campaigned solely by Howling Pigeon Farms in her first two outings, she had been bought into by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable and Madaket Stables since then. Tracking from third out in the clear, the second choice in the wagering asserted herself after six panels in 1:15.83 and ground out the victory from there. Longshot Eres Tu was second, while favored Grandaria was a far-back third. This was the first stakes victory for Needs Supervision’s young trainer and sixth black-type winner for her sire. The winner’s dam, a daughter of MSW Rose of Wendover (Brent’s Prince), has a 2-year-old Temple City filly who was picked up for just $10,000 as a Fasig-Tipton October yearling by Bryan Rice. After failing to get in foal to Kantharos during the 2017 breeding season, Moroccan Rose was bred back to Laugh Track last term.

SILVERBULLETDAY S., $147,000, Fair Grounds, 1-19, 3yo, f, 1m 70y, 1:45.34, ft.
1–NEEDS SUPERVISION, 122, f, 3, by Paynter
1st Dam: Moroccan Rose (SP), by Carson City
2nd Dam: Rose of Wendover, by Brent’s Prince
3rd Dam: Pretty Polly Wog, by Beau Gar
($22,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $55,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY).
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN. O-Howling Pigeon Farms, LLC, Gary
Barber, Wachtel Stable & Madaket Stables LLC; B-Mike
Abraham (KY); T-Jeremiah O’Dwyer; J-Joseph Rocco, Jr.
$90,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-1-0, $168,030.
2–Eres Tu, 122, f, 3, Malibu Moon–It’s True Love, by Yes It’s
True. O-Edward A. Seltzer & Beverly S. Anderson; B-Edward A.
Seltzer & Beverly Anderson (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.
3–Grandaria, 122, f, 3, Curlin–Bagh of Jewelz, by A.P. Indy.
($170,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP). O-Wayne Sanders & Larry Hirsch;
B-CASA Farms I, LLC (KY); T-Brendan P. Walsh. $15,000.
Margins: 3/4, 5 1/4, 2 3/4. Odds: 2.50, 31.20, 1.50.
Also Ran: Liora, Cowgirls Like Us, Mandy Blue, Fun Finder.
Click for the chart.


Union Rags Colt Rolls to Rising Stardom at Santa Anita

Sat, 2019-01-19 18:29

Saddling a plethora of ‘TDN Rising Stars’ last year, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert sent out his first ‘Rising Star’ of 2019 at Santa Anita Saturday in ultra-impressive debut winner Dessman (Union Rags). Installed the heavy 4-5 favorite for the omnipresent Baffert barn, he was off a step slowly, but was pushed along by Flavien Prat to chase the pace out wide in third. The $750,000 Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream (:21 1/5) buy ranged up ominously to challenge the leader after a :22.24 opening quarter, and was clearly going better of the top two approaching the quarter pole as stablemate Scalper (Uncle Mo)–$850,000 at the same sale (:10 1/5)–revved up behind. Dessman proved to be in a class of his own in the lane, however, as he leveled off powerfully to run up the score by 7 1/2 lengths. Norski (Liaison) took third over Scalper.

Dessman is a half-sibling to Renaissance Frolic (Paynter), MSW, $149,470. Their dam Frolic’s Appeal did not have a foal in 2017, but produced a colt named Superfrolicflash (Super Saver) in 2018 and was bred back to Liam’s Map. The 11-year-old mare is a half-sister to MGSW millionaire Smok’n Frolic (Smoke Glacken), who is the dam of Canadian champion Hunters Bay (Ghostzapper). This is also the family of graded winners Mokat (Uncle Mo), Frolic’s Dream (Smoke Glacken) and millionaire Lindsay Frolic (Mt. Livermore).

7th-Santa Anita, $55,351, Msw, 1-19, 3yo, 6f, 1:11.37, gd.

DESSMAN, c, 3, by Union Rags

1st dam: Frolic’s Appeal, by Trippi

2nd dam: Cherokyfrolicflash, by Green Dancer

3rd dam: Cherokee Frolic, by Cherokee Fellow

Sales history: $120,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP; $750,000 2yo ’18 FTFMAR. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $33,000. O-Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum; B-Wind Hill Farm (FL); T-Bob Baffert. Click for the chart, the free catalogue-style pedigree or VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


Saturday’s Pegasus Update

Sat, 2019-01-19 16:04

• Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s MGISW City of Light (Quality Road) sparkled in his first local work and final breeze ahead of a final career start in the $9-million GI Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 26 at Gulfstream Park.

Hall of Famer Javier Castellano was up for the breeze, which saw the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero go a half-mile in :47.26 over a fast main track–fastest of 103 horses at the distance.

“I thought it was a very good work,” trainer Mike McCarthy said. “It looked like the horse got over the racetrack nicely. Javier was very pleased. He cooled out well and looks good.”

• Likely Pegasus favorite and 2018 Horse of the Year finalist Accelerate (Lookin At Lucky) put in his final breeze for the race Saturday at Santa Anita, going five furlongs in a bullet :58.80 (1/45). The GI Breeders’ Cup Classic winner is scheduled to arrive at Gulfstream Jan. 22.

“The track has a good bottom to it,” trainer John Sadler said. “It’s still got a little moisture in it and I wanted to go on Saturday all along. We got here and walked on it about four in the morning and felt it was pretty good, so cross your fingers and off we go.”

