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Updated: 3 hours 39 min ago

An Australian Revolution

Wed, 2018-05-30 12:04

Group 1-winning sprinter Russian Revolution (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) will be among the most exciting stallions to retire in Australia this year, and Wednesday’s two seven-figure lots at the second session of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale could both be part of his inaugural book.

“We have a strong interest in Russian Revolution so he would be seriously considered for her going forward, and you’ve got the champion stallions like Snitzel and I Am Invincible who would be in the mix for her,” said China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace after signing for the session-topping Diademe (NZ) (Savabeel {Aus}) (lot 1007) in foal to Vancouver (Aus) for A$1.7-million. Sir Owen Glenn’s Go Bloodstock signed for the other breakout mare of the day, Heatherly (Aus) (Lonhro {Aus}) (lot 1098), in foal to Written Tycoon (Aus) for A$1.6-million, and Go Bloodstock Manager Geoff Roan confirmed, “She will go to Russian Revolution–it will be a perfect mating.”

Due to changes in the sale format, full comparative statistics will be published upon conclusion of the sale on Friday. After two days’ trade, the cumulative total stands at A$66,156,000 for 422 fillies and mares sold. Moving from fillies and mares off the track on opening day to broodmares on Wednesday, the clearance rate and average held largely steady at 84% and A$156,768. The median improved to A$65,000.

“It was a sensational day’s trade,” Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch said. “It was probably one of the strongest days of selling we’ve had here.”

“Vendors are delighted with the way the sale went and buyers as a whole have been very confident in the market, they’ve bid strong and we’re pleased with where we’re at. I was a little cautious today how the mares in foal would go, having a big catalogue of them. But it’s a very solid sale. To be clearing some 84% and for the average to be holding up somewhere near what it was [Tuesday] is sensational.” Click here for a video review of the session.

Diademe Back In The Limelight…

Diademe had already enjoyed the spotlight on the Gold Coast to a degree last week when her second foal, a colt by Fastnet Rock (Aus), made A$650,000 from Boomer Bloodstock to be the second-highest priced lot at the Magic Millions National Weanling Sale. He follows a full-brother who sold for NZ$1-million at Karaka two years ago, and both the foal and mare were offered by Coolmore to dissolve the partnership of Coolmore and China Horse Club, who had bought Diademe from Attunga Stud for A$740,000 at this sale three years ago less than two months after she had won the G1 Breeders S.

“Obviously she is a Group 1-winning mare by Savabeel,” said China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace of the mare who is also a full-sister to G1 Two Thousand Guineas winner Embellish (NZ). “She’s put down two wonderful foals with her first two foals and she’s a Grade A specimen physically. She’s got everything going for her. It’s been well-documented the ownership that was involved with her, so it was good to get that tidied up and move along with a nice mare.”

Barrie and Midge Griffiths picked up the Lonhro filly they would name Heatherly for A$90,000 at Inglis’s Easter Yearling Sale in 2014, and that was made to look like a very shrewd purchase on Wednesday when the 5-year-old, carrying her first foal to Victoria’s best sire Written Tycoon (Aus), made A$1.6-million from Go Bloodstock and Paul Moroney Bloodstock. Heatherly had, of course, done her part in the interim four years by winning three black-type contests in addition to placings in both the G1 Moir S. and G1 Oakleigh Plate, and Go Bloodstock’s Geoff Roan said his team had had their eyes on the mare, who is out of a half-sister to G1 Stradbroke H. winner Linton (Aus) (Galileo {Ire}), for a while.

“We’ve had a go at a couple of others and missed,” Roan said. “It’s a really strong sale.”

“We picked her out really early as one we would target. We didn’t expect her to go to that level but she was one we thought we’d really like to have for Sir Owen Glenn. We have followed her for a while and always liked her. We thought she had such good strength and physicality. Sir Owen loves that high quality and he just said to me, ‘don’t get beat!'”

Guy Goes For Gold…

Being a multiple stakes-winning Dubawi (Ire) mare in foal to Snitzel (Aus) certainly isn’t going to hurt in a sales ring, but Paul Guy of Heritage Bloodstock said after signing the ticket for Arabian Gold (Aus) (lot 867) at A$900,000 that it was the 7-year-old’s toughness that was her greatest trait. Indeed, Arabian Gold won four stakes races, three of those group races, across a busy 3-year-old campaign in which she was also second in the G1 Queensland Oaks. She would go on to win again at Group 3 level at four. Arabian Gold was sold carrying her second foal; she produced a filly by Snitzel’s sire Redoute’s Choice (Aus) two years ago and slipped last year.

“She’s a good style of mare,” Guy said. “She’s a typical Dubawi–he’s just been such a wonderful sire worldwide and she was such an exceptional racemare. She was tough and genuine with great ability and that’s what we were ultimately looking for.”

Arabian Gold had been bought by Josh Hutchins for A$800,000 at this sale in 2015 in the midst of her racing career, and she was sold on Wednesday by the Hutchins family’s Element Hill Farm, a boutique Queensland nursery.

Proven Sires Prominent…

With the exception of Diademe, Wednesday’s top sellers were each in foal to a different Australian champion sire: Written Tycoon was champion first-season sire and champion 2-year-old sire; Snitzel is the reigning record-breaking champion general sire and two others that have held that title were also prominent on Wednesday: Fastnet Rock (Aus) and Exceed and Excel (Aus). Mark Pilkington and Tom Magnier signed in conjunction for the 12-year-old mare Fiorentina (Aus) (Dubai Destination) (lot 1066)-a half-sister to G1 Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire})-in foal to Coolmore’s Fastnet Rock for A$850,000 the day after her Group 1-winning daughter Silent Sedition (Aus) (War Chant) had sold to Katsumi Yoshida for A$1.5-million.

Peter Ford swooped at A$750,000 for the unraced 4-year-old Frankel (GB) filly Dream In Colour (GB) in foal to Exceed and Excel. That one proved a monumental pinhook, having been purchased off the track from the Godolphin consignment at Tattersalls February last year by Howson and Houldsworth Bloodstock for 75,000gns. Dream In Colour comes from a very prolific Australian line, her third dam True Blonde (Aus) being a half-sister to excellent sire Snippets (Aus) and the dam of Not A Single Doubt (Aus), and True Blonde is also the second dam of the G1 Golden Slipper winner Forensics (Aus). It therefore shouldn’t have come as a surprise to see Dream In Colour immediately expatriated, and her cause was helped further by the win of Derryn (Aus) (Hinchinbrook {Aus}), who appears under her second dam, in last April’s G2 Arrowfield Sprint at The Championships.

Former champion first-season sire I Am Invincible (Aus), who is currently chasing just Snitzel in the general sires’ premiership, was the covering sire of Newgate’s Gold and Diamonds (NZ) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) (lot 1078), who was scooped up by Yu Long Investments for A$800,000. Yu Long, which is currently growing its profile globally, had two winners on the Irish 2000 Guineas card at The Curragh last Saturday and had also made its presence felt at Inglis’s Chairman’s sale, signing for three broodmares over the half-million mark. Yu Long has about 70 mares in Australia and 20 in New Zealand, and that is where Gold and Diamonds’s pedigree most resonates. She traces back to the legendary producer Eight Carat, whose line also includes the champion racehorse and sire Octagonal (NZ) and Darley’s late prolific sire Commands (Aus).

Australian Pharoahs…

The Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale features the first Southern Hemisphere mares in foal to American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and Yu Long also swooped at A$750,000 to secure one of them, the Flying Spur (Aus) mare Better Alternative (Aus) (lot 911). Yu Long is already plenty familiar with her offspring, being a shareholder in her champion son Preferment (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}), winner of the Group 1 Victoria Derby, The BMW, Australian Cup and Turnbull S. Better Alternative has also left the G3 South Australian Fillies Classic winner Rezoned (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}).

There were three total mares offered in foal to American Pharoah on the day; while one was a A$75,000 buyback, the others were sold for A$200,000 and A$140,000, respectively. American Pharoah stands in Australia for A$66,000.

Arrowfield Reveals Mating Plans…

Arrowfield, in conjunction with different partners, was busy on day one of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale, signing for three mares in excess of A$1-million, and the Stud has revealed the mating plans for those mares.