• Also working for the Pegasus Saturday were Gunnevera (Dialed In), third in last year’s race, who covered six furlongs in 1:13.20 (1/2) at Gulfstream Park West; 2018 GI Florida Derby winner Audible (Into Mischief), who worked four furlongs in a bullet :48.42 (1/21) at Palm Beach Downs; and GI Cigar Mile H. winner Patternrecognition (Adios Charlie), who covered four furlongs in :49.45 (16/95) at Palm Meadows.

Seeking the Soul (Perfect Soul {Ire}) worked five furlongs in :59.80 (2/42) Saturday morning at the Fair Grounds in his final major training move ahead of the Pegasus. “The horse worked great,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “He’s doing great.”

• After revealing to TDN’s Bill Finley Jan. 12 that MGISW McKinzie (Street Sense) was “very doubtful” for the Pegasus, Bob Baffert said in Saturday’s Santa Anita Stable Notes that he will point the ‘TDN Rising Star’ to the GI Santa Anita H., using the GII San Pasqual S. as a prep. “We’re going to run here [at Santa Anita] if all’s well,” Baffert said.

All About the Bluegrass Roots for Koch

Sat, 2019-01-19 15:50

Never mind all this talk of walls; and never mind the fact that Matt Koch was actually putting up a fence when the idea was first put to him. Because here, in these notoriously fractured times, is a young Republican eager to build bridges.

As co-owner of Shawhan Place, Koch was supervising a consignment at the Keeneland January Sale last week when breaking off to Frankfort to be sworn in as the new state representative for the 72nd District of Kentucky. The day after his election last November, similarly, it was at Keeneland that you would have found him, showing horses with his team. That’s how symbiotic is the connection he wants to maintain, not just between his professional duties and those he has embraced at the capitol; but also between the industry in which he was raised (and which, of course, employs much of his electorate) and the forum where the broadest interests of the Bluegrass are weighed.

Koch is the first Republican to represent Bourbon County and its environs in the Kentucky House of Representatives since 1974–when the seat was held by none other than his partner in Shawhan, Teddy Kuster. And it was Kuster who accosted him just over a year ago, while Koch was busy digging post holes round the foaling barn, to lament that nobody had yet filed to run on the Republican ticket; and that there were now only a couple of days before the deadline.

“Being a politician was never anywhere in my wheelhouse,” Koch admits. “Teddy was really the push. He’s the one who put the idea in my head. He came out there while we were putting up some fencing, and I was complaining about the current situation, talking like we always do. And Teddy said, ‘Well, do something about it!’ And I said, ‘Well, by God, maybe I will!’ So Teddy and I drove to Frankfort and met a few people; my wife and I had a long talk that night; and next day went up there and signed the papers on the filing deadline. And here I am.”

One Democrat friend assured the writer that he would gladly have voted for Koch, in his own district, as the kind of local figure who can transcend the virulent partisanship of the national stage. Sure enough, though it plainly remains very early days, Koch is already able to say: “I think the greatest thing so far is that I’ve met some amazing people on both sides. You may not always agree on everything, but the fact that we can sit down and have these conversations, that’s a big starting point–and that’s how eventually we’ll see some of these issues get ironed out.”

If he entered the field almost inadvertently, moreover, Koch could not have a more natural affinity with the concept of service. Even the current divisions infecting national political discourse, after all, are pretty trifling compared to the kind of thing Koch witnessed during his four-year stint as second lieutenant in the Marine Corps, when exposed to the volatile and violent theatres of Kosovo and Afghanistan. As an intelligence officer, Koch had to show wisdom beyond his years to make the best use of authority and responsibilities that would have daunted many an older man.

“You’re 24, 25 years old, moving into a town with your Marines, and all of a sudden you’re kind of the mayor, you’re the most powerful force there,” Koch reflects. “So it was all about learning how to deal and work with the local people. You’re not there to shove them around. You’re there to help them have a better life and to provide protection. You can’t just come in and say: ‘Well, we’re modern, we’re sophisticated, and by God, this is the way we’re gonna do it!’

“Because if you can make them successful, can teach them to be self-sufficient, they won’t have to grow the opioids; they won’t have to do all that for the Taliban. I learned how to listen in the Marine Corps. Your way’s not always the best way. You sit down with the local elders, with your interpreter, and you listen. They’ve been here for generations. You need to be able to adapt: take some of what you know and some of what they know, and put it together.”

So while the idea of “working a room” like a politician may remain alien, Koch is actually one step ahead. He wouldn’t do that because it’s expedient, but because it fits the way he has learned to deal with problems.

“As a Marine, you deal with the highest all the way down to the poorest of the poor,” he says. “I was very lucky to have such an experience. You can’t even imagine what poverty is until you saw some of those people in Afghanistan. And yet an hour later you’d be with the head of state.”

Nor is it as though these seeds were ever falling on fallow soil. Koch is indebted to parents who raised their many children to have a sense of social duty, an instinct for giving something back. His father, of course, is Gus Koch Sr.–long-serving manager at Claiborne, and himself a Marine veteran. So the young Koch absorbed much of value, growing up on that storied farm, besides the horsemanship he has applied in his own post-military career.

“Where I grew up was the best place you could be raised, whether as a horse or a kid,” he says. “I’m very blessed to have grown up in a big family. You learn how to share. You’re number five of 10 kids? You don’t always get your way! But we’re very lucky in that when we were ready to leave home, the one thing we left with was our last name. That’s one thing nobody can ever take away from you, so it’s up to you to maintain that integrity and the honesty in your name, the number one thing Dad instilled in all us brothers and sisters. And the only way you can do that is get out there, work hard and do a good job.”