Arrowfield’s Jon Freyer, in partnership with Dean Hawthorne, agent for Jonathan Munz of Pinecliff Racing, signed for Group 2 winner Omei Sword (Aus) (High Chaparral {Ire}) for A$1.7-million and Group 1 winner Abbey Marie (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) for A$1.4-million. Both mares will be sent to Japan for a date with that country’s champion sire Deep Impact (Jpn). Arrowfield has been instrumental in the cross pollination of Japanese and Australian blood, having long sent it owns mares to be covered by Shadai stallions, as well as more recently shuttling some of that operation’s young sires to the Hunter Valley.

Arrowfield, in its joint venture with Northern Farm’s Katsumi Yoshida, bought Silent Sedition for A$1.5-million on Tuesday, and she will this year visit Snitzel, the same sire that provided Arrowfield and Northern Farm, as breeder, with this year’s G1 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab (Aus), out of Response (Aus) (Charge Forward {Aus}), who was also a Magic Millions National sale purchase.

Justify to Wear China Horse Club Silks in Belmont

Wed, 2018-05-30 09:52

Undefeated ‘TDN Rising Star’ Justify (Scat Daddy), who wore the silks of their major shareholder WinStar Farm in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will wear the red-and-yellow silks of the China Horse Club in the Belmont Stakes, according to Eden Harrington, the Vice President of the China Horse Club.

“The China Horse Club and WinStar Farm share the use of colors on the horses we race in partnership,” said Harrington. “Every fourth start, a horse will race in China Horse Club silks. The sharing of silks ensures both the WinStar brand and China Horse Club brand are promoted. As an ownership group, we are very tight-knit. The credit for the quality of our relationship rests with Mr. Kenny Troutt and Mr. Teo Ah Khing. Regardless of the colors that are worn on our horses, we all cheer passionately; we all cheer as one. As a club, we are very fortunate that the rotation will see Justify race in China Horse Club silks in the Belmont Stakes. It will be the second time Justify has raced in them having worn them at his second career start. Win, lose or draw he will do us all proud in them.”

Justify debuted in WinStar silks on Feb. 18 at Santa Anita, but followed that up with a second-time out win March 11 in the China Horse Club’s silks (video). Per the rotation, starts three (Santa Anita Derby), four (Kentucky Derby) and five (Preakness) were in WinStar’s silks, making the Belmont Stakes the CHC’s turn.

“In our short history as a club we have been very fortunate to have our silks carried in some very big races and at some very big race days,” said Harrington. “But the importance of having our red-and-yellow silks worn by Mike Smith as he rides Justify in the Belmont Stakes for a tilt at the Triple Crown will undoubtedly be the most important. Its significance cannot be quantified. Not only will all of America be watching, the world will be watching. And for all the Chinese fans who are new to horse racing, seeing the colors of Chinese owners on Justify on the biggest of stages this year carries immense resonance. America has been and remains the standard of excellence in so many industries including many sports, so for Chinese to be seen by their countrymen and women as having reached the pinnacle of this sport in America by having their colors represented on such a big occasion will bring a great deal of pride. It could be the catalyst for an influx of new participants in the sport internationally. It will almost certainly have a positive impact across myriad areas of China’s fast emerging domestic thoroughbred industry.”

Elliott Walden, CEO and president of WinStar, added, “The partnership has been great and we’re excited for Mr. Teo and the China Horse Club to have the opportunity to have Justify wear their silks in the Belmont. While we would love to have him in our silks, I’m excited about the fact that he’s wearing the China Horse Club’s, too, and that they can share in the fun of the Triple Crown.”


Euro-Breds Reign Over SoCal Turf

Tue, 2018-05-29 16:33

Just as the popularity of turf racing in America has increased markedly in the past two decades, so has the arrival of imported runners from overseas who often possess a class edge and a unique training foundation. In recent years, Southern California has particularly become a hotbed for European-bred imports achieving graded stakes success on the lawn. Various ownership groups and syndicates have become increasingly attuned to identifying horses who can move forward over the firm local turf and reach the highest level–a trend that was on full display over Memorial Day weekend, where all four graded stakes races contested over the Santa Anita turf were captured by horses who began their careers competing in Europe.

Saturday’s GI Gamely S. served as a case in point, as six of the eight original entrants were European-breds. When all was said and done, D P Racing’s Sophie P (GB) (Bushranger {Ire}) notched a nose victory over Slam Dunk Racing’s Madam Dancealot (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}).

In the aftermath of Sophie P’s breakthrough score, trainer Jim Cassidy–who has conditioned numerous other European-bred graded stakes performers–reflected on the process of adapting a horse to American training and racing.

“There are a lot of adjustments you have to make, and I’ve been fortunate enough to get along with most of them,” Cassidy said. “One thing I’ve seen with Europeans that I haven’t seen with American horses is that they don’t work much, or on the slow side. You kind of question yourself, ‘Did I buy one that just can’t run?’ But then you go over there and put the tack on them in the afternoon and the ears come up and the eyes brighten up. They know what it’s all about.”

The entirety of the three-day weekend seemed to confirm the exceptional turf ability of European-breds, with Itsinthepost (Fr) (American Post {GB})’s Saturday win in the GII Charlie Whittingham S. and Hunt (Ire)‘s hard-fought GI Shoemaker Mile S. victory added to the list Monday.

The final graded stake of the weekend, the GII Monrovia S. at 6 1/2 furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course, was captured by Team Valor International and Gary Barber’s English import Belvoir Bay (GB) (Equiano {Fr}). Team Valor founder and CEO Barry Irwin, who has enjoyed Grade I success in America with imported European turfers such as Euro Charline (GB) (Myboycharlie {Ire}) and Becrux (Ity) (Glen Jordan {GB}), said he believes that European horses have a superior foundation that allows them to excel upon their arrival on American shores.

“Those guys just know how to train better than us,” Irwin said bluntly, adding that he firmly believes that English racing has the best overall form in the world. “They know how to develop horses from a young age. I would rather have any grass horse I can buy in Europe as opposed to buying a domestic one. We don’t have the facilities or the horsemanship they have over there–that’s their game and their specialty. I’ve always thought the best way to win over here with a grass horse is to tap into the source.”

Belvoir Bay made five starts in England as a 2-year-old in 2015, with Team Valor acquiring the filly after her fourth appearance. She was subsequently shipped across the Atlantic and ran away with Santa Anita’s one-mile Blue Norther S. in her second stateside race in December 2015. Over the past 2 1/2 years, the four-time graded stakes winner has found her niche in turf sprints, most recently reeling off a pair of wins in the Apr. 29 GIII San Simeon S. and Monday’s Monrovia.

“It’s hard to find a horse that’s under the radar–the trick is to find one that’s not exposed yet,” Irwin continued. “To buy a proven horse over there, it’s very expensive. The other huge edge that’s been proven over the years–by people like Whittingham and [Bobby] Frankel–is that the horses that come from over there are much fitter than our horses. They have better facilities to train them on and they can let them down in training. It’s very difficult for an American trainer to let a horse down on the grass, fully. We’re always training around soundness. In Europe, they have soundness issues, but it’s not a daily thing they worry about.”

To that point, Irwin suggested that the greatest challenge in managing an imported European turf horse is to find a way to maintain their initial fitness edge. A dearth of turf courses dedicated specifically to training in America stands in sharp contrast to European facilities in Chantilly, Newmarket and Ballydoyle, where horses can work out over fresh, perfectly maintained gallops.

In Southern California, according to Irwin, the situation becomes even trickier because turf workouts are not permitted at Santa Anita. Belvoir Bay, nevertheless, has been able to maintain her form over a longer period of time competing primarily in sprints for trainer Peter Miller.

“I’ve seen horses come here from over there and win first time out like a freak. And the second time, they do it again, but not as impressively,” Irwin added. “Those guys deserve a lot of credit in Southern California for being able to train grass horses out there–they’re behind the eight ball. We don’t have the luxury of having any extra grass anywhere [to exclusively train on].”

While acknowledging that each European import requires a different approach depending on their temperament and willingness, Cassidy explained that his training often allows horses to produce a top effort in their second or third start in the States.

“Personally, I take it quiet with them and give them plenty of time to acclimate when they get here,” Cassidy said. “I probably walk them two or three weeks before I even take them to the track. I start from the bottom, much like I would with a horse who just got into training. I usually give them a race, and then second or third time out, they usually show you what they’re about.”

Cassidy reeled off a lengthy list of American training components that European horses must learn to incorporate–anything from walking with a chain over their nose to adjusting the sights and sounds of the Santa Anita backstretch. Half the battle, according to the veteran trainer, is keeping them healthy and on a gradually adjusted feed program. In any case, Cassidy agreed that older horses naturally have a ready-made fitness edge.

“With horses that have run before, it’s easier to get them fit again, rather than a horse who’s never had any training,” Cassidy said. “What I’ve noticed in the past is that some people go to Europe, buy horses and go right to training them–just like they would with an American horse. That usually doesn’t work out. It blows their mind.”


Free Drop Billy Confirmed for Belmont

Tue, 2018-05-29 14:15

Albaugh Family Stables’ Grade I winner Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) has been confirmed for a start in the GI Belmont S., co-owner Jason Loutsch told the NYRA notes team Tuesday. Winner of the GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity last fall, the Dale Romans trainee most recently finished 16th in the GI Kentucky Derby and worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 (2/25) Monday at his Churchill Downs base.

“I guess our main thing coming out of the Kentucky Derby was, obviously, we were really disappointed,” Loutsch said. “We feel he’s a better horse than that, and we’re going to cross that one off. We wanted to see how he bounced back after that race, and yesterday he showed us he has a lot of energy and is a happy horse. He galloped out really strong, and Dale’s been really happy with his training. This is a huge race, a big stage, and this is what we’re in the game for: to run in big races. This is a great opportunity. We know it’s going to be a very tough challenge. But if we can get a piece of it, even hitting the board is a huge accomplishment, and we’re excited for the opportunity.”

Loutsch made the decision in conjunction with his father-in-law and co-owner Dennis Albaugh in part because they believe that Free Drop Billy’s breeding suggests he’ll appreciate the 1 1/2 miles of the “Test of the Champion.”

“His dad was a Belmont winner, and he’s out of a Giant’s Causeway mare,” Loutsch said. “He’s bred to go the distance. We just hope he runs to his breeding.”

Observations on the European Racing Scene for Wednesday, May 30

Tue, 2018-05-29 13:02

Observations on the European Racing Scene turns the spotlight on the best European races of the day, highlighting well-pedigreed horses early in their careers, horses of note returning to action and young runners that achieved notable results in the sales ring. Wednesday’s Insights features the first foal out of GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine Flotilla (Fr) (Mizzen Mast).

2.20 Nottingham, Mdn, £6,000, 2yo, f, 5f 8yT
HEARTWARMING (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) debuts in the Hot To Trot Racing silks carried to G2 Queen Mary S. glory by her half-sister Heartache (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}) last year and, like that sibling, is trained by Clive Cox. Three of the last four winners of this heat have subsequently contested the Queen Mary and, in keeping with that theme, her rivals include Sir Mark Prescott trainee Klass Action (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}), who is a daughter of 2013 Queen Mary fifth Alutiq (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}); Kodyanna (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), who is a Richard Fahey-trained half-sister to last term’s stakes-winning G3 Prix de Cabourg runner-up and Queen Mary seventh Darkanna (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) out of 2012 G2 Cherry Hinton S. third and Queen Mary fifth Jadanna (Ire) (Mujadil); and Little Kim (GB) (Garswood {GB}), who is a half-sister to last term’s Queen Mary third Out of the Flames (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) out of 2010 Queen Mary ninth Primo Lady (GB) (Lucky Story), from the Karl Burke stable.

3.20 Fontainebleau, Mdn, €25,000, unraced 3yo, f, 11fT
SHALLA (GB) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) is one of two nominees for His Highness The Aga Khan in this debutantes’ heat and she is out of MG1SP 2009 G1 Prix de l’Opera heroine Shalanaya (Ire) (Lomitas {GB}). The Mikel Delzangles incumbent is joined by Shomaria (Fr) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}), who is a daughter of 2008 G3 Prix de Lutece and 2009 G3 Prix Allez France victress Shemima (GB) (Dalakhani {Ire}), from the Alain de Royer-Dupre stable.

3.20 Fontainebleau, Mdn, €25,000, unraced 3yo, c/g, 11fT
OFFSET GUILT (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) is the first foal produced by 2012 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and 2013 G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches heroine Flotilla (Fr) (Mizzen Mast) and debuts for the same Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Thani-Mikel Delzangles axis here. Opposition includes Gerard Augustin-Normand’s Boissey (Fr) (Iffraaj {GB}), who is out of MGSP 2001 G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud fourth Banyu Dewi (Ger) (Poliglote {GB} and thus kin to three black-type performers headed by MGSW 2011 G1 Gold Cup and G1 Prix du Cadran third Brigantin (Cozzene), representing Pia Brandt; and Gestut Ammerland’s Agosto (Ire) (Nathaniel {Ire}), who is an Andre Fabre-trained gelded son of 2011 G1 Preis der Diana-German Oaks third Aigrette Garzette (Ire) (Peintre Celebre).

9.00 Gowran Park, Mdn, €12,000, 3yo/up, f/m, 7fT
RAESEEYA (GB) (Dansili {GB}) is the first foal produced by 2012 G1 Durban Golden Slipper victress Rumya (NZ) (Red Ransom) and debuts in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum carried to success in that Greyville highlight. The Michael O’Callaghan trainee faces a baker’s dozen including Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor’s twice-raced Darkness Falls (War Front), who is an Aidan O’Brien-trained daughter of MG1SP 2012 G1 Epsom Oaks heroine Was (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}); and Khalid Abdullah’s Clique (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}), who is kin to three black-type performers headed by last term’s G3 Winter Derby hero Convey (GB) (Dansili {GB}) and ill-fated G3 Supreme S.-winning sire Stronghold (GB) (Danehill), returning off a Sept. 17 debut fifth to subsequent G3 Athasi S. victress Lightening Quick (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and representing Dermot Weld.

9.10 Ripon, Cond, £6,000, 3yo/up, 10f 190yT
Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Markus Jooste’s DEPARTMENT OF WAR (IRE) (Declaration of War), a Richard Hannon-trained half-brother to G1SW sire Toormore (Ire) (Arakan) and MGSW sire Estidhkaar (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), returns off a third in Newmarket’s May 19 Listed Fairway S. and is opposed by a cast of seven in this low-key return. It includes Godolphin newcomer Beauvais (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}), who represents Saeed bin Suroor and is a half-brother to MGSW 2012 G2 International Istanbul Trophy victress Local Time (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}); and Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s twice-raced Firlinfeu (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), who is a gelded son of MGSW 2010 G1 Nassau S., G1 Prix Jean Romanet and G1 Premio Lydia Tesio placegetter Antara (Ger) (Platini {Ger}), making his turf debut for the Mark Johnston barn.

Jameka Stars At Magics Broodmare Opener

Tue, 2018-05-29 12:56

Colin and Janice McKenna raced the three-time Group 1-winning mare Jameka (Aus) (Myboycharlie {Aus}) in partnership under their Halo Racing Services, and the Warrnambool-based couple now owns their star mare outright after buying out their partners at A$2.6-million during the opening session of the Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale on Tuesday. That figure was enough for the 5-year-old mare to top the session, which for the first time was devoted exclusively to race fillies and maiden mares and boasted some serious star power.

The fact that the session was restricted in such a way makes it difficult to draw comparisons from the same day a year ago, and thus full comparative statistics will be published upon conclusion of the sale on Friday. Nonetheless, 190 fillies and mares were sold on Tuesday for a total of A$31,727,500, at an excellent clearance rate of 85.2%. The average was A$166,987, while comparatively the median of A$51,000 highlighted the fact that there were a handful of breakout horses at the top of the market.

“It was a sensational day’s trade,” Magic Millions Managing Director Barry Bowditch said. “With Jameka going in we said she was the star act. She’s a quality mare and for her to make A$2.6-million was a great result for all and I’m thrilled Colin McKenna, who’s had such a great affinity with her, was able to buy the rest of the syndicate out.”

“All in all we’re really pleased with the day’s proceedings and hopefully onwards and upwards over the next few days. We have some great offerings [on Wednesday] and Heatherly is expected to be one of the stars–above all that we’re looking for solid trade and we want all the vendors who have supported us to get a win.”

McKennas Buy Back Star Mare…

Jameka (lot 1606) has proven the ultimate home run mare for her connections, having been bought by trainer and former part-owner Ciaron Maher for what now looks like a total bargain at A$130,000 at Inglis’s Classic yearling sale in 2014. While it took her four starts to break her maiden at two, it didn’t take her long to reach punters’ radars thereafter, as she notched her first win in the G2 VRC Sires’ S. Her first Group 1 win was in the VRC Oaks the following spring, and a year later she added the G1 Caulfield Cup before closing out her career on a high in the G1 The BMW. She was placed at the highest level a further five times.