Despite a battle with cancer extending nearly two decades, Koch’s father remains a daily sounding board in the professional dimension to this living legacy. That traces right back to his boyhood, and the great Moccasin: only 2-year-old filly to be named Horse of the Year and, along with her sister Thong, one of those who immortalised their dam Rough Shod II.

“I’ll never forget Moccasin,” Koch says. “She was a paddock buddy for this other mare, I can’t remember if she was blind or just had health problems. But obviously Moccasin was very friendly because I would hold her, when just six or seven, while Dad would treat the other mare. And [after Mocassin passed, aged just eight] whenever her daughter Flippers was going to foal, Dad would always try to get me to the foaling barn.”

Koch was only 10 or 11 when he worked his first November Sale, and it became unremarkable for him to be around mares as resonant as Personal Ensign, Relaxing and Inside Information. “Every Saturday morning, my brother Steve and I would go down when the eight o’clock session was over, cleaning all the mats and the breeding shed,” he recalls. “So you learned a work ethic even while you were being around some of those great mares.”

His favorite job was to hold tools for the farrier and, after himself learning the art of shoeing, he paid his way through the University of Kentucky trimming mares. After his military service, his father sent Koch to Teddy Kuster and together they started the Shawhan consignment in 2006.

Daniel Shawhan bought the land in 1788 after sampling what he declared to be the cleanest spring water he had ever tasted and promptly built a distillery. The same water, and the limestone pasture, quickly put the latest Shawhan venture on the map. After a $7,000 purchase named Queen Randi (Fly So Free) threw a stakes winner, client Jeff Anderson was emboldened to mate her with Mineshaft (A.P. Indy). The result was Fly Down, who finished second in the GI Travers S. and GI Belmont S. and third in the GI Breeders’ Cup Classic. From breeding half a dozen mares in its first year, Shawhan now processes sufficient numbers for Matt to supervise the breeding and foaling; and brother Gus Jr., the babies and breaking and sales prep; while Courtney Schneider serves as director of sales.

“But we’ve learned that where we have most success is that when the clients call us, we’re the ones to answer the phone,” Koch stresses. “We’ve tried a bunch of things, but learned that big numbers weren’t the way to go. A lot of our clients just have one or two mares–but when they call us, they know that either myself or Gus or Courtney has handled their horse that day, and can talk to them about it. We’ve kind of learned that’s where our niche is.

“I was very lucky when getting started because I could just go to Dad or Teddy, and you have two walking encyclopedias right there. You can say, ‘Hey, what about this?’ But it’s hard to go to them with anything new. They’ve seen it at some point. I mean, yeah, maybe there’s some new ways to treat something, or do something. But at the end of the day, it’s old-school horsemanship. Yes, you do adapt. We take some of the old ways, things we learned at Claiborne growing up. But Gus and Courtney did the equine program at UK, and Courtney went over to the Irish National Stud, so we just kind of mixed things until we found what worked for us.”

That teamwork will be more important than ever now that Koch finds himself suddenly having to devote himself to civic duty. “But I think it’s mutually beneficial,” he argues. “I’m all in with the horses. It’s all I’ve got. So what better way to help my business than to be part of the decision-making that’s going to drive our whole industry in the future? I’m thrilled to be part of that. And I’m very lucky to have Gus and Courtney, they’ve been doing a heck of a job running the farm during the campaign this past year–and it’s doing better than it ever has.”

Here’s a regular guy, then: married to a schoolteacher, a father of three, determined to stay attuned to the hopes and fears of his constituents, regardless of formal political allegiance. He’ll not charge in promising to change the world overnight, but he’ll quietly make it his business to figure who does what at the capitol and who needs what back in the 72nd District.

“You get more and more comfortable, you get so you can walk in and talk to people,” he says with a shrug. “It’s not much different from being at the horse sales. Being my first session, I understand there’s going to be a lot of that. But I won’t be afraid to stick my head out on stuff I feel strongly about.”

Personal, daily exposure to the challenges that count for so much in Bourbon County, however, is only one guarantee of his eligibility. The other is that grounding: first of all from one of the most respected horsemen in the Bluegrass, and then from military mentors.

While he shows the Marine’s habitual reluctance to dwell on the dangers he endured, he does acknowledge the power of the experience.

“You do grow up,” he reflects. “I mean, you’re looking at young men and women in their early 20s, corporals and sergeants, in charge of armory that’s worth $8 million. Or they’re out there leading squads, actually in charge of human lives. It’s so much responsibility that coming home is sometimes a let-down. I think that’s why a lot of veterans have a hard time when they return.

“But you will also have learned to know where you stand, and to be behind people in what’s right. I give a lot of credit to the Marine Corps for being my own man; for being able to come in [to Frankfort] and not care what side of the house you’re on. You’re just ready to work, and to do the right thing.”

Solid Supplemental Catalog for OBSWIN Now Online

Fri, 2019-01-18 17:46

The supplemental catalog for the Horses of Racing Age portion of the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s 2019 Winter Mixed Sale is now online at A total of 17 horses of racing age were supplemented, including Noble Commander (Forestry) (hip 198), a last-out winner of the Woodchopper S. at Fair Grounds; two-time South Florida winner Yes Factor (The Factor) (hip 247); and recent Aqueduct maiden special weight graduate Midnight Curfew (Midnight Lute) (hip 294). An under-tack preview for horses of racing age will be held Monday, Jan. 28 at 10:00 a.m. The sale will begin at 11:00 a.m. on Jan. 29 with a Preferred Session of breeding stock, immediately followed by the now 117-horse Racing Age session. The sale concludes with its Open Session starting at 11:00 a.m. Jan. 30.