“She’s been very good to us,” Colin McKenna said. “She won nearly A$5-million so I don’t think it [Tuesday’s price] was a big outlay. We expected her to make somewhere between A$2.5- million and A$3-million–that’s what I thought anyway. I’m very happy and the wife really wanted her back.”

The McKenna’s also own a share of the G1 Coolmore Stud S. winner Merchant Navy (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who was a winner in his European debut for trainer Aidan O’Brien over the weekend in The Curragh’s G2 Greenlands S., and who will enter stud at Coolmore Australia later this year after a tilt at Royal Ascot. McKenna said Jameka could be bred to him, although a decision had yet to be finalized.

“We love these horses and they are our lives and Jameka was a pretty big part of that,” McKenna added. “She won the Caulfield Cup but I think her best win was the BMW at weight-for-age–there aren’t too many mares that can flog the colts and geldings. She will go to a nice stallion and we’ll see what happens from there.”

Double Delight For Hawthorne, Freyer…

Four years ago, Dean Hawthorne and Jon Freyer teamed up to purchase The Broken Shore (Aus) (Hussonet) at this sale from the Teeley Dispersal for A$1.9-million. As any breeder knows it can sometimes take a lifetime to reap the benefits of such an outlay, but in just four years, The Broken Shore has already proven worthy of her pricetag. The Fastnet Rock (Aus) filly she was carrying at the time of that sale has gone on to be this season’s triple Group 1 winner Shoals (Aus), and that one’s yearling full-brother topped last month’s Inglis Easter yearling sale when fetching A$2.3-million from Shoals’s trainer Anthony Freedman.

Hawthorne and Freyer teamed to buy two more seven-figure mares on Tuesday, and they would surely be thrilled with the same fate for them. The first was Segenhoe Stud’s Group 1-winning Abbey Marie (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}) (lot 606) for A$1.4-million, and she was followed by Newgate Farm’s Omei Sword (Aus) (High Chaparral {Ire}) (lot 747) for A$1.7-million.

Expectations were high for Omei Sword from the very start, the filly having fetched A$675,000 as a yearling, and she went on to capture the G2 Silver Shadow S. at three for owner CC Lai as well as finishing second to Astern (Aus) (Medaglia d’Oro) in the G1 Golden Rose S. Out of the G1 Thousand Guineas winner Irish Lights (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), Omei Sword traces back to the excellent producer Fall Aspen, whose influence has been felt all over the world through the likes of daughter Colorado Dancer (Ire) (Shareef Dancer), the dam of Dubai Millennium (GB) (Seeking The Gold), Group 1 winners and sire sons Fort Wood (Sadler’s Wells) and Timber Country (Woodman) and many others.

Hawthorne revealed Omei Sword would go to the Northern Hemisphere to be bred.

“We thought she would be well sought after and we’d have to stump up to get her,” he said. “She went for a little bit higher than we thought originally but when you’re chasing these big mares you’ve got to pay because everyone wants them.”

“She will go straight to stud,” Hawthorne added. “She will go to the Northern Hemisphere and then we’ll sit down and work out her future from there.”

Abbey Marie was another offering with a stout pedigree in addition to an excellent race record: the G1 Schweppes Oaks winner is a full-sister to Absolutely (Aus), who won that same race in addition to the G1 Australian Oaks, and their dam, Catshaan (Aus) (Catrail {Aus}), is a half-sister to Japanese Group 1 winner and sire Kinshasa No Kiseki (Aus) (Fuji Kiseki {Jpn}).

“We thought she was the filly of the day,” Hawthorne added of Abbey Marie. “She has so much quality. She has a great pedigree. She’s a good, tough, sound mare. She just oozed class. To get the ones you want you’re going to have to pay for them, especially in this market at the top end.”

Hawthorne confirmed that Abbey Marie had been bought for the partnership that races Shoals-Arrowfield and Pinecliff Racing-and he said a decision had not yet been made on whether the 5-year-old Abbey Marie would race on or head to the breeding shed.

“We’ve bought some nice mares together over the years and we’re building up quite a nice partnership of broodmares. We’re having a lot of fun with Shoals so let’s hope that continues,” Hawthorne said.

Yoshida Gets Silent Sedition…

Katsumi Yoshida is another buyer who has enjoyed past success at this sale; he bought Response (Aus) (Charge Forward {Aus}), carrying this season’s G1 Golden Slipper winner Estijaab (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}), for A$1.5-million here three years ago, and subsequently sold that filly on for A$1.7-million at last year’s Inglis Easter sale. On Tuesday, he added the G1 William Reid S.-winning Silent Sedition (Aus) (War Chant) (lot 784) to his Australian broodmare band for A$1.5-million, and that daughter of Fiorentina (Aus) (Dubai Destination)-a half-sister to the dam of G1 Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire})-proved a massive homerun for her owners, who had purchased her from the Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale four years ago for just A$45,000.

“I’m absolutely happy with it,” said former part-owner Tom Curnow. “She’s been a wonderful horse for us. I must give great credit to Andrew Noblet, the trainer. He’s been sensational in the way he’s looked after her during her entire career.”

Yoshida boards his mares in Australia at Arrowfield Stud and has a longstanding, successful joint venture with that nursery, and Arrowfield’s John Messara told Sky Racing, “She had what they look for in a filly. She had the conformation, she had the family and she certainly had the performance. They’ve been collecting these Group 1 mares and this is another one that joins the venture that we have with them. She’ll be staying with us at Arrowfield will be bred, who knows, maybe to Maurice, maybe to Snitzel, we’ll see.”

“The market is becoming quite polarized; the top end is very, very strong,” Messara added. “When a mare comes along like this is another country, you don’t get the opportunity to buy her; they’re owned by families who don’t release them, so we’re very lucky to be able to buy them. We’ve got three today, this one for Northern Farm, but we’ve got Abbey Marie and Omei Sword as well; this one is for a separate partnership. We’re thrilled, they’re the mares we wanted to get and we got them all.”

Another excellent turnaround was made by the team behind Ocean Embers (Aus) (Beneteau {Aus}) (lot 745). The 5-year-old mare was bought as a yearling for just A$23,000, and now a dual Group 3 winner, she made A$525,000 from Newgate Farm on Tuesday when consigned by Three Bridges Thoroughbreds. Trainer Shea Eden told, “It’s fair to say back when we bought her for A$23,000 it was probably the furthest thing from our minds. It was probably what we were hoping to achieve, but to be here today at the Gold Coast and selling for over a half-million dollars, it’s a great result for the owners. She’s a special mare and she’ll always be dear to our hearts. She gave me my first Group 3 win and even the listed [win] on Melbourne Cup day was very special. It’s been a great ride and it’s nice to come up here today and support the team.”

Married To Monsoon…

Newgate Farm had made a very determined play for descendants of Monsoon Wedding (Aus) (Danehill) at the Teeley dispersal four years ago, and has subsequently done well selling the progeny of those mares. The Scone nursery went to A$950,000 on Tuesday to add another daughter of Monsoon Wedding, the 3-year-old filly Notting Hill (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}) (lot 743).

This was not the first time Notting Hill had been a star attraction in this ring: she made A$1.4-million as a yearling in 2014, and has since recorded a pair of wins for Coolmore connections, including just eight days ago at Muswellbrook. Notting Hill is a half-sister to stakes winners Precious Lorraine (Aus) and Lucky Raquie (Aus), both by Encosta de Lago, and three other stakes horses. Monsoon Wedding is a full-sister to Group 1 winners and sires Redoute’s Choice and Platinum Scissors (Aus), and a half to Manhattan Rain (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}) as well as the dams of Rubick (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}) and Shoals.

Just seven lots before selling Notting Hill, Coolmore Australia had laid out A$875,000 for Rosemont’s G1 Vinery Stud S. winner Montoya’s Secret (Aus) (lot 736), a daughter of its late sire High Chaparral. High Chaparral’s much-missed presence is still being felt Down Under, the Derby winner leaving four Group 1 winners this season, and his son So You Think (NZ) is also currently enjoying a fantastic run as a sire.

Among the international buyers on Tuesday was Phoenix Thoroughbreds. The investment fund had already made significant purchases at this year’s Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Easter Yearling Sale and Chairman’s Sale, and on Tuesday Phoenix partnered with Segenhoe Stud, breeder of Merchant Navy, to buy the 4-year-old filly Blazers (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) (lot 630) for A$110,000 from Bhima Thoroughbreds.

Phoenix also purchased a share in leading sire Sebring for A$290,000. Phoenix is building a strong portfolio of stallion shares Down Under; it owns a quarter of Invader (Aus) (Snitzel {Aus}) with Aquis Farm, and also purchased a share in I Am Invincible (Aus) for A$575,000 at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale.


Justify Breezes for Belmont

Tue, 2018-05-29 12:49

Undefeated GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. hero Justify (Scat Daddy) logged his first official workout since prior to the Derby when breezing a half-mile in a sharp :46.80 Tuesday at Churchill Downs in preparation for his run at the Triple Crown in the June 9 GI Belmont S. (click for video). The move was the fastest of 43 recorded at the distance.

With trainer Bob Baffert in attendance, the chestnut breezed at 7:30 a.m. with jockey Martin Garcia aboard through splits of :12, :23.60 and :35.20 before galloping out five furlongs in :59.60 over the fast main track, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.

“I was hoping for that kind of work,” Baffert said. “I wish the race were this week. We’ve got another week to go, but I think we’re in great shape. I feel pretty strong that he’s not going backward on us, he’s moving forward. I was surprised by the time and how easy he was doing it. We let him gallop out a little bit just to make sure he pulled up down there where [assistant trainer] Jimmy [Barnes] was. He stopped, took a deep breath and he was happy when he turned around.”

Justify strictly galloped in between his runs in the Derby and Preakness and had done so since winning the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, but Baffert said he knew the colt was ready to do more after watching him train forwardly Monday.

“I knew yesterday the way he galloped, he was ready to do something,” Baffert related. “He was pretty anxious and the day before, he couldn’t do much with the rain. This week, with the rain coming, we’re not going to be doing too much. I just wanted to make sure we got a little air into him.”

The Hall of Fame conditioner compared Justify’s energy to his last charge to sweep the Derby and Preakness, who Baffert visited Monday.

“American Pharoah looked like that,” he said. “He looked really good and in great shape. He’s moving forward and held his weight for being a massive horse. I went to see Pharoah yesterday and I was really emotional when I was there. I asked him if it was okay if another horse broke his record and he didn’t seem to have a problem with it.”

Baffert added that Justify will have one more breeze in advance of the Belmont, likely next Monday.

Also working Tuesday was another Baffert hopeful for the Belmont, Restoring Hope (Giant’s Causeway). The Gary and Mary West-owned chestnut went seven furlongs in 1:26 flat (1/1) with Florent Geroux aboard. Third in the GII Wood Memorial S., Restoring Hope most recently finished 12th in the GIII Pat Day Mile S. on the Derby undercard.

“I thought he worked really well,” Baffert said. “He’s a really competitive horse and is honest on the track. We were disappointed with how he ran in the Pat Day Mile, but I don’t think he liked the sloppy track.”

Hunt Catches Heart to Heart for Shoemaker Success

Mon, 2018-05-28 19:07

Michael House’s Hunt (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}), making his first start of the year, stormed to the lead in the dying strides to just nip favored Heart to Heart (English Channel) on the line in the GI Shoemaker Mile S. at Santa Anita Monday, earning an automatic berth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile. A winner of four of 10 starts over the Santa Anita turf, but winless in four efforts at Monday’s mile distance, Hunt was let go at 9-1. He settled in midpack as pacesetting Om (Munnings) opened a clear lead through a quarter in :23.22 and :46.66. Heart to Heart aggressively pulled his way to challenge the leader passing the three-eighths pole and appeared to have the measure of the pacesetter in upper stretch. But it was Hunt, tipped off the rail at the top of the lane, who was traveling best of all in the middle of the course and he outbattled a game Heart to Heart to win by a neck with Next Shares (Archarcharch) a late-closing neck back in third.

“This is great, it’s what we’re all in it for,” said House. “Flavien [Prat] was inside, saving ground in a good spot, and I was smiling.”

Prat added, “He has been training really well, pretty much like he was at Del Mar last summer right before he won two graded stakes. I was expecting a good race but you never really know off a layoff. He was fresh and he got the job done. I don’t think it’s a matter of distance at all with him. He won at six and a half, he’s won at a mile and three-eighths so I think it’s a matter of his mood and feeling the right way on race day.”

Julien Leparoux, aboard runner-up Heart to Heart, had no excuses for the beaten favorite. “We had a good trip,” Leparoux said. “I knew the one [Om] was going to go out real fast. I tried not to pay attention to him and to ride my race. When the winner came to us, my horse tried very hard. He fired…we can’t complain.”

Hunt won back-to-back graded stakes over the Del Mar turf last term, winning the July 22 GII Eddie Read S. by one length over Ashleyluvssugar (Game Plan) and besting Saturday’s GII Charles Whittingham S. winner Itsinthepost (Fr) (American Post {GB}) by 3/4 lengths in the Aug. 19 GII Del Mar H. After finishing 13th in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf, the gray gelding concluded 2017 with a narrow score in the Nov. 26 GII Seabiscuit H.

“The time off did this horse a world of good,” said winning trainer Phil D’Amato. “We really kind of geared his campaign to focus towards Del Mar where he won three graded stakes last year, so these races were kind of preps leading up to the Del Mar meet. We won the Eddie Read last year, so we’ll try to defend our title. I think the spacing is really good, and from there, we’ll see, but I’ve got a Win and You’re In Mile berth and we’ll definitely gear our campaign towards that.”

Pedigree Notes:

Mansiya produced a filly by Gutaifan (Ire) in 2017. The mare is a half-sister to stakes winner Abury (Ire) (Law Society), as well as to the dam of South African champion Bad Girl Runs (SAf) (Western Winter). In foal to Showcasing (GB), she sold for €7,000 at the 2014 Goffs February sale.

Monday, Santa Anita
SHOEMAKER MILE S.-GI, $401,035, Santa Anita, 5-28, 3yo/up, 1mT, 1:34.07, fm.
1–HUNT (IRE), 123, g, 6, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: Mansiya (GB), by Vettori (Ire)
2nd Dam: Bay Shade, by Sharpen Up (GB)
3rd Dam: Bay Street (GB), by Grundy (Ire)
1ST GRADE I WIN. (€24,000 RNA Wlg ’12 GOFNOV;
€78,000 2yo ’14 GBMBR). O-Michael House; B-Michael
O’Callaghan (IRE); T-Philip D’Amato; J-Flavien Prat. $240,000.
Lifetime Record: GISW, 27-9-5-3, $908,764. Werk Nick Rating:
A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Heart to Heart, 125, h, 7, English Channel–Ask the Question,
by Silver Deputy. (C$25,000 Ylg ’12 CANSEP). O-Terry
Hamilton; B-Red Hawk Ranch (ON); T-Brian A. Lynch. $80,000.3–Next Shares, 121, g, 5, Archarcharch–Two Dot Slew, by
Evansville Slew. ($87,000 Ylg ’14 FTKOCT; $190,000 4yo ’17
KEENOV). O-Michael & Jules Iavarone, Jerry McClanahan,
Christopher T. Dunn, William Marasa, Ritchie Robershaw &
Mark Taylor; B-Buck Pond Farm, Inc. (KY); T-Richard Baltas.
$48,000.Margins: NK, NK, 1. Odds: 9.80, 1.50, 8.60.
Also Ran: Om, Bowies Hero, Colonist, Blackjackcat, Arms Runner. Scratched: Pavel.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Bolt d’Oro on Track for Met Mile

Mon, 2018-05-28 16:58

Ruis Racing’s Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro) turned in his first work since finishing 12th in the GI Kentucky Derby, going five furlongs in company in :57.00 (1/2) at Keeneland Monday. The colt is expected to make his next start in the GI Metropolitan H. at Belmont Park June 9.

“I thought it was a really nice work,” said trainer and co-owner Mick Ruis said. “It was faster than I thought he was going to go, but he did it so easy. He’s doing really well.”

After Bolt d’Oro, second behind Justify (Scat Daddy) in the Apr. 7 GI Santa Anita Derby, faded in the stretch of the Derby, Ruis opted to skip the May 19 GI Preakness S. and focus on the Met Mile, a Win and You’re In event for the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“The time off between the Derby and the Preakness is really helping him out,” Ruis said. “He was only supposed to work a half, but they gave him five-eighths. I was really happy the way he did it and happy with the way he cooled out, like it was no big deal. He recovered nice right away after the work.”