Jose Ortiz to Replace Frankie Pennington on Maximus Mischief

Fri, 2019-01-18 13:41

Co-owners Chuck Zacney and Glenn Bennett and trainer Butch Reid have reached an agreement with Jose Ortiz to ride the top GI Kentucky Derby contender and TDN Rising Star‘ Maximus Mischief (Into Mischief) in the Feb. 2 GII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream Park. He will replace Frankie Pennington, who has ridden the colt in all of his previous three starts and is the top jockey at Parx Racing, where Maximus Mischief is based.

“We love Frankie and he is still our number-one guy when it comes to running horses at Parx, but we just looked at the races, they’re at Gulfstream, where Jose rides regularly, and if we are lucky enough to get to the Derby we wanted a more seasoned jockey,” Zacney said. “With regards to Frankie, Jose is a little more battle tested. At this point it is race to race, but Jose will be on him Feb. 2 in the Holy Bull.”

The TDN was not able to reach Pennington for comment.

Zacney admitted it was a tough decision.

“It was a decision made by Butch, the trainer, Glenn Bennett and myself and we had the discussion and the three of us believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we wanted someone who is more familiar with Gulfstream Park and Churchill Downs than Frankie is. He really just rides at Parx,” the owner said.

If all goes well in the Holy Bull, Maximus Mischief’s next start will be the GI Florida Derby Mar. 30. The colt broke his maiden at Parx and then won an allowance race at the same track. His big test came in the GII Remsen S. at Aqueduct. With Pennington aboard, he cruised to a 2 1/4-length win.

While not well known outside of Parx, Pennington has been one of the most successful jockeys in that track’s history. In 2018, he won his fifth-straight yearly riding title at Parx, a feat no other jockey has accomplished at that track. However, he has never ridden in the Kentucky Derby and he has never won a Grade I race. The Remsen was his lone career Grade II win.

Pennington may not want to give up hope on getting back on Maximus Mischief as there is precedent when it comes to Zacney replacing a lesser-known rider and then going back to him. Zacney replaced Jeremy Rose in favor of John Velazquez when running Afleet Alex (Northern Afleet) in the GIII Rebel S. at Oaklawn in 2005. After the horse finished sixth in that race, the stable went back to Rose, who was aboard for Afleet Alex’s wins in GII Arkansas Derby, the GI Preakness and the GI Belmont.


USDA Quarantine Shutdown Unlikely to Affect Pegasus Imports

Fri, 2019-01-18 13:11

A suspected salmonella outbreak that killed three horses and sickened three others has resulted in the temporary closure of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal Import Center in Miami. But the shutdown of that quarantine facility does not appear as if it will drastically alter shipping plans for international contenders in the Jan. 26 pair of GI Pegasus World Cup dirt and turf events, Gulfstream Park general manager Bill Badgett told TDN Friday.

“I haven’t heard anything about that affecting us,” Badgett said. “There’s another [private] facility they could go to if that was the case. The lockdown is on the quarantine at Miami, and that’s a USDA facility. The Mexican horse, Kukulkan (Mex) (Point Determined), goes to a private quarantine. The European horses have already done their quarantine before they’ve arrived in the United States, so we don’t have to worry about them going through the quarantine in Miami. All they do is get on a van and come here to our [separate] quarantine here at Gulfstream which is [administered by] the USDA. It’s 42 hours.

“We have a quarantine facility here at Gulfstream that’s already set up,” Badgett continued. “As a matter of fact, the Japanese horse, Aerolithe (Jpn) (Kurofune), got here two days ago and is already in it. The USDA is here with it. We used that for the Caribbean Classic also.”

According to a USDA press release, the agency “is conducting environmental testing at the [Miami] facility and the samples will be sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratories for diagnostic testing. Before reopening, the facility will undergo a complete cleaning and disinfection.”


Pellegrini Winner to Brown in U.S.; Madaket and LaPenta Buy In

Fri, 2019-01-18 12:42

Il Mercato (Arg) (Not For Sale {Arg}), a last out winner of the G1 Gran Premio Carlos Pellegrini Dec. 15, was scheduled to depart Friday from Buenos Aires to Miami to continue his racing career in the U.S. under the care of trainer Chad Brown. Owners Robert LaPenta and Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stable have purchased an interest. Ricardo and Nicolas Benedicto’s Stud Rubio B, original owners of the bay, will retain an interest as well.

According to Kumin, Fernando Diaz-Valdes brokered the deal.

“The horse won an extremely prestigious race in South America and we think he can be a top-level turf horse going long in the U.S.,” Kumin told TDN. “He will get to Chad and we will give the horse plenty of time to acclimate to America, and if all goes well, he will be pointed to a summer and fall campaign. We have been successful bringing horses to the U.S. from South America in the past with horses like two-time Grade I winner Dacita (Chi) (Scat Daddy), and Chad was also successful with Robert Bruce (Chi) (Fast Company {Ire}) and Wow Cat (Chi) (Lookin At Lucky) last year, so we hope we can get lucky with this one.”

Bred by La Pasion, Il Mercato held off former champion Sixties Song (Arg) (Sixties Icon {GB}) to win the 2018 Pellegrini. He was also third behind For the Top (Arg) (Equal Stripes {Arg}) in the G1 Gran Premio Nacional-Argentine Derby, upon whom he turned the tables in the Pellegrini.