‘Valour’ Will Stand at Raheen Stud

Mon, 2018-05-28 16:32

Group 1 winner Heroic Valour (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}–Myrrh {NZ}, by Nassiapour) has been secured by Raheen Stud for stallion duty, where he will stand in 2018, the Queensland stud announced on Monday. Bred by Katom and knocked down to Te Akau Racing for NZ$400,000 at the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale in 2015, the bay won all three of his juvenile starts for trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards, culminating with a win in the G1 Sistema Diamond S. at Ellerslie in March of 2016. Classic placed as a sophomore in the 2017 G1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas, the half-brother to Group 1 winner Triple Honour (NZ) (Honours List {Ire})’s best finish at four was a runner-up effort in the G3 Darley Stallions Plate. He retires with a record of 19-4-7-3 and earnings of $264,539. Out of a winning daughter of Group 2 winner San Pauli Girl (NZ) (Western Symphony), Heroic Valour will stand for A$7,700.

“All of us at Raheen Stud are really excited at the prospect of standing Heroic Valour,” said Raheen Stud’s manager Basil Nolan, Jr. “We believe he is very competitively priced at A$7,700, particularly as he is a Group 1-winning, unbeated 2-year-old who trained on at three, along with being a well-related son of Fastnet Rock…Some lifetime breeding rights will be made available in the horse.”

Wilson to Receive Gomez Memorial Award

Mon, 2018-05-28 15:03

Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson has been named the 2018 recipient of the Avelino Gomez Memorial Award. The award, presented annually on Woodbine Oaks day, honors the Cuban-born rider who died from complications after a three-horse spill in the 1980 Canadian Oaks and recognizes a Canadian-born or raised or regular rider in the country for more than five years, who has made significant contributions to the sport.

Wilson, an Ontario native, won the 2007 Queen’s Plate and earned the Sovereign Award for top apprentice in 2005 and 2006, earning the Eclipse Award in the same category in 2005. A fixture at Woodbine since 2004, Wilson has topped the 100-win plateau on seven occasions and has amassed $70,155,656 in purse earnings.

“I’ve been trying to get words written down and thinking just how grateful I am,” Wilson said. “I’ve worked hard and been dedicated to this sport, so to be recognized in this way is truly special. I want to make sure I don’t forget anybody. Without the opportunities I was given, I may not have had a chance to shine. I want to make sure I cover as much as I can. When Tom Cosgrove [chair of both the Nomination and Election Committees for the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame] phoned me, even now…I choke up a little bit. I can’t believe it.”

Of Gomez, Wilson added, “I never met him, but he’s a legend. And his legacy lives on. His career, although it was cut short, was unbelievable. There’s a picture of Avelino in the jocks’ room. He has dirt all over his face, but there’s a look of confidence and bravado. I only wish I could have a little bit of that in this game. He’s left his mark on Woodbine and horse racing with his character and his success.”

Free Drop Billy Works for Possible Belmont Start

Mon, 2018-05-28 14:49

Albaugh Family Stables’ Free Drop Billy (Union Rags) tuned up for a possible start in the June 9 GI Belmont S. with a five-furlong drill in :59.60 (2/25) Monday at Churchill Downs. Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols caught the colt working through fractions of :12.60, :23.80, :35.60 and :47 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12, seven furlongs in 1:25.20 and one mile in 1:39.80.

“Right now we’re leaning towards running [in the Belmont],” trainer Dale Romans said. “We’ll see how he comes out of the work Tuesday and talk with the owners. We’ll make a final call in the next couple days.”

Free Drop Billy, winner of last year’s GI Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, was 16th in the GI Kentucky Derby. He is a half-brother to Hawkbill (Kitten’s Joy), who most recently won the 12-furlong G1 Dubai Sheema Classic in the Godolphin colors. The exploits of that multiple Group 1 winner give Romans confidence in Free Drop Billy’s ability to get the distance at Belmont.

“[Hawkbill] won at 1 1/2 miles, so I think Free Drop Billy could run all day,” Romans said. “Horses in the Belmont will probably only run 1 1/2 miles this one time, so it’s unique for everyone involved. Free Drop Billy certainly has the pedigree to run that distance.”

Albaugh racing manager and partner Jason Loutsch said a decision on a Belmont start would likely be made by Tuesday.

“We wanted to get past this last big work and see how his energy level was,” Loutsch said. “Obviously, we were really disappointed in his effort in the Kentucky Derby. We’re going to try to erase that, hopefully it was the slop and he didn’t like the track. But it seems like he had a good work this morning, lots of energy, galloped out strong. Justify looks unbeatable the way he’s been training this week, but I’ll give Dennis [Albaugh] the pros and cons and let him say yes or no. This is what we’re in the business for, a big race like this. We know it’s a tall task, but if we can get a piece of it that would be a huge deal.”

Romans also sent out Robert Baron’s Promises Fulfilled (Shackleford) to work at Churchill Downs Monday. The GII Fountain of Youth S. winner, 15th in the GI Kentucky Derby, went five furlongs in :59.60 (2/25). He could start next in either the GII Woody Stephens S. or the Easy Goer S.

Invincible Spirit’s Spirit of Brittany Earns Rising Stardom at Saint-Cloud

Mon, 2018-05-28 09:05

3rd-Saint-Cloud, €27,000, Mdn, 5-28, unraced 2yo, f, 6fT, 1:16.79, g/s.
SPIRIT OF BRITTANY (FR), f, 2, by Invincible Spirit (Ire)
1st Dam: Ysandre (GB), by Zamindar
2nd Dam: Loxandra (GB), by Last Tycoon (Ire)
3rd Dam: Northshiel (GB), by Northfields
Spirit of Brittany was entrusted with the weight of favouritism in this debutantes’ heat and fully justified that faith with a dominant display to earn ‘TDN Rising Star’ status at first asking. Sharply into stride to seize immediate control, the 14-5 chalk was in cruise mode throughout and required negligible urging inside the final quarter-mile to easily account for Kiwi Kiss (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) by an impressive 2 1/2 lengths, becoming Jean-Claude Rouget’s first juvenile winner of the year. She is the third foal and first scorer produced by Ysandre (GB) (Zamindar), an unraced half-sister to five black-type winners including G1 Lockinge S.-winning sire Keltos (Fr) (Kendor {Fr}), MG1SP G2 Prix du Muguet victor Krataios (Fr) (Sabrehill) and G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud third and GSW sire Loxias (Fr) (Saumarez {GB}). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, €13,500.
1ST-TIME STARTER. O/B-Al Shaqab Racing (FR); T-Jean-Claude Rouget. Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Caledonia Road on Track for Acorn

Sun, 2018-05-27 18:48

Last year’s Eclipse champion 2-year-old filly Caledonia Road (Quality Road), absent from the major races this spring, will look to get back in the mix at the top of her division when she faces the likes of GI Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) in the June 9 GI Acorn S. at Belmont Park. The bay filly tuned up for the one-mile race with a bullet five-furlong work in :59.87 (1/12) at Belmont Saturday.

“She is doing good,” said trainer Ralph Nicks. “We are looking forward to getting her started in the Acorn. We all know it’s not going to be an easy race, there are some very accomplished fillies, like Monomoy Girl, in there. And going the one-turn mile, they are going to be hard for us to catch, I would think. I expect a very good effort from her and hopefully there will be enough pace to help us out a little bit. But it will be good to get a good race in her and we are looking forward to the two-turn races.”

Caledonia Road, second in the GI Frizette S. going one mile at Belmont in just her second career start last October, claimed her championship with a 3 1/4-length win in the Nov. 4 GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. She resurfaced with an authoritative victory in a one-mile allowance in Elmont Apr. 29.

“Absolutely,” Nicks said when asked if Caledonia Road had moved forward from her sophomore debut. “Look at her works. Her works have been good this year. She’s a much better work horse and she’s done well.”

Monomoy Girl Works for Acorn

Sun, 2018-05-27 17:01

Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, the Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’s GI Kentucky Oaks heroine Monomoy Girl (Tapizar) worked five furlongs in :59 2/5 at Churchill Downs prior to the track’s first race Sunday, her latest move in preparation for a start in the GI Acorn S. on the GI Belmont S. undercard June 9. Working in company with her 5-year-old stablemate Dazzling Gem (Misremembered), Monomoy Girl galloped out six furlongs in 1:12 4/5.