A Nov. 9 foal, Il Mercato was previously trained by Juan Carlos Maldotti, a four-time Pellegrini winner. With his victory in the Pellegrini, Il Mercato earned a spot to run in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita Park as part of the ‘Win and You’re In’ program that the series.

“Having qualified for the Breeders’ Cup by winning the Pellegrini opened doors to different situations, and to keep a piece of the horse and to think big was very exciting for us,” said Nicolas Benedicto. “The horse will have a great trainer with Mr. Brown; he already showed that South Americans fit him well, as with Robert Bruce and Wow Cat. Our partners are important and very serious. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Julio Biancardi who, when he bought the horse at our farm, invited us to participate.”

Free Eagle Incentive Announced

Fri, 2019-01-18 12:13

The Irish National Stud is offering breeders who purchase a season to G1 Prince of Wales’s S. winner Free Eagle (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}) this year a free return in 2020.

Free Eagle, who is out Moyglare Stud’s prized broodmare Polished Gem (Ire) (Danehill)-and therefore a half-brother to Group 2 winners Custom Cut (Ire) (Notnowcato {GB}) and Sapphire (Ire) (Medicean {GB})-has his first runners in 2019. Although he was at his very best at four when winning at Royal Ascot, he was a 5 1/2-length winner on debut in August of his 2-year-old year and three weeks later was second to Australia (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) in the G3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Trial S. Off for a year after that, he came back to win the G3 KPMG Enterprise S. and finish third in the G1 Champion S. in his only two starts at three. He stands for an advertised fee of €12,500.

“When the Irish National Stud purchased Free Eagle to stand at Stud we had great belief that he would become a successful stallion,” said Irish National Stud Chief Executive Officer Cathal Beale. “We have huge confidence in Free Eagle and we want to reward the breeders that share our belief and use the horse in 2019 with a free cover back to him for 2020. It is more important than ever to look after our breeders and with the competitive price points across our roster and this new ‘Free Eagle, Free Return’ scheme, we will be doing just that.”

Sam-Son Firster Charges to ‘TDN Rising Star’ Tag

Thu, 2019-01-17 17:28

Sam-Son firster Desert Ride (Candy Ride {Arg}) produced a stunning turn of foot and sustained a 2 1/2-furlong rally to graduate at first asking Thursday at the Fair Grounds and become the afternoon’s second ‘TDN Rising Star.’

Only fairly away and void of any early speed thereafter, Desert Ride caboosed the field for the opening half-mile beneath Shaun Bridgmohan and raced unhurriedly into the second turn. Pulled out widest of all at the five-sixteenths marker, the bay filly jumped into the bridle and steamed down the center of the turf course to win by a widening margin in the finish. The final time was fractionally faster than that clocked by the 4-year-old Ruffina (Street Cry {Ire}) two races earlier.

Desert Ride is the first foal for her dam, herself a debut winner and unplaced in stakes company in her lone subsequent appearance. Fun in the Desert is a daughter of Sam-Son’s Sovereign Award-winning 3-year-old filly Eye of the Sphynx (Smart Strike), who became the dam of 2009 Queen’s Plate hero and champion 3-year-old Eye of the Leopard (A.P. Indy), MSW & MGSP Hotep (A.P. Indy) and MGSW & GISP Deceptive Vision (A.P. Indy). Eye of the Sphynx’s SW half-sister Quiet Cleo (No Louder) was responsible for Sam-Son’s Canadian Horse of the Year Quiet Resolve (Affirmed).

Fun in the Desert is represented by the 2-year-old filly Saturday Sun (Sky Mesa), a yearling full-brother to Desert Ride and was bred to both Kitten’s Joy and Ghostzapper last breeding season.

8th-Fair Grounds, $38,000, Msw, 1-17, 3yo, f, 1mT, 1:41.72, fm.
DESERT RIDE, f, 3, by Candy Ride (Arg)
1st Dam: Fun in the Desert, by Distorted Humor
2nd Dam: Eye of the Sphynx, by Smart Strike
3rd Dam: Queen of Egypt, by Vice Regent
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $22,800. O/B-Sam-Son Farm (ON); T-Neil J Howard.
Click for the chart. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.

Mendelssohn Q&A With Robyn Murray

Thu, 2019-01-17 15:59

Mendelssohn (Scat Daddy) was a standout from the beginning, selling for $3 million at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale as a half-brother to Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday) and Beholder (Henny Hughes). He delivered on the racetrack as well, winning the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf as well as the G2 UAE Derby. He stands his first season at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in 2019, and we caught up with Coolmore’s Robyn Murray to talk about his initial book and how he’s settling in.

TDN: Obviously, a big part of the reason why he was a $3-million yearling was his pedigree, but he’s got the physical as well.

RM: He’s one that the pedigree doesn’t really need too much of an explanation. He’s by Scat Daddy and a half-brother to the young, hot sire Into Mischief and four-time champion Beholder as well. Hence, it’s an incredibly deep pedigree. He’s also a gorgeous, gorgeous horse. He’s a fantastic mover, with plenty of quality. He really is a fantastic individual. He’s got incredible conformation and plenty of quality leg underneath him. He’s a very scopey individual, and a beautiful, beautiful mover as well. All things that you want to see and the breeders that have been out to see him have absolutely loved him.

TDN: How is his initial book coming along?

RM: The demand that we’ve had from breeders has been absolutely phenomenal, and to the point where he’s been fully booked now for a little while, so it’s really exciting.

TDN: And being a son of Scat Daddy, a horse that you had here, I’m sure that helps with his demand.