“Very solid, what we were looking for,” trainer Brad Cox said. “She did it the right way. She never disappoints us in the morning, and she has yet to disappoint us in the afternoon. I’m really pleased with her.”

Monomoy Girl ran her record to six-for-seven with a score in the May 4 Oaks. Cox said the decision was made to work her thirty minutes prior to the first race after an early morning thunderstorm left the track in wet condition during the normal training hours.

“Thirteen days out, I wanted a good breeze in her,” he said. “We could have gone this morning if it had been more of a maintenance work. But I was kind of looking to do something today, so we were looking for a better track…I was glad we waited, and I appreciate Churchill giving us the opportunity to do this. It means a lot.”


Report: Battle of Midway Returns to Training

Sun, 2018-05-27 16:01

Battle of Midway (Smart Strike), winner of the 2017 GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, has been returned to training after being found to be subfertile, according to a report from the Daily Racing Form. WinStar Farm CEO Elliott Walden told the Racing Form that Battle of Midway impregnated five of the 60 mares he was bred to this spring.

According to the report, Battle of Midway galloped at Keeneland Sunday morning while under the training of Rodolphe Brisset, who also trains GII Tampa Bay Derby hero Quip (Distorted Humor) for WinStar, who owns the horse in partnership with China Horse Club and SF Racing.

Walden told the Racing Form that WinStar had a fertility policy through the Great American insurance company, which assumed ownership of Battle of Midway before he was ultimately purchased back by WinStar Farm and Don Alberto Corporation with the intent of returning him to training.

Under the training of Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, Battle of Midway won five times from 10 starts and banked $1,249,949 in earnings.


Munnings Debutante Graduates at Arlington

Sun, 2018-05-27 15:07

2nd-Arlington, $32,150, Msw, 5-27, 2yo, f, 4 1/2f (AWT), :52.34, ft.
O’KEEFFE (f, 2, Munnings–Coco Ecolo {SP, $170,222}, by Johannesburg) showed speed and dug in late to graduate at first asking on the Arlington polytrack. Picked up for $275,000 at OBS March after breezing a furlong in :10 flat, the dark bay was away in midpack as the 3-5 choice but soon blitzed to the front from her outside draw to show the way through a :22.86 quarter. Challenged by $250,000 OBSMAR grad Agi’s Cait (Tale of the Cat) into the final furlong, O’Keeffe found another gear late to repel that foe by 1 1/2 lengths on the wire. Sire Munnings has had quite the week with debut-winning juveniles-two of his sons won their respective unveilings at Lone Star Thursday evening as well. O’Keeffe has a yearling half-brother by Quality Road and her dam was bred to Clubhouse Ride last season. Owner Carolyn Wilson and trainer Larry Rivelli also went to a co-session-topping $775,000 at OBS March for a Strong Mandate colt who came out of the same Wavertree Stables consignment as Sunday’s winner. For more, see “Wilson, Rivelli Hoping to Be BC-Bound Again…Sales history: $135,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $19,200. Click for the chart.
O-Carolyn Wilson; B-K & G Stables (KY); T-Larry Rivelli.

Irish Guineas Glory For Mastercraftsman’s Alpha Centauri

Sun, 2018-05-27 11:32

Labelled a TDN Rising Star due to her exciting early juvenile form, the Niarchos Family’s Alpha Centauri (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) picked the right stage to mount a serious comeback after some worrying reversals when annexing Sunday’s G1 Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh. Attracting support into 12-1 despite the latest evidence of her current state being a 10th placing in the G3 Ballylinch Stud 1000 Guineas Trial over seven furlongs on heavy ground at Leopardstown Apr. 14, the imposing grey left that well behind to become the third European mile Classic winner in four generations of her esteemed Niarchos dynasty. While lacking the dash of her second and third dams East of the Moon (Private Account) and Miesque (Nureyev), the homebred knows how to gallop and that was certainly tested with another War Front in Could It Be Love opening up a sizeable advantage which only she proved able to bridge. Getting to that huge article from Ballydoyle only in the final yards, Alpha Centauri had 1 3/4 lengths in hand of the 33-1 shot, with 3/4 of a length back to the 5-4 favourite Happily (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in third. The third of four British and Irish Guineas in 2018 to be won by a horse trading in double figures, she was not surprising connections. “She did a very nice bit of work at Leopardstown two weeks ago and we thought we had her spot-on,” trainer Jessie Harrington said. “She’s a big mare who is quite heavy and on soft ground she just sinks into it. This has to be right up there, it’s fantastic.”
For a filly of her size, Alpha Centauri was quick off the blocks at two and handed the subsequent G3 Anglesey S. winner and G1 Phoenix S. third Actress (Ire) (Declaration of War) two beatings in the space of three weeks by a combined margin of 7 1/2 lengths over six furlongs at Naas. The latter came in the often-informative staging post of the Listed Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies’ Sprint S. and she subsequently went to Royal Ascot a hot favourite but found the French raider Different League (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}) a neck too strong in the G3 Albany S. Her faithful were undeterred afterwards and backed her into favouritism for the G1 Moyglare Stud S., but she could only finish fifth behind Happily on ground with considerable ease in it and by the time she had trailed in the 1000 Guineas Trial it was clear that those conditions played against her.
Always comfortable travelling towards the rear under Colm O’Donoghue as Could It Be Love strode ever clear of the market leaders Soliloquy (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Happily, Alpha Centauri was not panicked into action despite the yawning gap to that half-sister to Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) who had shown up so well for so long when eighth in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches a fortnight previously. With everything in the main group working hard approaching the final quarter mile, Alpha Centauri began to undergo the stealthy gathering in of the runaway leader and by the time she reached the 100-yard marker it was clear that she was going to be on top. Despite a late leftward drift, which could have been the considerable effort taking its toll, she was firmly on top at the line. “She’s always given us a good feel and although I was a little bit disappointed with her run in the trial, the ground was very soft and she was drawn out very wide so I just had to ride her as she was comfortable,” O’Donoghue said. “She just got tired in my hands, but everyone has been very happy with her at home since and she worked well at Leopardstown so you can only go there and approach it confidently. Aidan’s never stop–they are fit and hard and well and run to the line, but my filly got very comfortable at halfway which gave me a lot of confidence even before we made the change. When I asked her to pick up, she ran hard to the line.”
Alpha Centauri, who is bound for the June 22 G1 Coronation S. at Royal Ascot, is out of the unraced Alpha Lupi (Ire) (Rahy), whose best performer prior to her was Ballydoyle’s Listed Golden Fleece S. winner and G2 Royal Lodge S. runner-up Tenth Star (Ire) (Dansili {GB}). The aforementioned East of the Moon also captured the G1 Prix de Diane and G1 Prix Jacques le Marois as well as the Pouliches before producing the G3 Prix d’Arenberg scorer Moon Driver (Mr. Prospector) and the MSP dam of the G3 Horrix Hill S.-winning sire Evasive (GB) (Elusive Quality) and last year’s G3 Brigadier Gerard S. winner Autocratic (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The third dam, the champion Miesque, is also the second dam of Sunday’s G1 Prix du Jockey Club protagonist Study of Man (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) who after his recent G2 Prix Greffulhe success will trade as one of the leading hopes for that Chantilly Classic. The legendary 1000 Guineas and dual Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine is of course the dam of the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains-winning champion sire Kingmambo (Mr. Prospector), with other luminaries Rumplestiltskin (Ire) (Danehill) and her daughter Tapestry (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Karakontie (Jpn) (Bernstein), Amanee (Aus) (Pivotal {GB}) and Real Steel (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) among her descendants. Alpha Lupi’s 2-year-old filly by So You Think (NZ) is named Etoile Filante (GB), while she also has a yearling filly by Sea the Moon (Ger).