RM: Yes, absolutely. Of course, Scat Daddy is much missed, not just here but all over the world. Also we have No Nay Never (in Ireland), who was champion first-season sire in Europe. Caravaggio, who has been very popular there, he’s having his first foals this year and they now have Sioux Nation as well. Scat Daddy has been incredibly important for us and for so many people that wanted to breed to him before he passed, so it’s great to have his sons.

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TDN: How does his body of work on the track predispose him to doing well at stud?

RM: He was a very versatile horse, winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and then going down to Meydan and winning the UAE Derby by 18 1/2 lengths in a phenomenal performance. Then he came over and raced in the States with a second in the Travers, and a third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. So he’s proved himself on turf and then has been magnificent on dirt as well. I think that versatility has really appealed to the breeders. Obviously Scat Daddy was a very versatile sire himself, having the likes of Justify over the classic distances, and then the likes of Caravaggio, No Nay Never and Lady Aurelia.

TDN: How has he adapted to life on the farm?

RM: He came straight here after the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct, so he’s been here about (six) weeks now. He’s settled into life here fantastically. He’s got a beautiful, beautiful temperament. They’ve test-bred him and all has gone well so far. He’s starting to fill out a bit, put a bit of weight on. He’s settled in fantastically.

On Aftercare: Q&A With Retired Racehorse Project’s Carolyn Karlson

Thu, 2019-01-17 15:51

The first Racehorse Retraining Symposium was organized by Steuart Pittman in 2009 as a clinic for people and organizations wanting help in transitioning Thoroughbreds from racing to second careers. At the time, Carolyn Karlson was a business school professor and as well as a trustee of the University of Maryland. She also owned her first racehorse, Ave Ravina. Karlson was already thinking about what her post-racing options would be for the mare. She befriended Pittman and his wife Erin, invested in their mission and became a donor, corporate officer and driving force behind what is currently known as the Retired Racehorse Project and the annual Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium. I caught up with Karlson who now lives in Saratoga Springs to talk about the unique concept and its evolution:

DP: What is the Thoroughbred Makeover and how many people participate?

CK: In 2012, the first Thoroughbred Makeover was held. It featured 26 horses and trainers in ten riding disciplines. In 2018, a record 780 trainers accepted to compete. The deadline to file applications for 2019 was Wednesday so the 2019 numbers are not yet in. All horses start with no post-racing training. The trainers chronicle their progress through social media over the nine months after they have been selected to enter. It culminates in a weekend of competition, education and collaboration.

DP: Why did you start with 26 entries at the first Thoroughbred Makeover?

CK: It was December 2012 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting had just taken place. The country was reeling from the tragedy. Twenty six people died. I heard a commentator on television suggest that everyone go out and complete 26 acts of kindness. So, I donated $26,000 to the RRP and said let’s retrain 26 horses. By funding 26 trainers with $1,000 each to participate in a training competition, we created the first Thoroughbred Makeover. We were thrilled that Pimlico agreed to host the inaugural event and we are forever grateful to them.

DP: Why did you make the move to the Kentucky Horse Park?

CK: The turnout and level of interest was more than we anticipated and more than any racetrack and even most equestrian competition grounds can handle. We moved the Makeover to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. because we wanted to be in a nationally recognized facility for all disciplines. For instance, rather than simulate a cross country course in the track in-field, we needed a real cross-country course as well as the great indoor facility.

DP: You must be thrilled with the profound footprint RRP has made in the Thoroughbred world, both on and off the track, since its launch. Where is RRP in its intended trajectory?

CK: I love seeing the descriptors “RRP Eligible” or “TBMakeover-Eligible” all over the internet. It is in discussion groups as well as in ads for Thoroughbreds to let people know that the horse fits the criteria for the upcoming Thoroughbred Makeover. They have become recognized terms. Everybody is talking about the Makeover and that has put the Thoroughbred sport-horse in the spotlight like never before. Plus, as a professor of entrepreneurship, I see it as a model for how to grow a business. We grew in a completely organic way and formed strong bonds among the people who make up our ever-growing base. We as the RRP grew up with social media. We are the same age as Instagram. So, we would always instantly embrace every change and development in social media and that has paid off. Right now, we have 160,000 Facebook followers and thousands more on Instagram and Twitter, and those followers are all following our trainers. The strong sense of sharing in the process from start to finish, culminating with everyone meeting at the Makeover is a dynamic that is fueling enthusiasm and increased participation every year. And it is a platform to enhance the service we provide.

DP: What has surprised you thus far on the journey with RRP and as a Thoroughbred owner who is so vested in aftercare of Thoroughbreds?

CK: It’s fascinating to see not just how RRP has evolved over the past 10 years but also to see how the entire Thoroughbred industry has changed in dealing with the issue. Rescue is not in a word in the RRP lexicon. We have always come from the perspective that Thoroughbreds can stand on their own as a coveted competitor in many disciplines. We exist to empower Thoroughbreds and their natural ability to excel in all disciplines and have value. We want people to see them as capable and desirable not in need of rescue. Now, throughout the entire racing industry, the emphasis is off of rescuing Thoroughbreds and focused on refining aftercare of Thoroughbreds.

DP: Are you satisfied with how the racing industry supports RRP and the Makeover?