Sunday, Curragh, Ireland
TATTERSALLS IRISH 1000 GUINEAS-G1, €400,000, Curragh, 5-27, 3yo, 8fT, 1:38.71, g/f.
1–ALPHA CENTAURI (IRE), 126, f, 3, by Mastercraftsman (Ire)
1st Dam: Alpha Lupi (Ire), by Rahy
2nd Dam: East of the Moon, by Private Account
3rd Dam: Miesque, by Nureyev
1ST GROUP WIN; 1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O/B-Niarchos Family (IRE); T-Jessica Harrington; J-Colm O’Donoghue. €233,000. Lifetime Record: GSP-Eng, 6-3-1-0, $356,294. *1/2 to Tenth Star (Ire) (Dansili {GB}), SW & GSP-Ire, GSP-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Could It Be Love, 126, f, 3, War Front–Playa Maya, by Arch. O-Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Playa Maya Syndicate (KY); T-Aidan O’Brien. €80,000.3–Happily (Ire), 126, f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–You’resothrilling, by Storm Cat. O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Orpendale & Chelston Ireland (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €40,000.Margins: 1 3/4, 3/4, 1HF. Odds: 12.00, 33.00, 1.25.
Also Ran: Soliloquy (GB), Yulong Gold Fairy (GB), Lightening Quick (GB), Who’s Steph (Ire), Most Gifted, Clemmie (Ire), Scriobh Nua (Ire), Chiara Luna, Alghabrah (Ire), Uluru Park (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Siyouni’s Laurens Wins Saint-Alary Battle

Sun, 2018-05-27 10:04

So game when second in the G1 1000 Guineas at Newmarket three weeks ago, John Dance’s Laurens (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) had to be every bit as tough again on Sunday to register a second top-level success in the G1 The Gurkha Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary at ParisLongchamp. Sent straight to the front by PJ McDonald, last year’s G1 Fillies Mile and G2 May Hill S. heroine was tackled and briefly headed by Flowrider (Street Cry {Ire}) approaching the furlong pole and for a stride or two it looked as if she could capitulate. Rallying to see off that threat soon after, she had to take off the gloves as TDN Rising Star With You (GB) (Dansili {GB}) forged up her inner using the cutaway rail but the visiting 7-10 favourite proved equal to the task to score by a short head.
Trainer Karl Burke was every bit as relieved as he was delighted afterwards. “She’d definitely be better with a lead, but with today’s small field and her long action and stride we knew it’d be difficult to get one,” he admitted. “The jockey told me she was sleeping in front and would have kicked himself if she’d been beaten. She is so brave and such a fighter. She trained well after the Guineas and the initial plan was to go for the Irish 1000 Guineas, but we feared fast ground at The Curragh. After the rain fell in Paris on Friday, we decided to come here instead. She has won a group 1 as a 2-year-old and a group 1 as a 3-year-old and we’ll come back to France for the [June 17 G1] Prix de Diane [at Chantilly]. Two long road trips is perhaps too much for her in the space of three weeks, so next time we’ll fly her over. I’ve not yet won a Classic, but she’ll probably be favourite so it’ll be fingers crossed on the day.”
With You’s trainer Freddy Head will also be there for the rematch and he said of the runner-up, “I’ve got mixed feelings and am disappointed to see her beaten so narrowly, but delighted to see her run so well on her first start of the year. I’ve had all manner of problems with her and haven’t been able to train her as I’d wished, so she should come on a lot for the run and we’ll bring her back in the Diane.”
Laurens will undoubtedly get further than this 10-furlong trip in time, with her dam Recambe (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}) a half-sister to the Hong Kong Derby hero Salford Mill (Ire) (Preintre Celebre). The third dam Raysiya (Ire) (Cure the Blues) is the second dam of the G1 Prix de l’Opera heroine Kinnaird (Ire) (Dr. Devious {Ire}). She in turn produced the G2 Royal Lodge S. scorer Berkshire (Ire) (Mount Nelson {GB}) and features as the second dam of the G2 July S. hero and G1 Middle Park S. runner-up Ivawood (Ire) (Zebedee {GB}) who was also third in both the G1 English and Irish 2000 Guineas.

Sunday, Longchamp, France
THE GURKHA COOLMORE PRIX SAINT-ALARY-G1, €250,000, ParisLongchamp, 5-27, 3yo, f, 10fT, 2:08.39, g/s.
1–LAURENS (FR), 126, f, 3, by Siyouni (Fr)
1st Dam: Recambe (Ire), by Cape Cross (Ire)
2nd Dam: Razana (Ire), by Kahyasi (Ire)
3rd Dam: Raysiya (Ire), by Cure the Blues
(£220,000 Ylg ’16 GOUKPR). O-John Dance; B-Bloodstock Agency Ltd (FR); T-Karl Burke; J-P J McDonald. €142,850. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng, 6-4-2-0, €717,173. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–With You (GB), 126, f, 3, Dansili (GB)–In Clover (GB), by Inchinor (GB). O/B-George Strawbridge (GB); T-Freddy Head. €57,150.
3–Soustraction (Ire), 126, f, 3, Lope de Vega (Ire)–Mathematicienne (Ire), by Galileo (Ire). O/B-Wertheimer & Frere (IRE); T-Carlos Laffon-Parias. €28,575.
Margins: SHD, 2, NK. Odds: 0.70, 3.00, 8.00.
Also Ran: Flowrider, Tosen Gift (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

Bushranger Filly Gets the Bob to Upend Gamely

Sat, 2018-05-26 19:40

DP Racing’s Sophie P (Bushranger {Ire}) pulled off an upset in the GI Gamely S. by a nostril over Madam Dancealot (Ire) (Sir Prancealot {Ire}) in the tightest of photo finishes. The 14-1 shot raced in a joint third early as Madame Stripes (Arg) (Equal Stripes {Arg}) ticked off an opening quarter in :23.92 and pulled well clear of her competition through a half in :47.24. Sophie P advanced up the fence to close in on the leader with three-eighths left to run. Madame Stripes tried to go on with it in the lane, but was swarmed by Sophie P to her outside and Madam Dancealot to her inside. Those rivals edged clear of the pacesetter in the final strides, hitting the line together in a very tight photo, with Sophie P getting the bob.

“I really wasn’t sure if we got the bob, but if I had to bet on it, I would have said ‘no,'” said trainer Jim Cassidy. “If they put up ‘dead heat,’ I would not have been surprised. I was thinking Kent [Desormeaux]’s a great rider as I watched the stretch. He put her in the right position and didn’t let anybody get clear.”

Previously campaigned in England with trainer R. Michael Smith, Sophie P won four of her 19 starts overseas and hit the board on six other occasions. She closed out 2017 with a pair of victories in Musselburgh handicaps Oct. 1 and again just eight days later Oct. 9, after which she was privately purchased by DP Racing and transferred to Cassidy.

Pedigree Notes:

Sophie P is the sixth graded winner and 11th black-type winner for her sire Bushranger. Her dam Fountains Abbey has produced just one foal since the winner, a 4-year-old filly named Frankie Cloud (GB) (Zebedee {GB}). She hails from the family of champion grass mare Flawlessly (Affirmed), German and French Highweight Signs of Blessing (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and Group 1 winner Nadia (GB) (Nashwan).

Saturday, Santa Anita
GAMELY S.-GI, $300,690, Santa Anita, 5-26, 3yo/up, f/m,
1 1/8mT, 1:48.53, fm.
1–SOPHIE P (GB), 121, m, 5, by Bushranger (Ire)
1st Dam: Fountains Abbey, by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: Dream Bay, by Mr. Prospector
3rd Dam: Nazoo (Ire), by Nijinsky II
WIN. (160,000gns 4yo ’17 TATMA). O-D P Racing; B-New Hall
Stud (GB); T-James M. Cassidy; J-Kent J. Desormeaux.
$180,000. Lifetime Record: SP-Eng, 21-5-5-1, $256,570.
Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the
eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Madam Dancealot (Ire), 123, f, 4, by Sir Prancealot (Ire)
1st Dam: Sisal (Ire), by Danehill
2nd Dam: Ship’s Twine (Ire), by Slip Anchor (GB)
3rd Dam: Twine (Ire), by Thatching (Ire)
(4,761gns RNA 2yo ’16 TATABR; £100,000 2yo ’16 GOFLON;
€260,000 2yo ’16 GOFFCH). O-Slam Dunk Racing; B-Tally Ho
Stud (IRE); T-Richard Baltas. $60,000.
3–Madame Stripes (Arg), 121, m, 6, by Equal Stripes (Arg)
1st Dam: Courtisane (Arg), by Silver Finder
2nd Dam: Compagne (Arg), by Payant (Arg)
3rd Dam: Celine (Arg), by Lefty
O-Gainesway Stable; B-Alvarez, Gustavo Javier (ARG); T-Neil D.
Drysdale. $36,000.
Margins: NO, NK, 1 3/4. Odds: 14.00, 4.20, 10.90.
Also Ran: Beau Recall (Ire), Hawksmoor (Ire), Midnight Crossing (Ire), Mopotism. Scratched: Uni (GB).
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.