CK: The relationship is evolving and has made great strides recently. RRP’s message is very positive and that is good for the entire Thoroughbred industry. Adding Jen Roytz to the team has been invaluable. Her connections to racing have opened up many new partnerships and we are becoming part of the fabric of the racing industry. We have two new groups of sponsors. They are sales consignors and Thoroughbred owners. The sponsoring consignors are donating a percentage of their sales commissions to the RRP. That recognition of a second career during the earliest transactions of a racehorse’s life feels very positive. It was a turning point for us. Similarly, when Chocolate Martini’s owners donated a percentage of her earnings as she raced, we felt that we had started to make a new impact in the racing industry. We were also thrilled last year to show a video at the Breeders’ Cup, explaining the program and announcing the winners. Finally, we feel it is important to recognize the racing connections of the Makeover horses as well as the breeders and thank them.

DP: What adjustments have you made along the way that you didn’t necessarily expect?

CK: We are good at introspection. We have evolved as we learned things. For instance, we changed the eligibility criteria because we learned that the horses need more than the initial 100 days with which we started. And, we don’t ask that the trainers pick their category right away. We learned that as you go through the training process, horses may show you that they belong in a different discipline than you were first imagining.

DP: Why are the criteria so important?

CK: We need parameters to keep the focus on horses transitioning from racing at the time that they leave racing.

DP: How do you see the future in terms of your growth potential and relationship to other aftercare organizations?

CK: Our mission is different enough that we anticipate staying independent but continuing to collaborate wherever possible and advantageous to the horses. We are not ‘residential’ in any way but we see the need and appreciate the organizations that do specialize in the care of retired horses. Our model has paired well with groups like Canter, Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue, New Vocations and many others on a state level. Every year additional organizations enter horses and we are as thrilled as they are with the positive exposure it brings for their horses and programs.

DP: Has the journey over the past 10 years caused you to rethink the ultimate goal?

CK: Highlighting that window right after racing has kept the focus on the mission which is helping horses transitioning from the track, increasing their value in second careers and educating people about their worth and ability. So, the result has been exactly what we hoped. Owners and trainers in racing are thinking more often about their horses’ value in a second career and retiring more horses sooner and more sound.

DP: Are there changes in store for 2019?

CK: In 2019, we are incorporating a college and club team division. We tried it out last year and it was a success, so we are putting a larger focus on it this year. It is a way for the college equestrian teams and equine departments, as well as high school and local riding clubs to work with the Thoroughbred industry and it will open up a new way to attract young people to Thoroughbreds as riding horses, as well as introduce them to Thoroughbred racing. We also are encouraging all college equestrian programs and clubs to set up information booths in the vendor section of the Makeover. It is especially exciting to me because of my involvement in colleges and work on behalf of college students. We are going to continue to pursue new ways to educate the public about the versatility, talent and value of Thoroughbreds. They have the ability to touch everyone. The youngest trainer in last year’s Makeover was 12 and the oldest was 70. Making-over a Thoroughbred is not only a labor of love, it is an entrepreneurial activity and trains people for many other careers. Growing is definitely in the plan and in the future. We will be expanding data collection services of useful information about pedigree and confirmation and how they translate into success in a second career.

DP: How can people and organizations support the RRP and Thoroughbred Makeover?

CK: Joining the organization is one way. If you join, you receive our great magazine. Donating to the organization or sponsoring a class at the Makeover is another meaningful way to help. We also need volunteers for the Thoroughbred Makeover weekend, which is Oct. 2-5, 2019.

For information about the Retired Racehorse Project and the Thoroughbred Makeover, visit:

Diana Pikulski is the editor of the Thoroughbred Adoption Network.

Into Mischief Colt Bests Tapit Twosome in Salty FG Allowance

Thu, 2019-01-17 15:43

5th-Fair Grounds, $43,000, Alw (NW1X), Opt. Clm ($50,000), 1-17, 3yo, 1m 70y, 1:42.54, gd.
OWENDALE (c, 3, Into Mischief–Aspen Light, by Bernardini) was sent off the 3-1 third wagering choice to the Tapit ‘TDN Rising Star’ duo of 6-5 Gun It and 3-2 Cornacchia, but the latter’s stablemate traveled best of all into the lane and stayed on well for a one-length defeat of 13-1 Frolic More (More Than Ready) Thursday at Fair Grounds. Able to box-seat the race from third as Gun It went forward from his widest draw to press the pace of 80-1 Felipe (Justin Phillip), Owendale was guided off the inside and into a stalking position from second approaching the half-mile marker. Gun It led clear around the far turn, but Owendale had the move covered and Cornacchia appeared dangerous three deep, but Owendale claimed the chalk with relative ease inside the quarter pole and held sway to take it by 1 1/2 lengths. Gun It was an alibi-free third, with a gap back to Cornacchia, who broke a bit slowly and raced freely in this first two-turn voyage, then had little to offer in the final furlong. A maiden winner trying a distance of ground for the first time at Indiana Grand back in September, Owendale was an allowance fourth at Churchill Oct. 28 and was exiting a second-place effort behind GIII Lecomte S. hopeful Tackett (Limehouse) over course and trip Dec. 22. Produced by a half-sister to GISW Great Hunter (Aptitude), Owendale is kin to 2-year-old colt Yeng Again (Carpe Diem) and a yearling colt by Kantharos. Sales history: $200,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 6-2-1-1, $63,225. Click for the chart.
O-Rupp Racing; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Brad H Cox.

Shields-Bred Lookin At Lucky Colt Blows Break, Becomes a ‘Rising Star’

Thu, 2019-01-17 13:56

Mrs J. V. Shields and E J M McFadden’s COUNTRY HOUSE (c, 3, Lookin At Lucky–Quake Lake, by War Chant) completely bombed the start when veering in sharply from gate one, but the chestnut was given a patient ride from the tail thereafter by Javier Castellano and saved his best for last en route to a three-length graduation and ‘TDN Rising Star’ honors. Making his sophomore debut and first appearance since a runner-up effort going a mile over a laboring Aqueduct main track Dec. 1, Country House spotted his rivals the better part of 10 lengths once straightened away and remained out of the frame down the backstretch as 15-1 Ownitifyouwantit (Midshipman) set a modest pace. Called upon while five or six deep on the turn, he continued to make eyecatching progress leaving the quarter pole and finished up full of run and straight and strong for the victory. He covered 40 feet more than the runner-up according to Trakus. Country House is cleverly bred, as second dam Shooting Party (Sky Classic)–raced by the late Shields to a runner-up effort in the 2001 GI Garden City Breeders’ Cup S.–was responsible for Lookin At Lucky’s overachieving son Breaking Lucky, a Grade III winner on synth and three times Grade I-placed on conventional dirt. Country House is the last produce for Quake Lake, who died in 2016. Lifetime Record: 3-1-1-0. O-Mrs J V Shields & E J M McFadden; B-J V Shields Jr (KY); T-Bill Mott.

Merit Man Colt Tops CTBA January Sale

Thu, 2019-01-17 13:12

A 2-year-old colt by Merit Man brought top price of $60,000 at Wednesday’s California Thoroughbred Breeders Association January Mixed Sale in Pomona. In all, 81 head sold during the one-session auction for a total of $589,300. The average was $7,275 and the median was $4,000. The buy-back rate was 33.6%.

The CTBA hosted the January sale as a transitory auction between the now-defunct Barretts, which ceased operations at the end of 2018, and the upcoming Fasig-Tipton sales.

Frank Veiga, as agent for trainer Bob Hess, Jr., made the winning bid on the sale-topping juvenile (hip 110), who was bred by Terry Lovingier and was consigned by his Lovacres Ranch. The dark bay colt is out of multiple stakes placed Seaside (Aldebaran), who was purchased by Lovingier while in foal to Can the Man for $5,000 at the 2015 Keeneland November sale. The mare’s Can the Man colt sold for $30,000 at the 2017 Barretts August Yearling Sale.

Hess, who trained Merit Man, also purchased a 2-year-old filly (hip 138) by the 9-year-old stallion for $30,000 from the Lovacres consignment Wednesday.

“I haven’t seen them yet,” Hess said of the two juveniles. “I’m down at Gulfstream with horses, so my dad [trainer Bob Hess, Sr.] drove down from Golden Gate. I had him look at all the Merit Mans in the sale. I trained Merit Man and he’s done well with his initial crop, so we were trying to focus on all the Merit Mans. My dad identified the two that we bought as the two best ones in the sale.”

Hess continued, “We bought them for a group of clients that my father and I both work with. My dad will get both of them ready up at Golden Gate and then we would hope to debut them sometime in early summer at Santa Anita or Del Mar.”

A debut winner at Del Mar as a 2-year-old in 2012, Merit Man won the Tim Conway S. at Santa Anita before being nosed out of the win when second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. He won the Spectacular Bid S. at Gulfstream in 2013 and was third behind subsequent GI Kentucky Derby winner Orb (Malibu Moon) in the GI Florida Derby.

“Merit Man was precocious, he won early,” Hess said of the 9-year-old stallion whose first foals are three. “And then he ran a good third to Orb going 1 1/8 miles in the Florida Derby. A lot of his horses have a great mind and they have his speed, but they also have his laid back attitude. I’m looking forward to getting a few more Merit Mans and luckily we picked up two yesterday.”

A large portion of the CTBA January catalogue was made up of 2-year-olds and three of the sale’s top four prices were for juveniles. Hess sees advantages to buying juveniles before the 2-year-olds in training sales season gets underway in March.

“I feel like it’s a great buyers market, buying a 2-year-old in January,” he said. “Once they go down the lane in :10 and change, or now :9 and change, then you’ve got to pay through the teeth. I feel like we stole both of these and I’m sure there were a bunch of other great buys because they didn’t get to preview, which I think is better for the horse and better for the buyers. Maybe the seller takes it through the teeth when they sell them early, but there is a lot of risk involved with getting them ready for a 2-year-old sale. So I think it’s a win-win for all parties.”

Accomplished Owner/Breeder Phyllis Wyeth Passes Away

Thu, 2019-01-17 12:05

Thoroughbred owner/breeder and philanthropist Phyllis Mills Wyeth died Monday at the age of 78, according to a statement released by the Brandywine Conservancy and Museum of Art, of which Wyeth was a long-time supporter. Wyeth passed away with her husband and acclaimed painter Jamie Wyeth by her side.

Born in New York City to the late James and Alice du Pont Mills and raised in Middleburg, Virginia, Wyeth became involved in racing through her family and achieved her greatest success as the owner/breeder of Union Rags, a fourth-generation homebred and winner of the 2012 GI Belmont S. Devil’s Bag and Gone West rank among the other success stories that were products of the Mills family breeding program.

Wyeth majored in political science at Finch College and later attended the Columbia School of Social Work, eventually working for U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy and later in the Kennedy White House. In 1968 she married Jamie Wyeth and the couple took up residence on the Wyeth family’s 240-acre Point Lookout Farm on the Pennsylvania-Delaware border. Away from the racetrack, Wyeth dedicated her time to environmental conservancy in addition to serving as an advocate for the arts and the rights of the disabled.

Funeral services will be private.

This story will be updated.